Tag Archives: paperwork

Dossier

First of all, Lu at Poppies Blooming was kind enough to put together this blog makeover for me! AND, she also made us a button that you can grab and put on your blog or website. Thanks, Lu!

We get a lot of questions about when we’re bring Erika and Ilya home and where exactly we are in the adoption process. I know that not everyone knows the ins and outs of the adoption process or the country that we’re working with. I am not allowed to name what country we’re adopting from and if you do know, please refrain from mentioning it in the comments. Instead of working with an agency, we’re working with a team of volunteers from Reece’s Rainbow and an independent facilitator to put together a dossier to send to Erika and Ilya’s country.

A dossier is a packet of papers that explains our hope to adopt them, how we can provide for him, exactly who we are and also has all of our police clearances and permission from the US for us to adopt. A big packet of papers. Each paper in the dossier must be carefully put together, signed, notarized and apostilled. An apostille is a silly piece of paper attached to a notarized document saying that the notary is really a notary, and confirms the details of the notary’s appointment. This is something that we get from the Secretary of State in Topeka.

Many of the papers in our dossier are papers that just Aaron and I needed to sign and have notarized. I think that we have all of these papers done, with the exception of one which will need to be redone. There are several more papers which we also need to include in our dossier, which we need to rely on others for. One such document is a letter from Aaron’s employer confirming his employment and salary. Other documents that we need to get from other people include our medical forms, Kansas Bureau of Investigation clearances, proof of home ownership, etc.

Once our dossier is completed, we will mail it to Erika and Ilya’s country. It will be translated into their language and submitted to the proper authorities. After a couple of weeks, we’ll get a travel date, which will be 10-30 days out.

I really haven’t answered anyone’s question about WHEN we might travel yet. The magical paper that will probably determine when we travel is our I-171H. This is the paper from immigration saying that we have their permission to bring two children into the country. To get the I-171H, we sent a form to immigration about a month ago. Once immigration gets our homestudy, they will give us a fingerprinting appointment. Then, we wait and wait for our I-171H. I’ve heard that this can take 2-3 months. I imagine we’re talking at least another month before our fingerprinting appointment. So this would put us in about October. Which is what we want.

We’re hoping to mail our dossier in October and travel in November. As much as I’d love to go sooner, Aaron has a very important exam on October 30th, that he has to be here for. There are a few other ways that we could work around that date, but we’ll just have to see…

I have to admit that I’ve been frustrated lately. On Friday, I went to pick up my medical form from the doctor’s office. And there were several mistakes on it. Most of which were stupid mistakes, mistakes which I think the staff at the doctor’s office made because they were busy or thought the directions were too complicated. So now, it has to be redone.

I got a letter in the mail today from the IRS. I got excited, thinking it was finally our tax refund… a very large check. I opened it and it was saying that they were reviewing our case and it could be up to 45 days because we hear from them again, with our check or requesting more information.

And I’ve been really frustrated with the fundraisers. We’ve had one person buy coffee, one person interested in a t-shirt and one person who was interested in the photography sessions, as of this afternoon. Thanks to a sweet friend not only saying she’d like a session, but also sharing it on her facebook, we now have three families interested in photo sessions. I am so grateful to my friend Amy for this wonderful idea and offering to do it, and also to those of you who have shared it with others!

I really should be more positive about everything though. We have our final homestudy meeting tomorrow. We got our passports on Saturday. We also went to several garage sales on Saturday morning and found some clothes for Erika, a pair of pants for Ilya and a few toys and books, too… spent around $11 for 3 little girl outfits and 2 pairs of shoes, one little boy pair of pants, four books, building blocks and a train set. And on Sunday, we scored a double Baby Jogger off of Craigslist, which just needs one of its tires repaired, something Aaron can easily do… $30.

I’ve had a couple of comments, that I’d like to address…


I don’t know if this little girl is who I think she is but if she is, she has a sister. You might want to go check it out 🙂
The little girl listed on that website is, in fact, the same little girl we’re adopting, but they are incorrect in listing them as sisters. I checked with Andrea at Reece’s Rainbow. Both of their birthdates are correct and they are not related. Darya does look very sweet and she is available for adoption through Reece’s Rainbow. She is listed here in orphanage 33.

So does this mean that the children know that you want to adopt them now? How exciting, one step closer! 
I wish that they knew, but they do not know and they will not know until we arrive there and we meet them.

Please feel free to leave question in the comments! I am happy to answer them if I can.

YAY!

