If one was to work very hard on completing their China dossier, how long do you think it would take? I am talking from first notarized form to ready to send to your adoption agency?
Nancy :)
I suppose the biggest factor that decides this; is how long it takes to get HS cleared and 171H. There are so many different time tables from different states.
Something I learned after moving to a new state after having completed an earlier adoption home study in a different state is each state has different procedures for providing the child abuse clearance required for your home study. In Louisiana, and several other states, you have to go to court to get these documents unless you are using an adoption agency licensed in your home state. Our agency was not licensed in LA, thus, we had to hire an a lawyer and go to court to prove we had no child abuse records. This took almost two months just getting these documents. Our social worker was not aware of the time line involved in getting clearance, thus, it delayed everything. Check with the social worker doing your home study to find out your state regulations and you may need to get started on this ASAP.
Even though I had all my documents from a previous adoption ready to go, it still took me about four months to get the papers to the INS for the I600A. Good luck.
Hi Nancy,
I agree with the other two posts - there are definitely elements of the dossier that are outside of your control. For us, we had to wait 4 weeks for a fingerprint appointment and 4 weeks for the results, that was 2 months of waiting that I couldn't influence. (Reportedly, that is good timing compared to other States.)
I think you can gather your paperwork (birth certificates, marriage certificates, reference letters, etc.) at your own controlled pace. Our homestudy agency was also very efficient because we requested (and paid for) an expedited homestudy. Big, important chunks of the dossier though are outside of your control. I think that a four month turn around is quite good.
Best wishes,
We also were delayed getting our 171 by a couple of months. Even though we had completed another adoption the previous year and had received our 171 within 30 days of BCIS getting our homestudy.
Less than a year later, it took much longer.
Our dossier took six months to complete. It was agonizing! I did everything that was in my control in about six weeks, but then we waited for the 171H for no less than five months. I called the INS weekly and never received any explanation or apology. We were so relieved when our papers finally went to China.... it was a much longer journey than we ever expected it to be. My advice is to emotionally prepare for the worst, so then it's a bonus if things do go smoothly!
Good luck!
We took ours at a slower pace, but it probably took about 6 months. We applied in August '03 and didn't really start doing the paperchase items until December. We had our homestudy done in February, were fingerprinted in April and received our I171h only 10 days after being fingerprinted (our HS had been submitted prior to fingerprinting.) By the time our dossier went through certification and authentication, we were DTC on May 20.
We were lucky because our state (IN) has a pretty fast turnaround on I171h's. However, a fellow agency friend of ours submitted their HS a few weeks after ours and waited almost two months for the I171h. It pretty much all depends on where you need to send off for your paperwork and how long it takes THEM to get it done for you!
Good Luck!
May DTC for Maya Grace - China
We live in GA. We have everything but our I-171H. I sent off the application to the agency the same day I mailed the I-600A and fingerprint request. That was April 29th. If the BCIS office here is going at a good clip we should DTC in August. This takes into account the dossier being reviewed and translated by our agency. I only had to come up with 14 documents. All were notarized, certified by the county, certified by the state and then we sent them to the consulate in Houston. I used a spreadsheet to keep track of the documents and the phases of certification for each. It really helped me stay organized. So roughly 3 months form start to sending it to the agency and another month until it gets to China. I hussled, bugged our social worker a bit and handled all the notary/certify stuff in person, no mail.
My advice, order all the documents you can ahead of time. Birth certificate, marriage certificate, etc... If you live in a state where you have to have the county certify before the state secretary does try to use the same notary so you only have to go to one county clerks office. I had to go to two but it was not big deal. The worst wait was my birth certificate from the US Dept. of State. I was born overseas and it took 4 weeks to get it. Be sure to include a cover letter with all requests and correspondence stating it is for an adoption. Our marriage certificate had to be printed special for adoption purposes, they had to have a live signature form the judge on it, not a stamp. Good thing I told them, eh?
Obviously it can vary state-to-state but a few things helped speed ours along...
I did my own research as backup - for example our agency told us the state-level apostilles took several weeks, I got on the website, got the phone number and called the very nice lady in Tallahassee and asked her how backed up they were. We had the apostilles back in less than 10 days! If we had sent them to Miami or waited until we could drive and wait in line it would have been longer.
Get on the INS website, call the sherriff's office about background checks and ask them all the questions first, it will save you multiple trips. I think the hardest thing was having a notary readily available to go to the sherriff's office, etc. if you have a friend or co-worker who is a notary they are often more than happy to help for this type of thing!
But I know another couple in our agency had all her paperwork together and ready to send for apostilling in less than a month. Just depends on how many different states & agencies you have to deal with.
Happy Chasing!
... you CANNOT use the apostille for China, which has not ratified the Hague. There is a special seal for China. When you send documents to the states, be sure to mention that you are adopting from China, so that they put the correct seal on them. Talk with your agency, if you have questions.