Sunday, February 3, 2013

Paperwork Progress.... Kinda Sorta.

So.  Never a dull moment in the adoption paper chase.   We've had some serious ups and downs in the past few weeks.  In a nutshell, we're working on our "Dossier", which is a collection of paperwork that will be sent to China to convince them we're worthy.  Collection includes: birth and marriage certs, employment verifications (I have to get a CPA to verify that I tutor a few hours a week), police background checks, physical exams reports, homestudy report, adoption petition and financial statement.  We had the majority of this collected (so we thought).  These documents then have to all be notarized, certified by the County, certified by the Secretary of State and then authenticated by the Chinese Consulate in New York.  Yikes.  Lots of little steps that add up to lots of time, but we thought we were on top of it. 

Then we realized that we had them notarized incorrectly (there's more than one way?!?!)... and Jeremy's birth certificate was not the right kind (there's more than one kind?!?!), and our marriage certifcate was not signed by the judge (really??).  So we literally had to start over on the majority of our documents, placing new orders and begging our doctors, employers, CPA, and local police to redo what they had already done for us.  Not impossible, but a lot more work and time.   Sigh. 

But we thought it wasn't a HUGE deal because in the meantime, we were also waiting for approval from USCIS (U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services/Homeland Security) to adopt a foreign child, which wasn't supposed to come until end of Feb at the earliest, but probably more like end of March.  We can't submit our Dossier until we have that approval, so we thought we had a cushion of time to redo things and get it right, and that would be our final piece.  WRONG!  What we learned through Allie's process is that completely unexpected things happen in the adoption world all the time.  I opened the mailbox on Friday hoping to get Jer's new birth cert or his new doctor form... instead I discovered we already have our approval from USCIS!!  This is CRAZY.  We just went for our fingerprints at the federal building last week, which is needed as part of the approval process from USCIS.  We were told it takes 3 months usually to hear back from them.  We got our approval after only 5 weeks total!!!  Totally unexpected but really exciting. 

The downside is that if we hadn't had the paperwork fiascos with everything else, then we could submit our Dossier WAY WAY sooner than we originally thought.  However, we're still waiting on two more documents, then we have to have it all notarized, certified and authenticated. Even still, this should help move things along a little quicker than we originally had thought.  And having approval from USCIS is AWESOME and one less thing to worry about and wait for.

It seems that our hangout is going to be Jeremy's new birth cert... for some reason they are backed up on orders.  So fingers crossed that it comes through in the next week or two!

It is a little crazy to see it in writing that we are approved from the US to adopt from China!

When I got this out of the mailbox, there may have just been some screams joy/disbelief and a few tears... and I may or may not have been told to stop by my 4 year old who said I was being "annoying."

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