Yes, I thought I had all my paperwork done, and I was just waiting for my fingerprint letter from immigration. I some how got it in my head that I needed my I-171H before I sent my documents to Assistant Stork. [For those of you that don't know what that is, it is a courier service that we at Hope Adoption use. After we receive our documents back from the Secretary of State, we put all our documents in order by the dossier cover sheet list. There are more items that we had to have authenticated than what's stated on the dossier cover page, so you just add the extra documents behind similar ones listed. You also have to add birth, marriage, death, and divorce certified copies if applicable. Don't forget to put your passport photos in a separate envelop and label them "passport photos." Then you contact Laura at Asst. Stork and let her know that you are sending your dossier and give her your contact info in case there is a problem. Then you send the appropriate fees with your dossier via DHL, FedEX or UPS to her. My fees were: a personal check to her for $80, a personal check to "US Department of State" for $16, and a certified check to "The Embassy of Ethiopia" for $189.60. I also sent a self-addressed, stamped envelope to her, so she will send me my receipts. She then checks that I have everything and in the correct order. Then she takes it to the State Department in Washington, then to the Ethiopian Embassy...] Now that I've put you to sleep, the whole point of the post was to mention that I did NOT have to wait to send my dossier, and I sent it today!!!!
I took my soon-to-be two-year-old daughter to the grocery store today. She is so vocal. People always ask me how old she is because she talks so well. She also commands attention and will get louder if you ignore her. So, we are on the frozen isle and she is having a conversation with the manager who was stocking. Well, he asks her if she wants a cookie. Like how many kids turn that one down? Duh! Anyway, I pick up my mail from the mailbox when I get home, and there sits a giant envelope on top. The first thought that crossed my mind was, "What did I screw up on USCIS's paperwork this time?" I was bummed until I realized that the packet was from the SOS! Of course the groceries waited in the car until I found out what was in the packet! And today I'm doing the Happy Dance! I received all my documents with authentications from the Texas Scretary of State's office. Now I am just waiting until immigration contacts us for fingerprinting...
Today I sent everthng off. I sent in my completed I600A with a certified check, so hopefully it won't get kicked back. I also sent all my notarized dossier documents to the Secretary of State for authentication with another certified check because eventhough the directions state that checks are accepted, I don't want any more avoidable hold-ups. Now I just hold my breath and hope that everything is as it is supposed to be. So, I'll be waiting for a fingerprinting appointment with INS, and authenticated documents so I can send my completed dossier to Assistant Stork to have re-authenticated at the State Department in Washington.
I guess this is Cullen's weekend. I took her to Houston today for an audition for a summer intensive dance program given by Joffery. After she finished, she told me on the 2 hour drive home that she'd rather go to Big Stuf church camp this summer. ....She could've have told me sooner!
Today my 12 year old went to Lumberton for a band contest. She played a solo piece and an four-person clarinet ensemble. She received "1'S" on both entries! I don't know where she got that talent. I tried to talk her out of band last year. I thought she was just doing something her friends were doing, but the band director called me on the first day of school last year and said Cullen came to his office crying. She really wanted to play the clarinet. Now, she's in Symphonic and Marching band.
I went today to get an official police clearance. That was uneventful, but now I found out that I have to have a state one too, so I scheduled my fingerprints to be taken. Texas is great in that you can schedule fingerprinting online at a location near you.
So... the mail lady rings the door bell, and I answer it. She has a parcel that needs to be signed sent by the USCIS. I thought that was super fast since I just sent off the paper work Friday. I opened it up, and inside was a note stating that they do not accept personal checks. I thought to myself, "Gosh Holly! That was a stupid mistake." I then pulled up the instructions for that form, and wouldn't you know, it states that they do accept personal checks. Oh well! Needless to say, if anyone reads this that wants to adopt, only send a money order or cashier's check! It seems that this is state-dependent, but why take the risk? A cashier's check at my bank only costs $2, and I paid more than that to send my I-600A and now will be paying that again!
There's a Superbowl today? My Cowboys aren't in it, so who cares! I'm too busy freaking out about my dossier list. I don't know if I have it right. I thought it was easy, but so many questions have come up...
Here's my list of Dossier documents:
1. Dossier cover page-notarized 2. Certified copies of birth, marriage, and divorce certificates for you and spouse (not older than 5 years) 3. Copy of most recent tax return with an attached notary letter (just the important pages that tell what you made and what you owe) 4. 3 notarized letters of reference 5. Notarized letter from your employer; or the treasurer, chairman of the board, auditor, or accountant if you own your own business for you and spouse 6. Notarized medical health verification for you and spouse (form letter) 7. Notarized 1 page statement on why you want to adopt from Ethiopia 8. Notarized copy of police clearance for you and spouse (for me, I had to have local and state clearances) 9. Notarized agreement to provide post-placement requirements from HS agancy (This was addressed in my HS, but I had SW print separate page.) 10. Notarized statement that you and spouse will provide post-placement requirements 11. Notarized power of attorney (form letter) 12. Notarized original of home study 13. Notarized copy of HS agency's license (This too was addressed in the HS, but I had my agency print a separate page.) 14. Notarized copy of HS preparer's license (This was in my HS, but I had a separate page.) 15. Notarized bank statement telling how long you've been a member, and account standing. If you are comfortable, you can also include the amounts or an average daily balance. 16. Notarized Child abuse/ neglect clearance from your HS provider (This was in my HS, but my agency printed a copy, added a statement that it was an exact copy of the original document, and notarized it.) 17. Passport photos (do not send to SOS) 18. Hope's License (not notarized! and is in our Yahoo database) Easy, huh? I'm not finished! All of the "notarized" documents must be sent to the Secretary of State in Texas. If your documents were notarized by someone not in your state, then it has to be sent to the SOS in the state where the notary is registered for authentication. The good news is that Certified birth, marriage, and divorce records do not have to be authenticated at the state level because they are recordable documents. The TX SOS web site has a form to be filled out and printed for each different notary, and there is a maximum fee per child! Oh! Don't forget to make a copy of your dossier! It needs to be sent to Hope. (I forgot because I was so excited to have it done!)
I decided to send off my I-600A today. All that is an application for advanced processing of orphan petition when you do not have a specific child in mind. You fill it out per the instructions, and include copies (just copies!) of birth, marriage, divorce and death certificates for you and your spouse (if applicable). The home study is also attached, but some states will allow you to send that at a later date. Don't forget the fee!!! That is $670+ 80 for every adult living in the home. (The $80 dollar fee is for finger printing...) All of this gets mailed to the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) office near you. They will give you an appointment to be finger printed, and when approved, you receive an I-171H. This paper is like gold, and you must have it to travel.
I just had to put one of these on my blog. I think it's amazing knowing that people from all around the world have viewed my blog. I hope each and every one of you enjoy it and maybe learn something in the process... Please leave me a comment and tell me where you are from!