Republic of China New Adoption Requirements Take Affect

 

On December 21, 2006, the China Center for Adoption Affairs (CCAA) officially notified the U.S. Embassy in Beijing of new rules for intercountry adoption from China - This preliminary version is subject to change.

1) Prospective adoptive parents must be married for at least two years (marriage is defined as being between a man and a woman). If either the husband or wife has been divorced (no more than two divorces), the prospective adoptive parents must be married for at least five years.

2) Both the husband and wife must be at least 30 years old and under age 50. If adopting a special needs child, both must be between the ages of 30 and 55.
3) Both the husband and wife must be physically and mentally fit and must not have any of the following conditions:

a. AIDS;
b. Mental disability;
c. Infectious disease that is actively contagious;
d. Blind in one or both eyes or wearing a prosthetic eye;
e. Hearing loss in both ears or loss of language function; those adopting children with hearing or language function loss are exempt if they have the same conditions;
f. Non-function or dysfunction of limbs or trunk caused by impairment, incomplete limb, paralysis or deformation;
g. Severe facial deformation;
h. Severe diseases that require long-term treatment and that affect life expectancy, including malignant tumors, lupus, nephrosis, epilepsy, etc;
i. Major organ transplant within ten years;
j. Schizophrenia;
k. On medication for more than two years for severe mental disorders, such as depression, mania, or anxiety neurosis;
l. Body Mass Index (BMI) (BMI=weight (kg)/height2 (m2) =40.

4) Either the husband or wife must have stable employment. The family's annual income must be $10,000 for each family member in the household (including the child to be adopted); the value of family assets must be $80,000. The computation of the family's annual income excludes welfare income, pensions, unemployment insurance, or government subsidies, etc.

5) Both prospective adoptive parents must be high school graduates or have vocational training equivalent to that of a high school graduate.
6) They must have fewer than five children in the family under the age of 18 years, and the youngest one should be at least one year old. (Those adopting special needs children will be exempt.)

7) Neither prospective adoptive parents may have a criminal history; they must behave honorably, with good moral character, and be law-abiding. Neither should have any of the following histories:

a. Domestic violence, sex abuse, abandonment or abuse of children (even if they are not consequently arrested or convicted);
b. Use of narcotics, use of opium, morphine, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, etc., or any medication for mental illness that can cause addiction;
c. If they have a history of alcohol abuse they must show they have been sober for at least ten years.

Adoption applications from persons with past criminal violations will be considered on a case-by-case basis when either the husband or the wife has fewer than three minor criminal convictions and it has been ten or more years since the last conviction, or has fewer than 5 records of minor traffic law violation.
8) The prospective adoptive parents must have an understanding of what adoption is and the expectations to provide a warm family for the orphaned children (or children with handicap or disability) via adoption and to meet the needs of the children for their proper development. Prospective adoptive parents must have an understanding of intercountry adoption as well, and be fully prepared for the potential risks associated with intercountry adoption such as potential diseases, developmental delays, post-placement maladjustment, etc.

9) The prospective adoptive parents make clear in their adoption application letter their willingness to allow post-placement follow-ups and provide post-placement reports as required.

10) The fixed number of years or age requirements that prospective adopting parents must meet that appears in this letter shall be dated from the day when the adoption application documents are logged in at the CCAA.

Source: U.S. Department of State


Our Long Journey to Yuna

(International Adoption)
Viewer's Comments about Our Long Journey

 

 

January 16, 2010 Where does time go?

In a blink of the eye the holidays are over and a new year is upon us! The last two months of 2009 were very busy - just like for everyone else in the entire universe, but for us, it was also a time for lots of fun! For Thanksgiving break, we headed to sunny South Florida where Yuna had a wonderful time at Grandma Linda's house. The weather was purrrrr-fect and we so much enjoyed being with family, going to the beach, and seeing friends. We also had a blast visiting the Palm Beach Zoo (I love that zoo!), going to CityPlace to see snow in 80 degree weather, fishing off of Lake Worth pier and exploring the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge where we saw big (creepy) alligators! Yuna also had her first haircut by Gina - our own personal favorite and professional world famous hair stylist.

