Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Update: Biometric Finger Prints Done

Hi! Just a quick update to let you know we went to our local USCIS office today and had our biometric fingerprints done! We should be getting our approval letter from Citizenship and Immigration Services in about 3 weeks! Also, our paper work (Dossier) is still in the process of being apostilled! From here on out, we are just waiting. We have done everything that we can do!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Our Weekend: Empowered to Connect Adoption/Foster Parenting Conference

This past weekend, Andrew and I attended Empowered to Connect Adoption/Foster Parenting Conference sponsored by Show Hope. We had a long drive to Chicago Illinois to get there! Chicago was much colder than where we live! In fact, on Friday it was snowing! We had a wonderful time! For one thing it had been a while since we had weekend that we could spend together with no responsibilities (and no homework for Andrew.) It was nice just to get away together and enjoy each other's company!

I highly recommend Empowered to Connect to adoptive and foster parents or to prospective parents! We learned so much this weekend about parenting kids who come from hard places, such as prenatal stress, difficult birth, early hospitalization, trauma, neglect, and abuse. Mostly, Andrew and I learned how much we don't know! But we also came away with powerful resources and information about where to go for help if we need it!

Dr. Karyn Purvis, Amy and Micheal Monroe in a Q& A Session
We figured a trip to Chicago wouldn't be complete without trying some Chicago style, deep dish pizza!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Celebrating a Big Accomplishment!

This week, we got home study approval! The whole home study process took much longer than expected and had a few bumps in the road!

So excited to have our home study report!

The home study was the last document we needed to mail our dossier (big stack of adoption paperwork) to our agency. Completing our dossier is a big accomplishment! We have spent months accumulating all the documents required to adopt from Bulgaria.

Our Dossier - Otherwise Known As "Big Stack of Adoption Paperwork"

Our home study was also the last piece of paperwork we needed to mail our I800A application to USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) for approval to adopt 2 children from Bulgaria. The same day we received our home study, we Fed Exed our I800A application to USCIS and our dossier to our international adoption agency.

Months of Work All In 2 Fed Ex Envelopes!

All that accomplishment was cause to celebrate! After we dropped of our precious cargo at Fed Ex, we went out for some beef brisket! Mmmm....Was it delicious!

So what is next?

We are done with our part of the paperwork. All we can do now is wait.

USCIS Approval/Dossier Authenticated and Translated
We are waiting to be notified by USCIS for a special appointment at our local Department of Homeland Security to be finger printed again. After finger printing again, we will wait a little longer to get approval from USCIS.

While we wait for USCIS approval, our adoption agency will be working on having all the documents in our dossier notary certified by the county clerk of courts and apostilled at the state capitol. (I am not sure what all that means completely, but basically the papers get stamped as true documents at the county and state level - because just have them notarized is not good enough apparently!) Then all our paperwork gets translated into Bulgarian.

Paperwork Registered in Bulgaria and More Waiting
Once we get USCIS approval and our documents are apostilled and translated, our paperwork will get sent to Bulgaria. In Bulgaria, the Minister of Justice will look over it and approve us as prospective adoptive parents. Once we get MOJ approval, we will be listed on the register of prospective adoptive parents and wait for a referral (match with our children)! We our told, that the wait for a referral of two children of either gender up to age six with minor or correctable special needs could be anywhere from 6 to 18 months once we are registered as prospective parents.

Referral and Travel
Once we receive our referral for children, we will travel to Bulgaria to meet our children and officially accept their referral. We will need to return home for 4-6 months while our adoption case is processed in the Bulgarian court. Then we can make a second trip to Bulgaria to bring our children home!