Thursday, December 07, 2006

Dossier--French for DONE!

50 notarized papers. 2 authenticated documents. 2 letters. 6 sets of photos. Yesterday we took our completed, notarized, authenticated, triplicate, quadruple-checked dossier to our agency! We are DONE with the paper-chasing and the notarizing and the nickel-and-diming fees per copy.

First we had to go to the Secretary of State’s office in Salem to get two documents authenticated. I believe they are basically confirming that the notarization was valid. Honestly, I didn’t even look at the seal and paper they added! I just stuck it in my bag. The whole thing took about five minutes and cost the easiest $20 any paper has cost so far—the last one is always more fun!

Next we made a quick stop in Target to scout some baby gear, which I’ll get into in another post. Then up to OHSU for Aaron’s eye appointment, but his appointment somehow wasn’t in the computer and they were busy, so she said we might as well go get lunch or whatever and come back later. We went out to the agency then instead of after the appointment. I declare that Banks, Oregon, is officially beautiful country and a cute town. We (well, I—Aaron still doesn’t have new glasses) could even see Mt. Hood this time as we came back toward Portland and from up by the hospital. I’m glad we got to go to the agency and meet three of the staff. We chit-chatted about traveling to and in Ethiopia and saw some photos and maps. And, of course, left behind a large sum of money (but thank you to those who did help reduce it greatly!).

What happens now? Today two of our documents will be overnighted to Washington, DC, for approval at the State Department and Ethiopian embassy. They should be returned to the agency in five to ten days. Then two copies of our dossier are sent to Ethiopia. This takes four days, and we will get a tracking number so I can obsess over exactly when they arrive and we are officially on the orphanage "waiting for referral" list. Obsessing is a key part of adoption, you know . . .

Oh, and how did we celebrate? With nature's greatest food: pumpkin pie milkshakes from Jack-in-the-Box!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Your Request Has Been Approved!

I went out to the mailbox Friday and . . . We got it! We got it! We got it! I burst into Aaron’s home office room and scared him half to death. But who cares? We got our I-171H!

I know I-171H probably doesn’t mean much to you, but it’s less of a mouthful than “notice of favorable determination concerning application for advance processing of orphan petition.” This is the immigration form we’ve been waiting for so we can send in our dossier, the one I thought might not arrive for two or three more weeks. It’s sort of a pre-approval for a visa to bring a child into the U.S. to adopt.

We have a few things to do to complete our dossier, but we should be able to do it this week. We need to make some notarized “true copies” of this. I need to put the final touches on our letters to the Ethiopian government and orphanage board introducing ourselves and telling what age child we want to adopt and why and get these and a couple other forms notarized. This immigration form we just got and a power of attorney letter must be “authenticated” at the state level—at an office in Salem. Since Aaron has an eye doctor appointment (of course!) on Thursday, we will get that done in Salem on the way up to Portland. Assuming that works out, after his appointment we can go out to the Dove office (about 20 miles west of Portland) and drop off the dossier!

Friday afternoon I posted that we’d received our I-171H in an online forum for Ethiopia adopters I’m in (the small one with mostly people using our agency). Now, I-171H means something to these people—I got a flurry of congratulations. I also called the Dove office to make sure I understood what needed to be authenticated, and they were really excited for us too. It was really nice to share with others who have been where we are. There are some things only adoption people understand.

I will explain the next steps soon, but the hopeful bottom line is this: We could be on the “waiting for referral” list in Ethiopia by New Year’s after all!