Saturday, December 24, 2011

Our Christmas Present: I-800 Approval!!!

(No, the approval didn't come in this
pretty gift bag from my sister, Michelle!)

Yippee!! I'm so happy to report that our I-800 has been approved! Our officer confirmed by email that it was issued yesterday on 12/22! The next steps can be pretty confusing so here's a quick outline of the process (thanks to Courtney's China Adoption Online site [2014 update: this site no longer exists]):

Once our approval reaches the National Visa Center (NVC), our information will be entered into their computer system. Within a couple of business days, the NVC will email our file -- also referred to as "cable" -- to the US Embassy in Guangzhou, China. This will be the approval of our visa petition. NVC will then send us a letter by mail stating that our petition has been forwarded to the Embassy. This letter is very important as the agency needs it to proceed with our adoption. Since this letter may take several weeks to arrive by mail, it is best to request the NVC to email the PDF version of the letter. So, here are MY next steps:
  1. Now that I know that our I-800 was approved or issued on 12/22, I wait about a week from our I-800 approval date to give enough time for the approval to reach the NVC by mail.
  2. I'll give myself an exact week, so on 12/29 I will email NVC to find out if we've been entered into the system and if we are, to please email me the PDF of the NVC letter. If we're not in the system, I'll email them again after the New Year on the 3rd (they will be closed on January 2nd).
  3. If we are in their system but haven't been "cabled" yet, NVC will reply to my email to let me know that we will be "cabled" shortly; they will also include our "GUZ#" assigned to our case. I will wait 1-2 days and then send another email to NVC with my new GUZ# to request the PDF letter.
  4. Once I receive the PDF of the NVC letter, I will forward it to my agency so they can begin processing our "Article 5" (I will explain this part when the time comes!). The printed NVC letter will arrive shortly after that but I'll just file that away.
Anyway, I hope this made sense :)!

One step closer to baby boy.... Merry Christmas, everyone!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Receipt Notice for I-800

Lovely surprise today. We received our Receipt Notice for our I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative (quite a mouthful, huh?). This receipt is to confirm that the USCIS has received our application to request permission to adopt "a specific child from China" - i.e. our little guy, Henry. On the notice, under "Additional Accounts" it lists my name and DOB, and also our son's Chinese name and his DOB, which is the first time I've seen our son's personal details printed on a US official document -- awww.

Since the USCIS "received date" was (Tuesday) December 13, this could mean a possible I-800 Approval around December 27. According to the latest data on RQ, families have been receiving their I-800 Approvals in about 2 weeks. However, typical time frame is approximately 2-3 weeks and with the holidays, we may even get it in the New Year, although I'm hoping for the end of this month, THIS year! Everything crossed, please!

(For everyone using the email/text notification by submitting the form G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance: I received my email notification on Friday, December 16 at 12:36am -- so, the USCIS/NBC sent the email 3 days after they received our application.)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

FINALLY received I-800A Approval!

I can't stop smiling! Early this morning, I sent another email to the NBC asking nicely if they could please check on the status of our I-800A. I kept myself busy and avoided my inbox for at least an hour. You see, when I called last Wednesday, I got my second "no officer or approval yet" response, which brought me to tears after the call because I was so sure we were approved after hearing several approval announcements on RQ. My excitement got the better of me, I guess, but I never contacted them again until this morning. When I finally plucked up the courage to open my email at 9:30 am, I quickly spotted the NBC message and read the snippet: "The I-800A was approved on 12/7..." (this was the day I called so they must have approved me later that day!) -- and the official notice should arrive any day! Eeek!

I had a very strong feeling it would come today if it was sent out on either Wednesday or Thursday. Our mail lady arrived around noon at the neighborhood mailbox, conveniently placed right outside of our house. As soon as she left, I darted outside for our mail. Super eeek!!!!! It was finally here...double-folded with three pages of instructions in a #10 envelope! (Last year it came flat in a catalog envelope.)

For all you date trackers, it has been an agonizing 76 days (almost 11 weeks) from the USCIS' receipt date to the I-800A Approval in my hand but it took 71 days for the actual approval. I can't wait for Mike to finally "turn me to pink" on RQ!

Anyway, bottom line: we have been approved to adopt one child from China! Our next step is to receive ANOTHER approval -- the I-800 Approval (without the "A" after I-800) -- from the USCIS, but this time we are asking for permission to adopt "a specific child from China" -- our little Henry. Our agency had not yet received their copy of our I-800A Approval so I've emailed them a copy and they will add it to the I-800 application package to be FedEx'd to the USCIS. We should receive a Receipt Notice within a week or so, and then about three weeks for the I-800 Approval. Of course, we have the holidays approaching, so I'm expecting a wee delay. It's totally fine though because I know it gets "easier" from here.

Another step to our little guy! \o/

Friday, December 9, 2011

Latest Henry sighting during a family's visit!

16 months

I received an email from an adoptive parent asking if I had seen the photos posted by another family who is currently visiting China to pick up their daughter. There were 100 beautiful photos and although I immediately recognized Henry on three of them, I wasn't 100% sure! The little guy had the same shape head, the same hairline, the same ears, nose and mouth as Henry but was he MY Henry? I sent the images to my husband and within 10 minutes he replied, "No doubt about it....that's my son right there!!!!" :) I was so happy!

Super happy because now we have proof that our little boy is back in Xuchang! One minute, we're told Henry has moved to the Kaifeng orphanage, then we're told he's at the local hospital in Kaifeng (but he's still under the guardianship of Xuchang), and here he is, having a chin-wag and a little snivel :( with his buddies in Xuchang! Thank you, KG!

Still no news about our I-800A and still no officer assigned to our application. Will be sending another email on Monday -- day 76.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Sent Care Package #2 while waiting for I-800A Approval

care package #2

Today is the last day of November and we're on day 64 of waiting for the I-800A Approval. Some of the girls on RQ have been told by different USCIS officers that the current wait is around 75 days but it could also go up to the "full 90 days" -- please, NO!! :O Two or three of the girls on the latest "Waiting for I-800A" chart have recently received their approvals (not updated on the chart yet) so I'm planning on emailing the NBC (National Benefits Center) on Tuesday: day 70! Fingers and limbs crossed, please!!

Anyway, I've just mailed Henry another care package. I'm still not sure if his first package was given to him during his transition from Xuchang to Kaifeng so this one is a back-up! Contents include: Sassy's kid-friendly photo album (holds 4 photos), winter outfit, blanket, another disposable camera (in case the first one was left at Xuchang SWI), and two soft toys. The Baby Einstein's panda toy is hilarious; it plays 3 very short melodies, which include an Asian-themed tune! Ha! :)

I also ordered an "orphanage donation" of hats, gloves, books, and cookies for the nannies via Red Thread China but told Ann it was fine to wait until end of next week to request my son's updates as Henry will be 16 months old on Monday :(. I had received the last set of updates in October so I don't really need new measurements but because I have a couple of health/medical questions, I decided to go ahead with it.

Waiting (obsessively)...