As for Thanksgiving Day...well, it was pretty awesome! Other than an 'as usual scrumptious dinner' specially prepared by Chef Leeen-da... it was just last Thanksgiving we received a referral for a Chinese orphan and for the first time we saw Yuna's picture - so a very memorable day indeed....Fast forward a year and Yuna is now a special part of the Bergstrom Bunch and celebrating her very first Thanksgiving with her 'forever family' - that's us! She has since added turkey and Banana Dream cake ( Too-Jays) to her list of favorite foods!

Simply put - Christmas rocked! On Christmas morning, Yuna was so amazed and very excited opening up her presents! We never even left the house at all ... and.... no complaints from the girls since they had endless hours playing with all of their new toys. Yuna's day was great and Kat kept saying, "This is the best Christmas ever!" A very happy and relaxing day for sure!

Moving along to New Year's Eve at Aunt Caryl's house - which is always a great time....Yuna had so much fun with her cousins Kayla & Jake and also with all of Aunt Caryl & Uncle Jerry's wonderful friends who came to visit and help ring in the New Year! Unfortunately, Yuna was in bed way before the clock struck midnight, but trust me as we all know, she'll have plenty of exciting New Year's Eve celebrations in her future!

Yuna's next big adventure is a trip to Omaha at the end of the month where she will meet Grandma Lee, Grandpa Ron, Uncle Steve and Uncle Ron for the first time! Stay tuned! Comments...

Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge
Mick, Kat & Yuna

Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge - I have no doubt this was the
first alligator Yuna has ever seen! As for me, I hope it's my last!

Gulfstream Park Beach. Yuna is thinking..."Life is good!"
BTW -Beautiful bathing suit courtesy of the Murray Family!

Lake Worth Pier - Yuna & Kat fishing for the first time!
(Sorry Mick to cut off your head, but I know how busy you were fishing for guppies!)

Pic 1: Loving CityPlace in downtown West Palm Beach
Pic 2: First haircut with Gina - our favorite professional hair stylist!

Thanksgiving Day 2009
Yuna's First Turkey Day!

Yuna w/ Grandma Linda & Kat at the Palm Beach Zoo
Yuna w/ cousin Nicole, Aunt Noreen, Kat, Aunt Debbie & Mommy

 

Yuna w/ Uncle Jerry at Chilango's in the 'boro
Yuna w/ Aunt Caryl, Kat & Guido


November 17 On A Roll...

Per request - we have some Halloween photos to share! Oh and you might wonder how Yuna enjoyed Halloween? Well, let's just put it this way....You knock on someone's door - say "Trick or Treat" and you get a handful of candy thrown into your bag, and you've got about 30 more houses to go! Yep, she liked it pretty much A-OK! Comments...

Spiders invade our house! Nothing like
hand-me-downs - Here's Kat in the same costume two years ago!

Halloween 2009
Yuna's First Halloween!

Spider by Day...
Rapunzel by Night... We keep Yuna busy!


November 16 Getting Ready for Grandma's House

Yuna is getting ready for Thanksgiving at Grandma Linda's house and from the looks of the dresses she has been picking out - she's planning on tropical weather! Let's just hope there aren't any cold fronts in store for South Florida.

As I was taking these pictures of Yuna, it dawned on me that this was a child who didn't even know how to smile several months ago and geesh, look at her now! Yuna can be such a goofball and ham in front of the camera - she's a natural! By the way, that's MY black purse she was quick to call her own. Updates to follow.... Comments...

Yuna is ready for her "first" Thanksgiving holiday at Grandma's house
Spring or fall clothes? Does it matter when you're in So. Florida? Thankfully no!

Yuna is so happy and loves to have her picture taken - can't you tell?



November 6 No Time Like the Present

Let me start off by saying that I have been meaning to update this page for months, but something always gets in the way and it continuously gets put off. So I have decided to add just a few notes and photos every few days or each week - since something is better than nothing, and there's no time like the present.

