So much has happened since we found out our finances would be accepted by China!
February 2, 2016:
I had seen on our CCAI Families Facebook page that several people were getting their “soft LOA” announcements in their emails. I frantically refreshed and checked my email MANY times that day, hoping to see ours as well. By the time evening came, I had given up hope for the day.
In the middle of chatting with one of my coaches on zoom…. John comes running from the living room…. “IT’S HERE!” We finally got the email saying our “Soft LOA” was in!
So what does this mean? A “Soft LOA” is simply the electronic approval from the CCCWA in China. The email the agency receives will be followed by a hard copy (“Hard LOA”) within a few days to a week. This also means the paperwork train is moving again…and FAST! We received a laundry list of assignments to have ready for when that hard copy comes.
Since we did not see the email until late Tuesday night, Wednesday we set time aside to get that paperwork gathered together. This consisted of: the I-800 application, the I-800 Supplement 1, the I-864W form and form G1145. Don’t know what any of that means? It’s okay, without our agency spelling out everything in separate instructions, we would have no clue either. The LOA is simply a letter from China confirming and once again asking if we want to adopt this particular child. It is redundant, yes, but a very important official step in this whole process.
We got the paperwork together and somehow I failed to see that I should have sent it THAT DAY to our agency so they would have everything already in hand when the hard copy arrived. Chinese New Year begins Monday, February 8th, and all of the Chinese government offices close for the entire week. Knowing this, we were praying for that hard copy to be sent BEFORE the New Year, but we also knew there was a chance of delay until the following week.
February 8, 2016: Chinese New Year Day!
With the beginning of Chinese New Year, I had come to terms with the idea that we would not receive our hard copy of LOA until at least after the holiday week. My heart was torn because as much as we want to bring her home, we were doing the mental math of the projected travel time frame of 9-12 weeks. With the LOA timing, we could bring Mia home as soon as mid-April, and I don’t know that we felt ready for the rollercoaster to take off so fast! So, we celebrated the day on Facebook and enjoyed seeing the sweet pictures of other CCAI families and their children all dressed up for the holiday, thinking of how we can celebrate the New Year in 2017 with Mia.
I continued to check my email, but nothing arrived. I realized that I HAD to get that paperwork and agency program fees sent that day so that CCAI could at least receive everything during the holiday week and be ready for that hard LOA. I called the headquarters in Colorado to ask a few questions about payment, and asked a little more about the timeline. She said that travel is usually 9-12 weeks from i800 filing with the USCIS, which is the paperwork I was just about to sent her. Okay, I breathed a little sigh of relief because I had read somewhere that it could take 2 weeks to get i800 back. Well, then she said, “Oh, no I’ll send it in as soon as I get it!” Oh. Okay. Breathe. AND before we got off the phone, I mentioned how I figured the hard LOA wouldn’t get there until AFTER Chinese New Year at this point and she said, “Actually we got all the hard copy LOAs in this morning for those who got soft copy last week! I am going to be sending you your email announcement about it this afternoon!” She was full of joy. I wanted to slam on the imaginary brakes. I’m just being honest here: Whirlwind. I felt like the ride had gone from 0-60 in the time it took for her to complete those two sentences.
So, I drove to the post office, sent everything via overnight mail to Colorado, and called John. I set my mind straight and decided to get my grocery shopping done and go through the typical busy Monday schedule.
When the email arrived, I made sure to post our good news. This is the step we had been waiting for since we sent in our Letter of Intent on December 3, 2015. We had waited two months for this document and it was finally here!
Before I even got Owen to karate, I called our broker. It’s time to drain the account. We had used all the money we had on hand for that third agency fee which was on its way to Colorado. The paperwork we signed and sent outlined that we still have a little over $13,000.00 that will we owe in April 2016. I’m doing the mental math, realizing that we could come close with a grant, but that is still not including our flights to and from China, which could be another $5,000.00. The problem is that we won’t know exact flight dates until a few weeks before, when we receive our Travel Approval (TA).
So what does this mean now?
We are waiting on i800 approval next. Here is a great diagram that explains the international adoption process…as complicated as it is.
We could be traveling as early as April, otherwise, we expect to go over in May.
We are still trying to figure out the finances to complete everything debt-free, if possible.
Our boys are not traveling with us due to school being in session, their current ages, abilities to handle the stress associated with a long trip like this, and additional financial considerations. We hope to return to China with ALL of our children someday so they can experience Mia’s home country.
What can you do?
Pray. Please pray first and foremost that we will bond with our daughter immediately. While we are preparing for the worst, we are hoping and praying that God will bind us together from the start.
Pray that God will continue to pour out His blessings, financially. If you would like to donate to our travel expenses, you may do so by contacting us for our home address, or by making a safe and secure donation online at https://www.gofundme.com/bringmiaharveyhome.
Thank you so much for your support in our journey! Every day we get a little closer to being a family of FIVE! God is GOOD!!!!!