Today, our Child Specific Petition and Power of Attorney forms arrived in the country we’re adopting from. This is the first bit of the paperwork that announces that we’re coming! That we want to adopt Erika and Ilya. Once it is submitted, no other family can try to adopt them internationally, I think. Another family in their own country could still adopt them though. Or they could be pulled into foster care, like Quinn was.

We’ve completed 3/4s of our homestudy. Just one meeting left! So, right now, we are waiting on our passports, waiting on our fingerprinting appointment for immigration and waiting to finish up our homestudy. We’re also looking into loans to get the money we’ll need to complete the adoption.

Does anyone need a cute photo? Hmm… I could always use one…

LONG day

Today was a long, tiring day. I got up earlier than usual to drive over to Topeka, which is about a half hour away, to get some documents apostilled. I had another errand to run in Topeka, too, so that took up my morning.

I headed back to Lawrence to get my physical done for the adoption paperwork. That took quite a while, over an hour. Which might not seem like that long, but most of that time was waiting, only 15 minutes or so was actual time with the doctor/nurse/phlebotomist. I got done there around 2, drove home, across town, stopped for another errand, got home about 2:30.

BUT, at 3:15, I had to leave to go to our home study appointment, which was at 4 in the KC area. Fortunately, Aaron came home and drove over with me, because I hadn’t eaten lunch… I had spent my 45 minutes letting the dogs out, making phone calls, responding to emails, and printing things off.

4-6 was our home study appointment. That was good, fortunately she asked us lots of questions, or I don’t know how well I would have stayed awake. Then, after the home study, I had to go by FedEx Office and mail our apostilled documents from earlier in the day. Done by 7:30. Finally, home by 8:15. Ate dinner. Sat on the sofa. Then, had to take the dogs out to the park, of course. Because, they had literally spent almost the whole day in their crates.

WHOA. So much got done today, but I’d prefer not to repeat it. At least any time soon. I am working my way through the paperwork… waiting on Aaron to get the cashier’s check to mail the USCIS paperwork, waiting to get our passports back to do much of the dossier paperwork…

Homestudy?

A lot of people have asked us about our homestudy– what it is, what we have to do, etc. The purpose of a homestudy is to get a homestudy report, to mail with all of the rest of your paperwork to the country that you are adopting from. The report tells about your family, why you will be good adoptive parents, who you should adopt, etc.

To do a homestudy, you have to find a licensed social worker, licensed in home studies that is. When I was  searching for our social worker, it was not easy! This is partly because I was looking the Kansas City area, and social workers are licensed by state, so I would find some licensed in Missouri and not in Kansas. But, anyways, I asked potential social workers lots of questions BEFORE picking one. About our ages, length of marriage, finances, all of that, to check and see if any of it would be a problem for her.

Once I picked someone, the first thing that she did was mail us oodles of paperwork, some of it which needed to be completed before we met with her at all. What we needed to get done before we met her: application to work with her, financial sheet & autobiographies for both of us. Other paperwork included: info for reference letters, medical forms, HR letters, etc.

We had to write our autobiographies. There were lots of questions (four pages worth) to work with. Questions about our family of origin, schooling, childhood, spirituality, spouse, pets, EVERYTHING. My autobiography was like 6 or 8 pages… I think Aaron’s was 4.

I can’t tell you much about the financial info we had to fill out– Aaron did that all. But, it was mostly budget, etc.

Now that we had the preliminary stuff done, we mailed it all back to her and then scheduled our first meeting. And in the meantime, I started bugging everyone for reference letters.

Our first meeting was two hours, it was a lot of listening to her speak about adoption. The challenges. Things to consider. Honestly, it was nothing new, because I have read SO MUCH– books, articles online, blogs, accounts from parents, even corresponding with adoptive parents. And, I highly recommend that if you ever decide to adopt. READ EVERYTHING. It was nice to sit there and have everything reinforced, not hearing it from the first time and trying to commit it to memory.

We have three more meetings with her. Two in her office and one in our house. She told us it will be more questions for us. Judging by the few questions that she did ask, I expect it is very therapist-style, if you know what I mean. The few questions that she asked us reminded me of our pre-martial counseling which we did. Questions like: “What did your parents do that you liked? What would you change for your own parenting style?” “Why do you want to have children? What do you enjoy about children?” “What made you decide to pursue adoption?”

I hope that I am not wrong in saying this, but I am not too stressed about the homestudy. Not TOO stressed. I don’t think it is so much a test of whether you are fit as it is an educational experience about how adoption works and to get us thinking about the questions which we need to ask before we will bring children home. I do think it is a lot like pre-marital counseling, but in the end, there is a report that gets written up on your adoption & sent to the children’s country.

I hope this helps shed light on the homestudy, and what we’ve been up to lately.