Since the beginning of summer, Yuna has had many firsts - first summer here in Atlanta, first vacation, first time at the beach, first time in a pool, first princess party, first 4th of July, first time at the dentist, first day at preschool, first birthday (with us), first state fair, first pumpkin patch and first Halloween!

That's the fun part.....Yuna has also had many doctors appointments, but has been a real trooper through them all. For those of you who may not know, she has microtia / atresia and she was also recently diagnosed with Goldenhar Syndrome. Microtia means 'abnormal smallness of the external ear' and atresia means her ear canal is closed. Goldenhar Syndrome is a congenital birth defect that usually is connected with atresia / microtia. Basically it means that the side of her face with the atresia / microtia is smaller - specifically the jawbone and cheekbone. We already knew this syndrome was a possibility and suspected it by taking a real close look at her referral pictures. There can be other medical issues associated with her diagnoses, but we're thrilled to say after many tests (heart, kidneys, spine, eyes) Yuna is in great health!

Yuna will probably have her outer ear reconstructed in a few years, but a cat scan of her 'lucky ear' indicates she will more than likely NOT be a candidate to have her canal opened. The reason for this is because her middle ear is so compacted that surgery would be too risky since a facial nerve is in the same area and one nip and her side of her face could be paralyzed. The great news is that she has a normal inner ear and while she does not have an eardrum - her hearing is normal - yep - even though her canal is closed, she can hear - and very well! Also, her hearing in her unaffected ear is also normal.

Yuna's language is amazing and she is speaking in full sentences. She loves to sing her ABCs and "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" among many others -and- she's crazy about storytime. A true bookworm! Our next step is speech therapy which was just recommended by her pediatrician this week. So even though her language skills are very good, she still has lots of catching up to do. Overall Yuna has adjusted very well, she's happy and flourishing! Updates to follow.... Comments...

Summer 2009 & Yuna's 1st Dentist Appt (BTW - No Cavities!!!)

June - Yuna Makes It Into the Love Without Boundaries Newsletter!

Yuna's photo in Love Without Boundaries' newsletter welcoming her home!

June 1st The Girls Are Off To Summer Camp!

June 1st is finally here! Yuna has been so ready to start camp that she just could not stop smiling this morning! There were some tears when I left, but after I dropped off Kadavy with her group, I peeked in Yuna's classroom and there she is...smiling and having a snack - yep - she will be just fine! Her summer camp is just a half a day program held three days a week - same place where Kadavy attends preschool.

Kadavy & Yuna - First Day of Summer Camp - June 1, 2009

Kat & Yuna Ready for Camp!

April 28 More Pictures!

I just got a message from my good friend Kelli - and she made it quite clear everyone wants to see NEW PICTURES. Now, I definitely never want to be on Kelli's bad side (she's been known to buy me a Cosmo or few and I certainly don't want to mess that up) So - check out all the new photos posted below! BTW - All pix are courtesy of our family photographer - Kayla! Oh and one more note, if you have tried to add a comment, but weren't able to do so, click here.

Yuna At Aunt Caryl & Uncle Jerry's House - Loving That Trampoline!


We were up in Tennessee this past weekend for our niece's Confirmation and this was Yuna's FIRST road trip! We won't even sugarcoat it, she didn't do too well for the 3 1/2 hour trip - BUT - she did GREAT the whole weekend with her cousins and their friends. Yuna had so, so much fun - and so did we! Caryl & Jerry have a trampoline and the kids had a blast on it. Yuna loves jumping on the bed, so you can imagine how she much liked the trampoline!

 

Kadavy & Yuna at Aunt Caryl & Uncle Jerry's House

Kadavy is still going through a lot of adjustments having a little sister. At times it's great, and other times, well not so much. Here are some really wonderful photos of our girls on one of those 'great days'. Kayla really can capture the moment! These pictures were taken after Kayla's Confirmation at Caryl's house. BTW - no - Kadavy did not wear the Tinkerbell outfit to the Confirmation!

Having Fun! Kadavy Is Really Goofing Off in Pic #2!

It's Great To Be A Kid!

How Cute Is This?!

 

Other April Updates...

