After receiving our LOA, we sent our I-800 form (petition to adopt Grace specifically) to the USCIS (branch of Homeland Security) on 1/15. This whole process was put into place to avoid baby trafficking.
We received approval on 2/3. (This was a bit frustrating since others who had sent their forms on 1/15 were approved days before us!)
We got notice of our approval on 2/6. Then our approval was sent to the US Visa Center (petition for a visa for Grace).
Our approval was cabled to the US Consulate/Embassy in Guangzhou, China on 2/12. (Again, we were delayed on this step for no rhyme or reason.)
We received our notice of the cable on 2/16. Our agency had to send this to our liason in China because the consulate won't process our next approval until a copy of this notice is in hand. And she couldn't drop it off at the embassy until this past Monday because the offices were closed all last week for Chinese New Year. (Let me mention that this step was JUST added on 1/15/10! And it adds an extra week or two to the wait. Ugh!) Most of the wait is due to the US's red tape and not China's.
What is next?
We are waiting on 2 more steps. The first is for the US Embassy in China to sign an Article 5. This is their final approval for us to adopt. We expect to have this on March 8th. Then, that form will be sent to the CCAA where they will then grant us travel approval. This can take anywhere from 1-4 weeks.
Our hopes of leaving the last week of March are fading. I have already smocked an Easter dress for Grace and hoped we would have her by April 4th. When we were first matched, many families were traveling in 4 months or a little more (or less). We will have waited 5+ months. But we're on the homestretch! :)
Please pray we have no more unnecessary delays and that we'll have our TA very soon!!