How exciting - we are officially past the first step in the adoption process! We received the finalized homestudy today. We went to the post office to pick it up, put one of the notarized copies in the envelope to USCIS (Citizenship and Immigration Services) and got right back in line to mail off the I600A (application for advance processing of orphan petition). It will be received in Texas by 3PM on Monday. The government website says processing takes 2.5 months, but I've heard it can be faster.
Our homestudy was delayed a few extra days because we found out that Wide Horizons has a rule that requests for siblings must cover a 4-year range. We had originally put 12-36 months on our application, and we had to change it to 0-48 months. When our homestudy agency told us (it seemed to be news to them, too), Tabb agreed pretty quickly, but I took a couple of extra days just to sleep on it and make sure I was OK with it. Then on Tuesday I realized (on a beautiful walk home from work) that my uncertainty about changing the numbers on our homestudy had nothing to do with the ages of the children we want or feel able to parent, and everything to do with wanting to feel like I can control something in this process. Which is silly, because if there's one thing I know about international adoption it's that I can't control anything. And this realization was a very nice feeling, because I really love those rare moments when I feel that things are completely out of my control. It's so freeing.
Our final homestudy says one child 12-36 months or siblings 0-48 months.