Yuna had her first doctor's appointment and other than her screaming bloody murder when they took 4 vials of blood, did a TB skin test and gave her 4 vaccinations, she did really well. All test results came back 'normal and the pediatrician thought she looked great - YEA! Yuna still has to get an ultrasound of her kidneys and she also needs to see an ENT about her ear.

April 6 Home Is Where the Heart Is....

We love being home! When Kadavy first met Yuna - she was in heaven to have a little sister, although by the second day, she wasn't quite so thrilled....so, yes, we are going through a lot of adjustments right now. However, Yuna continues to just do better with each passing day. She frequently imitates us and she's repeating a lot of English words. She loves to dance and sing - oh and eat and sleep - although she does put up a fight when it's time for shut eye, but once she's out, she's out.

We're all slowly recovering from jet lag - which was just terrible. Speaking of which, we're happy to report our long flight was great - yes, I truly mean it - great. We were so worried about the direct flight from Shanghai to Atlanta -  14 1/2 hours with a two year old.....we just met! Yuna and mommy got the best deal - we both slept a good part of the way ..... but... she slept on Mick's lap oh for about TEN hours, so he was pretty much stuck in the in one position for a long, long time - poor guy. But don't worry because trust me, Mick certainly managed to get to his 'adult beverages' with no problems at all.

Going through Immigration was slooooooow. We sat in a room full of people waiting for at least an hour. Then, another immigration officer walked in and announced she would process the kids' paperwork first - music to our ears! I wish I got her name so I could have written her a letter of thanks, because she was all about moving us through which she did in a matter of minutes. She must have been a mother!

Here are some new photos....

 

Forever Families - The 'Red Couch' at the White Swan Hotel
Where Was Mick?!


The 'Red Couch' at the White Swan Hotel

 

April 1 There's No Place Like Home, There's No Place Like Home...

We are getting ready for our 24 hour journey back to the USA! As soon as Yuna passes through Immigration she is an American citizen!!!! They say that as soon as we hit American soil, she's a citizen, but I hear she actually she has to clear Immigration first - regardless, let's just hope we can sail on through! . We have the "Brown Envelope" we received from the US Consulate yesterday - "YOU MUST NOT OPEN IT" they told us and hand it over to Immigration. If you open it, they'll send us back to China! ; )

Stay tuned because we will be adding much more pictures very soon and lots more about "Our Long Journey to Yuna"!

March 30 More Photos!

Let's get one thing straight right now - Yuna does have more than just this pink sweater! I still have not had the time to shop for new camera since my zonked out last week, so most of these photos are from the same day. These new pix are from the family we met from New York. Their son, Joe (all the girls are in love with him - including Yuna) was nice enough to take these shots of Yuna with his sister Lily Rose. Lily is almost 4 and was adopted from China 2 years ago - she's as sweet as can be and so adorable. At first Yuna shied away from Lily, but now she just loves being around her!

Yuna & Lily Rose

More of Lily Rose & Yuna...Good Times!

March 29 Yuna Smiling!

We finally have photos on our blog of Yuna smiling! These pictures were taken at the Blue Bird Cafe in Kunming where we ate three times in five days. It was across the street from the hotel, it had an awesome upstairs deck, weather was beautiful, food was good - - so we couldn't resist. We were with another family who just adopted a boy -"The New Yorker Italians"- they're such a blast and certainly have made this trip so much better! They now have three beautiful children. We know we need to get their family picture on this blog since they are certainly a big part of our journey.

Yuna Smiling & Having Fun at the Blue Bird Cafe in Kunming, China


We're in Guangzhou now ( pronounced - Gwan-jo). Yuna's first flight was pretty good - she wasn't crazy about being strapped in, but what 2 year old is? The White Swan Hotel is nice - there are tons families who just adopted and we're all here to complete the US part of the immigration paperwork. This is our last stop before we head home (YEA!) The city is quiet and very pretty - quite different than in Kunming where it was just complete chaos. Today we're supposed to tour with our guide and with two other families from our agency, but the weather is horrible. Hopefully it will clear up soon.

