The majority of the paper chase is done for our adoption. We received our first eleven documents back today "sealed" from the Chinese embassy.
Here is the process for my birth certificate for example. Order a certified copy from Texas. When you get it turn around and mail it to their secretary of state to authenticate that the raised seal is good. Then it goes to the Secretary of State in DC via courier, yes that is Hillary Clinton's office but doubt she has ever signed off on one of these. They say that the approval letter from Texas is official. From there the courier takes it to the Chinese embassy and they seal it that they recognize the US Secretary of State. And of course each office has a fee for performing this service. But at least now we are just waiting on the notarized home study (which will have to take the same journey to Raleigh and DC).
The home study is submitted with our last form to homeland security and the office of immigration. When processed we go to Charlotte to get fingerprinted and are ready to have our complete dossier logged in with the Chinese government. You definitely can conceive, carry, and deliver a baby faster but I love the route we are on. And hopefully in a few more months we will have the child God has picked out for us in a picture and then start the process that gets us ready to travel to China and bring them home. We still expect it will be sometime early 2013