Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Let's Wrap-up, Look Forward, and Say, "Thanks!"

Wrap Up:
Let me begin this post by apologizing for not having written any updates since the petition worked it's magic last Tuesday. You might be surprised to know it, but running a petition took a huge amount of time. Dave and I were fielding a lot of questions through email, talking with the big-leaguers who could really help move our petition forward, and posting, posting, posting on various sites, groups, etc., to try to get notice and keep the ball rolling. And so, we had a lot of catching-up to do with our personal and professional lives. That's where we disappeared to. So please forgive us for our absence.
Secondly I would like to talk about something I saw out in web-land soon after the petition reached it's goal: depression. Is there such a thing as PPD (post-petition-depression?)? I think so. I saw quite a few people who were expressing a hopelessness over their Chinese adoptions, and basically feeling like, "so what the I600A is fixed? I'm still waiting, and this is hopeless."
I had the experience, while working on this petition, to run across another I600 plea, this one for speed of processing and from Vietnam-adopting parents. The petition was posted in January of 2008, is still active, and when I saw it had less than 2000 signatures. Our petition has over 17,000. How did we get those 17,000 signatures? Certainly not because parents thought, "Oh, this is hopeless." We got them directly because all of you, out there, waiting to adopt, worked your booties off and pushed and advocated for your adoptions and your children. That is a wonderful thing, and I hope you all feel like super-heroes, because you all are! All of you have made a huge difference in the life of a child.
Anatole France said that, "To accomplish great things, we must dream as well as act." With an adoption from China and the current time-frames, many times our only choice is to dream of the reality we desire as we wait. And then, periodically, we must act, updating forms, preparing our lives for a child, and all of you were able to switch into high gear very quickly when your adoption needed you. You all acted quickly and with great strength to resolve the issue of the I600A. And so I wish for each of you that you can take away some feeling of power and success because of this. You all have done so much to make this a success. You were all wonderful!

Look Forward:
On the victory, a point of clarification on what we all accomplished. Before our success the process was Apply to you country of choice (ours was China) sometime before April 2008, using the I600A. If your adoption is not completed in 18 months, apply for your free renewal using the I600A again. If your adoption is not completed in the following 18 months, switch to the I800A process.
Now the process works in this way:
Apply pre-April 2008 using the I600A. Pay for the I600A and fingerprinting. After 18 months renew for free using the I600A again, and get free fingerprinting. After 18 more months, apply again using the I600A, but pay the fee and for fingerprinting. If your adoption is still not completed 18 months later, apply again using the I600A for a free renewal of the I600A and fingerprints. So, 1600A pay, free renewal. I600A pay, free renewal. All together that should give each parent 6 years to get logged in with their country of choice and bring their child home.
I really do expect that will be enough time for all of us. Dave and I are LID March of 06 for China, and for the past 5 months, each time the new referral dates come out, our referral date is predicted to be May of 2009 by these people: http://www.chinaadoptionforecast.com/. And, each month it moves up a bit, so last May, it said to expect referral May 26, 09. This month it said to expect referral May 6, 09. If that site's predictions are accurate, that will be three years one month for us. That is a drop of our wait time by one month. I'm thinking that what that is showing me is that the wait for China is stabilizing and maybe even changing direction a bit.
If that is the case, then the four I600As should be more than enough for everyone to finish and return home. And if not, we'll mobilize all of you wonderful people again!

Say, "Thanks!"
I would like to ask for one last favor. Our petition had a lot of impact on this process, but it did not accomplish it without some help from people of influence. I would like to ask that you take a moment and thank them, because, first of all, they like to know that they helped and that we appreciate it, and also because we may need their help again in the future.
So please say a quick thank you to:
  • Tom DiFilipo and staff at JCICS: Joint Council on International Children's Services117 South Saint Asaph Street; Alexandria, VA 22314 Phone: 703-535-8045 jcics@jcics.org
  • Your Congress-people
  • Kathleen Strottman at CCAI http://www.ccainstitute.org/about_bios.php 311 Massachusetts Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20002 P: 202-544-8500 mailto:202-544-8500info@ccainstitute.org
  • And please also thank Michael Valverde at USCIS, who really did try to find a workable solution to our problem that would also allow him to keep USCIS inside the Hague law as they understand it. Considering he didn't have to help us, we really should thank him. Michael Valverde, Chief, Children's Issues, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security, 20 Massachusetts Avenue, NW., Suite 3300, Washington, DC 20529, telephone (202) 272-9176.

