Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Paper chase update

Nothing that's huge news to tell, but I figured that I'd update anyway.  We're plugging away at all the very exciting (sarcasm) details involved with the paper process:

  • 8 passport photos each - check.
  • Employment and income verification letter received and notarized - check.
  • Bank letter (notarized) with 3 months of statements - check.
  • Labs drawn for HIV, hepatitis & syphillis - check.
  • Mark's birth certificate mailed back to CA for authentication - check.
  • Additional birth certificates ordered - check.
  • Marriage license found - check.
  • Photos of home and family printed, assembled onto pages, and color copied - check.
  • Copies done of passports and drivers licenses - check.
  • Mobile notary with acceptable expiration found (that wasn't easy), hired, and met at my doctor's office to notarize her signature with her letter clearing my health - check.
  • TB test documented for Mark and performed for me - check.
  • Legal information researched, immigration office called to consult with, and information gathered to decide on which USCIS paperwork to use for our situation - check.
  • Doctor letters verifying each of our kids' health received - check.
  • Letters of recommendation from 4 families requested - check.
  • Letter requested from health insurance company verifying that our future child will have coverage immediately upon us taking custody (I had to be pushy/insistent that a document of credible coverage wasn't sufficient).  It has taken weeks to get the letter written and is currently "under review" before it can be sent out to us - almost a check.
  • Last 3 years of taxes copied - check.
  • Notarized local police clearance - check.
  • Judicial and reciprocal power of attorney letters typed, but not yet notarized.
So!  As you can see we've been busy trying to attack this paperwork.  Mark took a fasting blood test today that his doctor required in conjunction with his physical that is scheduled this week.  Mark found a notary in his office building that is willing to come to his doctor appointment to notarize his doctor's signature on his medical letter Friday also.  Once that is done and we finally receive the letter from our health insurance company then our home study documents will be complete and our case worker can finish writing up our home study!

Once our home study is complete we can turn in our I-800a application to immigration.  They will send us an assigned date for more fingerprinting and once that is done we'll wait on their favorable determination letter.  That is what will be holding up our dossier at that point since we are close to having all the other documents that we need for that to be complete.

Once our dossier is complete it will have to be authenticated and translated before it can be sent to Haiti.  So that's where we are in the process!  We're definitely in the hurry up and wait part of the adoption process.  We feel like we're frantically hurrying to get together all the paperwork we need...so that we can start waiting :)

Friday, February 6, 2015

Pain in the butt, BUT...

Some days I'm less enthused than others about having to start this paper chase part of the process over again.  New background checks (no we didn't become criminals in the last 2 years).  Asking the same people to write another letter of recommendation.  Getting new physicals and letters from employers.  Notarizing every document under the sun etc, etc...

You get the idea.  It's a bit tedious.  Then there's that BUT...

BUT I still feel like there has been His hand in the timing of things.  And here is yet another way I've seen that:

When we found out that our adoption journey with Ethiopia could no longer continue and decided that adopting from Haiti was the right thing for our family...the next step was choosing an agency.  After researching online and communicating with several families who had adopted or were in the adoption process from Haiti, I felt like Diana Boni from ABI was who I wanted to facilitate our adoption.  Unfortunately when I contacted them I found out that they had no more openings for children in our age parameters.  We also contacted another agency that several families said good things about and they were very helpful and quick about getting back to us.  We were tempted to just jump on board and get going, but I was really hesitant for some reason.  One thing that concerned me was the large number of families this agency had in process, but they assured me that there are more children in Haiti in need than there are families looking to adopt.  Based on our prior experience being at the end of a large program list with Ethiopia, I was still nervous about this.

As I continued researching and interviewing people I began to look into WIAA (who happened to be our in state agency that completed our home study for our Ethiopian adoption) and was interested, but hesitant based on the lack of families I was able to talk to who had used them.  We spent a few weeks researching (made some great connections including one from someone I know well!) and got good information.  I even got the guts to ask Diana Boni what agencies she recommended since we couldn't use them.  She gave me a list of 4 agencies she deems as the most ethical and experienced.  The agency I mentioned earlier was not on that list, and WIAA was.  After contacting a list of references, lot of thought and prayer we decided to move forward with WIAA.  They accepted our application and we contracted with them.  I couldn't be more excited about working with Wasatch and particularly Chareyl Moyes who heads up the Haiti program.  Her years of extensive knowledge and experience working in Haiti more than makes up for her self-admitted lacking of "fluffy email updates" to families during the waiting process.

Now!  Here's the point I was getting to...just days after we contracted with WIAA we find out that new quotas being enforced on the Haiti side of things...only 12 dossiers per agency may be submitted per year, and only 5 additional for special needs cases (it used to be more of a suggested quota and then unlimited additional applications for special needs).  This put the larger agencies I mentioned in a place where they have had to stop accepting applications.  ABI has enough families that their dossier quota is filled through the end of 2016 and the other agency I mentioned who had an even larger number of families in process is now going to have to hold many of their families dossiers for a significant length of time before they can even submit them to Haiti and begin their wait.  I am grateful that we went with the agency we did.  Not only did I feel like they will provide an ethical adoption, and that they have a lot of years of experience in Haiti...but because they keep their program smaller we won't run into hold ups on the U.S. side of thing before we even enter the chaos of the Haiti side of things.  I feel for these families I'm hearing from on message boards that are now trying to decide whether to switch agencies or wait out the long additional wait before they can submit to Haiti and even start the "real" wait.

So!  I wrote all of that out for myself.  Basically all that I'm saying is that yes it's a pain to start this paper chase over, but I still feel like we've been blessed.  I feel like the Lord helped guide us where we are through our experiences with our failed adoption and that we are on track now.  A long road still ahead, but on track.  And that feels good.