March 27 Your Comments

We wanted to take a few minutes to let everyone know how much we appreciate their kind words in our comments' section! It has been great reading them, it's wonderful support and we're thrilled you're all a part of our journey. We're going to print them and keep for Yuna so when she's older she can see how much everyone was so excited for her and her new life! Although we have not answered each comment individually, know we are so excited to get them and we read them over and over again! We hope they keep coming because quite simply, we love hearing from all of you!

Crazy for Kat!

Have we mentioned how much we are missing Kadavy? We can't

believe we have not seen her in over a week now and it's just killing us! Kadavy has been in the best hands, so no worries there. Aunt Judy took great care of her for several days and now she's with Aunt Caryl, Uncle Jerry, Kayla and Jake -- and-- she just spent the week AT THE BEACH! Lucky girl! We can see she's having the time of her life from looking at the pictures and it does comfort us to know she's doing so well while we're away.

The photo is Kadavy pointing to Yuna on the computer which was taken by Aunt Caryl at the beach with these comments - "Kadavy is slowly warming to the idea of sharing her mom and dad with Yuna!" Hmmm...adjustments for all definitely in store upon our return!

Kadavy with Aunt Judy, Aunt Caryl & Kayla

March 26 Yuna

Yuna is continuing to do well, but we think she might have had a slight setback last night. Right before it was time for her to go to sleep, she wanted to go outside. She stood by the door - just stood there and wouldn't budge. She kept pointing to the door and talking in Chinese. Mick finally took her and held her in his arms - while she whimpered and shed a few tears - but she did finally drift off to sleep. We wondered if perhaps she was thinking, "OK, so we've had a couple of days together and it's been fun, but now I want to go home." I guess we'll never know, but we'll continue to shower her with our love and help her as best we can through her difficult transition. Even though she's running around laughing, playing, talking and singing, we can't fool ourselves to think that there aren't going to be any more hurdles down the road. What's really important is that we are making progress and we know in the long run that our strong-willed little Yuna will be just fine!

On a side note - my camera broke!! Can you even believe it? Just stopped working. So while we have our video camera which does take photos, we don't have the right attachment to hook it up to the laptop. We met some really great people here and one family's son took photos of Yuna with his sister and new brother which we hope to get soon so we can post.

March 24 A Trip to Wal-Mart in Kunming

Yes, there is a Wal-Mart here - actually there are NINE! We decided to walk over since the one closest to us is just a few blocks away. It was a bit crazy getting there - a chaotic short journey might describe it best. We picked up a few things which were dirt cheap (yea!) and that's about it. Nothing too exciting today. We ate a restaurant across the street from us - Blue Bird Cafe which was really good - thankfully. Yuna shared noodle soup with us which was burning hot with chili peppers and she loved every bit. There were actually bits of red hot chili peppers on her lips which we kept wiping off, but it never bothered her. So, when the director told us that Yuna likes hot peppers, she was not kidding!

Yuna has had an exceptional day. We spent a lot of time at the restaurant play area after breakfast this morning and just had a blast - she is really having fun! She's laughing, singing and just talking up a storm. It's so cute watching her walking around chattering in Chinese - she is always so busy. We can tell she trusts us and she is definitely bonding - all good news! Check out our new pix of Yuna!

 

March 23 Yuna is Here!

Ok, so here goes...first there was a mix up with our flights in Beijing. Not sure what happened, but it appears we were given wrong flight information. So, not really knowing what's going on because of the language barrier, anxiety sets in. It was all very frustrating, but to make a long story short, we were on a different airline and had a different departure time - which put us into Kunming an hour and a half later than originally scheduled. Our guide, Jerry was waiting for us at the airport and brought us right to the hotel. We got here about 5pm and he said they were going to bring Yuna to our room about 5:30pm! However, Yuna and the people from the orphanage were waiting in the lobby and while we didn't see them when we arrived, Jerry said, "Your daughter is over there." Ok, so how do you ignore that?! We asked if it was OK to go over and he said sure. Yuna was sitting on the lap of one of the caretakers. She was not happy - I could tell she figured something was going on, and she was very uneasy. All of a sudden it seemed like there were people all around us and Mick was signing papers - yes right there in the lobby of the hotel! They wanted to hand Yuna over to me right there (!!!), but I asked them to bring her to our room.