What drives one person to help another, a stranger, I don't know, but it is one of the more miraculous qualities of life. So, please thank those folks listed above for sprinkling some "miracle" on our adoptions, and thanks again to all of you who signed and helped promote the petition.

We're always open; if you have questions or comments please feel free to write us:


If you have an adoption that will be affected by this ruling, we would love to update this blog from time to time with pictures of families that were completed due to this ruling. That would make a lovely visual "thank you" for all those involved, so please consider sending us your photos and a little story. We can turn this blog into the I600A story project!

Bye for now!

Love to all~

Dave and Di

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"Be Ashamed to Die Until You Have Won Some Victory for Humanity." Horace Mann

You and I know that even the smallest pebble makes a ripple on the water, but it is amazing when it makes a whole wave.
Dave and I are so very pleased to have the privilege of forwarding this announcement:

Joint Council Update

Program Advocacy
Date October 14, 2008
Regarding I-600A Process

Dear Families & Friends,
After advocating on behalf of adoptive families for the past 6 months, Joint Council is very pleased to confirm that USCIS has announced a very positive ruling concerning the I-600A process.

In summary, it is our understanding that, effective immediately, families who filed Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition, prior to April 1, 2008 and whose USCIS approval of that petition (aka the I-171H) has not expired, will be able to proceed with their adoption under the I-600A process if they take certain steps while their approval remain valid. This means that families with valid Form I-600A approvals will not be required to transition to The Hague process via Form I-800A. In order to maintain their status as ‘grandfathered’ cases, families with non-expired Form I-600A approvals must request a one-time free extension. Then, prior to the expiration of the one-time free extension, families must file a new Form I-600A and pay the appropriate fee.

It is also our understanding that families with a Form I-600A approval that has expired and who have not obtained an extension or filed a new Form I-600A, will need to undertake the Hague process. The Hague process will also apply to any petitioner who has not completed their adoption by 2014.

As we noted in our Position Statement, this ruling will save adoptive families thousands of dollars, eliminate countless sleepless nights and ensures that their adoption can proceed to completion.

On behalf of over 10,000 adoptive families, Joint Council extends its appreciation to the following individuals and organizations for their tireless efforts.
· Diane Kunz, Executive Director of the Center for Adoption Policy
· Dianne Pearce, Waiting Parent and Co-Organizer of the Fairness for Families Petition
· Debbie Reynolds, Joint Council China Caucus Co-Chairperson
· Kathleen Strottman, Executive Director of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute
· David Yurkovich, Waiting Parent and Co-Organizer of the Fairness for Families Petition
· Members of the United States Congress
· United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
We offer our collective congratulations to everyone who participated in the Joint Council Call-To-Action and the Adoption for All: Fairness for Families petition. And we also send our congratulations to all who participated in the countless meetings, conference calls and emails over the past 6-months. Joint Council is built on a principle of collaboration and this very successful effort clearly demonstrates this principle in action. Our collective voice is definitely stronger than any singular organization or individual.
Joint Council notes that our interpretation of the ruling is offered as a courtesy only and should not be used in making determinations or decisions. Please refer to the full text of the announcements by USCIS which can be found at USCIS Announcement and USCIS Q&A in making any decisions.
Joint Council will provide more specifics as they become available and asks you to visit our website for the latest news and updates.
Thank you to every single one of you who signed our petition, and directly helped to win a "...victory for humanity!"

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Pen Is Mightier Than the Sword; The Parent Is Mightier Than the Board?

Okay, I've been in class all morning trying to teach 18 year olds that writing skills are important. They don't believe me. And then I come home and see that we have passed 15,000! HA! I win this round college freshman!

