July 5, 2011

go ahead... ask away!

 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.

Website: www.china-adoption-online.com
Blog: www.courtneykrause.blogspot.com
Email: courtneyinaz@gmail.com


  1. To me, the hardest part comes AFTER the LOA arrives... this part confuses me so! Is it best for the AP to contact the NVC? How much time does it really save?

    And, overall, how would you say the new dossier re-use option is going? Is the process faster or does it really just save the AP a lot of paperwork?

    Thanks, Courtney :)

  2. Does the agency you choose really make a difference in terms of how long your adoption takes? Some say yes, others say no.

  3. If you truly need to expedite due to your child"s urgent medical needs is it best to involve a Senator or not? I know some agencies prefer not to have a Senator involved. Also, when is the best time to get them involved?

  4. My questions would be - typically how long nowadays is LID from DTC and then from LID - travel? We are adopting an older girl from Shaanxi and hope to be DTC in 6wks - 2 months tops! Providing all goes well (she is still not paper ready herself ugh) when would be an expected travel time. I am hoping by March the latest. Our daughter who is home now is from Hubei. Kisses to you Courtney xxxx

  5. My husband and I were considering adopting from the China program about 3 years ago and I contacted an agency who wouldn't work with us because of a previous cancer diagnosis when I was 14 yr. old. A self-contained tumor, no chemo or radiation and I am 100% cured and have been for over 20 years. They did say we could try to petition on behalf of a child for us but they didn't like to do that being that it wouldn't be a guaranteed adoption.

    After researching a bit online I have heard of several families that have been successful adopting and had a similar health background as mine. My husband and I are seriously considering starting an adoption but with all the regulations about health issues and China...what are the chances that we could be successful in getting accepted to adopt a special needs child from China? Are there certain agencies that are more willing to advocate for families with previous health issues that no longer affect them?

    Thank you so much!

  6. can we look at the special needs list before committing to an agency? some agencies won't even consider us unless we sign up with them first. THANKS!


  7. GREAT questions so far, everyone! I'm already working on my post, so many wonderful things to talk about! Keep them coming!

  8. Hi Courtney! Thanks for taking my questions. We are currently waiting for our LOA and was wondering why some people receive theirs within the first few weeks and others have to wait for months? Also, my husband recently found out his guard unit will be deployed out of country for about a year leaving this fall, before we are able to bring our little one home. I was wondering, besides getting power of attorney, if there will be any additonal requirements for me to have to do while in China and after bringing our daughter home? Thanks so much!

  9. Where do you even start? I have done two international adoptions before but China special needs overwhelms me. I have such a hard time finding out any information on it. It seems almost impossible to find out information about fees or children available without signing with an agency...but I need to know these things before signing.

  10. Is it really recommended to have your referral file reviewed by an adoption clinic? If you have a great pediatrician, is it okay to have them look at the child's file?

  11. We are just starting to research the China SN program and I am wondering how accurate their medical records are?

    Also how do you go about finding a US Doctor to review the file prior to locking it since it is such a short time frame?

    Thank you!

  12. I couldn't think of a better advocate for orphans! You're such a blessing.

    So happy Izabella's Xi'an City CWI Brother's Sister (if you followed that one of her brothers was one of my daughters special friends in the orphanage) is up to this task!

    You're the best! God Bless!