Yuna in the lobby- just seconds after seeing her for the first time.  Mrs Hu  (w/ the sunglasses) is the orphange director). Yuna with Mick & Mrs. Hu - taken in the elevator on the way to our room!
Meeting Yuna for the First Time!


Mrs. Hu brought her to our room - didn't stay very long and before you knew it, Yuna was screaming and crying at the door. I knew this day would be very hard, but this is something far worse than I could have ever imagined. Far worse. The next few hours - a blur. I was very upset because Yuna was so terribly distraught. Luckily Mick kept it all together. Yuna eventually fell asleep around I think just before 11pm. She slept the whole night and I had to wake her at 8:15am. There is a couple who are also adopting from the same orphanage and staying just a couple of doors down from us. I went over to see how they were doing and they told us their daughter screamed for two hours straight. It was great to get support from them - which we really needed - and just to know they were also going through the exact same experience.

When Yuna woke up the next morning, she started to cry again. It was like when she opened her eyes and realized that this wasn't just a bad dream, it was really happening - it made her very upset all over again. She took one look at me and quickly looked away. She did calm down and we walked down to breakfast - she held my hand the whole way. Still not sure what was happening to her - but she didn't have a problem eating. She gobbled up watermelon, had no interest in pancakes, ate some noodles and drank orange juice. It was all good.

Yuna Americanized!  Pink sweater & capris  - ready for spring!
We went to the office for the orphanage later that morning and finished the rest of our paperwork. Came back to the hotel and Yuna napped. After she woke up, I read Hush Little Baby to her and while she wouldn't look at me, after I finished reading, I asked her if she wanted to look at the book, she quickly took it from me, rolled over to her side and just kept looking at it. She started to play with the toys I brought her and was really enjoying them. After awhile, we walked to the park near the hotel (which is gorgeous) and then came back to the hotel and then to dinner. We ate with Michelle & Mike (they're the couple who also just adopted Hannah). Yuna did well and was starting to open up even more. After we ate, we brought Yuna and Hannah to the playground right there in the restaurant - how convenient, I know! For the first time, when Yuna went down the slide - she laughed! She was giggling and loving every minute of it! Definitely having a ball!

When we got back the room, I washed her and she was very good. When it came time for bed, I put her down in her crib and she started to whimper and reached her arms out to me, so I picked her up and held her in my arms until she quickly fell asleep.

So that's it for now. We seem to moving in the right direction - and it has only been ONE day! She is definitely more attached to Mick, that's for sure and every minute she seems to open up a just bit more.

March 22, 2009 On Our Way to Miss Yuna Elizabeth!

Yes, "The Day" is finally HERE! It's 8:39am, our bags are packed and we're about to check out and head to the airport. Our flight is at noon and we arrive into Kunming at 3:15pm. We're staying at the Green Park Hotel - and sometime after our arrival, we will finally get our daughter! Stay tuned...Our trip is about to get a whole lot more interesting. Hope she likes us!!!!


March 21, 2009 The Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square & Hutong

It was a full day of touring in Beijing! First we went to the Forbidden City which was really incredible. Wow, emperors sure did have it made back then huh? With how many concubines - a thousand? More? "It's good to be king!" Then we went to Tiananmen Square, known mostly for the 1989 student uprising and where the student was run over by a military tank. And, then we went took a rickshaw ride through Hutong - one of the older parts of Beijing - which they are renovating. Homes are literally falling apart. We sure do have it made in the US - no matter how small you might think your house is, trust me, we are living like kings and queens!

Mick & Joanne at the Forbidden City & Hutong


March 20, 2009 The Great Wall

OK, so I actually cheated - I took one look at that "Wall" going straight up and all the extremely steep steps and thought, "Well, I'm at least standing on it, isn't this enough, does this count?" The Great Wall is an awesome site. You've heard about it all your life and then you're standing on it, pretty amazing.

