October 2, 2014: We randomly attended a general informational meeting with the agency we wanted to use. We told them of our heart and calling for Ind!a, were very excited to hear that they had a pilot family in-process, and that they hope to be opening the program to more families a couple years later.
December 19, 2014: Malinda had a random call from an employee at the agency wanting to talk more about our desire to adopt from Ind!a.
January 2015: Spent the entire month having various phone calls between us and the agency. Seemed more informational than anything, until…
January 30, 2015: 10am phone call from the Program Director at our agency that they wanted us to be one of two Pilot Families for their Ind!a program!
February 5, 2015: Application and fee submitted to agency
February 27, 2015: First meeting with the program director, and official acceptance into the Ind!a Program! We also found out on this day that we were the only pilot family instead of one of two. We also made our big announcement that night!
April 23, 2015: With all of our initial home study paperwork submitted, we began the home study process. The first step was a tour of our agency’s offices where we got to meet their entire staff, which was really encouraging and uplifting because everyone was so excited to meet us, and also excited that their long-awaited program was back in motion! We also had a lengthy meeting with our program director called the Orientation Interview.
May 5, 2015: 1st Home Study Interview (home tour and visit with our case workers)
May 19, 2015: 2nd Home Study Interview (individual interviews)
June 18, 2015: 3rd Home Study Interview
July 6, 2015: Full medical reviews for both of us!
July 15, 2015: 4th and final Home Study Interview
August 24, 2015: Home Study FINALIZED!!!
October 6, 2015: With our Home Study approved on the state level, our Home Study and Dossier were uploaded to CARINGS.
October 28, 2015: Fingerprinting appointment at USCIS for I-800A application
November 2, 2015: I-800A Approval!
December 29, 2015: APPROVED ON CARINGS!
December 30, 2015: Found out about a precious little girl in east India…
January 29, 2016: Officially matched with our little girl! Best day ever!
July 2016: Major home study update, including full medical updates and 1-800A update request. We also applied for our 800A, which is similar to the I-800A, but it seeks approval for a specific child instead just a general approval.
September 29, 2016: We FINALLY received word that her original documents were in the mail on the way to us, and we even got a tracking number! We waited on these documents for the entirety of 2016, and it’s what has held up our process and kept us from moving forward.
October 11, 2016: Documents ARRIVED!
October 13, 2016: Acceptance dossier with original documents signed and notarized.
October 14, 2016: Acceptance dossier authenticated on the county level and apostilled on the state level.
October 18, 2016: Acceptance dossier back to India!
October 21, 2016: First major fee paid to India
November 1, 2016: 800-A provisional approval from the US government
November 9, 2016: Article 5 Approval from the US Government
January 3, 2017: NOC!!! (No Objections Certificate) This is a HUGE step!
March 7, 2017: Received affidavit from local court. Printed in US but physically mailed back to local court in India. Once it’s filed in the local court, we will get a court date!
March 9, 2017: Received an email that our affidavit was sent with incorrect info and had to be redone. 😦
March 14, 2017: Received corrected affidavit (in the middle of the Holi festival, which shocked us!). We printed, signed, notarized it, and our caseworker shipped it back to India all in the same day! It is expected to arrive at the local court on Friday, March 24th.
March 20, 2017: Affidavit delivered to the local court. Waiting on a court date, and praying really big that we’ll get one before courts close in May. That’s only 6 weeks away! Please pray with us!
April 11, 2017: Found out our affidavit was accepted and we were filed in court!
April 21, 2017: WE HAD OUR COURT DATE AND PASSED!!
April 25, 2017: This was the day that we found out that we had a court date and actually passed court–we did not know that they had scheduled this day for us, so it was a pretty awesome surprise!
May 5, 2017: Written court orders received, and second half of Child Care Corpus fee was requested and paid.
June 2, 2017: TRAVEL APPROVAL!!!!! (This is one place where our process deviated A LOT from the norm. Normally, travel approval is given when the child’s passport is issued by the Indian government. However, we were only the 3rd international family to adopt from Ongole, so we were required to apply for her passport in person. More details on that below.)
June 17, 2017: Goodbye, America!
June 19, 2017: Arrived at 5:15am in Hyderabad, India. Crashed at hotel for a couple hours, then drove to Sarah’s Covenant Homes to MEET OUR GIRL!
June 20, 2017: Goodbye party for Dhanya Sri at Sarah’s Covenant Homes; drove 8 hours from Hyderabad to Ongole.
June 21, 2017: Appeared at the DCPU office in Ongole, Andhra Pradesh. Finalized paperwork, met with DCPU officials, and appeared before “Madame” for the handing over ceremony. Dhanya Sri became a Nichols! After the ceremony, a celebration lunch, and some time at Sarah’s Covenant Home’s location in Ongole, we drove 4 hours north to Vijayawada.
June 22, 2017: Met official from Ongole DCPU office at the passport office in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh to apply for her passport. Once it was applied for, we flew to Visakhapatnam in hopes that the Regional Passport Officer would grant us an emergency case (called “Tatkaal”) and print her passport that day. Otherwise we would have to wait through the weekend AND a national holiday on June 25 before getting it on Tuesday, June 26th!
June 23, 2017: Appeared at the Regional Passport Office in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh first thing in the morning. Luckily, Evie and her blonde hair charmed the Regional Passport Office employes–and our in-country guide, Alex pulled his magic–and they graciously printed her passport within a couple hours. PRAYERS ANSWERED! ON TO NEW DELHI! We said our goodbyes to Alex, then flew to New Delhi that evening and arrived around midnight.
June 24, 2017: We went to MaxMed for her visa physical. Easy as can be, in and out in under 2 hours.
June 25, 2017: Sunday…we rested!!
June 26, 2017: Drove back to MaxMed for her TB test to be checked, and picked up her medical report to turn over to the US Embassy.
June 27, 2017: Applied for visa at the US Embassy. (For adopting families, here’s a few tips that might help: do not bring anything to your appointment like your phone, camera, flash drive, etc., because you have to check it across the street in an open-air police stand. Just bring passports, paperwork, toys/games, and snacks. Make sure you have the phone number of your in-country guide so they can call it when the visa is ready. However, we never waited for them to call; we went back at 3:30 pm and were the only people there. They had it ready for us when we returned–I’m glad we didn’t wait for the call!)
June 28, 2017: Went to the FRRO Office in New Delhi. We were there all day, but we didn’t accept any answer except that they would have it ready for us that day. And they did! TIME TO GO HOME!!!
June 29, 2017: The flight home!!
June 30, 2017: We arrived in Birmingham at 2:30pm, and came down the elevators to see our friends and family waiting for us. 33 months from info meeting to arrival at the airport with our girl, and worth every day of waiting. We did it. God did it. Dhanya Sri is home!