Our final piece of paperwork that we were waiting on for our adoption was approval from Citizenship and Immigration Services, to allow us to immigrate 2 children from Ethiopia. The web site indicated that it would be a 3 month wait - and we were expecting and hoping that it wouldn’t be any later than the end of October. We were so shocked when it arrived two months early, on August 27th!
As some of you may already know, each document had to be notarized. Each document then had to State Certified, which basically means that the validity of the notary had to be verified. After getting the approval of our agency that everything for the dossier was in order, we were able to submit the documents to the Secretary of State of Utah, California and Mississippi for their seal of approval.
The final documents from California’s Secretary of State were returned on Friday, September 12th. Patrick worked from home so that he would be able to sign for the certified mail.
We are not sure how all states attach the certification seal to the paperwork. Mississippi just used a paper clip. California stapled it with 2 staples, book style. Utah used a gold eyelet, which the scrapbooking side of me thought was fun, but was defiantly bulkier. Since 21 of our required 24 documents were certified in Utah - we ended up with a huge stack, 1-5/8″ to be exact!
In order to have the documents fit nicely into the envelope, we had to alternate/rotate the eyelets to each of the four corners. Even with that all said and done, that stack was still just under an inch! Raylene spent the whole evening double and triple checking each document, making copies, getting everything ready to send off, and of course, taking pictures!
On Saturday, September 13th, we were heading down to Layton to attend an adoption education class that focused on Transracial and Transcultural adoptions - but not before we sent our precious stack on its way to the home office. Our agency is Children’s Hope International and their main office is located in St. Louis, Missouri. We stopped at the FedEx store 1 block from our house and sent it 2 Day Express, which means they will have it on Tuesday! Can you tell that we are just a little excited from the smiles on our faces?
The paperwork is now taken over by our agency that will have all the documents bundled into one document and state certified once again. Then it is sent to a courier in Washington, D.C. This courier will hand carry the documents to the U.S. Department of State to be authenticated. Once that is completed, our documents will then be walked over to the Ethiopia Embassy in Washington, D.C. for a second authentication.
We have been told that this whole process usually takes about 3 weeks from the time that the package is received in office. From this Tuesday, that would put us at October 7th (but who’s counting)!
To celebrate our part of the paperwork being done, we went down to Salt Lake City and ate at the new Tucanos that just opened at The Gateway. If you haven’t ever been to a Brazilian Grill, you should definitely add it to your things to do list. Yumm!! We realize that the hardest part now is before us, the ambiguous waiting time to receive our referral. Right now the agency is advising a 6-10 month wait, so hopefully by next summer we will be the proud new parents of two beautiful children from Ethiopia. Of course, if it happens sooner, you won’t see any tears from us!