Friday, May 25, 2012

Another duh moment

I've been attempting to get our bank letter ready for our final application. In order to do so we needed a total of the amount of deposits for the last 12 months. Scott went to the credit union and got all the paper work for deposits a few days ago. I was going to bring it by the bank today. As I looked over the pages and pages for each month, I recalled someone telling me I'd need to highlight and total each month and bring it in with me. Well, that hadn't been done so I went to work accomplishing this task while sitting in the bank parking lot. Do you know how hard it is to stare at numbers and lots and lots (lots!!) of withdrawals trying to pick out the coveted DEPOSIT? Good grief, my eyes hurt after going through about 100 pages of numbers. Then once I finished I realized at the back page of each month is a statement that tells how many deposits there are. Really? Really. Duh.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I'm a dork

I eagerly sent off for my birth certificate from the state of Georgia. I've been waiting an eternity for it, like 2.5 weeks. I saw the letter in my mail box and was elated! One step closer to finishing the final application. Until I saw this .... I forgot to include a copy of my photo ID. How did I not see this on the form?! I kept telling myself it was not on the application form. I would've seen it. How did I overlook that? Those people in Georgia are wrong. Oh, wait, it was on the form. So now I get to wait another eternity for my certified raised seal copy of my birth certificate. And it looks like they want to charge me an additonal $15.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Working the paper work : International Adoption

To adopt from India we have to go through 3 separate government entities.

1. The State of Alabama.
We are almost finished with our final application.  Once that's complete the agency will prepare our case for the social worker to begin the Home Study. The state requires this order of operation since with India, the state must approve it first because the adoption isn't finalized until we are home from India with our child. The term application sounds like such a simple word but it's actually comprised of many documents, lots of writing, and tons of notarizing. The final application contains the following documentation:

  • Statement of motivation, why we decided to adopt
  • Our child, the child we wish to adopt (age, sex, medical conditions we are willing to accept)
  • Autobiography (at least 6 pages in length. Mine was 8 pages long and took me 10 hours to complete)
  • Birth certificates, Marriage licenses, must be certified, raised seal documents. I had to send off for these from Georgia and Alabama
  • Financial statements itemizing all assets, income, debt
  • Bank letter, notarized
  • Proof of residence, certififed raised seal copy of property deed
  • Employment verification letters on company letter head, notartized
  • Medical exam reports for all family members, notarized
  • Proof of insurance for adopted child
  • Police clearance, notarized. This is not the FBI clearance/finger printing we were also required to complete and send off to DC (that takes 4-6 weeks to complete)
  • Various statements that have to be notarized : conviction statement (citing we have not been convicted of any crimes), child's complexion statement, medical care agreement, fee schedule, complaint resolution, adoption contract.
  • Passport sized photos of Scott and I
  • Six references

2. The Country of India
This is the dossier process which includes documents for CARA (Central Adoption Resource Agency). We can't begin this until after our second meeting with the social worker because many of the documents are time sensitive and we can't collect the data too soon or it may become dated as we wait for one thing or another. Many of the same documents are required that we collected for the final application. 
  • Registration form
  • Statement of motivation
  • Proof of identity: copy of drivers license, copy of passport, birth certificate (separate certified, raised seal document)
  • Marriage certificate (separate certified, raised seal document)
  • Family photograph (I think I can handle this c:)
  • Medical examination and health certificate, notarized. I'm not sure if the exam our doctor's completed for the final application can be used for the Dossier. I need to check on that. 
  • Proof of health insurance
  • Employment verification letters, notarized
  • Financial statements to include bank statements from the last 6 months, notarized
  • Police clearance, notarized
  • Three letters of recommendation, notarized
  • Children's consent, both Katie and Braden will have to write a statement of consent, notarized
  • INS (I171H) Pre Approval, we will receive this once our home study is complete and our finger prints have cleared. 

3. USCIS, aka Immigration
I-800A, this is a complicated document that our agency will help us complete for Immigration. 

Of course this is just the paper work part of the adoption process. We also have to attend adoption education classes, be prepared to make travel arrangements to India, cough up a ton of cash, among other things I'm sure I have forgotten off hand. Shew. Looks like fun, right?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Blank states and shocked faces : International Adoption

Scott and I have officially announced we are adopting from India. Most people look at me like I am absolutely insane when I tell them, blank stares and all. I don't care. Anyone who truly knows me, knows this has been something God placed on my heart as a child. Adopting a girl from India was Scott's choice. I didn't care where our 3rd child came from but I knew God would hand pick her for us when the right time came along. In filling out the final application and deciding which medical needs we are willing to consider, God had placed a burden on my heart for a child with a cleft lip and/or palate. I've mentioned it to Scott a few times in the past week and he said we needed to pray about it. I went to get my hair cut and colored on Wednesday and while I was waiting I saw an issue of National Geographic. I thought that seemed out of place considering salons are usually filled with trash, fashion and hair magazines. I picked it up and flipped to a page with a photo of a child with a cleft lip. I had to take a picture and send it to Scott telling him this was surely a sign from God, right? Then yesterday morning I found an old photography magazine from 2008 in our bathroom. I don't know where it came from but recalled seeing it a few days ago when I tossed it in the trash. I picked it up again and immediately flipped it open to a page with a photo of a child with a cleft lip. I am quite certain God is telling us he wants us to consider a child with a cleft lip. When we complete the section of our application entitled "Our Child" we have to list the medical/special needs we are willing to accept. The list is two pages long and having to choose what we feel is manageable and what we aren't sure we could handle is agonizing. How do I choose which disease, disability, or medical condition my child could possibly have?