If you're anything like me (even after adopting through the SN program several times), you've found that many times you don't have the answers you need on the process, the timelines, the rules - and honestly, have no idea where to start. That's where our newest contributor comes in... Courtney Krause. We are so excited that Courtney enthusiastically agreed to begin sharing her vast knowledge of the China Special Needs program with us here. Welcome, Courtney!
I want to say a big HELLO to the readership of the No Hands But Ours blog! I’m so honored that Stefanie asked me to write here, and I’m so glad to have another platform from which to talk about my favorite subject. :)
Some of you might recognize me from my website, China Adoption Online. I created this website almost a year ago after seeing a huge need for a comprehensive China adoption resource. Judging from the response I’ve received, I’d say it’s been somewhat of a success! And it allows me to do what I love the most – helping and educating people about the China adoption process! Because I remember all too well what it feels like to lack vital information.
As of about three years ago, I did not know one. single. thing. about adoption from China.
Other than the fact that it existed, that is.
Okay, you don’t have to laugh!!
I’d never heard of a dossier; I thought I-797 was an interstate; CA was just the abbreviation for California, and USCIS was alphabet soup! I learned a lot of things during that first year…..you might say I was plunged head first into it!
The agency we used for our first China adoption was okay, but Hague had just been implemented and they didn’t know much more than the next person about how it would work when it came to what forms needed to be filed and how immigration would be handled. I may not have known much, but I knew they were wrong! So I dove head first into researching the adoption process so I could find out for myself the way things needed to be done. That resulted in me knowing more than I ever wanted to know about adoption!
But the journey certainly hasn’t been without bumps. It took me months to figure out what a PA (Pre Approval) was. I’d heard everyone talk about it, but I couldn’t figure out WHAT it was! That one really confused me, and there was no information on the internet that could help me figure it out.
I won’t tell you how long it was before someone finally enlightened me.
Oh, and then there was the time in 2009 when I mailed our I-800 application to USCIS – and forgot to include page seven of the application.
Yes, I’d prefer not to think about that incident too much.
And then there was my messed-up timeline of events. Our first agency didn’t really give us the “big picture”... so naturally I thought that after you got your log in date (LID) you could go to China and get your child. Just like that! Oh my... I had no idea! It was kind of a shock as we passed each milestone to find out that there was another one beyond it! And another, and another!
So, in that vein, Stefanie has asked me to do a series of posts here over the next few months relating to questions/discussions about the adoption process and adoption paperwork. But I need help! I want to address the subjects that YOU want to hear about. I’ve already written a lot about the basics on my website, so I need YOU to tell me what you’d like to hear about most.
You can either comment on this post with your questions/topic suggestions, or you can send me an email (see the bottom of this post for the address). If you email me, please be sure to specify that you’re responding to my post on NBHO.
I receive literally dozens of emails per day from people with questions, so I know you have them!! I’ll be archiving these posts both here and on my website as we go so they are easily accessible for future reference.
I look forward to hearing from you!!
Courtney lives in the hot southwest with her big crazy family! Three of her five siblings have been added to the family via the miracle of adoption, including two virtual twins from China (Hubei and Shaanxi provinces)! She is the creator of China Adoption Online and is passionate about adoption and orphan advocacy. Courtney desires to help as many families as possible through the process and would love to return to China one day to make a difference in the lives of the children left behind. Her greatest dream is to become a wife and mother of her own little (or large!) brood someday.