Sunday, 29 January 2012

What is a Dossier?

dos·si·er (dos - e - a)  n. A collection of papers giving detailed information about a particular person or subject.
[French from Old French, bundle of papers labeled on the back, from dos, back, from latin dorsum.]

We are currently waiting for our dossier package to be filed with the government in Katie's country.  This is what I tell people when they ask where we are in our adoption process.  They usually nod their head, smile, and say, "Oh that's great!"  However, I don't think most people know what a dossier is.  I would have had no idea before we started this process.  This is what it feels like. . . .

The dossier and the home study are the two biggies in an international adoption.  You cannot adopt without completing both.  Our home study was a piece of cake.  Our dossier?  Not difficult, per say, but just a lot of work.  Like, a full-time job for a while, kind of work.  Our agency sent, no joke, a bound book with our Adoption Preparation and Dossier Instructions.  

We have to prepare five sets of documents - set one is the "registration" set, which is the first to get filed.  This was my list before set one was finished.

The items on this list included:
1.  Numbered picture list with:  one family photo, four to six pictures of the inside and outside of your home
2.  Letter of Intent, notarized and apostilled
3.  Application (one for each applicant [parent]), notarized and apostilled
4.  Questionnaire (one for each applicant), notarized and apostilled
5.  Certified copy of Marriage Certificate, apostilled in the state of origin; must be current.
6.  One signed copy of each applicant's Passport, notarized and apostilled
7.  Commitment to provide post placement reports, notarized and apostilled
8.  Commitment to register the adopted child, notarized and apostilled
9.  Declaration of Attorney regarding property ownership, notarized and apostilled
10.  One form I 171H (USCIS approval), notarized and apostilled
11.  One letter of medical approval for each applicant, notarized and apostilled
12.  One copy per applicant of your doctor's medical license, notarized and apostilled
13.  One letter of employment per applicant, notarized and apostilled
14.  One local police clearance for each applicant, notarized and apostilled
15.  One FBI clearance for each applicant, notarized and apostilled
16.  Adoptive home study
17.  Agency post placement report commitment
18.  Agency registration commitment
19.  Agency license
20.  Agency licensing letter in good standing
21.  Interagency agreement - treaty

Set 2 is our court set, which had to be sent to our facilitator with set one.  Some regions of Katie's country do not require this, but our's does.  This was our list for this set:

The items on this list included:

1.  Numbered picture list with:  one family photo (8x10), six to twelve pictures of the inside and outside of your home
2.  Adoption training list with attached course certificates (for on-line courses only), apostilled
3.  Letter of medical approval, one for each applicant, notarized and apostilled
4.  One true and correct copy of your doctor's medical license, per applicant, notarized and apostilled
5.  One psychological evaluation per applicant, notarized and apostilled
6.  One true and correct copy of your psychologist's license, notarized and apostilled
7.  One certified copy of Marriage Certificate, apostilled in the state of origin, must be current
8.  One signed copy of each applicant's Passport, notarized and apostilled
9.  Financial statement, notarized and apostilled
10.  Declaration of attorney regarding property ownership, notarized and apostilled
11.  One certified copy of the deed of home, apostilled
12.  One letter of employment, per applicant, notarized and apostilled
13.  One local police clearance for each applicant, notarized and aspostilled
14.  One FBI clearance for each applicant, notarized and apostilled
15.  One true and correct copy of Form I 171H (USCIS approval), notarized and apostilled
16.  Letter from prospective parents addressed to "Dear Honorable Judge", explaining in detail why you wish to adopt a special needs child, and what resources are available to you in your city or state, and what organizations you subscribe to where you derive advantages, information and experiences to share with parents who are raising a child/ren with similar special needs.  (Yes, for real.)
17.  Adoptive home study
18.  Agency post placement report commitment
19.  Agency registration commitment
20.  Agency license
21.  Agency licensing letter in good standing
22.  Excerpt from state adoption laws
23.  Interagency Agreement - treaty

Then?  There are sets 3, 4, and 5.  Thankfully those are much easier, and are largely prepared by our agency.  We will have to update our police clearances and my employment letter, but for the most part our dossier preparation is completed.  So what does that all look like when it's done?

Each document got an apostille, which is the blue jacket with the cover letter with the fancy gold seal.  
Don't know what an apostille is?  Don't feel bad - neither did I.  

Ap-o-steel n. - Additional authentication required for international acceptance of notarized documents, including but not limited to, adoption papers, affidavits, birth certificates, contracts, death certificates, deeds, diplomas, and degrees, divorce decrees, incorporation papers, marriage certificates, patent applications, powers of attorney, and school transcripts.  Instituted by 'The Hague Convention Abolishing The Requirements Of Legalization For Foreign Public Documents' of 1961, its objective is obviate "the requirements of diplomatic or consular legalization" and thus replace the cumbersome 'chain authentication method' that called for verification by multiple authorities. As prescribed by the convention, an apostille (French for, notation) is a preprinted small (minimum 9 x 9 centimeters)  form having ten numbered items of information with blank spaces to be filled in by the designated authority in the issuing country. It is obligatory upon every signatory country to accept apostilles of the other signatory countries.

