A lot has happened in the past week or so with our China paperwork. We had our Dossier documents notarized, then drove them downtown to be certified by Hamilton County. My dad drove and Allie was along for the ride. On our way home, we made the crazy decision to continue on to Columbus to the Ohio Secretary of State's office to get the documents certified by the state. We had planned to make the drive with the kids next week, but instead we got it done last Friday! Kuddos to my dad for driving and being there to help with Allie and for moral support. I went through our big stack of documents over and over to make sure I hadn't forgotten something! So nerve-wracking, these are the documents we've been working so hard to collect and create for the past few months! We could have sent it all to Hamilton Cty and Columbus by mail, but I felt better having them in my hands. Plus it got done much quicker!
The last step for these papers before we submit them to our agency is for them to go to the Chinese Consulate in New York to be authenticated. Whatever that means, but we just do what we're told! The consulate does not accept these by mail (what??) so we had to hire a courier to carry them in for us. The courier received our precious documents yesteday and is supposed to be walking them in to the consulate today. Of course this is the busiest time to be doing this; today they are reopened after being closed for 3 days for the Chinese New Year, plus the snowstorm last week, plus they'll be closed Monday for President's Day. Yikes. I just pray our papers don't get lost in the shuffle. We're hoping they'll be ready for the courier to pick them up by the end of next week, then he'll overnight them back to us.
The only document that isn't included in that set is Jeremy's Indiana birth certificate. We were anxiously waiting for his new birth cert since we unknowingly ordered the wrong kind... we weren't expecting it until next week. But we got it on Monday of this week! So we overnighted it to the Indiana Secretary of State (no more road trips) and are expecting it back today. I'm anxiously waiting to hear the Fed Ex truck pull up! Then it'll be overnighted to a courier in Chicago who will take it to the Chicago Chinese Consulate to be authenticated by them. Whew. If all goes as plans, we should be getting everything back from Chicago and New York by the last week in February, I hope!
Once they're back to us, we'll put them with pictures of us (we have to provide very specific types: 3 pictures of us as a couple and 8 of us as a couple WITH other people) and that will complete our Dossier!! It will include: our HOMESTUDY (hugely important), our I800A approval from Homeland Security (hugely important!!!), birth certificates, marriage certificate, employment letters, physician exam forms, background checks, adoption petition and financial statement. Basically our entire lives in writing! We'll mail all that to our agency in Colorado, who will then review it carefully while we pray we did everything correctly. Once it's approved, it will be organized in a folder that represents us as a family and off it will go to China!!! That will be a HUGE deal, because once it's LOGGED IN to China, we'll be eligible for babies with minor special needs and will officially be waiting to be matched with our baby.
Those close to us know that the past few months have been very stressful trying to get all of this taken care of. It's much more involved than the Korean process we went through, and there's been some fumbles along the way. We've spent many days and evenings pouring over applications, filling our forms, searching through instructions, making phone calls... not easy to do with 3 little ones waiting for our attention. We're getting closer to being done with this phase. There's a lot of waiting and more paperwork ahead, but we'll be so thankful when we're finally logged in to China!
Many people ask about the timeline... it's so hard to say, but it's still possible we could be traveling to China sometime this year to get her. It just depends on how smoothly the paperwork flows, so we really appreciate prayers over the whole process!