Friday, May 9, 2014

We shipped our Dossier! What is a Dossier, you ask?

A Dossier is the collection of documents that is sent to the foreign country that the adoption will take place in. These documents are time sensitive and can take a lot of steps to complete. We started working towards our Dossier in September with the Home Study Process. Each new document that we completed went in a very specific place in our house that would be safe and out of the way. My husband and I protected these documents and never let them out of our sight when we had them out of the house. When others had to work on them we wouldn't let them touch them until we told them EXACTLY how to fill them out. One mistake and the document is invalid. Each document was anxiously awaited for when we had to send them through the mail. I never knew how emotionally attached I could be to these documents. The last week or so I have had trouble sleeping worrying about completing these documents. When I finished the last step of completing our Dossier yesterday I held it together until I got to the car and then I just cried because I was so happy to finally have this part done. This has been an emotional process for sure! Last night was the first great night of sleep that I have had in a long time.

Here is a list of the documents that we had to prepare, Notarize, and Apostille:

Home Study (2 Copies Notarized and Apostilled)
Home Study Agency License (2 copies Notarized as "true and exact copies" and Apostilled)
Social Worker's License (2 copies Notarized as "true and exact copies" and Apostilled)
Certified Marriage Certificate (2 Certified in County of Marriage License, Apostilled in State of Marriage)
Copy of 2013 1040 Tax Form (Notarized as "true and exact copy" and Apostilled)
3 Color Passport Copies per Parent (6 Notarized as "true and exact copy" and Apostilled)
Petition for Adoption (Notarized and Apostilled)
Home Ownership Letter With Real Estate License attached (Notarized and Apostilled (this had to be done
     three separate times due to mistakes...not the Realtor's fault. The Notary's commision expired before we
     could apostille due to delays, etc.))
State Police Clearance (Notarized and Apostilled)
Interpol Background Check (2 Notarized and Apostilled)
Petition to Use Personal Information (Notarized and Apostilled)
Employment Letter (under one month old Notarized and Apostilled)
Power of Attorney (4 non specific Notarized and Apostilled)
Power of Attorney (2 specific Notarized and Apostilled)
Consent (Notarized and Apostilled)
Consent for Adoption (2 Notarized and Apostilled)
Letter of Obligation (2 Notarized and Apostilled)
Medical Exam Report one per parent (2 Notarized and Apostilled)
Copy of I-171H -Notice of Favorable Determination (Immigration Approval) (Notarized as "true and exact
      copy" and Apostilled)

It came out to be 37 separate documents that I shipped today along with other fees and an addendum to our contract. (See time line page).

I've been asked what Apostille means a few times.An Apostille is a form of Authentication/ Certification to be used in countries who are signed as part of the Hague Convention. The process can be different depending on what country the documents will be used in. It is basically a double to check to make sure the the Notary is current on their commission and that they notarized the document correctly. An Apostille does the same thing for certified documents like a Marriage License. An Apostille can only be obtained from the state the document originated in.

Our Dossier is on its way to our Adoption Agency where it will be reviewed for accuracy and then sent on to Ukraine for translation. Once it is translated it will be submitted to the Government office (SDA) that will invite us over to review files of children waiting to be adopted. Now comes the hard part: we wait.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

We received approval from Immigration!

I am excited to say that we received our I-171H approval from Immigration today! It has been a stressful few weeks for us since I posted last. I thought we were on the fast track for getting this document, but shortly after I posted we received a letter from Immigration stating that we needed to provide "Proof of Evidence" for two areas that our Home Study did not cover. I swear our Home Study has been a challenge! It seems that our Home Study Social Worker left out two sections required by Immigration and our Case Worker at our Adoption Agency did not catch this. If you remember this is our third Case Worker with this Adoption Agency and the change happened right as our Home Study was completed. Seems that our Home Study fell through the cracks. Both our Home Study Social Worker and our Case Worker at our Adoption Agency were very apologetic and provided the needed revisions for our Home Study rather quickly, but it still took me writing exactly what I wanted it to say because the revisions were not as clear as I wanted them. While this was happening we had a scare with a work assignment for my husband that would have crushed our adoption plans for this year. After a little over a week of worrying we were able to resolve that issue. We were able to get our fingerprints taken at Immigration and send of our new revised Home Study back to Immigration about a week ago. I've been stalking the poor mail carrier this past week and our approval finally arrived today! When we opened it I just started crying! I was so glad that it had finally came and that all of our problems have been resolved! Unfortunately, our Home Study needs an addendum because it was officially approved over 3 months ago and Ukraine likes all of the documents under 8 weeks old. After that, all we need is James's Employment letter and then notarize and appostille everything. Our Dossier should go out in the next week if all goes well!