Paperwork Blur.

In the past few months, D has been out of the country a lot. So much so that I had to start a new job, and interview for a different job, with him overseas. It meant that a lot of our paperwork has been put on hold for the past month (hence no update since I was all frazzled and lonely). But now that he has been back and settled for a week without dashing off somewhere, we were able to submit our approval application to Custom and Immigration Services for permission to adopt from South Africa.

The I800-A is pretty straight forward – it is basically confirming some basic information: who are you, who is your spouse, have you been arrested, have you adopted before? It asks for the adoption requirements of your home state, and you need to send some supplementary documents with the applications (proof of existence such as a passport copy, proof of marriage, your notarized home study, etc.). We had it mailed over and are waiting for confirmation via email that it was received (yet another supplemental form that you can fill out).

At this point, we have a notary appointment tomorrow to get the rest of the documents finished in a timely manner. I am hoping that we can send everything in our dossier to our international adoption agency excepting the USCIS I800-A approval by the end of August. D is expecting to be out of the country again starting in September for his work (including two weeks in Paris for some training over Thanksgiving – I would be jealous, but I may go to get and meet up with him for part of it). We are also considering getting POA tomorrow in addition to the notarizations so that if he is out of country when our approval comes in, I can sign for him and get it notarized/apostiled, and sent out before he comes home again.

No clue how long it may take us to get the approval, but I’m secretly hoping we can have the dossier in South Africa by early October. We’ll probably have to do the home study again within 6-8 months – there are some delays happening in country with international adoptions – but at least it will only be an update and all these scary, starter stuff will be behind us!

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Phase II – The Dossier

So we are finally at PHASE TWO of this paperwork process. Our family physician gave us a bit of a hard time about the paperwork – he wanted us to come in to follow up on our bloodwork in order to get the medical forms we needed to finalize the home study. Except that we did not really go over anything. We just waited around in the office while he finished up the paperwork, which I had to constantly correct as he and the notary kept forgetting to fill out important sections.

But, now our home study has everything, including the official offer letter for my new job! (That’s right! I am officially a new federal employee, which means benefits and income so we can continue onward with the adoption.) Our social worker has said we can expect our final copy of the home study hopefully sometime next week.

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Busy Spring Bees

So busy that I have been too busy to post.

I have now officially graduated from my Masters program. Additionally, I am now officially unemployed as my assistant position at the University finished as well. This should not affect the adoption process as we know it as I am looking for full-time work. Lucky for me, I got a call literally 30 minutes before the graduation ceremony started for an interview this Wednesday! Asking for good thoughts and prayers, whatever you can send! The place I am interviewing with is exceptionally ideal as they have some flexible hours and daycare in the building – this would be great for a family that needs a lot of extra support like ours will.

As for the adoption, we are literally just waiting on the updated medical paperwork for our home study to be officially approved. We’re filling out the I800-A application so that we can mail it immediately. I’m hoping we can get it out soon so that our fingerprinting appointment will come before D goes out of the country for work again.

Will probably have a little more information in a week or two, settling in to cleaning up the house and refiling all our paperwork properly in our office. Our adoption paperwork is a bit scattered due to my finals frenzy, so I’m going to concentrate on pulling that together on my first week off.

Almost.

Our home study phase is so close to being done that I can feel it. Literally. A draft of our home study is now in our hands so that we can go over the factual errors and send back our corrections back. It is not the last step – we have to wait for clearances to come back from our home states as well as set up an appointment to get new medical checkups. But our life insurance policies have been approved and it is all coming together. So almost.

Close enough that D and I are going to start prepping our I800-A application so it is ready to go to USCIS as soon as it can be sent. And while we are waiting, we will be working on our dossier. Mostly we have a lot of the paperwork, we just need to get it apostilled. That can take awhile, so I’ll be sending out things like my birth certificates and our marriage license to my home state to be apostilled, while working to take our local documents (bank affidavits, medical forms) to the county house to be apostilled there.

I also need to send a new application in for my passport straight away – my current passport still has my maiden name and the dossier must have every piece of paperwork in the same name. Tomorrow will properly be the day for me to go to the post office and take care of that at least.

With each day, D is getting more and more eager to finally have kids that we can play with. He is already wanting us to prep for adopting our second (since it takes so long, we may need to start the process shortly after coming back from SA). When he brings it up, I laugh and ask him to concentrate on getting this adoption finalized first. I had to pick him up from the airport late late last night (D was abroad for work) and had visions of our family a year or two from now, with a little one waiting eagerly for daddy to come through immigration. Scenes like this play over and over in my mind as I scramble to graduate and finish our adoption paperwork all in one month. It brings a smile to my face. We are so ready for this family to grow.

Quick Update

Not a lot of time to be posting as my semester continues to ramp up in intensity before I graduate. But just a quick update as to how this is going along:

As I have said before, our home study process has taken a lot longer to go through than we had originally intended for many reasons – new jobs, sick pets, family tragedies and so on. This has given us time to constantly recommit to the process of adoption.

This also means some of our paperwork is now too old.

D and I had hoped that we’d be done in 4-5 months. We’re pushing 9 months. That means our police clearances and medical reports are now getting a little too old to be used for a home study, let alone our South Africa dossier. While our social worker finishes writing up our home study (the last meeting went wonderfully, btw), we are resubmitting for clearances this weekend and working to meet with our PCP soon after. But that is it and then we can put in our application to US Custom and Immigration Services for international adoption approval.

This is a little complicated because D was supposed to be in Asia for work originally on Monday, then next Sunday, and now possibly the Sunday after that instead. It may be that he does not go at all, but the confusion and constant changes of dates makes it hard to arrange for paperwork that needs official signatures and what not. But there is an end in sight and we should have our dossier in South Africa no later than this summer!

Adoption Fashion Faux Pas

A great reminder that the story of adoption should be not focused entirely on the parents. That circumstances and the whys of adoption is something that the child gets to decide to share. Adoption already has too many stigmas attached to it – why add more?

Please Reconsider That T-Shirt sums it up nicely. A brief excerpt:

Then add the presence of one of the t-shirts, pushing him into the spotlight further and without his consent, and it screams, “THIS KID WAS AN ORPHAN!” It makes the child, even if unintentionally, the poster child for international adoption or for orphan care. Yes, the child instantly becomes an advertisement for adoption.

Beyond the issue of elevating the child as an ambassador for international adoption, these t-shirts connote far more than the actual words and graphics. Strangers and others start seeing the child as a service project. Or view the first grader as a charity case rather than a boy who likes Legos like his friends. Or perhaps others will believe the child is continually in need of saving or rescuing, given that the a-parents wear these t-shirts again and again and again. Some will fail to see the child as any other child but rather first as an orphan in need of pity.