While we have become accustomed to "Adoption language", not long ago we were unfamiliar with the terms describing its various steps. To clarify, a dossier is just the compilation of important documents, including medical records, financial statements, home study reports, and the like, that adoptive parents submit to the country from which they are adopting. I'm not sure every country is like this, but the Chinese process is one in which nearly all documents have three levels of verification - locally notarized when the parents/other officials sign the forms, certified at the Secretary of State's office in the state capital, and Authenticated at a Chinese Consulate or Embassy.
Here we are at the Secretary of State's office in Springfield, Illinois. See that little gold seal on the top left of the paper Ryan is holding? That's right - that's our seal of certification. (The seal certifies that the notary who notarized the document is indeed a state-approved notary.)
Next we sent our documents with a courier to the Chinese Consulate in Chicago to be authenticated. I believe the Consulate is basically verifying that the documents are in order and have been certified and notarized appropriately.
Once returned to us, we made copies and sent them off to our agency to send on to China!
Below we were organizing our documents in order to send them.
On September 24th we over-nighted them to our agency - Madison Adoption Associates - in Delaware. We had great hopes that we would be "DTC" (Dossier To China) before September came to a close.
This ended up being somewhat in vain as the Chinese National Day celebrations did not allow our documents to be sent until later in October. For those who may be interested, "National Day" is a misnomer. It is actually National week, as the observance lasted from October 1st to October 7th. Who wouldn't want a government-recognized week-long holiday?!? Yes, please. Sign me up.
During that hiatus, we did some celebrating of our own - Ryan's birthday was October 3rd! Birthday cinnamon rolls for all!
Here's my strapping man working hard later in the day. Being the birthday boy doesn't exclude you from work!
Our Dossier was logged into the Chinese system on October 13th! This is commonly referred to as LID (Logged-in Date). While it felt somewhat anticlimactic since it was over two weeks after we had sent our dossier off, being LID is the light at the end of the proverbial [paperwork] tunnel.
So where do we go from here? We wait. But it's the good kind of waiting. The next step for us will be receiving a referral. While we don't know when we'll receive or if we'll accept our first referral, it's so exciting to anticipate learning our child's identity within the coming weeks and months! It's our prayer to be matched by Christmas.
Through this process we have been so incredibly awed by how God is at work and how He has moved known and unknown people to support this adoption. Leave it to Him to do so much more than we ever dreamed or hoped! We are immensely thankful for the outpouring of prayerful and financial support from family, friends, and friends of our family and friends. To date, we have received some form of support from over 75 individuals and families, not to mention a number of businesses which contributed to our Amazing Race. We've had family/friends organize fundraisers on our behalf. To each of you we would like to say two things - First, a huge "Thank you!" We thank God for you. Second, please keep the prayers coming! While it feels like we're in the 7th Inning stretch, the real journey begins when we travel to China and bring home Baby Wood. We'll keep you posted until then...