Question: Part 2

July 28, 2011 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

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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. 

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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

Questions, Part 1

July 10, 2011 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

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The photo to the right was taken during our recent trip to Wuhan, Hubei.

Thanks so much to everyone who responded to my first post!!! Lots of great things to discuss! As you probably can see, there are too many questions to answer in just one post, so I’ll be breaking this into several separate posts over the next few weeks.

Question #1: My questions would be: typically how long nowadays is LID from DTC and then from LID to travel? We are adopting an older girl from Shaanxi and hope to be DTC in 6 weeks – 2 months tops!


First of all, congratulations on your daughter! We adopted a sweet little guy from Shaanxi last year. He was in the Xi’an CWI and is now four years old. He’s doing great! Now about your questions.

  • It is taking anywhere from 1-4 weeks after DTC to receive your LID. I know that’s kind of a broad range, but it really does vary. I have seen some relatively quick LIDs recently (less than a week), but then a few others who waited longer (close to a month).
  • Currently, a good estimate for travel is 4-6 months after your LID. That is pretty accurate right now. A lot of it depends on how quickly your LOA arrives. Unfortunately, the wait for LOA has definitely increased recently for some reason, which has lengthened this timeline. Last fall, I would have said 3-5 months. That was our scenario…..LID on 10/12, LOA almost exactly a month later, TA two months later. So we received our TA three months after LID. But this spring the wait times have been increasing. So 4-6 months is a good estimate.

Question #2: 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?

If you have a pediatrician that you trust, it is absolutely okay to have them look at the child’s file. Not everyone has their referral reviewed by an adoption clinic. We never had any of our files reviewed in this manner. Not only is it a considerable expense for our family, but we didn’t feel it was necessary. We have a great family doctor (who is also a close friend) who assisted us in reviewing our files. Our family doctor has a son with the same special need that we were adopting, so we felt he was the best choice to help us review our little guy’s file

alt textHowever, there can be great benefit in using an adoption clinic, or a clinic that specializes in the child’s need. The needs we were looking at weren’t severe or life threatening and were pretty clear cut….for a family adopting a heart baby or a child with spinal issues, it may be more critical to have the opinion of a professional skilled in international adoption.  Also, obtaining the opinion of a doctor who has experience in international adoption can be greatly beneficial in helping you know what to look for as well as interpreting the information in the file. 


On the flip side, international adoption doctors have usually seen a LOT (including some very worst case scenarios) and can often end up painting a very bleak picture after reviewing your child’s referral. 

If you do choose to have your child’s referral reviewed by an adoption clinic, you can apply for a grant from The Sparrow Fund to help you cover the expense of the medical review. This is a great assistance to families who wish to have this review of their child’s file. 

At the end of the day, there is limited information that you as an adoptive parent will be given in the referral, and there is no guarantee that all of it is 100% accurate. You can only do your best with the information you have and the opinion of trusted doctors. But don’t feel guilty or bad if you choose not to use an adoption clinic. On the other hand, know that is a great option!
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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

go ahead… ask away!

July 5, 2011 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

 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!!

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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