The United States has ordered China to close their consulate in Houston by Friday July 24th. This consulate was not currently processing any adoption related paperwork so the closure will not have any immediate effect for families in process. However, there is some discussion that China will force a US consulate in China to close in retaliation. The closure of the US consulate in Guangzhou would presumably halt adoption paperwork, at least until those services are moved to a different consulate in China.
Updates: China has ordered the US consulate in Chengdu be closed.
Those who were in the jurisdiction of the Chinese consulate in Houston will now be served by the Embassy in DC. This means you will now need the additional step of having documents authenticated by the US Dept of State before submitting them to the Chinese Embassy.
Kelly Rumbaugh, who operates the Ladybugs ‘n Love courier service, posted the following message on the China Adoption Questions Facebook group. I am reposting with permission.
My advice to every waiting parent that is processing dossier documents or POA is to call your caseworker for their opinion on this process. The information below is up to date and you can tell them the data if they don’t know.
Current Embassy requirements:
· Documents must be less than 6 months old
· Documents must have the extra Federal State Department seal
· Notary expiration must have at least 6 months left on their commission
Current processing timelines:
· Mail-in is open for the Department of State for the federal seal that is required by the DC Embassy. This is taking approximately 7-8 weeks
· The China Embassy will accept documents close to the 6-month age mark for appointment only. These documents are considered urgent to them. Their turnaround time is about a week.
As for the 5 Consulates that also process documents:
1. Chicago is by appointment only for urgent cases (close to 6 months old like Embassy)
2. New York is closed
3. San Francisco is closed
4. Los Angeles is closed
5. Houston is closed
(This is the data I have that is current as of today July 22, 2020)
Since families must have a home study done first, it is imperative to watch your dates on your documents and most likely send in a batch of documents to be authenticated before your immigration approval comes.
The gap in time causes medicals and police clearances to reach 6 months old before the immigration approval is finished. The authentication process can be done as documents are ready. You can submit two batches or more if necessary, to stay on top of the documents aging out. Once authenticated the documents are good for at least a year.
As an adoptive momma who has processed hundreds of dossiers this is a hard time and I believe wholeheartedly that the CCCWA will move forward with your adoptions as soon as possible. We cannot dictate to China or CCCWA what to do any more than we can dictate to our State Department. We must be patient and follow all the guidelines we are given by the agencies. They know the climate the best and can guide you to be as expedient as possible in your process.
Please know that we do have HOPE that the children will come home. I’m praying for all of you as you wait and will try to keep you abreast of any changes in this group! Please feel free to contact me with any questions.