I have to echo what Dave said in his earlier post. Each and everyone one of you have made an impact on the numbers, and we are grateful to you all.

October 2nd we had 4700 signatures.
Today we have over 15,000.
Okay, I teach English not math, but that's a heck of a lot of signatures in like, what, 10, 11 days?

Dave and I got to see some new arrivals from China yesterday, and earlier last week I got to meet a new arrival from Russia. I'll tell you all, I would work day and night on 100 petitions after that. Each child I met was so precious, beautiful, and captivating. What miracles they are, and what they have been through. The child from Russia lived in a hospital for (I believe the mommy said) almost a year because there was "no room at the inn" in any of the orphanages. Some of the children came from institutions, some from foster care, and some had SNs beyond those of being an orphan, and everyone was an amazing little survior, thriving and smiling and adapting to a family so quickly and easily. All is right with the world at those moments. Children are supposed to grow in families.

A lot of times, when you're in the process, you're doing what you need to do, and what you have to do, and you jump through the hoops thinking, "Yes, ghost child out there somewhere, I would jump through a million hoops for you," but you do it without really knowing for sure. You trust yourself and try to find the motivation inside for each hurtle. Sometimes, I think, we all have moments were we are just, tired, would you say that is how to describe it?

Well, when I saw all those children this past week they were all so very real and wonderful that I knew suddenly for certain that there wasn't a hoop in existence that I wouldn't jump through for Sophie.

Yes, I would jump through any darn hoop they can throw at me for Sophie, and I know you would too.

Here's hoping that we don't have to. Here's hoping that USCIS hears our voices, and feels our love for these little souls out there waiting for someone to call their own. And here's hoping that they let compassion rule the day and help the process along rather than slowing it down, or stopping it completely.

And if they do hear us, it will be because of each name on the petition, and each question on the blog, and each posting you put on a group, and each email you sent to your friends, your congress, etc., and because of each time one of you worked the JCICS plan, and for each time you encouraged someone waiting for their child, and finally it will be because of the effort of each individual one of you.
Di & Dave too


We just hit 15,000 signatures. We are awestruck and grateful to everyone who has signed the petition. Thank you.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

It's Saturday night...

...As I write this.
Dave and I received some messages today that concerned us as they were from people saying that they are just now getting information about this from their agencies. Please send this to your agency, just in case you have other WPs from your agency who haven't received it yet. I know it's hard to believe in this computer-age we're in, but some people don't visit the web. They prefer to only hear from their agency. So please send this to yours so that they can help spread the word!
We are really hopeful that we will have good news for you soon.
Also please keep working the JCICS plan: http://www.jcics.org/5WaystoHelp.htm
We are so fortunate that JCICS is helping us, so please help them to help us.
Not sure what to do to help JCICS?
Check our post on who to email:

Well, as I said, it's Saturday night. What are you doing this weekend? Dave and I are going to meet with some other local WPs for brunch tomorrow (and some have their children now!), so we are very excited about that. We really couldn't have imagined how much it feels like "home" to meet up with other WPs when we began this journey. But then, we have over 13,000 signatures on the petition; time and time again we keep re-learning that the adoption community is a very supportive place. And I hope you all have found some support, family, friends, other WPs, to help keep your spirit fed and watered on this long journey to our children!

So, what's the buzz phrase for today?
6642, that is all we need from you!
Yup, why, once I thought we'd never hit 6 thousand with this little petition. Now we only need 6 thousand (and change) to hit our goal of 20,000!
So, I wish you goodnight, good weekend, and remember:
6642, that is all we need from you!
D & D too

Friday, October 10, 2008

13,000 Signatures Approach'th

The weekend approach'th, and so does our 13,000th signature. We are very excited to be closing on 20,000. As you may know, the petition end'th on Halloween. So we still need to aquire an additional 7,000 sigs in 21 days; I think this is highly do-able given the fantastic support we've received thus far. Based on some of the more recent comments posted on the petition, it's become apparent that some agencies are only now making their waiting parents aware of the petition and advocating for them to sign it. Better late than never, say'th we.

