So, what's next? Since this has been the most common question since we got our letter Wednesday, I thought I would take a minute to try to explain what happens now. (I say try, because I'm not absolutely clear on all of it myself and have asked my friends on the adoption forum to review what I've written and correct me if I'm wrong.) Now that we have our Letter of Approval (LOA), our paperwork has several more rounds to make before we're given the green light to travel. Briefly, here's the outline:
8/25 we sent our LOA along with our I800 application to USCIS where they will review our homestudy and determine that yes, we can legally bring Sophia into the U.S. when the time comes. This can take any where from 2-5 weeks.
Once our I800 is approved, they send our paperwork on to the National Visa Center (NVC) and we wait for them to do their part and say that they will give her a visa to enter the US when the time comes. The NVC process can take an additional 2-3 weeks.
The NVC mails us a copy of the approval, which we will scan/email to our adoption agency. They will forward it on to their staff in China who will deliver it to the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou on the following Monday or Thursday, whichever comes first. The consulate issues what's called an Article 5. Our agency staff will return to pick it up exactly two weeks later and deliver it to the CCAA (Chinese Center for Adoption Affairs).
We then wait for the CCAA to issue our Travel Approval (TA). This can take anywhere from 2-5 weeks, but will hopefully be sooner rather than later!
Once we receive our TA, our agency can then make an appointment with the U.S. Consulate in China (Consulate Appointment... CA) which will be our last stop on the way OUT of China with Sophia. As soon as we have our CA, we can make our travel arrangements and will most likely leave 2-3 weeks after receiving our TA.
All together, it looks like we'll most likely travel late November or December - even longer than I had originally thought. It feels like an eternity from now, but hopefully it will go by super fast. We are so anxious to have her home with us!
In the meantime, I will leave you with an absolutely precious video clip a volunteer took and sent to us. It's only seven seconds long, but I guarantee you, you won't be able to watch it just once. Enjoy!
Till next time,