When we first began this adoption we were told it was about a 9 month process from start to finish. And of course, thinking we were exceptional people we just knew we could get it done in 6 months. Then our FBI back ground checks took two and a half months. So our homestudy took longer than that. We committed to adopting Danny in April, so September marks the sixth month we have been in this process. Obviously we are not as exceptional as we thought! (PS: I totally wish I was one of those people who kept a list running of specific dates when things happend. It's pretty vague since I'm not that organized.)
After we signed our commitment papers and sent our first checks in we learned that 9 months really isn't typical....12 to 14 months is much more the "norm." So here we are, six months later. This could, God willing, mark the halfway point in our adoption! I can't tell you how excited this makes me! So what happens next for us? Here is a quick outline to keep you up to date:
1. We are waiting on three pieces of mail to reach us. These include a form from our social worker, a form from our local agency who will be performing our follow up home studies, and our Golden Ticket! (The golden ticket is our immigration approval, called such because it's actually printed on gold paper.)
2. Once we receive all three of these items Wes and I have to get everything notarized. When I say everything I mean literally about 50 pieces of paper.
3. After notary we get everything apostilled. This is where it will get a little tricky for us. Since all the items we have from our social worker and local agency are notarized in Texas they must be apostilled in TX. I'm totally down with that, because there is an awesome outlet mall on the way to Austin! The tricky part is that since Wes is in Connecticut we are planning to do all of our signing in front of a notary there...and all those forms will have to be apostilled in CT! Here in TX you can sit and wait and talk to a very nice lady while she takes care of the apostille for you. In CT you can't. You must either mail them in or drop them off, but you can't wait for them to be completed. If you can't come back in person in a few days then they will mail them to you.
4. Once all the fun of step 3 is complete we will then ship our entire dossier (packet of required documents) to Danny's country!
5. Someone will translate all of these pages into a language much like Russian, complete with crazy alphabet.
6. Our dossier will be submitted to the Ministry of Justice of Danny's Country.....THEN....
7. We get a referral to go meet him! (This is the most exciting step so far!)
8. We travel to meet him...when? I'm not sure yet, but something in my heart says we won't be here for Thanksgiving, and yet will be so thankful!
9. Mail more documents
11. Bring my boy home!
We are hoping and praying to have steps 1-4 completed by October 14th and ship our dossier out for delivery early the following week. I know this still feels like so much (believe me, it does!) but I also feel like we are on the home stretch at this point. We are both so thrilled to think that we could be meeting our son in just a few weeks! Think about it, Thanksgiving is only 8 weeks away!
Will you please pray that our final missing documents reach us this weekend, and that I have safe travels in getting everything finalized and ready to go, and also when I see Wes in a week. Please also keep our sweet social worker in your prayers. She does good work helping families like us get ready to adopt, and she is constantly under attack by evil.
Finally, will you also do the happy dance that our USCIS approval seems to be coming back in record time!