Wishing everyone a good weekend, and hoping that next week brings good news for all of us waiting parents...

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Approaching 12,000

It seems that no sooner did we reach 10,000 signatures then that number was ancient history. It's the end of the the day, Thursday, here on the west coast (well, a few more hours until midnight), and we've already passed 11,500 signatures. Let's keep the momentum going!

We hope to have good news to report soon! ;) ;) The more signatures the better!
Daddy2B Dave


Sometime in the early morning hours...

we passed the 10,000 mark!

Here's a shout-out to Jason from TX who was # 10,000!!!

As I write this we are at 10668. I am in awe.

Jason is very special, but you are all very special, giving people.

Thank you so much for your love, and your belief in the USA's intrinsic fairness and love for children!

Hopefully all of you are showing USCIS and NBC the way to best help those thousands of waiting children!


D&D too!

PS. See the post below, and keep working the JCICS plan!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

What to Email and Who to Email It to:

Hopefully this will help make following JCICS' plan quick and easy.

There are two emails you and everyone who's helping you need to send.

Send the first email to this guy: mark@ccainstitute.org
(Make sure to change the signature to yours!)

Dear Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute,
I am writing to inform you that we fully support the Joint Council Position Paper on I-600A Renewals. Please take every effort possible to ensure that waiting families who began their adoptions with I600-A are allowed to continue their adoptions with I-600A.
Thank you!
(Sign with your Name, Address, & Phone #)

Send the second email to JCICS: advocate@jcics.org
(Make sure to change the signature to yours!)

I am writing to inform you that I fully support the Joint Council Position Paper on I-600A Renewals. I commend your efforts to ensure that waiting families who began their adoptions with I600-A are allowed to continue their adoptions with I-600A.
Thank you!
(Sign with your Name, Address, & Phone #)

If Grandma or Aunt Ruth don't have emails, send one for them and include their contact information in the signature line so their existence and support can be verified. We don't want to exclude anybody who can help! Same goes for signing the petition.

That'll do it. We topped 8000 on the petition as I write this. JCICS is also asking for us to send 10,000 of those emails listed above, so, the time for writer's cramp is now!

Let's pause to give a shout-out to the RQ, who put us on the BLOG today! http://chinaadopttalk.com/

And thanks to all you future (or current) mommy and daddies who are already protecting your childrens' futures by doing these letters, petitions, and emails! I wish I could write each one of you a personal letter of endorsement for your home studies!

We love you folks!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Follow the JCICS Plan!

Action! Action! We want action! A-C-T! I-O-N!
Action! Action! We want action! A-C-T! I-O-N!

Did you have that cheer for your HS teams? We did.
Action is our key word now too. Don't forget our action plan; that's the way to get the job done.
Follow the action plan at JCICS today!

The Milk Issue In China

Just FYI, JCICS would like everyone to know that they also have collected a lot of good information about China's current trouble with tainted milk.
You can find the information here:
That is their China page. Scroll down past the petition news to the FAQs for the milk information.
Also, Ask Jane in China (a Yahoo group for adoption from China) has a lot of milk information in it's group messages as well:
If you know of other milk-related resources, please let us know.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Excellent Update News! We Are On JCICS!

Hello Everyone, and thank you for signing the petition! We are now officially part of JCICS' website! YOU did that! Everyone of YOU! You are fantastic people!

Thank you for what you have done, and please visit JCICS to see what you still can do!


Here is the Copy and Paste from that page:

5 Ways to Help Us

1. Today, please read the Joint Council Position Paper on I-600A Renewals at www.jcics.org.

2. Today, send an email in support of the Joint Council Position Paper on I-600A Renewals to Joint Council at advocate@jcics.org and the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute at mark@ccainstitute.org.
a. Joint Council will deliver a petition supporting an immediate resolution, including all emails, to USCIS on October 18th. To be sure that your email is included, please send your email no later than October 16th.

