PA! We now have it! The official date is 9/7/11! And yes, the best part about that is that we are already 9 days into our LOA wait! Good stuff indeed!
Ok, I assume the audience of this blog falls into 2 camps.
Camp 1 are folks who know exactly what a PA and LOA are and could explain verbatim what those letters stand for and their implications, because they've been in our adoption shoes,
Camp 2 are our friends and family who love us to pieces but have no clue what all the alphabet soup means.
So, for camp 2, here's the run down of what's coming down the shoot and a timeline to getting our China Potsticker home!
(Camp 1, please feel free to indulge in chocolate or treat yourself to a pedicure during this segment of the blog.)
------LOI - Letter Of Intent - A letter Papa and I wrote to China expressing our interest in adopting Potsticker. Ours was already sent to China on 9/6/11
------PA - Pre-Approval - After China authorities looks over our LOI, they issue this official document specifically for us to adopt Potsticker. PA usually takes about a week. Ours took 1 day and was issued on 9/7/11
------LOA - Letter Of Acceptance - This is the official approval from China for our family to specifically adopt Potsticker. The China gov't will translate our dossier and combine them with Potsticker's dossier. They look them all over to make sure it's a good match and that we meet all the requirements to adopt her. The wait for LOA varies significantly, from 14 days to 136 days. We are currently on day #9. Average wait time is usually around 2 1/2 months. (Fingers crossed for sooner!) LOA is a big deal!
------I800 approval - Immediately after LOA, we will apply for a visa from the US gov't to bring our new daughter home. This process takes about 2-3 weeks.
------NVC - After our application for Potsticker's visa has been approved, US officials of the USCIS, will cable this approval to the US Embassy in Guangzhou, China. The USCIS will also forward us a letter stating that they have cabled the approval to the China Embassy. We expect this part of the process to take 1-2 weeks.
------Article 5 - Our agency will take the above letter we received and forward to China for us. An agency rep will take the letter (and a pile of other docs we submit) to the US Embassy in China, so US officials can look it all over. They will then issue the ever-coveted Article 5 letter which allows to get get physical custody of Potsticker. Getting our Article 5 letter will take 2 weeks.
------TA - Travel Approval - Our agency rep in China will pick up our Article 5 letter from the US Embassy and deliver it to the China gov't agency, who will issue Travel Approval giving us approval to finally get on the plane to get our new daughter! It usually takes 2-3 weeks to get TA.
------CA appointment - The last step (finally!) is for our agency to make an appointment with the US Embassy in Guangzhou, China, for us to attend in person, with Potsticker and get her actual visa, which is just a sticker and is really quite anti-climactic! Appointments are scheduled about 1-2 months out. We will actually get Potsticker about 1 week prior to this appointment date. As soon as this appointment is made, plane reservations will be made and the hotel booked!
Anybody nauseous yet? Add it all up and you get 5-8 months till we travel. Right now we are praying that we'll be able to meet our sweet baby girl before her 2nd birthday in March. There's a chance that's possible. But it could be as late as May.