Dossier = DONE!!!

Today was a big, big day because today I sent our dossier to CCAI – the completion of months and months of literal blood, sweat and tears.  I’m not sure it’s truly sunk in that it’s DONE and there are no more pages in the Dossier Guide to read, no more documents to track down, no more asking our awesome notary friend Michelle to bring her stamp to church yet again.  Looking at that packet of paperwork in July I could hardly imagine this day and now it’s here.

The final stack of paperwork, copies, certifications, and pictures.

The final stack of paperwork, copies, certifications, and pictures.

Every time we hit a big moment, I expect something akin to the skies parting and the voice of God descending.  But instead, today I sat in the parking lot whispering fervent prayers of safe keeping and speed over my documents, I mailed my package and posed for this picture… and then I went to the grocery store.  The holy and the normal happening all together, which is just as it should be.

dossier complete

So what happens now?  Well, that’s a good question, and one I asked my CCAI group today because I really wasn’t sure.  I’ve been so focused on getting our dossier done that I haven’t even looked forward to what comes next.  Tomorrow by noon our package will arrive at CCAI and will be there for 9-11 business days where it will undergo three levels of critical review to check for anything we missed or mistakes.  They’ll put it in a pretty red folder, mount all of our photos, and then it is sent off to China (eeeekkkk!).  Then after about a week, we are officially “logged in” and we do a happy, happy dance of joy.  At that point, we are waiting for our official Letter of Acceptance that indicates that we do, indeed, want to adopt Jia (we do, we do, we do, we do!!!!!!!).  From what I understand the wait for that is currently running about 2 and a half months so it’s going to be a little while.  People who have been there, done that have said that this is the time to get in shape so you can lug around a toddler, get your house in order (in our case, getting Jia’s room ready), get your funding in order, and basically to use your waiting time well, so that’s my goal.

We are one (freaking enormous) step closer to Jia and it feels pretty awesome.  We have an ending in sight, we have a clear path forward and we are ready, ready, ready.


Fitting our hearts in a shoebox is hard….

One of the exciting things that happen when you get matched is that you get to send your child a care package! I am planning to send Jia’s this week and thought you all might be interested in knowing what we sent.

This care package will go to her orphanage before it goes to her foster family.  In the instruction guide they request that you keep the size of the package to shoe box size due to customs issues, so we’re talking about cramming gifts for Jia, her foster family and the orphanage director and the nannies… in a shoe box.  It was a challenge for sure.

So, first, the things we sent for Jia are a large blanket, a small fabric square blanket, a stuffed dog, a photo album with all of our family and a few friends in it, and a recordable story book with all of our voices.  I was going to send the Puffs, but totally ran out of space.  Thanks to the suggestions of people on Facebook, I ordered some vacuum seal bags which worked really well to get all the “fluffy stuff” down to a manageable size.  We also sent along several memory sticks because we’ve heard that they often get returned with many, many pictures from the time kids were brought to the orphanage, and we’re also hoping to get one back from her foster family.  It would be a gift to her and to us, to have those pictures.

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We actually bought two sets of all of Jia’s items, so we’ll take those with us when we travel in hopes that if she did get the care package, she will recognize some of the items, as it’s likely that many of the items won’t be returned to us or brought with her.  Eden has been sleeping with the puppy every night since we got it, and we washed her blankets in our detergent so she might recognize that smell when we meet her.  They say smell is a powerful sense, so we’re hoping they’re right.

For the nannies and director at her orphanage we sent Bath and Body Works lotion.  Apparently, that’s a highly regarded gift, so hopefully they like it.

For her foster family, I actually was able to talk to an expat American living currently in China and just sent whatever she suggested, so I sent Reese’s cups, Kraft Mac & Cheese, Ranch dressing mix packets, and disposable razors, which we hear are hard to come by in China. I was going to include the lotion too (another hot commodity in China), but… shoe box. We also wrote them a letter introducing ourselves and telling them about our hopes for Jia.  This package is how they will likely find out Jia has been matched, and I’m sure that will be a bittersweet moment for them.

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The care package will be delivered to her orphanage and then forwarded on to her foster family from there.  While her orphanage has been pretty good in the past about getting the package out, there is now a new director, so we’ll see how it goes.  You can send all your prayers and good juju for our package to get to Jia.  In the long run, it probably won’t be a huge deal, but for now it feels like all we can do for her, so we really want it to get there.

In other news, just as a quick “where we are in the process” update, we sent our documents to the NY China Consulate expecting it to be about 10-12 days before we got them back, but due to a paperclip where there should have been a staple (nope, not even kidding…), we had to resubmit a document which meant a whole mess of additional paperwork, money orders, copies and swear words.  As of this morning, all of our additional paperwork is on its way to New York, so hopefully this will do the trick.  If it doesn’t, as I so calmly told my friends the day we found out about all this, I’m going to drive to New York and staple my home study to someone’s forehead.  I kid, of course… but I really do hope this is it!