CIS stands for Citizenship and Immigration Services and is a part of Homeland Security. Every U.S. citizen who adopts must get approval from CIS - so that is what comes next. To get that approval we fill out an application and send in supporting documents, like birth and marriage certificates, along with $680 for the application to be processed and $80 for Kevin to get his fingerprints taken for a FBI criminal background check and $80 for mine. That total comes to $840 - and we have it thanks to all of the generous donations! When the CIS processes our application we will get approval in the mail along with when we can get our fingerprints taken in Indianapolis. At that time we will also be able to send a ton of paperwork to Chicago where the Chinese Consulate for the People's Republic of China is located for Indiana. All the documents that have already been authenticated by the United States (they have a gold seal on them) will now be authenticated by China. After we get that paperwork back, we can finally send our complete dossier to our adoption agency so that it can be sent to China. If by this time we still haven't been referred a child off from the waiting child list, we will be put on another list - but this time with China.
While all this is going on we can, at any time, get a referral for our daughter. Each month China sends out to each of the agencies that China works with a list of children that are available for adoption. Our agency reviews the list to see if any of the children will match with what our family has described as the best match for us - like a girl who is up to 3 years old with a minor heart condition. If she is on the list and no one is ahead of us with the same requirements, we will get the referral. Our agency, Families Thru International Adoption, also receives their own private listing of children that they can find families for. Our daughter may also come from this private listing.