We have a wonderful guide (Belinda) and we're also with another family from our agency here in Beijing - definitely having a great time! Belinda took us by the Bird's Nest Olympic Stadium and the unique "Water Cube" aquatic center. Very neat!



Mick & Joanne at the Great Wall and the Bird's Nest Olympic Stadium

 

March 19, 2009 We Are In Beijing!

We have arrived in Beijing! The entire trip went very well! Resting up at the hotel and about to venture out to a local food market. All Mick wants is a beer! LOL, no surprise there : ) Tomorrow we tour the Great Wall of China and on Saturday we go to the Forbidden City.

What to eat our first night in Beijing?
Perhaps something OFF the menu? Maybe some...

Crickets & Scorpions - on a stick.... Such Delicacies!

 

March 2009 One Day Until Departure!

We leave tomorrow morning, March 18th - The 24 hour countdown has begun! On Sunday, March 22nd, we will be flying from Beijing across the country to Kunming and that afternoon, we finally get our Yuna!

All Dates Confirmed...YEA!!

Our consulate date is confirmed and our flights are booked for March 18 - April 1! We will fly into Beijing and take a three day tour. Then we fly all the way across the country to Kunming which is the capital of Yunnan Province -AND- where we meet our daughter! Not sure on that date yet, but think it will be on March 22 or 23. Kunming is where we complete our China adoption paperwork. At the end of the week, we fly to Guangzhou which is where the American Consulate is located and complete our US immigration paperwork for Yuna. On March 31 or April 1, we fly to Shanghai and then fly direct to Atlanta.

February 2009 Getting Closer!

We received our TA and our agency put in a request for a consulate date of March 30. We should know in the next couple of days if this date can be confirmed. If so, our travel dates to get Yuna will be March 18 - April 1. We are so excited and can't wait to get Yuna...our little girl!

Care Package...

We sent a care package to our Yuna and in it we packed a small photo album with lots of family pictures, a teddy bear Kadavy picked out, coloring books, crayons and two disposable cameras. We used an agency to translate our letter to the orphanage director and foster care family. We heard from others who have adopted that the photos can really help your child with the transition. We hope that when Yuna sees us for the first time she will recognize us from these pictures.

January 2009 Still Moving Right Along...

We received our LOC, signed it, sent it back and now we wait for our Travel Approval (TA) from China!

November 2008 Thanksgiving Day...

We received a referral for another child, actually right before Thanksgiving, but it didn't work out. However...on Thanksgiving Day, our agency asked us to look at another referral. We quickly went over her records and planned on sending them in for a medical review as soon as the holiday weekend was over. This little girl is just a bit over 2 years old and she is so cute! Our hearts melted. "Yuna" is a Special Needs child and we having a great feeling she will be a perfect fit to our family. We immediately wrote our Letter of Intent and sent it to our agency. Now we wait for our Letter of Confirmation (LOC)...

August 2008 Special Needs - Our New Direction...

OK, yes, I know it's been a LONG time. The wait is much longer than expected, much longer. Maybe another 2 to 3 year wait. Ouch, not good news... Our agency talked to us regarding the Special Needs program. We told them we would certainly consider a minor, correctable special need (we were OK with this from the very start anyway) and it didn't take too long before we were referred a child. To make a long story short, after careful review of the records by a doctor who specializes in these types of international records, we decided not to accept the referral based on medical reasons. We continue to wait....

January 2007 Nearing the End of the "Chase"...

We received our approval for the I-171H on January 11th! Kadavy and I were talking to a neighbor when the postman passed by, recognized us and gave us our mail. There it was! I remember telling our neighbor, I'm sorry, but we have been waiting for 79 days now (not that anyone is counting!) for this piece of mail - so we gotta go! Then off to get a certified true copy, money order at Publix, Great Seal from the Georgia Secretary of State then off to Fed / Ex so it will be delivered the next morning at the Chinese Consulate in Houston. They call it the 'Paperchase' - I think "Paper Race" is more like it. All with Kadavy in tow while it's freezing outside! Yes, I'm exhausted!

