Sections this month (click to jump to section):
Updating Addresses and Email Addresses - Families who wish to continue to receive correspondence from CAWLI need to make sure that we have your most current address and email address. We received several of the New Years Party invitations back, if you didn't receive one it may be because we don't have your updated address. If you would rather not receive things from us please let us know that as well and we will note it in our database.
Placements in recent months
In July, seven families returned from China with eight children. In August six families have adopted from China. Congratulations and thank you for being so cheerful and positive throughout the adoption process! We are very happy for them!
We received three assignments in July and August. In July and August, fifteen families accepted matches from our Special Needs program. For all the families, congratulations and thank you!
The CCCWA has finished the review of the adoption application documents
registered with their office before December 11, 2012.
The CCCWA has finished the placement of children for the families whose adoption
application documents were registered with their office before Sepember 21, 2006.
The wait has been getting longer over time. Currently families have been waiting 72+ months since they were logged in. Truthfully, we would predict that the wait time is likely to get longer but we do not know exactly how much longer it will get. Our understanding is that the CCCWA is doing all that they can to match as many children with families every month. There is no specific information about what the expected wait time is, although we (as an agency) can recognize the potential for the wait time to continue to grow longer; particularly for those who will be submitting applications now. Yet, we can only determine the true/current wait by the referrals we get each month, once we have received them we can figure out how long the next group can expect to wait. We do not get advanced notification of when referrals are coming, the only information that we have is either when they arrive in the office or when the CCCWA changes their website. We would again like to stress to all our CAWLI families that as soon as we have valid information from the CCCWA or otherwise we pass it along to you.
While we are not walking even a day in your shoes; we are also anxious and feeling stressed while waiting for information and hoping for more. It may not feel like anyone can feel the same way as you while you wait for your child, please know that we are here to support you and experience our own feelings as we work as hard as we can to make your family complete. We urge you to reach out to one another and utilize your support system at this time. As long as there continue to be abandonments in China the the children will need you. The CCCWA has said that they could not imagine closing their doors to international adoption even with the increasing wait time, since they cannot predict how many children may be available at any given time and would not want the children to be left in the orphanages because there are not waiting families.
We know it can feel discouraging when there are only a few referrals a month, but we hope that you can all find the support you need during this time and have faith that in the end it will have been worth the wait.
Waiting Children Program
Many families have shown interest in the Special Needs/Waiting Child program and we continue to make successful matches through our Special Needs/Waiting Child list from CCCWA!
Currently, CAWLI is matching of the the CCCWA's common/shared list as well as the Special Focus List. Yes, we do also have an agency list of the waiting children. Please contact us if you would like to learn more about the children on our individual list. Our agency feels very uncomfortable requesting and holding many children's files on the individual list, because as a non-profit adoption agency we believe it is unethical to attract prospective adoptive parents in by holding children's files for too long.
New information on the Special Needs Program:
* The CCCWA is using an electronic system to send lists to agencies who participate in this program. This system offers a quicker response system between the CCCWA and the agency. There are no more original documents on these children though, just the electronic copies. Additionally, there is a common list of children that all agencies logged into the system can view and we can also request that certain Special Focus children's files be assigned to our agency's individual list. Those children on the common list can be matched with families from any of these agencies; however, the files for the children can only be locked for 72 hours at a time and only once per agency, which gives families limited time to consult with everyone they need to before deciding whether a child is a match for them. CAWLI's view on this common list is one of concern. We do not want our families to be in competition with other families/agencies in matching with a child. It is important to us that our families have time to review the file of the child they are interested in and make sure they are certain about the child as a match for their family before making a decision. The common list really limits a family's ability to think things through. However, we will do everything in our power to continue to make successful matches for our waiting families. While we review the system with caution, we respect CCCWA's effort to place their children into good homes. After working with the system for many years, we have also learned that through hard work we can do a good job for our families.
Please keep us informed of the special needs your family is open to and also make sure you are researching those needs so you are best prepared to review a file when it is presented to you.
Currently, CCCWA is primarily using the "common list" for matching SN children. One group of children is called Special Focus Children whose medical needs are deemed as severe. CCCWA allows the agency to match from this list for the families whose dossiers could be sent to China within 6 months after CCCWA's pre-approval. Another group of children is called Non-Special Focus Children whose needs are deemed more minor. We are allowed to match families whose dossiers are in China already from this list. To the best of our ability we are trying to match children from the non-special focus list with our waiting families. If you are one of those family's considering a SN match please keep in mind the following:
- CCCWA is only giving 72 hours to review a file.
- It is important for CAWLI to be aware of the needs your family is particularly comfortable with in order to make the matching process go smoothly for you.
- Getting new information on the children (especially in 72 hours), may not be possible; so be prepared to look at a file and already have research the need the child has as well as having a Doctor ready to take a peak as well.
