Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Our Dossier is in the Ukraine! With any luck it will be submitted to the SDA on Monday. It feels so good to have it out of our hands.

We are turning our attention to finish up the renovations on the house. We have also decided to not have the Halloween party this year. It is expensive and so much work to put on, plus Randy has to leave on business the day after when the party would be. It would be too much for me to tackle on my own.

On a happier note: Caelia and Michael have their costumes ready for Halloween and I will not be sewing last minute this year. Caelia is going to be Bugs Bunny this year. She wanted to be a fairy but Minnesota being what it is, we're going with warm and cuddly. Michael is going to be Link (from the Zelda games). He likes to be the same thing most years but usually with costume upgrades!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Today we worked on the house. Its almost time for our annual Halloween Party. We're scaling it back this year, but the outside decorations for Halloween are pretty much the same and they take forever. Here is a picture from last year.

On its way... October 11, 2007

The dossier is complete and on its way! It took all day to get everything notarized, apostilled and a new notarized letter of employment. Its so complicated. Everything needs to be notarized and then you must attached a letter, swearing that is is a true notarized original that you are sending and then you must have that letter notarized and THEN, you have that Apostilled.

We sent the dossier to the Ukraine via FedEx International Priority. This is the quickest and it means that the package should arrive on Tuesday in the Ukraine.

We are frequently asked how much it costs to adopt. Well, here is a breakdown so far:

Homestudy $2400
I-600a $ 545 (this has gone up)
FBI Fingerprints $ 140
Passports $ 240
Apostilles $ 90
FEDEX $ 118
Certified copies $ 145
Translation $1000

TOTAL (SO FAR) $4678

There are still travel costs, visas, passports for the girls and translator/facillitator fees. Its not cheap but it should end up being less than my hospital fees when I had Caelia.

HOORAY!!!! October 10, 2007

It came today! Finally, our I-171h arrived in the mail! Tomorrow we will have everything apostilled (a seal put on the documents at the Secretary of State's office. We also need to get a different police clearance. I guess city police, county police, state Adam Walsh and FBI clearances just don't do it for the Ukraine.

Once all of that is completed, we will send our dossier to the Ukraine for translation and submission to the SDA. And then we wait to hear if they accept the dossier and give us a travel date. Oh, I hope its soon!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Mail came today but no good news. So I will be re-emailing my requests to both Senator Klobuchar and the USCIS field office in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Perhaps they will answer soon. On the upside, the Minneapolis Tax Assessor's office is wonderful; Denise was wonderful and promised the papers - signed and notarized - for pick up right away. Oh, if only everyone was so cooperative!

I entered a photo contest for the best Halloween House at Walgreens.com. I would love to win this. I plan on taking tons of pictures through the adoption process.

I guess I should talk about our plans to adopt.

Randy and I have two great children. Michael (age 11) who was diagnosed as having Asperger's Syndrome and Caelia (age 5) who was diagnosed with Down Syndrome at birth.

Michael is a little different but not so different that we thought he had a SYNDROME. To us, he was stubborn, imaginative and picky about clothes, noises, lights and temperature. Issues at school led to an evaluation, which led to a diagnosis, which led to a syndrome.

Caelia adores her big brother. She is an escape artist and has a wicked temper when thwarted in her attempts to escape the yard to go visiting. We have a system of gates, locks and alarms to keep her safe and us sane.

Our current family was what was on our mind as we considered adopting. We wanted to adopt a child that would need us and would probably be passed over because of a "dreaded syndrome". We wanted a child with a condition that we were familiar. We chose to adopt a girl with down syndrome for two reasons: one, Caelia would have someone to play with even after her current peers had matured beyond her and two, because Michael would not willing share a bedroom with anyone.

We decided on adopting from eastern europe because of the lack of resources that are available for orphans in general. Orphans with a disability are even less likely receive these resources.

Columbus Day and Waiting...

Today was a difficult day. I am fed up to my teeth with waiting. I have tried on numerous occasions to contact the USCIS field office to check on the progress of our I600a application (basically asks permission for us to adopt) without success. I am beginning to believe that this place only exists in books and legends. There is no telephone and email must be for those with top secret clearances. You can't make an appointment to speak to someone without a receipt number. (The receipt number we were given won't work) So, I contacted Senator Amy Klobuchar's office for help and after filling out and signing information releases, our issue was assigned to an assistant. A few days later we received a receipt number.

Its the wrong receipt number.

To say that I am at the end of my patience would be a kind thing to say. So after much begging and pestering on the 800 number for the USCIS, we were given a receipt number and the email address. I tried making an appointment to speak to someone but there are no available appointments for the month of October. Its been 5 days since I sent them an email (which is supposed to be replied to in 24 to 48 hours) and I still haven't heard a peep. No mail today which means I am even more frustrated. I think I'll put up spooky Halloween decorations and pretend that they are there to frighten away evil paperwork monsters.