It’s time for an adoption update! Let me warn you now, while you still have plenty of time to click the mouse and close out the screen before you commit to reading this post, that I don’t have anything terribly exciting to report yet! But a lot of you have been asking how things are going, what we have been doing, and what is left. So, let me update you on our progress!
- We just completed our second (of three) home study visit. This visit went perfectly fine, uneventful, in fact. That’s right, I am sorry to say it was not even blog-post-worthy ( unlike this much more eventful post!). Our social worker interviewed Mike and I separately, asking us questions about our family, childhood, religious beliefs, discipline strategies, hobbies, interests, etc.
- We have gathered most of our paperwork needed for both our home study and dossier Click here for more info about home studies and dossiers! This is a feat and a milestone in and of itself! There are lots and lots of documents which are needed and many involve a third party, making it another “hurry up and wait” process. Some examples of documents we have had to gather include birth and marriage certificates (certified copies, not just from our local city hall…can you say…cha-ching $$$$), police clearances, cori checks, child abuse clearances, employee verification letters, financial and bank information, and reference letters (good thing we have some amazing friends that were willing to say nice things about us!). We had to get physicals (a scheduling and insurance nightmare), get lab work done (6 vials to be exact), and patiently wait while our doc lost the required forms somewhere on his desk, finally found the papers and chicken-scratched the forms saying we are, in fact, healthy enough to adopt! I could go on listing more documents we have gathered and filled out, but let me stop here.
- We have each written an autobiography for our home study. This is a full story of our life, from childhood to present including how we were raised, our education, career, marriage, family and motivation for adopting. This thing took HOURS to write and we celebrated when we both were finished! And in case you are having deja vu, yes this is EXACTLY what our social worker asked us at our last visit! Soooooo…we each spent hours writing a 9 page essay of our life story, made a copy for our social worker to have, and then proceeded to verbally tell her our life story all over again in person!!! Hey, Mike and I have reminisced about our childhood thoroughly now. And come to find out, we both had the same thing to say when asked about things such as how we discipline our kids (I think we still are learning the ropes on that one!), how many alcoholic drinks we consume (does Seltzer with lemon count???), and why we got married. I am confidant we could apply for one of those dating game shows now and win $10,000!!!
- We have taken ALL of our required trainings online. This totaled 15 hours of training and honestly was quite useful (most of them at least!). We are using this time to learn a lot about attachment issues, strategies to use when you first arrive home, transracial families, and even history and culture of China. We have so much more to learn, but our required trainings are complete.
What is next? These are a few of the next milestones we hope to reach in the next few months.
- Our third (and final) home study visit is in a couple weeks. After this visit, we WAIT (again) for our social worker to write up our home study and then we should have a COMPLETE and APPROVED home study!!! YAY!
- Once our home study is approved, we will begin the process of notarizing, certifying and authenticating our documents. Now…I knew what notarizing was, but I would be lying just to make myself look smart if I told you I had any clue what was involved in certifying and authenticating documents. BUT…now I know! So after we notarize, I have to bring the documents to the Secretary of State office in Massachusetts and have them certify each one (basically certifying that the notary is in fact a legal and up-to-date notary). After that, I hire a courier service to deliver each document to the New York consulate in which we will ask for each document to be authenticated (this verifies the legitimacy of the state certification and allows a document from outside of China to be used for legal purposes in China). Phew…sound overwhelming??? Sound expensive??? Ding, ding, ding…YUP!!! But I have read and re-read the instructions, called and emailed with questions and I think I have a handle on this! Let’s see if I screw up!
- Also, after our home study is approved, we have to apply for our immigration approval (known as I800A/797) which will allow our family to adopt from China. This is another insanely complicated, timely and costly endeavor. We are eager to begin the application process as it will take up to 3 months for approval.
- Once we receive the immigration approval, and have it notarized, certified and authenticated (yes…this will be done in a separate batch from all the other documents mentioned above), we will have a COMPLETE DOSSIER! And it will be sent to China (known as DTC…Dossier To China)!!! Soon after it is sent to China, we will hear that we have a Log In Date (LID).
- After we are LID we can begin the matching process! This will be when our agency works with us to find our CHINA LITTLE! This is what it is all about!
Of course, once we are matched with our newest Fitz, we will once again WAIT! But more on that later…
So, there it is. That is what we have been doing for the past 2 months. Well, all that and living life, enjoying the spring weather, and opening our hearts even more for our LITTLE that will soon be here!