Since getting matched with Felicity Grace, I know I have been silent about details on the adoption. There has been not much to report. Once we received PA from China, we began the long wait for LOA. LOA, or Letter of Acceptance is the official document from China that our paperwork has been reviewed, the match has been reviewed and is official. Once LOA is received, the process moves quickly and you travel to hold your child forever in your arms, 8-10 weeks from that point.
I am not a numbers person and I tried to stay away from counting the day we were on in our wait. The LOA wait can be variable. Some families get it in 60 days, others 100. The average wait is around 75 days. Last week, I knew we were on day “seventy- something,” but that was a close as I got to counting. Dates of ours along the way were longer than others, so I prepped myself for a nice long, 90 day wait. But, in the middle of being “in the seventies”, we were headed on vacation. We had had no movement in our paperwork; in the data base, we were still listed as OOT (out of translation), so we had not reached the “reviewed” or “match reviewed” stage. I thought it would be unlikely that we would get our LOA while on vacation, but, just in case, I called our social worker to ask her what we needed to bring with us on the “off chance” our paperwork would come back while we were in Cape Cod.
The Friday before we left, I chatted with our social worker. She gave me the basics of what paper work I should bring with us. At the end of the conversation she said, “Let me just check the database to see if there has been any change in our status.”
I was shocked and so happy. She assured me that from Reviewed to Match Reviewed to LOA would be about a week, so we would have time and we may even be home from vacation before the hard copy of the LOA came in.
By the afternoon, I received an email from our social worker . . .
We were officially match reviewed!
At that point I was elated; we were about a week away from LOA. We were going on vacation for some rest, and rejuvenation before the craziness of travel preparations, final adoption preparations, and the beginning of another homeschooling year would be upon us. So, we all packed up to go on vacation, I brought every important adoption related paperwork I could think we would need, and we headed out of town to spend some much needed time on the Cape.
We were not even there 24 hours and early Monday morning the phone rang. It was our social worker.
“Congratulations, we have your LOA.”
I was stunned . . . . Um, this should have taken longer. One business day after being match reviewed, we had LOA. I asked her twice, “You mean, you have the actual hardcopy, from China, at your office?”
“Yes, and I need an address to overnight it to you.”
LOA. We are 8-10 weeks from holding our little girl in our arms.
The document came the next day at 7PM . . . . the FedEx man, clearly not knowing how important this document is and how we needed to sign it and overnight it back to our agency, went to a dentist appointment before delivering it. But, God works in mysterious ways. Because the paperwork was delayed and we could not overnight it back out that day, we poured over all the documents needed to send . . . and we found and error. An error that was overlooked for months. We had not been given approval to adopt a child with special needs by the US Immigration Services (because the wording in our home study was not “strong enough”). If this error had gone unnoticed, we would have been denied, by the USCIS, to adopt Felicity and we would have had to apply for a change in our status a month from now. But, praise God we caught it and we should only be delayed by a week.
Please pray for us as we enter the end of our adoption process journey. There are visas to apply for, travel to prepare for and a life of forever with a little girl already in our hearts.