Let me back up a bit...
Our first dossier goal was to have all our documents state certified by July 23rd. So, on Wednesday, July 23rd, my friend Monica (a fellow "waiting momma" with twin kiddos in Haiti) and I jumped into our mini van and road tripped it up to Sacramento to get 'er done.
I had assumed the certification process would take a while. I was sure there would be one or two documents that I missed a signature or dated it wrong or was notarized incorrectly or something so we identified the nearest UPS with an available notary to fix any issues that would come up and headed into the Secretary of States office to start the process. I took a number (though there was only one other person waiting at the time we arrived) and sat down. Three minutes later I was handing my documents over to be certified and was told to sit down and wait. Eight minutes after sitting down, I was told my documents were ready and have a nice day. What? Seriously? No issues? No re-do's? No "run to the notary next door and get this taken care of and then come back"? Nope. We were done. After just about four hours in the car, we spent maybe a total of fifteen minutes in the Sec. of States office before we were done. And just like that, we had all of our documents state certified by our goal of July 23rd!
And since July 23rd was our ninth anniversary, we celebrated it the next day with a night out in the big city of Fresno.
With our documents now State Certified, the next step was to send them to the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco to be Authenticated. Since this was not something we could road trip to make happen, we UPS'd our documents to the Consulate and were told to wait up to three weeks to get them back. Again, we were kinda expecting something to go wrong and prepping our selves to need to re-do a document or two. I mailed our dossier to San Francisco on July 25th and we had everything back, no issues, completely authenticated (with a super rad Chinese stamp) on August 7th. I spent most of the next day copying, scanning, and emailing everything to our agency. On Monday, August 11th, we sent every last document to our agency for final review.
On the 13th our agency received our dossier. On the 14th it was approved. And on the 15th, one week earlier then we had been praying for, our dossier was on a plane to China. Because it would take a few days of travel, our agency felt comfortable sending it out before my 30th birthday. We haven't received an official word yet, but it is most likely that our dossier was logged in with The People's Republic of China this past Tuesday, the 19th, my 30th birthday.
So what now? Now we begin to play "the waiting game." We have done all the paperwork we can do for now and it is all out of our hands. Now that our dossier is logged in and I am 30, we are eligible to be matched with any child fitting our profile. This means I am checking my phone and email often. Really often. Waiting to hear from our social worker who will give us our referral. It could happen this afternoon. It could happen tomorrow. It could happen next week or next month.
Don't get me wrong, we're not just twiddling our thumbs while we wait. As you can see from our little fundraising thermometer on the side of the blog, our estimated expenses have gone up a bit due to a recent increase in fees from our agency. However, you should also notice our amount fund raised has increased a lot as well which is super encouraging and faith building. So, since we still have a bit of a deficit, we are working hard at our Standard Goods business and cranking out the leather works. Our Etsy shop stays consistently busy and we've signed up for three fall "craft fairs" where we will be selling our goods to hopefully make a nice dent in the deficit. We have also applied for a grant and are hoping to hear more details on that soon. Once we receive and accept a referral, we will need to pay a fee of $15,000 so we are hustling to ensure we can write that check as soon as we see our little one's face. Lord, let it be soon!!
A huge "thank you" to those of you who have been praying for us during the paperwork process. We've felt your prayers and cherish the encouragement you've been to our family. We're getting close and the support we have from our friends and family makes it so much less scary and so much more exciting.
How cool would it be if my next update post is news that we've been matched with a child!?!!