Things are progressing relatively well with our adoption from China, although it wouldn't be international adoption if there weren't hiccups along the way! Luckily our 'hiccups' so far have been minimal- and we discovered those issues before they became big problems.
Right now we are in the final stages of completing our dossier (adoption documents that go to China). Almost all of the documents that make up our dossier have to be notarized. That notarization has to be certified by the Secretary of State, and then the Chinese Consulate authenticates the documents as well. Basically the notary says we really signed it, the Secretary of State says the notary is real, and the Consulate says the Secretary of State is real so that when the documents make it to China everyone will know they are legit.
Bryan drove all our adoption documents to Austin and back on Wednesday 5/15 to get them certified. Sadly, some of them were taken out of order (as they were just paper clipped when they were handed over to be certified and stapled) so now they are likely going to be rejected by the Chinese Consulate. It sounds ridiculous that the placement of a staple vs a paperclip could mess stuff up- but we will be wasting time and money if we send the documents to the consulate via a courier and find out they get rejected. I'm taking several documents back to Austin on Monday to be re-certified, then they will be off to the courier by Tuesday at the latest after I make tons of copies.
I'm hoping the courier will have things back to us within the week given that Memorial Day will fall during the time they have our documents. This means we can hopefully send our dossier to our agency by June 1. From there, it will go through 'critical review' where they look for any issues. Once it is cleared the dossier will be translated and bound into a special book with pictures of us included. The dossier (or as we call it, "Paper Baby") is then sent via international express mail to Beijing where it will be logged into China's adoption system. The day that happens will be called our Log In Date -- or LID.
I found this awesome diagram that explains the basic steps in a Chinese adoption. After the trip to Austin and sending our documents to the courier, we will be completing steps 3 & 6 as one big step together.
(click on the image to make it bigger)
I am trying really hard to not tie myself up in a knot over the timing and length of each step. We have had some steps go slower than we hoped and have others go much faster. By the time Paper Baby is ready next week, it will be about 4 months from the time we started this adoption to the time we became 'paper ready'. I'm pleased with that timeline for an international adoption, especially since we had to do a new home study.
I try to stay up to date on issues surrounding Chinese adoptions, current timelines, etc by being a part of several facebook groups for Chinese adoption. It has been great to have other women cheer for me when we complete a step and to also learn from the ones who have 'been there done that'. I am trying to remember that if I have a 4 day delay or even a 4 week set back, it is nothing compared to the 4+ years of waiting that our friends in the Kyrgyzstan adoption community have endured. I am trusting that God will bring us a sweet baby girl who is His very best for us, and in His very best timing!