We have made a lot of adoption progress over the past month! If I'd been in town, I would have blogged about it. Instead, here's the quick rundown.
On the Wednesday before I flew to Michigan, we signed the adoption agreement. The following day, we drove down to Olympia to visit the Secretary of State's office. There we completed the first round of authentication. We went through a big hoopla trying to get a notary to sign our paperwork. If you are wanting to adopt from Taiwan, email me so I can offer some advice about notarizing "certificate of original" paperwork...
While I was still in Michigan, our agency emailed and said that she was ready to file our I600 and needed us to sign it. Awesome! Hubby filled out the application, signed it, and then overnighted it to me. I signed it and then overnighted the application to our agency so that they could submit it. Two weeks ago, we received a receipt from USCIS saying that our application has been logged into their system. The website says it takes 4-6 weeks to receive I600 preapproval.
In the midst of all of that, we found out that the social worker in Taiwan told our girl that we are trying to adopt her! We were shocked! All along, the agency has been telling us that they will not tell Z about us until we have submitted our dossier to the Taiwan court, which won't happen for at least another month or two. But the Taiwan agency said that since she's an older child, they want to begin preparing her now. The social worker sat down with her and told her that a family in America wants to adopt her. Apparently Z expressed some dislike toward that idea. Then the social worker showed her the photo album we sent over last summer. That caused Z to open up a bit and share some stories about when she visited the US with a hosting program two years ago. The social worker said that she is more open to the idea of America but less open to the idea of a family. Z stated that she planned to stay at the orphanage until she is of age and then move out on her own.
The social worker contacted our agency and ask that we please prepare a care package so that Z will become more open to the idea of adoption. No pressure! Usually a care package would be sent just out of love, but we're sending one because we love her and because we are trying to convince her that a family is good for her. Because I was in Michigan while all of this was going on, there was no way for us to take more pictures or film a video. I wrote Z a letter and told her about us, that we love her, and why having a family is good. Hopefully she's already received that and has been told that more will come shortly!
Last week and this weekend, we took a ton of new photos. All in all, we printed 32 photos to assemble into a photo album. Then I wrote up little captions for most of the photos and printed them on labels. We also bought Z a stuffed animal, a disposable camera to take pictures with her friends, and a small bag of candy. Yesterday I had the brilliant idea of also buying a cute bag for Z to store the gifts we're sending her.
This morning we filmed a short video. I wrote out a couple things I wanted to share in Chinese, to show that I am learning Chinese to be able to communicate with her more easily. In the video, hubby also showed off all of the things we're sending in the care package. The video is roughly a minute 45 seconds. There is so much I want to say to Z but wanted to avoid overwhelming her.
On Monday, we received an email from our agency that said that Taiwan has requested we send over the dossier now without waiting for the USCIS approval. That way they can start the translation process and cut a few weeks off our timeline! That is always good news!
Last summer, I quickly learned that the adoption process is a flurry of activity and then very long stretches of waiting. We just experienced our flurry. I wonder if that will continue or if we should brace ourselves for a long wait. I have a feeling we'll be waiting awhile for any news on our dossier and we still have three weeks or so to wait before receiving our USCIS approval.
I am so glad that we are able to mail the care package today! I pray that Z's heart will be softened toward the idea of adoption and that she will be even a tiny bit more accepting of the idea of having parents. All I can do is pray!