Our Beautiful Daughter, Jia

When I first started this blog, one of the posts I was most excited to write was the one that started “WE’RE MATCHED!!” and here we are, months sooner than we planned and more delighted than I could have imagined.  Friends, please meet our beautiful daughter…. WE’RE MATCHED!!!

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Some of you want the facts and some of you want the details, so we’ll do facts first:  Our daughter’s name is Jia Qi, and she is 23 months old (she’ll turn 2 on February 2nd).  She is currently living with an American foster family in China, but we don’t know much about them other then that.  We do know that she has an older foster sister though, which is kind of awesome!  We really hope to stay in touch with them after she is adopted, but it’s unlikely we will be able to contact them before due to the rules and regulation regarding adoption in China. We also don’t know if they speak to her in English or Chinese, but we’re hoping she will at least know some English before we get there. She has a postoperative heart condition (that was repaired in China) that will need followed up with a pediatric cardiologist, but otherwise, she is healthy!  Her paperwork says that she is learning things at “150 miles per hour.”  We  could not be more smitten… isn’t she beautiful?!  We feel so lucky to get to be her parents!!!

foster sister covered

Now, for the details!  I received a call from CCAI on December 12th, sitting at work.  I saw CCAI come up on the caller ID, but I had been waiting on a phone call back about a dossier question, so I was pretty surprised to hear the person on the other end say “we have a file for you to review!”  Our CCAI contact went through the basic contents of the file and then asked if I was still interested.  I couldn’t say yes fast enough!  As soon as I hung up the phone, I started crying… mother’s intuition?  I don’t know.  In any event, I waited for the info to come through in my email, and called Josh to tell him.  Because she is with a foster family, we were lucky enough to get lots of extra pictures, which was so awesome.  I looked at those pictures and that was pretty much it for me.  I honestly didn’t care what the paperwork said.  She was ours from the minute I saw her.  I started looking through her paperwork, and emailed it all to an international adoption clinic doctor with whom we have an established relationship and asked her to look at everything.  And then, because it was a Friday… we waited.


We heard back from Dr. Ottegen on Monday who reviewed all of the paperwork we had and confirmed our feelings that Jia’s medical situation and prognosis were excellent.  She also consulted with a pediatric cardiologist and he also give us a good report.  So we were left to make a decision that had the potential to totally change our lives.

Dang Jia Qi 10.15.14

Of course, this all happened during one of the busiest weeks of our year….  I had a late work event, Josh had late meetings and activities, my mom and I went to Columbus (and, by the way, I did not breathe a word of this to anyone… so imagine me, the worlds worst secret keeper, having to spend 4 hours with my mom, to whom I tell just about everything, and not being able to talk about the only thing on my mind!  It was rough, y’all.), and by the time we had a minute to really sit down and hash things out, it was Thursday night at 10:30 and we had to make a decision by the next morning.  Making a decision like that feels like holy ground, and we certainly didn’t make it lightly, but it wasn’t a hard decision in the end.  I think we both knew nearly from the minute we saw Jia that she was our daughter.  So our conversation was more “how did we get so lucky?” then “should we say yes?”.  We had said yes in our hearts a week before, it just took a while for our brains to catch up.

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So, the next day, we called our agency, and said “she’s ours!”.  We had to fill out some additional paperwork, write a letter of intent stating that we understand her medical needs, and have a plan to care for her, and submit some basic family information.  Once we sent that in, her file was “locked” which means that no one else could see it or request it, and then all of that information was submitted electronically to China.  We were told to expect not to hear anything back from them until after the new year, but the day after Christmas, we got our Letter of Acceptance and it because unofficially official (it will become really official once we have our dossier to China)!!


As far as what changes, our process is now quite a bit expedited, and we are expecting to travel no later than August.  That means we’re working like mad people to get all of our documents to China and our dossier completed, we’re trying to figure out our fundraising plan on an expedited timeline, and we’re are nearly out of our minds with excitement about getting to meet our sweet Jia.


So, that’s what’s been going on behind the scenes, friends…  what a ride!


Where we’ve been, where we are, where we’re going…



Where we’ve been:
We started this process in July. Since then, we’ve completed our home study, gathered all of our dossier documents, completed our Medical Conditions Checklist, finished Parent Training, submitted our Immigration paperwork, traveled to Detroit for our Immigration fingerprint appointment, and just TODAY…. received our Immigration approval. Phew!! That’s a lot in 4 months and looking back at all the work done, we’ve come a long way. Back in July, it was hard to imagine being here.

Where we are:

Now that we have our Immigration paperwork back, the work continues. We have to get most of our paperwork (employment verifications, financial forms, things like that) notarized, which is a process on it’s own because things have to notarized in a specific way, either as a copy or an original and it’s complicated, man. Then I have to have all of those notary seals approved by the county in which the notary is licensed. So far, I’m going to need to go to Lucas, Sandusky, and Cuyahoga, and possibly more, so that will be at least one full day of chasing signatures. Then, we have to go to the State Department and they have to approve everything, which means a trip to Columbus for more signatures.

Honestly, this is the part of the whole process that is the most stressful to me so far. When I first read the dossier instruction packet, it was super overwhelming, but once I read it a few more times, it started to make sense. But the first time I read the instruction packet for the sealing process, it was baffling, and I don’t feel like that has changed in my subsequent readings. So any prayers and good mojo you could throw at me as I’m figuring this out would not be wasted. My biggest worry is that I don’t want to make any mistakes because mistakes could mean we have to get something re-done and wait for that, and I don’t want this process to be any longer than it already is.

Then, once we’re done with all the sealing and approving, we will make copies of everything and send it by courier to the China Consulate for their approval. After that, we CELEBRATE and then send all of our paperwork to our agency for them to put through critical review and finalize the format and then we are DTC (documents to China). When that day comes, you will find me in a heap on the floor weeping from relief. They call DTC being “paper pregnant” and I figure all pregnant ladies (paper or otherwise) are allowed to weep on the floor occasionally, right?

Where we’re going:
Once our documents are in China, they’ll be reviewed again and then we’ll be logged in to their system and given a log in date (LID). And then we wait to be matched. There is a lot more that happens after that, but that’s another post for another day.

Today, with Immigration Approval in hand, it feels like a good day. It is a good day! We’ve made some progress and it feels like we’ve jumped a big hurdle. So we’re savoring today and preparing for tomorrow. We’re going to focus on Thanksgiving and enjoying being with friends and family, and then we’re going to start moving full speed ahead with signatures and approvals. Our goal is to have our paperwork completed and to our agency by the end of the year, and I really think we can meet that goal. We would be so thankful for your thoughts and prayers as we’re going forward from here, because this is where things get even more intense and details are crucial. We’re so grateful to you all for walking this journey with us and for keeping us sane!

We’ve already come a long way and we’ve got more to do, but we’re getting closer and the end is a slightly larger speck in the distance now. So, off we go… we’re going on an adventure!