Overview of the Adoption Process from China.
In Melissa's last post, she mentioned a Dossier Consultant. For those of you not familiar with the process involved in an international adoption you might be wondering "What is a dossier? What is all this stuff they are talking about" I'll give you A very, very brief Primer on the paperwork and process.
Well, Essentially, there are 5 parties who we need to make happy in this whole process. Each of whom has their own guidelines, that can differ from one another.
In No particular order:
The Adoption Agency - In our case, Harrahs Family Services.
They are the primary liaison with China, as well as with Our Home Study Agency. They have their own set of guidelines about who can adopt. We must be approved by them to even begin the process.
The Home Study Agency - In our case, Nathanson Family Services
They perform the Home Study, and help us collect a lot of the information that needs to go to the USCIS as part of that Home Study. They also have their own guidelines they use to determine who will be recommended for adoption.
State of North Carolina - Each State has their own guidelines about How some of the paperwork is handled. Some states you have to Legally Readopt once the child comes to the US, in others it is automatic.
USCIS - United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. This is what some people used to call INS, but its now a part of the Homeland Security Department. Each office has their own processing timelines and rules, but they are the main government entity on the US side giving approval for us to adopt. We have to give them a form called an I-600a (Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition), the Completed Home Study as well as our fingerprints. Roughly 3 months or so later (And that varies from one USCIS office to another) We will get back an approval, in the form of a 171-H form. (No idea what the formal title is.)
China Center of Adoption Affairs - This is an agency within the government of the People's Republic of China. After we get our 171-H from the USCIS, we get to file a Dossier with the CCAA. The dossier consultant that Melissa mentioned will assist us in preparing it.
In order to prepare the Dossier, we have to get the following documents:
* A letter to the officials of China stating your intent to adopt (notarized)* Birth certificates (not notarized)* Marriage Certificate (if applicable) (not notarized)* Financial statement (notarized)* Letter from your employer verifying your employment with salary stated (or CPA's letter of self employment) or letter stating non-employment (notarized)* Letter from doctor stating the applicants health and fitness to adopt (notarized)* Police clearance letter(s) (notarized)* Home study (notarized)* Copy of I-171H with affidavit (notarized)* Copy of adoptive parent(s) passport* Family life photos (not notarized, verified or authenticated)
Almost all of those documents has to be Notarized when we get them. After that, we have to have them certificated by the State of North Carolina. Then, we have to have them Certificated by the Chinese Consulate here in the US. After all that is done, Harrah's can compile the completed Dossier and submit it to the CCAA.
When the Dossier gets to China and is translated, It receives a Log In Date (LID). This is the date it is officially in the CCAA's system. 5-7 months after that, we will get a Referral. The Referral tells us what child we will be matched with. Gives a brief description of the child, their medical history, and we get some pictures as well.
2-4 weeks later, we would get Travel Approval from the CCAA, and Harrahs would also make an appointment with the Consulate for our travel group to go over.
4-6 weeks after travel approval, we actually fly over to China, and meet our newest child. It takes about 2 weeks over there for all the paperwork to be completed and approved.