Saturday, February 26, 2011

paperwork update

This month finds us wrapping up our dossier paperwork. We received our approval from USCIS on February 3. The time from mailing the I600A application to approval was 9 weeks. Also at the start of February we requested that our agency send us some paperwork needed for our dossier, and those papers arrived February 17. While we were waiting for the papers, we redid a few things that weren't notarized quite right. Then when the last papers arrived, we compiled the dossier and sent in a copy to our agency for a final check. We got the go-ahead on February 23, and today we went to Fed-Ex, made three copies of everything, and sent all our original paperwork to Washington DC to be authenticated. We're using an expediter, so we should get the authentications from both the Department of State and the Ethiopian Embassy within 3 business days of receipt.
We have been in this process for about seven months now, but we're almost done! It's taken us a long time to get here, mostly because I didn't understand when we started that we could be working on several things simultaneously. Our homestudy agency always referred to finishing the homestudy and then "handing us off" to the next agency to do our dossier, so I didn't realize I could have started on the dossier while the homestudy was still being written. The dossier instructions had sequential steps, so I didn't think to work on several parts at once. So to anyone out there who is just starting out: if you are in a rush, know that you can multi-task.
But really the delays have been a blessing in disguise (note: this is the first and only time I will use the word "blessing" on my blog). These extra months have allowed us to gain from the wisdom of parents who have been there. Especially in December and January there were some amazing conversations about ethics on the online forums. I think if we'd gotten everything sent off and then started learning about these ethical issues, we might have felt really disappointed. Instead we are already prepared for the fact that submitting our dossier will likely not be the last paperwork we do. Nothing's been decided yet, but we are thinking seriously about making some changes.
If all goes well, my next post should be about our authenticated dossier being accepted by our agency.


  1. Congrats on being almost done with paperwork!

  2. I completely agree and wish that I had done more than one thing at once. If I ever do this again, I will be much wiser! Good luck in your decision-making process. I know it's tough to change your request, but I've been following your blog and know you've done the research and will make the right decision for you.

  3. COngrats on being so close! It took us about 7 months to get on the Waiting List, and I felt like we were moving pretty quickly at the time. Our homestudy case manager also told us to the homestudy first...oh well.

    I'm sure whatever decision you make will be well-informed and just right for you. Like Kristin said, you have given this a ton of thought and it's clear you've done the research. I can't wait to hear what you decide!

  4. I too am an agnostic person who has adopted and is adopting again. My son is from Guatemala (home in March 2007), and I completed my dossier for Ethiopia about a month ago. I'll be following your blog closely! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Thanks, everyone! It's so nice to be part of this online support group!
    Liz, thanks for the link to my blog!
    Susan, do you have a blog?

  6. I don't have a blog (somedays I think I'm the only one!). If ever I start one, I'll be sure to let you know. My agency is WHFC too, so maybe our paths will cross during the Ethiopia waiting/traveling process.

  7. Congratulations on getting the paperwork done. You are so very thoughtful about the whole process and really are a model for what every adopter should be like.
    But I was actually motivated to comment this time because of your sentence about the word "blessing." I actually love the word blessing - but feel as an agnostic that it is now off-limits to me. Has the word always been completely religious???? Blessing, blessing, blessing. Wow, that feels good.