*China does allow concurrent adoptions for families waiting if one of the child is from the special focus list. If you are a family who is interested in the Special Needs/Waiting Child program, please contact your social worker so they can help you to make the best decision for your family. You can also get additional information by contacting Lillian through e-mail (
) or by phone, 1.617.731.0798.
If you are looking to touch base with other waiting familes, or families who have already adopted from China, do not hesitate to contact the office. We will help you to get in touch with families who can be a support and resource for you.
If you have allowed your I-600A to expire, you are now required to have an updated home study which meets the new Hague requirements. Additionally, you must file an I-800A with USCIS. If you are in this situation please contact your social worker and CAWLI office asap!!!
USCIS has changed their I-600A to an I-800A. All NEW applicants to USCIS will use an I-800A, and all families/persons who have a current I-600A approval, will continue to use this until you have used your one time FREE renewal. Unfortunately, USCIS is now only allowing I-600A families to renew a maximum of four times before they must complete I-800A paperwork. If you are a family in this situation, please contact the office for guidance through this process.
Here is a link to common questions and answers from USCIS:
* Please consider: Adoption Study on Language and Behavior's in adopted children. Contact: Joel Shulkin, M.D.,
Thank you to all who are helping to organize the CNY party and also helping with Parent Groups!
*If you would like to share your blog with other families please send the link via e-mail to :
Below are some articles about waiting and the blogs of some of our families. If you find any articles that you think other waiting families might find helpful please email us the link:
NEW! Is She Your Real Sister?
Follow our families through the adoption process:
(families traveling now or soon!)
Other articles of Interest:
Do We Need Therapy
Positive Adoption Language
- Each month has different families who have volunteered to be the 'email family' of that month. Many groups have set up chat groups and some have even arranged for waiting family gatherings. If you are not sure who your email family is please give us a call, sometimes it helps to talk with families who are at the same point in the process as you.
Updating Your Paperwork Facts
- Families who received a brown envelope from the consulate in Guangzhou before May 2007 can download the new contents of this envelope @ http://guangzhou.usembassy-china.org.cn/adoption.html
- The main reason we keep this section in the update, is that we continue to get calls on what should be done to update documents. We want to keep it in the same place every month so everyone knows where to go to get these answers. We, of course, will be happy to answer any questions you have about updating documents but we want to have it in writing as well. Thanks!
- Due to the referral wait time getting longer, more and more people need to get documents updated. Once your dossier is in China, there are three items that you want to keep track of in terms of expirations dates: (1) home study, (2) fingerprints, (3) USCIS, a.k.a. INS, approval. Please note that while we are happy to answer questions about updating documentation, it is most helpful if you have the dates from your documents ready when you call/email us. See below for more information on how to locate your dates on these items.
- How long is it valid? In most states, your home study is valid for one year, this includes NH, RI, ME and FL. Home studies in MA are now valid for 18 months and in CT are valid for 2 years. For those of you who live outside of the states where we're licensed, please check with your home study agency. Your home study must be valid OR be in the process of being updated at the time you receive your referral. Most people need to get a home study update due to the increased referral wait time. It is your responsibility to ensure that your home study remains valid. Even if not expired, the home study would need to be updated prior to renewing with USCIS.
- Locating your home study date — You should have a copy of your home study. Your home study should be signed and dated by your social worker on the last page. This date is your home study date. It is valid, in most states, for a year from that date.
- How to update your home study? Contact your social worker or home study agency about a month or so before it expires and let them know that you need to update your home study. For CAWLI home studies, you can ask us for the "Home Study Update Package." It is OK if there is a "window" where the original home study expires and the update is approved. It is also OK if the dates overlap. Typically, you'll need to re-do your criminal record check, your child abuse registry, and anything that may have changed since the time your home study was approved (financial statement, employment verification, etc.). Your social worker may or may not need to do a home visit depending on what, if anything, has changed. The cost of updating your home study through CAWLI is $300 for I-600a families and $500 for I-800a families. Please send this fee when you begin doing the update.
- How long are they valid? Fingerprints are valid for 15 months in all states. Your fingerprints MUST be valid during your entire trip in China. It is your responsibility to make sure that your fingerprints do not expire.
- Locating your fingerprint expiration date — The expiration date should be listed on your USCIS (a.k.a.INS) approval. You received this document before your dossier was sent to China and it says, "Notice of Favorable Disposition Concerning Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition" - it is also referred to as your I-1797C form or I-171H form (depending on what state you live in). The fingerprint expiration date is usually found in the middle of a paragraph in the text of the approval. If you can't find the date, call us and we can try to help you. The American Consulate is now requesting we include Fingerprint expiration dates when we make visa appointments.
- How to update your fingerprints? You can now update your fingerprints at the same time as updating your I600A!!!
