As I was going through our China manual in preparation for our first home study on Tuesday, I came across a timeline checklist for medical special needs. Again, it is 12-15 months, subject to change and family situation specific.

Even though we have answered this question what seems like a million times, I think maybe reading/seeing everything that has to take place before we get our baby will help people have a clearer understanding of why it takes so long. Or after typing all this out, I just confuse everyone more. 🙂 At any rate, here is the timeline:

1. Home study completed (3-4 months)

2. I-800a (what is approved to adopt internationally) application submitted with finalized home study to USCIS (CIS is Citizenship and Immigration Services)

3. Immigration approval received from USCIS (~2-3 months)

4. Dossier documents certified/authenticated (~3 weeks)

5. Dossier sent to China (DTC) The dossier is a collection of approximately 13 documents submitted to the CCCWA for permission to adopt from China.

6. Log-in date (LID) received from CCCWA (~3-4 weeks after DTC) The CCCWA is The Chinese Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoption. The LID is the date our dossier is officially translated and logged in at the CCCWA.

7. Letter of Acceptance (LOA) received from China (~3 months after LID. The LOA is their official matching letter and begins the 800 paperwork process and process toward our travel approval.

8. 800 paperwork submitted to USCIS

9. 800 provisional approval received (~3 weeks after submission)

10. Information for visa sent by USCIS to National Visa Center (NVC)

11. Information for visa cabled to the US Embassy in Guangzhou (GZ) by the NVC (~2 weeks after information sent by NBC to NVC).  GZ is the location of the US Consulate in China. Everyone who adopts from China spends the last half of their trip in GZ.  NBC is the National Benefits Center which is a centralized processing office and is a branch of CIS.

12. Article 5 letter received (~2 weeks from cabling) Not sure what Article 5 is. I couldn’t find it in the manual.

13. Article 5 letter couriered to the CCCWA

14. Travel Approval received form the CCCWA (~3-4 weeks from being received by CCCWA) TA is the official invitation from the CCCWA to travel to China to receive our child.

15. Apply for Consulate appointment

16. Receive Consulate appointment (~2 business days after application)

17. Travel (~2 weeks after receiving TA)

It is not listed in the timeline, but if I understand correctly (and even after typing all this I don’t know that I do. It’s a bit overwhelming don’t you think?!), some point after our LID is when we begin receiving referrals. This will be a set of documents that contains information on a specific child such as basic medical and biographical info and typically 3 photos. It will be in Chinese and will include a translated copy as well. Then once we have chosen a child, we will submit our Letter of Intent (LOI). This document goes to the CCCWA requesting permission to adopt a specific child and will contain information about us.

If you read all this, bless you! And if you have any other questions, please feel free to ask. But I’m not promising I can answer them just yet. I do hope this helps in knowing why the process is so long and why she won’t be an infant when we get her. And this isn’t even all we have to do. But I promise, you’ll get to read all about it on this blog if you just keep coming back. 🙂

I’ll update again after our home study on Tuesday!



6 thoughts on “Timeline

  1. Oh my!!! I don’t know if I’ll ever understand all of this! It’s very daunting, isn’t it? Thank God that He is leading y’all through this process. I told someone the other day that God didn’t just open the door for you and Jeremy to adopt, but He flung it wide open. He is going to be there with you two every step of the way and will take care of EVERYTHING. So, don’t get overwhelmed because all of it has already been worked out in advanced.

  2. Wow, this is great info. We always thought that China was impossible because of the wait times recently (we’ve known a few people that have waited over 3 years and then changed countries). Nice to know that this is still possible…maybe when our two are a little bigger we can consider China. (We just adopted from Africa). Congrats!!

    • It is certainly a long wait if you adopt a non special needs child. But honestly, even the children that are considered healthy will most likely have issues/problems just from the sheer fact of being in an orphanage. I’m not sure if you’ve read any of my other posts, but special needs in China ranges from birth marks to more severe needs such as CP or missing limbs. Anyway, maybe China will be in your plan one day! Congratulations on your sweet babies as well!

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