Monday, October 30, 2006

My Crazy Experience at the Secretary of State

This morning I worked at the prenatal clinic and checked to see if they had a notary to save me one stop in my round of errands! Praise God they did! She notarized a copy of my 171-H and then I was off to the bank for $, the gas station and Springfield. Luckily, I made sure I had some silver change for the meter when I left this morning. I got to Springfield and found a parking spot, put my $ in and it did not work! I moved to the next empty place and it worked. I was a little frustrated at this point. It was VERY windy and the drive from Decatur to Sprinfield was tough keeping my car straight, so I was a little tense when I arrived. I found the SOS building only to be told the Index Department is down the street. I head to the correct place and wait to be helped. 10 minutes after I gave them my document to be certified, they came back and said they could not do it because the notaries stamp had the incorrect expiration on it. I was furious! The lady asked a notary in the office if she could help and she did. We made another copy of the document and I had to hand write this required saying on the back. The document got certified and I headed back home in the wind. Once I got home and looked at the document, I forgot one small line regarding expiration the notary is to sign. I called CCAI and told them about it and they checked with their translation department and said it should be OK. I think I will remain stressed until we get our log-in date. You want it all to be so perfect and done with and these little things happen! I know God is testing my patience! Oh, I almost forgot that they did not have a cash box to give you change for the certification, so you had to have the exact amount! I wound up with my $2, but half of it was in pennies! I lost most of my silver change in the parking meter that didn't work!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

How Much Does an Adoption Cost?

We have been asked many times, "What does it cost to adopt from China?" You will find the information below. One of the things we liked about CCAI was their honesty and explanation of all the expenses, including the Agency Fee. They even gave us an itemized breakdown of how they came up with the fee to cover their services. I find them very legitimate!

$150- Application fee
$545 Money Order, plus $70 per adult for fingerprints- USCIS Filing (I-600A)
$1950- First agency fee
~$450- Dossier Preparation (postage and fees to get documents)
$1500-$3000 - Home Study Fee (depends on what agency you use)
$2300- Second agency fee
$610- CCAA (Chinese Center for Adoption Affairs) fee when you submit dossier

Wait for Child Match

$500- Post Placement Deposit (refundable)
$80 per person- Visa to enter China
$900-$1600 per adult plus $100-150 return lapsit ticket - US Domestic and International Airfare
~$1900 - In China Travel and Accommodations
$400-800 - Adoption Registration and Notarization
$100-150- Child's Passport
$3000- Orphanage Fee
$600-800 per couple- Food
$70- Child Physical and Photo
$380- Child U.S. entry fee

Total: $15,000-$16,000 for two adult travelers (not including home study or post placement costs)

What's In a Dossier?

We have been asked what type of information is included in a Dossier for China! Here we go:

1. Adoption Petition (CCAI gave us a template and we customized it to fit us.)
2. Birth Certificate for each of us.
3. Marriage Certificate
4. Employment Verifications
5. Financial Statement (CCAI gave us a template and we filled in the appropriate info.)
6. Physical exam for each of us.
7. Police Clearance Reports for each of us
8. Copy of our 171-H
9. China Home Study Report
10. A complete set of photocopies of the above.
11. 2 Passport copies each
12. 3 Couple photographs
13. 8 Family Life photographs

#1-9 each have to be notarized, except the Birth and Marriage Certificates. (Thank You Pat P.), then certified by the Secretary of State of the document's originating state (we delt with Iowa, Texas and Illinois), and then Authenticated by the appropriate Chinese Consulate/Embassy that serves the document's originating state (we delt with Houston and Chicago).

CCAI has a fabulous Dossier Guide that walks you through each step and gives you templates and checklists. They also provide all the addresses of the Secretary's of State and Chinese Consulates! I can't say enough good things about them! They even answered all my emails in the same day! Way to go CCAI! Many companies need to take Customer Service Training from them!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Long Awaited 171-H...

Is here! It arrived on Friday and we were sooo excited! It is the most beautiful piece of mail we have seen in a long time. We have waited 10 weeks and 2 days for it exactly! I am taking it to Springfield on Monday and Chicago on Wednesday to get all of its appropriate seals! It looks like we will have a Log-In Date of 11/06! A couple of months later then we expected, but completely out of our hands!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

I almost forgot...

CCAI did call us a week ago and had the opportunity to look through our Dossier despite it being incomplete! So far, everything looks good! This is great news because once we send our 171-H to them, the dossier will be sent to China!

Troy and I have been looking at unisex nursery bedding just to get an idea in case we get a "surprise" domestic adoption and one we can use for our Chinese adoption. My parents are giving us two Chinese folk art pictures that a student gave my mom years ago. They are in my childhood bedroom back in Austin. Troy and I have always admired them. We are wanting something that will go with the pictures since they have a lot of primary colors in them. We found this bedding called "Alphabet Soup". We are still looking for fun! There are sooo many choices!

Stork Parking

Last Saturday, Troy and I went to Springfield to the Babies R Us to look around at cribs. We had a potential DCFS foster/adopt case that a family wanted us to have their child if "____" was taken away. The child has not been taken away, but the case continues to be investigated. In the meantime, we figured it wouldn't hurt to look and see what is out there. Babies R Us has "Stork Parking" for expectant moms, so Troy and I took the opportunity to park since we are "paper pregnant" for a child(ren) in China! We both smiled and wondered what the others were thinking! I know there is a lot of controversy out there about this idea, but we wanted to have the same opportunities as "traditional" expecting families.

In the meantime, we are still waiting for the 171-H. It will be 10 weeks this Wednesday that we have been waiting! Hopefully soon! We continue to remind ourselves that God has a better plan for our family then we do!

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Weeks in Pictures!

Troy turned 32 on September 26 and proudly displays his new grill!

Troy got invited to the Illinois/Iowa football game by a season ticket holder of Illini tickets! He figured it would be polite to wear his Illinois hat which a church member gave him, but of course he wore his Hawkeyes shirt under his jacket! He was happy to report the Hawkeyes won 24-7!

This cardinal was spotted outside our bedroom window singing away one Sunday morning as I was getting ready for church!

A beautiful Monarch butterfly that was found in our backyard with an injured wing! Jack was playing with it and I had to catch a picture!

Our incomplete dossier, minus the 171-H we sent to CCAI!

Just a Tease!

The first piece of mail I saw in our mailbox on Saturday was from USCIS! I quickly got the letter opener and ran down the basement stairs to Troy and yelled, "It's here! Our 171-H is here!!" I was SOOO disappointed to find it was just correspondence regarding my Sept. 8th phone call checking in on the status. I guess I should give them props for beating the 30-45 day time frame they would respond to my inquiry.