Photo: Joshua and I in Guangzhou on one of the red couches (March 2011). He is my youngest little brother!
Question #3: 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 additional requirements for me to have to do while in China and after bringing our daughter home? Thanks so much!
Great question! This is such a debated issue actually…..the truth is there are many theories and possibilities, but no one really can say for sure why the wait for LOA is so short for some and so long for others! We’ve certainly traveled the spectrum ourselves; we waited 157 days for our first LOA in 2009, but only 30 days for our next LOA in 2010.
We do know that there are many reviewers there at the CCCWA that review dossiers before LOA. Many people have offered up the “grocery checkout line” explanation. When you’re at the store, there are many checkout lanes. Some have shorter lines, some have longer lines. Some checkers are really speedy at checking out customers, some are a lot slower. And then there’s the Express Lane for people with 20 items or fewer, right?! And how long you wait just depends on which “line” you happen to land in.
Other have brought up the fact that the Chinese culture is very different than our own. In the Western culture, fair is fair; we automatically assume that things should be processed in order….first come, first serve. Someone who got their paperwork to China on May 28th should receive their LOA before someone who got their paperwork to China on June 11th. But those are largely Western ideas! We can’t assume that the Chinese are operating that way at all…..they aren’t! Some families get LOA while others with the same dates still wait. Why? We really don’t know!
Some people feel that it very much depends on which agency you are with…..that some agencies get LOAs faster than others. Some believe that your wait for LOA will depend on whether or not you are already matched with a child when your dossier is logged in with the CCCWA. Some people feel it depends on whether your dossier is already reviewed or translated.
Truthfully, none or all of these may be somewhat true. Probably most of these ideas have some merit. I hope that gives you some food for thought and that you receive your LOA extra quickly! I wish it was more predictable.
About your second question……I do know a lot about this because my Mom has traveled without my Dad for both of our Chinese adoptions. If you are a Hague I-800 family, there are no extra requirements after you arrive home. Your new child’s adoption is final in China and he/she is an automatic United States citizen upon arrival in the USA regardless of whether or not your husband travels with you.
If one spouse is unable to travel, the traveling spouse will need to carry a notarized, state certified, and fully authenticated power of attorney authorizing them to sign any documents pertaining to the adoption of their child in their spouse’s name. Most agencies also encourage you to take along several notarized power of attorney’s as well. Your agency should have a standard Power of Attorney that is tailored for adoptive families. Don’t try to draft your own or use an already existing POA. You’ll also need at least five copies of your husband’s passport.
A few provinces require the Power of Attorney to be less than six months old. Check with your agency to see if this will be an issue with your province!
Some agencies will ask you to bring along copies of your tax return for the past year and a letter from the non-traveling spouse explaining why he didn’t come to China. We have never needed or used either of those things, although we have brought them along just in case! But we have only ever needed the Power of Attorney. Ask your agency to provide you with a list of all their recommended documents for one-parent travel, and get them all taken care of before your husband departs! Always bring every document your agency asks you to, even if you don’t think you’ll need it.
Other than that, t
he process is no different than if your husband were there. You will sign the adoption documents for your husband, and that’s it! It’s very easy. We’ve done it twice very successfully. There’s not anything “extra” you’ll need to do in China or after you get home.
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.