By the morning of Thursday, January 18th - we received our authenticated I-171H from the Houston Chinese Consulate - Our LAST document needed to complete our dossier! After reviewing the docs, my heart sank. There it was.....an error! The GA SOS document was signed by Karen Handel (she's new) and the Chinese authentication states Cathy Cox - the previous SOS! Geesh, can this really be happening? Our agency told us to submit it anyway - which we did. In the meantime, get another copy, notify the Houston Consulate and keep that one on-hand in the event there's a problem. So Kadavy and I made our trip up to our agency in Lawrenceville to drop off our 'at long last, finally COMPLETED dossier' - Ready for China! It was a cold, rainy morning, but nothing would stop us - remember, it's a "Paper Race"! They shipped out our dossier to their partner agency in Tacoma, WA that afternoon. Yes!

On January 29th, I sent out this email to family and friends: "Our dossier was overnighted to China this past Friday - January 26! Once we get our log-in date - the 'official' clock starts ticking. Unfortunately, we won't know what our log-in date is for another month or so. The long wait begins! Tick tock, tick tock!"

On March 15, 2007 we received an email from our agency titled: "Log In Date" and this is what the email said - "Congratulations! We have your official Log In Date: 2/11/2007; Group #145"

August 2006 Plugging Along with our Paperwork...

Once we got about half of the paperwork completed, we were assigned a social worker. The China Center of Adoption Affairs (CCAA) requires 4 in-person interviews and naturally, we wanted to get them scheduled as quickly as possible. (Editor's Note: See New Requirements for China Adoption) We knew our adoption journey would be a long one and we didn't want to waste any time. Unfortunately, our first social worker didn't work out. She kept rearranging our appointments and we felt as though we hit a brick wall, so we requested another social worker who came highly recommended. This was a great move as the new social worker lined up all of our interviews in about 2 weeks!

Our first meeting was in her office and it went very well. There really wasn't anything we needed to prepare for - she just asked questions about - us. She wanted to know how we met, what we initially thought of each other, our lives, our family, our work, etc. It was a very comfortable, low-key meeting.

The home study requires the social worker to inspect our home. It's not as intimidating as it sounds (they don't go through your drawers or do a white glove test!) they just need to know have a decent home that's safe and tidy. We were thrilled (at least I was) when she mentioned in our official home study that our housekeeping standards were excellent!

By the time we completed all our interviews, our adoption course and forms, it was September! Our home study was not officially completed until October 23, 2006 and it went straight to Atlanta INS, which as mentioned above was necessary to complete our request to adopt an orphan (I-600A).

Meanwhile, I was non-stop busy and lost in the whirlwind of the 'paperchase'. The paperchase is the long, tedious and nerve-wracking process of collecting official documents for your dossier. Your completed dossier is all of your authenticated documents that goes to China. It also includes photos of us and our home.

June 2006 The Beginning...

Here we are at the very beginning of our China adoption journey - finally! We have both thought about adopting a child, and a couple of years after our daughter Kadavy (kad-uh-vee) was born, we took the first step and contacted a home study agency to get the ball rolling!

The home study is basically to make sure you're in good health, you can provide a good home, you have a clean record and that you're financially stable. It's also required to be sent to US Immigration and Naturalization (INS) in order to complete your I-600A form titled "Petition to Classify an Orphan as an Immediate Relative". This form is your request to immigration to adopt a child from another country. Even though you are at the very beginning stages of paperwork, this is something that must be completed before your dossier is sent to the country where you plan to adopt.

Our I-600A form took exactly 79 days for Atlanta Immigration to process. The office is about 2 miles from our house and it was frustrating to know that it was sitting in an office 'down the street' from us, just waiting to be reviewed and approved.

OK - back to the home study.....Before we were even assigned a social worker, we had to complete a mountain of paperwork! Already! The longest and most involved form was the autobiographical form -which consisted of 10 pages of questions! We both had to get physicals, background checks from our local police department, and we both had to complete the on-line course With Eyes Wide Open: A Preparation Guide to International Adoption.

(We at Adopt.com will be showcasing real stories that highlight the process of adoption. The Story of Mick and Joanne is ongoing and we will provide updates and information as they progress on their family adventure.)

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