July 19, 2006

And the News You Didn't Even Know You Were Waiting For!

Well that big news that I alluded to a couple of days ago has come to fruition.

We are adopting from China!

This morning we got a phone call from our agency (heh, I can say "our agency" now!) saying that our application has been approved and we are officially clients. We are working with Chinese Children Adoption International, or CCAI (click the link at your own peril, and be prepared for heartwarming pictures of adoptive families).

Now we are officially embarking on what will probably be a 2 year journey to parenthood. Our next step is to complete a Home Study. Sounds simple, right? A social worker comes to your home and makes sure you don't have exposed electrical outlet wires and knives on the floor. Nope. The home study is a compendium of dozens of documents in addition to the "counseling" portion (which requires 4 visits with the social worker). The home visitation is the easy part. We also have to collect an inordinate amount of paperwork (birth certificates, marriage certificates, I-blink-254-times-a-day certifcate, state fingerprint check, FBI fingerprint check, income statements, medical clearances, and about 5,000 other documents that aren't coming to mind). And of course all of those have to be signed, sealed, and notarized--which would be very convenient given the notary public in the family--BUT, we're not allowed to use a family member as a notary. Serious bummer.

At any rate, we're very excited to get this party started. It's going to take a lot of rushing around and then a lot of waiting.

The process goes like this:
*Sign on with an agency (CHECK!)
*Prepare the "dossier" consisting of a complete home study, all necessary paperwork, and all government paperwork allowing us to adopt a foreign orphan (3-6 months)
*Send dossier off to be translated into Chinese
*Send completed, translated document to China
*Get a "Log In Date" (LID).
*Wait (approximately 18 months)
*Get matched with a child (called a Referral)
*Accept referral
*Get travel authorization (anywhere from 2 to 8 weeks)
*Travel to China (2 weeks)
*Bring our daughter home
*Start it all again for kid # 2 (ha ha, just kidding Kevin. Or am I???) ;)

The way adoption in China works is that all adoptions are run out of a central government agency called the China Center of Adoption Affairs (CCAA). CCAA has a big stack of dossiers from future parents and a big stack of "paper-ready" children who have gone through the Chinese legal process releasing them for adoption. They then go through the stack of dossiers and match one with a child. This is a very stable process, but unfortunately it takes a long time. The youngest children are usually 8-12 months old at the time of adoption.

So we're anticipating Baby Girl Hogan (95% of adoptable Chinese children are girls) around Summer 2008. Hooray! I'll be sure to keep you posted.

Posted by Shelby at July 19, 2006 04:07 PM

Wow, Shelby! Congrats to you both and best wishes for an extremely smooth (and extremely quick) two years! Yayy! :-)
Scout and Digory are going to be sooooo confused. ;-)

Posted by: Annastazia at July 19, 2006 05:01 PM

OMG!!! I'm going to be an Aunt! I was hoping this was the good news you were talking about.

That does suck about the Notary thing -- I could save you all kinds of cash.

I'm so very happy for you guys! I would really like to go to China.

Posted by: Katrina Rosiak at July 19, 2006 08:37 PM

Wow! That's cool! You guys will make great parents!

Posted by: Sherri at July 20, 2006 01:55 PM

Wow! Cool! One of the people I work with just got back from step... 32 or something? of that process. It sounded like a real adventure, heading over and everything, and occasionally a touch frustrating, but she said it was all absolutely worthwhile. Congrats, and good luck with the coming days!

Posted by: David at July 23, 2006 11:38 PM

Dear Shelby,
kongratulations to this wanderfull experience!!!!! Our Friends from Finnland are also waiting a child - 6 Month old girl from Afrika...
I wish you all the best!!!
Ira & Marie-Louise

Posted by: ira at July 25, 2006 04:13 AM
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