Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Dossier: The Nitty Gritty + Ways To Bring Life To The Paperwork!

Some of this could be boring for some of you. I'm just preparing you. But I figured if you get bored watching the football game at some point, I could bore you with this instead ;-) For us, it has kept us everything except bored. We are either receiving new documents for appointments and approvals in the mail or responding to online portal messages from our global workers. Or it may be that we are writing letters, filling out documents, making doctor's appointments, having documents notarized, and so on and so forth. And not only is this real life for us, but we also make our references do a bit of paperwork as well! We, first off apologize for all the work it entails for you all, but secondly want you all to know that we are incredibly thankful for all those out there who know who and what we're talking about! I'm not sure what we'd do without those individuals that we've forced letters, notary appointments, and time away from their daily lives to accomplish these tasks. Nothing but love to you all!
When they say it "takes a village"...they weren't kidding and I'm not kidding either.

So if you're not bored yet, then let us let you in on this whole dossier (doss-E-a) business. It's a lot of paperwork that keeps you between now and the time you get to meet your child. It is also necessary.
So we obviously reason with it and just do what we're told. A dossier is a giant pack of documents that meet legal requirements for adopting internationally as well as immigration requirements for the US Government. This is just one packet of documents along the adoption process, but one of the most important ones that goes overseas and one of the last big chunks before you get word about your child. So it's a big deal when it's all said and done.
See below for the info it includes:

The Dossier
*Home Study with Agency & Social Worker License
*Birth Certificates
*Power of Attorney x2
*Medical Letters
*Police Clearances
*Employment Letters
*Certificate of Assets
*Tax documents
*Passport Copies
*Letter regarding motivation for adoption from South Africa
*8 recommendation letters
*Photos of family and home
*USCIS Approval (document that approves of/state our suitability to adopt a child per the government)
*Guardianship letter from the guardians we've chosen for our child
*Marriage Certificate
*Post Adoption Agreements
*G28i Form
*South Africa Regulation In-Country Fees
*South Africa Professional Service Fees
*Copies of our Education Hours
*Service Plan Copy
*Special Needs Letter
*Fee Agreement

Other Requirements:
Over half of these documents must be notarized within a specific time frame, by specific notaries in the county the paperwork may be coming from (we have them from both Portland and Vancouver, then apostilled in Oregon and Washington), and in certain circumstances we must hire travel notaries. Needless to say, we've had to be on our game when it comes to timing and scheduling everything. And because everything is so specific, we fear something could be wrong and the idea of having to do any of this all over could cause nightmares. Learn early on...double and triple check everything before you do it. Just saying.

Bringing Life to the Paperwork:
The paperwork itself isn't "fun" per se and putting together large files to go overseas is a bit exciting personally because I enjoy that sort of thing plus it gets that much closer to our little one, but it is what you make it. And for some, it may be a bit on the boring and tedious side. So instead of drowning in it...first, pray. It will help you begin and find peace before the storm. Then do things like go to a coffee shop to do your reading. Go out on a date after getting good news in the mail. Make a special dinner to celebrate having a big chunk of the paperwork completed. Or just treat yourself to a little dessert for those days you worked long and hard on everything. Make any excuse you want to find a reason to do the paperwork in another location or to celebrate the little parts of the journey. And every bit of those times, you will remember where you are, what you've accomplished, and where it's taking you. Let all other moments allow you to drift off into that dream of meeting your child.
Because those are the moments that will keep you going.

The best part to all of this...we are getting that much closer to you, little babe. Whoever you may be, we dream of you, we think of you, and we pray for you. We pray for your health, we pray the Lord gives your birth parents strength, we pray that whoever watches over you in your early years is a wonderful caregiver for you, and we pray for your safety until the day we get to see you, watch you, and hold you. Until then, we work on our requirements, we fulfill the needs to be your parents, and we prepare for you in every way we can.