We’ve started to work on the paperwork for our dossier, which is a compilation of required documents that will be sent to the Ethiopian government. Most of the documents must be notarized, and one of them has to be certified by the state to prove its authenticity.
We’ve got our work cut out for us. When I first started to closely examine the list about ten days ago, a bit of panic set in. I’m feeling much better about it now, though, realizing that it’s not all that terrible in the grand scheme of things.
Here’s the list:
1. 2 power of attorney documents (1 notarized, 1 notarized and state-certified)
2. Statement of reason for adopting an Ethiopian child, including our reasons for adopting an Ethiopian child, our community’s acceptance of an Ethiopian child, our commitment to help our child maintain his/her Ethiopian culture, and a brief description of our physical home environment (notarized)
3. Photo pages (2 passport photos for each applicant, 2 photos of the outside of our home, 2 photos of the inside of our home)
4. Employment letters (notarized)
5. Financial statement (notarized)
6. Original birth certificates (already have these)
7. Original marriage certificate (already have this)
8. Declaration and attestation of health forms (notarized)
9. Police clearance letters (notarized)
10. 2 letters of reference (different from our home study reference letters)
11. Obligation of post-placement contract, stating that we will provide annual reports to the Ethiopian government post-placement (notarized)
One of my coworkers is a notary, and she has agreed to do the notarizing for us, which is wonderful. I offered to pay her and her response was to just let her babysit our child sometime in the future. I told her she had a deal – but I will also find a nice thank-you gift for her at some point.
The approval of the I-600A form will also be a part of this in the end, but we can submit the rest of it to our placement agency before we get that form. That way, if the agency sees anything that needs to be corrected, we can work on that while the I-600A is working its way through the system. The completed home study is also required before it is all said and done (and also required for the I-600A processing).
While the thought of chasing down all of this paper does make me freak out a little bit, I have to say that this is exactly my kind of project. I have charted out a plan of attack, and I would love to have this done by the end of August. We’ll see how realistic that is. The police clearance letters (gold seal letters in Maryland) are already underway, as is Craig’s employment letter. We have lined up our references to write the letters. (They’re awesome and they’ve already done letters for our home study as well.) I left a message for my doctor this morning asking if I can just drop off the form for her to sign instead of making an appointment (and I have confirmed that the doctor’s office has a notary – this is a longer story that I will tell another day). Craig’s doctor already said he could do that. I hope to take care of the photos and financial statement this weekend, and for us to work on our statement of reasons as well. Once all of the documents we need to sign are ready, we will sign and get everything notarized at once, and then I will work on taking the power of attorney form through the state certification process. I hope to have everything ready so that I can do the certification on Friday the 14th. I have that day off, so I can spend that whole day at the county courthouse and the Maryland Secretary of State office if I need to.
I think the hardest part will be the statement of reasons for adopting from Ethiopia. We certainly have many, many thoughts on this, but the challenge will be finding the right words to put on paper. I think it will be a really interesting exercise for us, and I’m looking forward to working on it with Craig.
Now, where’s that machete?!