Here's our time line to Gwen:
October 8, 2012 - Allison Roark, mom to Brooke's foster-brother, Meng Meng, sent an email with the picture and story of the most adorable little girl... with a one sentence text:
Sure you're done?
Mark said, "Yes, we are DONE!"
December 20, 2012 - The stars shifted and the planets aligned and Mark said, "No, we're not done!" And thus began our adoption paperchase and the search for Gwen (or "Sierra" as she was known at Love Without Boundaries, the people who had saved her life and posted her story on their website).
01/16/13 - CCAI approved our adoption application and we started the paperchase so that when Gwen's file was available we might be at a point where we would be allowed to review it. (Odds of success estimated at 0%.)
03/19/13 - Found out from a little bird that Gwen's file was complete and had been sent to Great Wall China Adoption Agency in Texas (sadly, not CCAI, but at least she was in the US)
03/22/13 - We obtained exclusive rights to review Gwen's file from Great Wall
04/08/13 - Submit Letter of Intent (LOI) (telling China we want her)
04/16/13 - Receive Pre-Approval (PA) (China says we seem ok - send in your paperwork)
05/01/13 - Our I-800A is approved (US Immigration says we can adopt from overseas)
05/17/13 - We send our completed dossier to China (DTC)
05/22/13 - China acknowledges receipt of the dossier (LID) and they start their review
07/24/13 - China approves our adoption of Gwen (LSC/LOA) Whoo-hoo!
07/26/13 - We send our I-800 to US Immigration (to get their approval to adopt Gwen in particular)
08/12/13 - Immigration approves the I-800
08/15/13 - NVC letter is issued (more paperwork)
08/30/13 - The US Consulate in Guangzhou, China issues our "Article 5" (ok'd to proceed)
09/06/13 - China issues our Travel Approval (based on the Article 5 from US Immigration)
09/09/13 - We get our travel dates: Depart 10/10, meet Gwen 10/14, Return 10/25.
Return 10/25??? Gwen's 4th birthday!!! Unfortunately, she'll spend the entire day (day and 1/2 since we're flying back in time) in the air, but she'll become a US citizen on her birthday when we land in Detroit!!!! How neat is that? What were the chances??
Here are some recent pics:
Gwen in May. Her hair is growing back nicely! She looks so happy and healthy.
Gwen in late June. No wonder she looks so sad - she had to be burning up! It's HOT over there and she's in long sleeves, leggings and a t-shirt!!!
Gwen on August 28th! Double-decker ponytails :)
When I requested an update, I asked how she felt about the adoption. They answered that she "was willing to be adopted, but was loath to leave her foster family".
We're very lucky that her foster family has been preparing her for this transition, but I know it's still going to be very hard for her to part with them. It's going to be a rough few days at the very least. She'll probably fall in love with Debbi, like Brooke did, and completely diss me. Oh well, whatever gets her thru... :)
Next Post - The story of how we got from "no" to "yes", and how we got Gwen's file, even tho we had 0% chance of success.