You pay per apostille, and the prices vary WIDELY by state.  In Tennessee, they are $2.00 per document.  I also had to pay $6.00 per document to first have the notary on each document verified by the county clerk, so each document's authorization effectively cost us $8.00.  Sets one and two had 62 documents to notarize and apostille.  ($496.00 for those of you doing the math at home.  Plus $47.00 to send via Fed Ex to our agency.)

Anyone who says it's adopting is the "easy" way to have a child has clearly never adopted.  I am here to promise you that birthing babies was easier than this.  I didn't have to have a psychological evaluation or prove to anyone that I was qualified to have a baby.  Nobody came to inspect my house.  I didn't have to prove that I wasn't a criminal and that I would be able to financially support a baby.  Or two, or three, or four.  Nobody had to write me a letter of recommendation to state that I would be a good parent, and I certainly didn't have to write a letter to my doctor justifying my reasons for wanting a child.  We didn't spend in excess of $30,000 to have any of our babies (or all of them combined), and I most certainly didn't take multiple trips to a third world country to pick them up.  In fact, I stayed at a cushy hospital and it was seriously like being on a nice vacation.  Although our journey to Katie is much different than how our other three children entered our lives, it is no less exciting or anticipated.  It is much like waiting for a child to be born - we have been dying for updates on her, and cannot wait to see her.  All of our hard work and "paper chasing" will pay off - hopefully soon!

Saturday, 28 January 2012

If Katie Was Here Now....

I love the "If Katie Was Here Now..." posts.  So, if this little munchkin was already home, these are some things she would be sporting.

I have a feeling shopping for girl's clothes will be much more fun for me than shopping for the boys. . . 

Friday, 27 January 2012

Mini Fashionista

Do you remember this post?  I loved the black jacket in that post, and I would totally have purchased it for myself if it came in adult sizes.  I was not, however, about to spend $49.50 on it for a toddler who does not yet live in my house.  I would spend $6.07 on one though, and I did last weekend.  I love it, and cannot wait for her to wear it!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Calling all Coins for Katie Cups!

Do you have a Coins for Katie cup?
Have you heard we may be traveling to see Katie soon.
I cannot wait to get my hands on that little muffin.
If you've been collecting Coins for Katie (not if you've gotten a cup since the start of 2012), we are asking that you send your money in either directly to us, through PayPal, or through our Reece's Rainbow link so we will have that money for our first trip.

We will never be able to adequately thank everyone who has helped us bring this sweet girl home.  
If you have any questions about how to get the money you've collected to us, please either ask in the comments or email me at ksimp6577 at bellsouth dot net.

Thank you so much!

From Obsession to Fruition

Remember this, my obsession?  

Well, it's come to fruition.

My sweet friend Carrie Beth cut the letters for me, and I bought a handful of embroidery hoops.  I got a bundle of fabric squares at Joann's for $11.99 and used a 50% off coupon.  I also had a 40% off an order over $25, so my total for seven embroidery hoops and a bundle of fabric was just over $15.00.  I also used a few scraps of fabric I already had.  I do want to add more hoops, so I think I'll wait until I have another coupon and buy about 5 more.  I'm only going to use fabric I already have with those, because I don't want 12947209 patterns of fabric on the wall.

I LOVE how it looks.
And I know I will love it more when it's got more hoops filled in.

This child better come home soon.  
I'm afraid I'll redecorate her room 4 times before she gets home!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Happy 4th Birthday Jack!

Jack is SO excited, because he and Katie Ruth are now both four years old.  He keeps saying, "We're the twins!  We're the twins now!"  He had a fantastic, low-key birthday.  The only thing that would have made it better would be if his "twin" was here to celebrate.

We had a chocolate pirate cake.

We had some balloons.
I love balloons.

He ripped through his gifts in about 4 minutes.

When it was time for cake, Jack said, "Turn the lights off!"  
I love that he wants to do his candles in the dark.

He loved his little cake.

I love these boys.  

Saturday, 21 January 2012

I'm Obsessed.....

Obsessed.....With doing this in Katie Ruth's room, over her bed.  O.B.S.E.S.S.E.D.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Some Quick Updates

1.  Our court dossier has been sent to Katie's country!  What does this mean?  It means that we should get a faster court date once we've made our first trip.  Having the documents already there should mean less time between our first and second trips.  And less time until we get this monkey home.