3. Today, go to Adoption for All: the Fairness for Families Petition and sign the petition.
a. Joint Council, in collaboration with Adoption For All organizers David Yurkovich and Dianne Pearce, will present the petition and all signatories to Congressional leaders on October 18th. To ensure that your signature is included, please sign the petition no later than October 16th.

  • 4. On October 14th, 15th, and 16th, contact your Congressional representatives, both in the House and Senate.
    a. Joint Council is working with Members of Congress and seeks their participation in resolving this issue.
    b. You can find your Senators’ phone numbers and email addresses at www.senate.gov.
    c. You can find your Representative’s phone number and email address at www.house.gov.
    d. Include the following in your calls and emails.
    · A brief explanation of the situation.
    · “I/we understand that USCIS is actively engaged in seeking a resolution to the I-600A issue. I/we respectfully ask the Senator/Congressperson to contact USCIS and express their support of efforts to find an immediate resolution to the I-600A Extension issue.”
    · A kind ‘thank you’.

5. Stand ready to expand and intensify your efforts if needed.
Joint Council may contact you with a revised Call To Action if needed

Okay, so, we wanted help, and JCICS is once again helping adoptive families. Please visit their website for more in-depth information and answers to your questions and concerns.


Thank you, and thank you, and thank you again for your help, your efforts, and your friendship!



Saturday, October 4, 2008

UPDATE: Good News?

We think the petition just may be working!
We were told in confidence that the petition is helping, and we were asked by callers to please keep increasing the petition numbers as much as we can.
We were also asked to have a cut-off date on the petition of 10/31.
So, I would like to ask everyone to please keep getting signatures on the petition. Ask your neighbor, your pastor, your aunt Margie, everybody who cares about you, to please sign on.
*REMEMBER, for the petition to be VALID, you cannot sign twice, so get everyone you know to sign once instead! Signers must be of voting age and a US citizen. :o)http://www.gopetition.com/online/22112.html for the petition, or click those adorable pair of eyes in the top right corner to go directly to it.
We cannot thank you enough for all your help!
And remember, if this does work it will universally help all of us who filed pre-April 2008.
Here's to all of us!

Friday, October 3, 2008

A Comment on Upsetting People:What Is True?

Hi All~
We received this comment today:

~I just talked with my agency because I was freaking out about the getting out of line thing. They said the comment about changing agencies is not true. The i600/i800 only has to do with the us govt, not with china. No one is in danger of losing their place. Please take this off this blog as it is not correct and causing undue stress to waiting families. ~

Well, the commentor is right, and wrong.
It is true, this paperwork is only a USA thing, and has nothing to do with China.
If your agency is not Hague-accredited (and many are not; I personally know of 10 that aren't), the USA will force you to switch agencies.
WHEN you switch agencies, you will be forced to tell China.
So, if the US government FORCES you to go I800A, and that FORCES YOU to change to a Hague-approved agency, China WILL force you to pull your dossier and resubmit.
How do I know this? I asked agencies; I asked LWB; I asked China.
I know that in the China adoption process we are often subject to sensationalistic rumours that get us upset and go nowhere. If you know me at all, or belong to the Rate Your China Adoption Agency group or the Worth Waiting For group, you know that I have consistently de-bunked those rumours. I think saying stuff that is upsetting without knowing if it's true is wrong. I don't/won't do that.
I really appreciate the comment, because I'm sure a lot of people think the same thing.
TRUTH: if your agency is not Hague-approved, and you get forced to switch to I800A, you will have to get a new agency (with all the fees that entails).
TRUTH: if you get a new agency, China will recognize you only as a new dossier with a new LID.
Do you want an LID of 2009 after having an LID of 2006? I do not.
Please sign the petition and pass the truth on.
Thanks so much again for the great question!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

4700 Signatures (and counting)

MORE THAN 4700 have signed the adoption petition since it was posted online on September 23, 2008. I've sent copies to our Congress people, and have talked with their local liaisons. Several people have contacted me, stating that they plan to take further action (by meeting personally in Washington, DC, with members of Congress). I hope it's enough. I hope that our combined efforts will be enough to move this seemingly immovable wall known as USCIS.