Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Process

In February, we started the process of compiling our dossier. Before you can adopt from China, you have to send them this dossier, which pretty much consists of two things: a homestudy, and a ton of paperwork.

For the homestudy, we had a social worker come to the house a couple of times to discuss our backgrounds and parenting/discipline styles. She also interviewed some of our friends and family over the phone.

For the rest of the dossier, we had to collect or create all kinds of documents: birth and marriage certificates, financial statements, employment verifications, police clearance reports, passports, etc. etc. They made us get physicals, fingerprinted multiple times, HIV tests - pretty much didn't leave anything out. Once you get everything then you have to get it all notarized, certified, and authenticated, which basically means sending it all over the country and paying people to put their seals and stamps on everything to make it look official.

It was a constant exercise in patience. Waiting for approval from Immigration usually takes three weeks, but the day after our application went there, we found out there was a temporary slow-down and it would take three months.

Getting blood work was the hardest thing for Phil. He always goes in with high anxiety - cold clammy hands, shaky - this time, he actually passed out in the doctor's office (fortunately, his wife caught him before he slid off the table - she is really quite strong). The real bummer was a couple of days later, when we found out the doctor didn't order the correct tests, and he was going to have to back again. The things we do for love...

Things I Learned From the Dossier Process:

1. I have low quality ridges on my fingers and it is nearly impossible to get good fingerprints on me - I could commit a crime and get away with it!

2. The U. S. Department of State will not accept mail from the U.S. Postal Service. But when they send mail to you, they will only send it via the U.S. Postal Service. Weird

3. A three year old can wait patiently while you stand in line and fill out paperwork. He will wait until it is finally your turn before he declares: "Mommy, I weally, weally, have to go potty!"

4. If you ask him to hold on just two minutes while you finish up, he will wait exactly one minute before he informs you: "Mommy, I went potty on the floor."

5. When US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) gives you a very specific appointment time of say, 3:20, it means absolutely nothing. You will still wait more than an hour behind 147 other people.

6. There is absolutely NO FOOD allowed in USCIS - and if your three-year-old happens to be popping his last Curious George fruit snack in his mouth as he walks in the door, you can expect a security guard to bark at him as if he were planning on taking down the whole building with said fruit snack.

7. Employees at USCIS are not permitted to smile. Ever.

8. Some people in the adoption world say that compiling a dossier is harder than giving birth. Those people are men.

1 comment:

me said...

you are hilarious! (and very strong, of course)