The #1 question I’ve heard lately is, “When do you travel?!” Short answer: We don’t know exactly but possibly in like 2.5 weeks!
We got an immigration approval for us adopting Elliott to become a US citizen a month today. A week after that, our file was transferred to the US Consulate in Guangzhou, China and we were able to apply for Elliott’s official visa to travel to the United States with us. Our agency then had to submit a hard copy packet (called the Article 5) to the Consulate in GZ. It *should* take the Consulate like 10 business days to process that, but we happened to encounter the Chinese mid-autumn moon festival which shuts down everything in China for 8 days. Wheee! So our Art 5 was delivered to the US Consulate on 9/25, and will be picked up early next week with an approval stating that all of the paperwork is in order and that everything on the US side is ready to issue Elliott a visa.
When our agency rep in GZ picks up our Art 5 early next week, they will turn around and overnight it straight up to Beijing to the CCCWA, which is China’s government authority on children’s welfare. CCCWA will do a quick double check and then issue us a Travel Approval (TA)! I think technically the window for TA being issued is like 2-21 days, but it typically comes within 2-7 days of Art 5 pickup. Then within 24 hours of TA being issued, we’ll get to set our Consulate Appointment (CA) with the US Consulate in Guangzhou, and THEN we will know our travel dates and be able to book (last minute international) flights!
All that to say, by this time next week we MAY know our travel dates! Or we may not. Ha!
If we get a CA for the week of 11/13, we will leave Denver on Wednesday 11/1 and meet Elliott on Monday 11/6. If we get a CA for the week of 11/20, we would leave Denver 11/8 and meet Elliott on Monday 11/13. (Clearly we are praying for a departure date of 11/1, which is a mere 2.5 weeks away!!!)
I so appreciate the very predictable steps of this process, and knowing that we will not get to China and then find out that we owe extra fees or missed some vital piece of paperwork or that the Consulate isn’t so sure that Elliott should be issued a visa so he can travel home with us. And all of this time waiting is also allowing me time to nest here at home, which I appreciate! I cleaned out the kitchen cabinets this week, started prepping some freezer meals today, and have grand plans of cleaning up our bedroom this weekend so that I can start to gather what we need to travel.