Sunday, November 13, 2005

Authenticate?? LID? DTC? What ???

Authenticate? LID? DTC? What are you talking about?

Since we are in this crazy paperchase and keep making references to the steps it takes to get the paper work “China Perfect” I thought I would post some explanations. Also, my Mom asked what did it all mean so that’s reason enough for me to do it!

All dossier documents pretty much have to be notarized. Documents that are sent from the State of origination (birth, marriage, etc.) are already considered notarized due to the State issuing the document. Documents not notarized at the State level can be notarized locally. Once all our documents are deemed “notarized”, we move to the next step, which is having the notarized documents “certified”.

Depending on the document origination, the appropriate Secretary of State must “certify” the documents where the notary is registered. The Secretary of State will verify that the notary whose name appears on the document is a true, current and legal Notary in that state by attaching a certification page to each document (you would be surprised how fancy some of these “certified” documents come back).

Lastly, the documents are sent to the Chinese Embassy/Consulate that serves that particular state. The Embassy/Consulate will verify the authenticity of the Secretary of State’s signature and seal by attaching an additional certificate with a red ink seal and in Chinese writing. China has established this procedure as otherwise, with so many documents being submitted with each dossier, they would not be able to track them with so many state and government bodies in the USA.

Since my birth certificate was from Maine, I had to have it “certified” by the Maine Secretary of State while Ford’s was “certified” in Missouri. The Republic of China then “authenticates” the certificate in the regional consulate, which for me was New York for Maine and Ford’s had to go to Chicago. Our documents that originated in Florida are “certified” in Florida, and then sent to Houston, Texas for authentication.

Clear? Don’t worry if you answered no, we find ourselves going in circles with either blank or the wild beast look in our eyes. It can be maddening to say the least. Did I mention time consuming? All of this takes time and you are always worried that the paper work will be lost!

Here are other common terms used during the international adoption process:

DTC: This means your completed paperwork, your “dossier”, is Dossier To China. This occurs when your adoption agency has reviewed all your documents, translated all to Chinese and mailed it (the dossier) to China.
LID: This is your Logged In Date with China; they have received the dossier and are officially now matching you with your daughter. This is the “pregnancy” time. You are going to get your daughter but you are going to have to wait. You can rest assured it is going to be a girl but that is it. Period. No pictures. Nothing. You wait for the match.
Referral: This is when you are officially notified that your daughter has been chosen. We will receive a picture(s) along with limited information about her. We will get her weight and height at some given age, province where she was born (not a sure thing, they normally will use the province of the orphanage she is residing in) and the name she was given at the orphanage. Generally there is a small write up telling you a little about her personality. The information is limited. Remember, she was abandoned and as abandonment is illegal in China very little information is known. If you are lucky the biological mother may have pinned a note referencing the date she was born (more about the biological mothers in a later post; you cannot believe what these brave woman went through to give birth to these baby girls).
TA: Means Travel Authorization has been officially approved by China for you to come to their country to get your daughter. This follows the referral and begins the true meltdown for myself & Ford as we now have the actual dates we will be traveling and the date our daughter will be placed in our arms. We will not be normal during this time. Please understand and try to ignore our most obvious signs of total parents-to-be dinginess.

So, how long does all this take? Well, since you asked…

The Paperchase can take as little as 3 months or as long as a year. In most cases, you can reasonably expect about 6 months.

The time between DTC to LID can be a matter of a few days to a month.

The timeline between LID to Referral is presently taking @ 9 months (the pregnancy period). This timeline was running around 5-6 months and then crept up to 7 months. This time increase is driving families already LID crazy while waiting for the “stork to fly”. Waiting for the stork to fly is a term used to denote when the “matching” by the official adoption agency in China (CCAA) sends the monthly “matches” (referrals) to all the adoption agencies in the United States.

The timeline between receiving Referral and the actual time you travel to China is approximately 6 weeks, including receiving your TA.

The average time spent in China from arrival to departure averages 2 weeks. Once our daughter touches American soil she is officially recognized as an American citizen.

So we are almost complete with the paper chase and had hoped to be DTC by the end of December. We probably won’t make it, so January is more realistic. We began the paper chase in the middle of July so the expected traveling to China will be nearer to October 2006 (being realistic again; we had hoped for sooner).
We would love to hear about your adoption experiences and how you kept sane during the waiting period; also we are game to talk about our home States, NASCAR, Football, fishing, best toys for kids and anything else on your mind. Just sign up with blogspot and keep in touch!

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