Adoption Timeline

If you’re curious about how long this process takes, here’s a timeline of our story thus far:


In 2012, we began to pursue a domestic adoption through our home state of South Carolina. We completed our education, but our home study got interrupted when we had a baby!


In the summer of 2013, we resumed the home study process and were approved by DSS in August.


About a year after we finished our home study, our social worker came to give us our annual interview/update, and told us that we would probably be waiting to be matched for a very, very long time. She suggests we seek a private or an international adoption.

After praying, talking with agencies, and talking to each other, we decide that we want to pursue an international adoption. Our purpose in adoption was not solely to grow our family, but to provide a home for a child who had none. We knew that babies in private adoptions generally are not what we think of as “orphans”, but many children overseas are. After lots of prayer and discussion, we decide to move pursue an adoption from China.

We applied to an agency, and after spending lots of time going over their paperwork, we decided that it was not a good fit. We searched and prayed to find another agency that we felt had our family’s best interests at heart. In October, we applied and were accepted into the Lifeline Children’s Services China Program, and in November, we started the home study process over again.

We first laid eyes on a picture of our boy on December 15th, and asked for his file to be sent to us. We received his file on 12/17/14 and asked to place his file “on hold” with our agency that same night. We had his file reviewed by doctors, talked with our families, and prayed like crazy. With the Christmas holidays and vacations for us and our social worker, I can’t remember the exact date that we said “yes” to moving forward and towards our boy, but sometime during the last part of december, we let our agency know, and we started on paperwork that would get as pre-approval from China.



1/7 – LOI submitted (letter of intent)

1/26 – PA (pre-approval)

1/31 – sent out our first care package from within country


2/2 – Home Study Approved and sent to DSS

2/4 – first care package arrives at orphanage

2/24 – I800A application sent to USCIS


  • DSS approves home study and sends to USCIS
  • 12 of 13 dossier documents sent to agency to begin authentication through their home state of AL (should take 2 weeks – 3/18/15)
  • hand picked care package sent to China to be forwarded to orphanage.


3/12-15 – Online Auction

3/16 – File claim with USPS to research the whereabouts of our care package

3/21 – Helen receives care package.

3/25 – Helen forwards care package to orphanage

3/31 – Orphanage receives care package


  • Walk-in to USCIS Application Support Center for Biometric Fingerprinting (our appointment date was scheduled for 3/30/15)
  • Lifeline sends our dossier to the consulate for authentication


4/17 – I800A approved

4/21 – I800A approval notice received

4/22 – I800A copied and sent to Lifeline to have authenticated (Goes in mail 4/24. Should take two weeks – 5/7/2015)


5/7 – DTC (Dossier to China)

5/26 – LID (Log In Date/ Registered)


7/10 – LOA/LSC (Letter of Acceptance/Letter Seeking Confirmation)

7/13 – I800 sent

7/17 – I800 Received at Lockbox

7/29 – I800 Approved and sent to National Visa Center


8/10 – Article 5 Dropoff

8/24 – Article 5 Pickup

8/27 – Travel Approval

We had to push back travel to October, and due to holidays and trade fair, the next Gotcha/Family Day is in Mid October.


10/12 – Gotcha Day

10/20 – Consulate Apppointment

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