So apparently you don't just decide to adopt and sign on the dotted line. Weird.
Baby Steps- LOT & LOTS of baby steps!!!
For those who have thought about the adoption process or are just curious to what we are going through I am going to try my very best to start from the beginning and walk ya'll through it - to the point we are right now. I know parts of the process coming up but not in detail. I am experiencing this adoption education along the way! :)
Step 1~ Request an information packet in the mail. FREE and easy! Lots of great information along with the pricing sheet of what everything will run throughout the process. The agency we use sent a DVD as well for you to get a better picture of their mission.
Step 2~ Apply! The application was typical. Every bit of information about you and your family. Along with referrals from family and friends.
Step 3~ Attend orientation meeting. This was a great meeting with the agency worker. She explained in detail what to expect, answered every question or concern we had and armed us with our notebook of information to read and our "gather list".
Step 4~ Gather List #1 HOME STUDY The Home study is a start to the adoption process which requires gathering paperwork such as copies of marriage certificate, birth certificates, financial reports, adoption petition, employment verification, proof of rabies vaccination of all pets, full physicals and lab work, background checks, septic inspection... much more. You get the picture. PLUS interviews with the social worker. She compiles ALL this information and writes a report then sends it for review to our agency. Once they "OK" it, she will receive it back to make an official report that will be apart of our dossier (fancy french word meaning "bundle of documents") Once this is complete we will receive a fingerprint appointment. We are still waiting for this so you will know when we hear the word :)
Step 5~ Start compiling dossier! Everything must be NO more than 6 months old by the time it reaches the Embassy so timing is key. All the stuff for the home study were copies. Now it's time to play in the big league's. ALL documents including marriage and birth certificates have to be newly (less than 6 months) obtained. Besides those, a dossier consists of all the home study paperwork, an approved 1-800A (application through the USCIS stating you're able to adopt from a convention country, copies of passport, family photos, couples photos and appropriate fees. Obtaining the paperwork is the easy part. But everything has to be notarized superior clerk of court certified, secretary of state certified (for my NC documents they had to take an extra step and be US secretary of state certified), AND Embassy authenticated. As of right now my GA secretary of state documents are certified and on their way back to me. Hopefully they will be here tomorrow or Friday. After I receive them, I will immediately put them in the mail to the Embassy in Houston TX for authentication. My NC documents (as well as Sam's Certificate of Birth Abroad) is in DC right now with a courier getting US secretary of state certified and authenticated by the Embassy there. I'm thinking this process takes about 1-2 weeks. I have a tracking number on the envelope coming back to me so I am psychotically checking USPS every day! haha
More baby steps to come....