I started the certification process for our power of attorney form today. Now, this is a very important legal document and I suppose I understand why it is being treated differently from the other documents in the dossier (which just have to be notarized). It authorizes our agency staff in Ethiopia to locate a child for us, to care for that child, to handle the court process and legalities in Ethiopia, and so on. Pretty. Important. Stuff.
We went to a notary last night to sign the form. (My coworker is having a hard time getting her new stamp, and I didn’t want to hold this up. Hopefully she’ll be able to do the rest of the notarizing for us.) Don’t tell anyone that Craig signed the document without even reading it. Now, he had ample opportunity to do so, and he trusted his attorney wife to read it and make sure it was all good, but still, I did feel bad after the fact when he said to me, “So, what was that form about?” Yikes! Needless to say, I had him read it right then.
So, this morning I took the form to the Circuit Court for the county in which the notary was registered. There, I paid $1 to have the clerk verify that the notary was in fact a notary licensed in that county. She issued a paper with a shiny gold stamp/seal that said just that. Then, I drove to the Maryland Secretary of State’s office in Annapolis, where I paid $5 for the agency to verify that the clerk who signed the previous statement was in fact the duly and qualified clerk of that court in that county. They also issued a paper with a shiny gold stamp/seal. The final step is to send the documents (3 pages now) and $5 to the U.S. State Department, where I imagine they will certify that the Maryland Secretary of State is the appropriate agency to certify the previous information. (Actually, I have no idea what they will be certifying, but I’m just guessing that based on the other certifications.) I will be sending this document via express mail, and it should be returned to us (in the self-addressed and funded express mail envelope we will send with it) while we are away. It is supposed to be a five business day processing time, so it should be back within a week. I’ll send that early next week.
I expected the process today to take more time. But, I have to say that I was in and out of the courthouse within five minutes (helped by my attorney courthouse badge that lets me bypass security) and in and out of the Secretary of State office in two minutes. (I’m not kidding – I had to sign in and out and I signed in at 12:08 and out at 12:10.) Had I known it would be so quick, I might have actually brought along the information to go to the U.S. State Department in DC. We are lucky to live so close; most people wouldn’t have the walk-in option. Then again, that would have added another couple of hours of driving when I already had put in two hours on the road. The mail-in option will be fine. I don’t have to be completely compulsive in all that I do, right?