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…my true love gave to me – 2 tix to Russia and a picture of a new baby.

Due in large part to busyness but mainly due to my inability to string together three syllables to make a word MUCH LESS a sentence, today you have the second installment of our adoption journey in bringing home our [now] seven year old princess.  This entry is from 2004:

The Paperwork

I was wrong yesterday.  THIS may be the most boring part of the story…but I forge ahead…

The process of adoption starts will 87,000 questions:  domestic or international? private or agency?  open or closed? special needs?  biracial?  abused?  boy?  girl?   We chose to pursue international adoption from Russia because we felt that it best met our needs and because it couldn’t be reversed seven years later by some crazy liberal judge in Florida.  Our homestudy was complete including letters of reference and background checks, and we had selected a large, established agency.    After completing four pages of personal information and sending the first of many checks, we received “the packet.”

“The packet” is not a legal size envelope containing a few forms.  “The packet” is, in fact, a 3″ three ring binder and CD ROM with blank forms!  I remember FedEx at my door with this big box.  I thought someone had sent me a gift…nope, just instructions for creating our dossier.  Many of us are familiar with day to day paperwork at home or in the office, but unless you’ve dealt with international adoption red tape, you can’t imagine THIS headache!

The dossier required that in addition to the 7 forms we had to complete and sign, we also had to collect the following:

  • Form I1171H – which necessitated two trips to the local  INS office and one trip to the closest regional INS office – less than two hours away thank Heaven
  • Police clearance – obtained from to the County Sheriff’s office (one for each of us)
  • Marriage Certificate – only one trip to the County Probate court (2 originals)
  • Divorce Decree – (since I was married once before) – one trip to the County Family court
  • Birth Certificate – Thank Heaven this can be done online!  We needed 2 originals for each of us
  • Certificate of Assets – This had to be completed by a CPA (…that sound you hear is another $150 being flushed).  A photocopy of the accountant’s license had to accompany the completed forms.
  • The deed to our house – can renters not adopt?!
  • Reference letters from each of our employers – stating our annual salary and that we were dependable.
  • Passport page with photo – Three copies for each of us with statement that this is a true copy, blah, blah, blah
  • Eight color photos of us, our home, the child’s room FURNISHED (more on this cruelty later)
  • Form from doctor stating that each is in good health.  Copy of doctor’s medical license.
  • Home study, home study agency license, recommendation letter, verification letter

Did I mention that this must be done in DUPLICATE?  Did you know “in duplicate” does not mean I can make one dossier and photocopy it?  It means I have to have alllllll these papers compiled as originals TWICE.  Oh, and every form must be signed and notarized and then the Secretary of State’s office has to apostille (certify that they are certified…don’t ask) each document.  AND each form has an expiration date!  Some (medical, police, and employer) expired every three months.

Now, I’ve spent a career in banking and can push papers with the best of them, but THIS was a real challenge!  Even now, I am still rebelling against record keeping at home.  I think it’s because I burned out on the paperwork phase.

Paperwork complete and my bank account a little lighter from the massive copying, notarizing, and FedExing fees, we are settled in to wait.  And wait we did.