2.  We got word today that our registration dossier should be filed next week!!!  That means it is very likely that we could travel in the next 6-8 weeks.  As we all know, things can never be predicted in this adventure.  However, it is very promising that we could be looking at travel time and referring to it in weeks instead of months.  I can't wait to get my hands on these cheeks.

3.  Jack turned four yesterday.  

He asked me if Katie Ruth could come to his party.  Sweet love.  When I told him that she couldn't, he asked if he could save her some cake.  Um, gross.  He asked if he could call her to tell her it was his birthday.  He is just dying to get her home.  He told me, "When you bring Katie Roof home, do you know the first thing I'll say to her?  Thank you for coming here.  Do you know why?  Because I CAN TELL HER WHAT TO DO!"  Clearly someone has been bossed around for, oh his entire life.  I so hope Katie is home for her birthday. . . don't worry.  I've already got about 32 birthday parties planned for her.  

4.  I think this weekend I'll start making some freezer meals for while we're gone, make some notes about the boys' meds, school, activities, and things like that so when we get a travel date I don't have to worry about that.  It's exciting to think we may actually go soon!

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Katie's Room

We have made a LOT of changes to our guest room since we moved into our house last year.  
This was the room when we walked through the house before buying.

It has the largest closet in the house, which was very poorly utilized.
It has a non-functioning fireplace, which is OK with me.
(It's non-functioning because there was previously a fire in our house, which originated in this fireplace.  It is the only fireplace in our house that has not been converted to gas, and after the fire the chimney in our house was dismantled.)
It had builder color cream paint.
It also has amazing hardwood floors, a fabulous transom window, and a huge window seat.
We were going to make this our master bedroom. 
Until we realized there was no way our bed would fit up the stairs.

We bought a great bedroom set from a family friend.  We got a full size bed, hope chest, dresser, vanity, and two side tables.  For $50.  Yes, I'm serious.  It fits perfectly in the room, and the style matches the rest of our furniture.  I'm not a real modern furniture girl - I like very traditional things.  So this is how we had it once we painted the room.  We used Martha Stewart's sea glass paint from Home Depot.  I tried about 10 different colors before I found the one we used, and it's exactly what I wanted.  

This is what you see when you walk in the door now.

I got a fabulous bedding set at Essex.  It's so soft, and it was $22.99 for the spread and two shams.  It had a Macy's tag on it for $329.99.  For real.  Essex is pretty ghetto, but it's worth digging around to find deals like that.

I made the two pillows that are on the bed.  I'm going to make some more to add, and will likely monogram the shams once she's home.  Right now the plan is for her to sleep in this bed.  We may start with a toddler bed for her, but this will eventually be where she sleeps.  

This is the bookcase that I redid - it was a simple project with just a few coats of paint and some scrapbook paper on the backs of each shelf.  The basket and bucket were a couple of projects for me, and I painted the frame on the top shelf and the K.  The elephant and doll on the top shelf were Christmas gifts for Katie, as was the polar bear.

My mom made the curtains.  They are perfect, and I L.O.V.E. them.  The fabric is from Joann's, and I was unsure about it when I first brought it home.  I had a piece taped on the wall for a long time before I decided to do it.  I love it.  It is much more bold than I usually would choose, but it's exactly what I was hoping it would be.  The tiebacks are just a wide navy grosgrain ribbon held back with a small hook.  

The lamp on the vanity is my next project, and I have something in mind already.  It's a lamp that I had in David and Henry's old room, and while the colors aren't what I want to use anymore, the lamp is perfect for the space.  I've already started to re-do it and will show you when it's done.  The chair at the vanity was a chair from my office that was going to be thrown away.  I recovered it and made a small pillow for the back.

See that basket of hair bows?  It was donated to our silent auction for the Coins for Katie Pancake breakfast.  Someone paid $45 for it.  And gave it to me for Katie.  

Let's just say I hope the child will keep a bow or headband in her hair...

I made the art over the fireplace, and am now searching for something else to put on the mantle.  I have some ideas, but nothing that I've started yet.

The dollhouse was a gift from my friend Brandi, and Jack loves it.  Like, pink puffy heart loves it.  He has moved Batman, Robin, and Mr. Incredible right in, and they've quickly taken over the childcare duties.  He's also backed his batman van and a lego van right up so they've got some transportation.

I moved this chair in from the playroom.  Mostly because it was constantly getting turned over and used as a launchpad for a small boy when it was in the playroom.  I like it in this room, and Jack and I have broken it in here in its new space and have read many books and snuggled here.

I still have to decide if I will make cushions for the window seat I didn't show you, and what to do about a rug.  I'm thinking I want an area rug, maybe in sea grass or something similar.  Overall, I'm quite happy with how the room has developed so far!