- Send a copy of your original USCIS approval to your local USCIS office (do not include a money order for $85/person if this is your 2nd re-filing). Include a cover letter stating that your fingerprints will be expiring and your I600-A will be expiring. Make sure to include their expiration dates. Request that you receive a fingerprinting appointment to have your fingerprints re-done as you have not yet completed the adoption and additionally that your current I600-A approval be extended. They will then send you a fingerprinting appointment letter in the mail. (Please note: making an InfoPass appointment is NOT a fingerprint appointment.) After fingerprinting you will receive a new approval from USCIS, please notify CAWLI or send them a copy of this new approval.
- Because it takes several weeks to get the fingerprinting and USCIS extension of the I600-A we recommend requesting the extension about 6-8 weeks prior to the expiration date.
USCIS Approval — NEWS!!!
USCIS has a new fee schedule as of July 30th 2007. Families who have USCIS renewal dates after July 30th 2007 are entitled to a free renewal of their approval. For families renewing before July 30th 2007, this new policy unfortunately, will not apply.
The new fee for USCIS Orphan Petitions is: $720+ $85/person over 18 years old.
USCIS approval of your I-600A is only valid for 18 months.
USCIS approval of your I-800A is only valid for 15 months.
USCIS approval of your I-600A is only valid for 18 months. You received your approval way back before you were DTC on a document that came from the Department of Homeland Security, stating “Notice of favorable disposition concerning application for advance processing of orphan petition.” This document is often referred to as your USCIS Approval, INS approval, I-171h or I-797c – all mean the same thing. Part of this approval process involved you getting fingerprinted. As you know, fingerprints are good for 15 months. Please refer to the section on renewing fingerprints for more information about this. You should re-do your fingerprints before re-applying for your full USCIS approval.
Your USCIS approval must be valid at the time you travel to China and must remain valid for the duration of the trip. Please keep a close eye on when your approval will expire (you can do this by looking at the “Approval Date” listed and adding 18 months or 15 months if you are using an I800A), this is your responsibility. About 6-8 weeks prior to your INS expiring, you must re-apply.
We recommend that about 6-8 weeks before your approval expires you submit your new application and documents.
At the time that you are ready to re-apply, please email us at
to request the "Re-Filing your USCIS I-600A / I-800A Petition" package and we will send you the instructions along with a sample form.
PTAG (Parent Training Advisory Group)
We have had a wonderful response from parents volunteering to lead PTAG sessions for our parents currently in the adoption process. THANK YOU! These leaders will ALWAYS be needed so, if you are interested in leading the group sessions in the office or individual phone sessions, please let us know! We need family support to keep this valuable resource for waiting families going.
PTAG offers one session every 2 months, usually the first Saturday of the month. It will be from 9-12. Please contact the agency to sign up for a session at the
email, please put PTAG registration as the subject. The staff at the office has recently taken over the PTAG registration, please contact us directly to register for a session!
We STRONGLY encourage all our families in state and out to attend a PTAG session! This is a great source of information and the people who run these sessions can provide you with many helpful hints for traveling!! Please email the office to sign up for an in office PTAG session ~OR~schedule a phone PTAG session if you are out of state. PTAG is most helpful if you attend the session closer to when you expect to receive your referral. As you all know the wait time is a little uncertain at this point but it would be better to sign up for a session after you have been waiting for a few months.
PTAG is different than the travel meeting we have right before travel. PTAG is led by parents who have adopted and therefore traveled before and know the ins and outs of traveling in China with babies. They will tell what you need to bring and what you don’t!! We really hope to have all of our parents attend this meeting before they even receive a referral.
Upcoming PTAG meetings:
If you are a I-600a family, travel continues to run between 6-8 weeks after your signing to accept referral.
We apologize if we want to you decide on your assignment as soon as possible, while you have two weeks to make your decision! Just imagine our pressure: families have different plans; holidays around all appointments in China and availability and cost of airline tickets, etc. Please tell us not to worry! So far we are lucky that the travel after accepting your assignment is still 6-8 weeks!
For I-800a families, there are more steps betweel the LOA and travel: I-800 application, article 5 package and approval from the American Consulate in Guangzhou, and Travel Notice from the CCCWA. It takes about 3 months to travel adter you receive LOA.
Things to keep in mind before you travel:
- Please be sure that all travel companions (i.e. children, grandparents, friends, etc.) who are planning on traveling with you have a valid passport! This should be done well before you expect your referral to come as it sometimes takes weeks to obtain a passport. If you wait until the last minute to apply for a passport, it leaves little time to obtain the visa.
- If only one parent is planning on traveling please let us know at your referral meeting. You need to have a signed, notarized, certified, and authenticated Power of Attorney form. We will email you the form and instructions on how ti get it notarized, certified and authenticated. You nee dto bring this document to China to finish the Chinese adoption paperwork.
- HEPATITIS A and B: The series of shots required to be immunized for Hep A and B take several months-if you are planning on having this done do not wait until you receive your referral!! That will not give you enough time. Check with your doctor to find out exactly how much time is required to be vaccinated. We have had some families who have waited too long and run out of time