Lara's Photo

Diary of a China Adoption

If you're anything like me, then once you make the decision to adopt a child from China, you want to get on with it. It's clear that the trick to expediting the process is to jump on the paperwork right away. The most important piece of paperwork is the I-600A form, which must be filed with the INS, along with fingerprint cards. According to reports, it typically takes 3 months for the INS to process the fingerprints. (I was lucky, and my approval came through in only 2 months)

Adoption expenses to date: $5,455
Travel Expenses (for 2) to date: $ 3,182.47 (airfare and hotels)
Additional Travel and adoption expenses: $5,000
Postplacement Supervision: $600
Post Adoption Paperwork: $245
Total Adoption Costs: approx. $14,500.00 from start to finish

Started the adoption process September 16, 1995
Left for China March 22, 1996

Adopted Lara March 29, 1996

Returned home to Colorado April 5, 1996

[Our Travel Itinerary] [My Packing List]


6/10/98 note: I wrote this diary during the winter of 1995-1996 while going through the process of adopting my daughter, Lara, from China. Although the process is very similar today, the paperwork is more complicated and the delays have grown much longer, both on the American side (INS approval) and on the Chinese side. At the time, I thought my six 1/2 month process to get Lara was interminable. Now, I realize how lucky I was to get her so quickly. Currently, it is taking a minimum of eight months from the time a dossier reaches Beijing until a referral photo is sent to the adopting parents. (I received Lara's photo exactly one month after my dossier reached Beijing.)

To get a better idea of what's involved in the China adoption process now, I highly recommend Kris Laughlin's A Journey to China and Heidi Schnabel's Our China Adventure.

By the way, I originally picked my agency, CCAI, without a lot of thought. They were the local agency, and I knew a couple of people who had used them without problems. I guess there's a lot to be said for being lucky, and I do recommend them without reservation. Not only does CCAI provide among the very least expensive adoption services, it also has an excellent reputation for its service and commitment to families adopting from China, and has already helped facilitate more than 700 China adoptions. (one of the families in our travel group adopted the 200th CCAI child only two years ago!)

Thanks for reading my adoption diary. Adopting Lara has proven to be the best decision I ever made. She is a bright, beautiful, outgoing and very happy child who has brought my entire family nothing but pleasure and joy.

To hear all about our trip to China, please read Lara's China Scrapbook.

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