Thursday, August 30, 2007

More Fingerprinting

We received our notification from Immigration Services this week about our fingerprinting appointment. We were expecting to be given a specific appointment time and place for our fingerprinting because that is the norm. Instead we received a document that said we could be fingerprinted upon receipt of that notice. Since this wasn't normal for Immigration Services we tried to call to ask some questions only to find that none of the local offices (Ft. Worth, Dallas, Lubbock) list their phone numbers ANYWHERE. Shannon searched hard to find their phone numbers but couldn't. She contacted their national customer service number but they were not able to help much, didn't know why we weren't given a specific appointment, and couldn't give Shannon any of the local office phone numbers. Soooo, we were given an email address that we could contact with specific questions. We finally received a reply after a couple of days confirming that we could pick our time and location for the fingerprinting. Very confusing and unfortunate that the government doesn't have enough money to give these local offices telephones! We're planning to be fingerprinted on Saturday while we're in the Lubbock area for Labor Day.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

We're On The Waiting List!!!

We just received an email letting us know that our dossier has been submitted to Guatemala and we are now officially on the waiting list for a baby girl!!! It will take approximately 10 weeks for us to get a referral (match up with a baby). We'll post more later about the process from this point forward. How exciting!! It's hard to believe we've been working towards this point for 2 months already!

Immigration Mistake...Maybe

We may have made a mistake on our I-600A form that we submitted back in June to immigration. We're sending a letter and an email to them to try and get it corrected if it is an issue. The mistake involves one place on the form where it said to include Shannon's maiden name, which we did, but we didn't put "Hedges" after her maiden name. We're hoping it either won't be a big deal or that they will fix it for us. But it's the goverment, so we're kinda worried.

First Grant Application

We applied for our first grant tonight from the National Adoption Foundation. They only meet once a quarter to award grants so we won't hear anything back from them until October.

Pictures for our Dossier

Here are the pics we took for our dossier. We had to provide 3 of the inside of our home, 2 of the outside (posted previously), 1 of the 2 of us, and 2 of us with Joel. The last 2 are self-portraits using a remote control for the camera. :) Joel smiles better when no one is behind the camera!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Dossier Send Off!

Yeeeehaaaaw! We received our authenticated documents back from the Guatemalan Consulate in Houston yesterday and sent everything off to our agency to be compiled into our dossier. Once they finish, we'll go on the waiting list for a baby girl and the dossier will be sent to Guatemala to be translated. We ended up with 101 pages of paperwork!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Dossier Preparation

After a boil water notice from our city on Thursday night and a weekend of flood threats to our home from the creek across the street, we sat down tonight to wrap up some preparation for our dossier. The potential flooding kept us both up alot of the night so we're really tired. Thankfully, our home and neighborhood did not flood. We expect to receive our authenticated documents back from the Guatemalan Consulate in Houston tomorrow morning. We took pictures of the inside of our home and sent them off to Wal-Mart for processing (we'll pick them up tomorrow). We filled out the I-600 form and a DNA payment form for Guatemala to do DNA testing on our baby and birth mother. We wrote out the check for our second payment to our agency. We should be able to ship everything off tomorrow afternoon to Linda in Missouri, our agency's dossier coordinator, who will put everything together into a dossier and submit it to Guatemala. Then we go on the waiting list for a baby girl!!!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Friends Adopting

We recently learned that another family from our church has decided to adopt from Kahzakstan! How exciting! Shannon spent some time talking with them yesterday about paperwork. It's neat to have another family in our church going through the adoption process.

Certified...Now Authenticating

We received our certified documents back from Austin yesterday. We turned around and sent them to the Guatemalan Consulate in Houston for authentication. We were going to use a courier to walk our documents through the process in Houston but Shannon called the Consulate and they said they would only take 2 days to process our documents, same as hiring a courier. So, we decided to just mail everything straight to the Consulate. We're hoping to get our authenticated documents back next Tuesday. We're getting close to having our dossier complete!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Certification Send Off!

We received our revised home study via FedEx on Friday afternoon at 3:00. Shannon took it up to Jason's office and faxed it to our case manager to review at 3:30 and we had it in the mail to the Secretary of State in Austin, Texas for certification by 5:30. We also sent off a revised copy to USCIS to replace the one we had already sent. We hope that won't be a problem. To add to the crazyness, one of our best friends went into the hospital with appendicitus Friday afternoon. We were planning to go out town to Jason's parents so we ended up picking up our friend's 3 boys and dropping them off at their grandparents which was out of town on our way to Jason's parents house. It worked out great for everyone and our friend had an appendectomy that night. Thankfully, he is back home and recovering well. We're really excited to be moving on to the certification and authentication phase of our paperwork!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Home Study...The Drama Continues

While we were waiting for our home study to be fixed up concerning Joel's medical information, our social worker emailed us that she had found some information that was missing from our document, information she had failed to include. We've already sent our home study to USCIC (US Immigration) so now we have to resend it with a note explaining the mistake. This put us a frenzy trying to make to sure everything else was ok. Shannon was up Tuesday night at 1:00am going over our home study with a fine tooth comb (we received the email about the mistake at about 12:15am), comparing our home study with the home study checklist provided to us by our adoption agency. We thought our adoption agency and social worker would take care of working through the checklist and verifying that everything was in it that needed to be. After all, they're professionals, we're paying them to do this, and we have no idea what to look for. Well, now we feel like it's up to us to make sure it's done right. Shannon found several minor things that we went ahead and asked about to make sure they were ok. Our social worker was supposed to have put it in the mail on Wednesday but she didn't get it to FedEx in time so she mailed it today and we should receive it tomorrow. Here are the blessings in disguise...had we not had the issues with Joel's medical information and requested that our social worker fix it, she might not would have realized that she forgot some important information. Also, while she was making these corrections, she learned from the USCIS Oklahoma office (this is where we are shipping our home study to go with our I-600A form) that she needed to make some corrections to some other peoples home studies. Since she was making corrections to ours, she was able to go ahead and implement those changes, possibly saving us time in the long run of sending the document to USCIS and then them asking for changes down the road.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

FBI Letters - Completed!

We had our 2nd round FBI letters notarized today. We faxed them to our case manager and she said they are a go!

Home Study Notary Pages

We received the corrected notary pages for our home study today via FedEx. Now we're just waiting for the corrected pages regarding Joel's medical examination. They should be here on Thursday.

Home Study...!!$%#@!*&@!

Ugh! Ok. This is really really really really frustrating. Shannon emailed our adoption agency and our social worker 3 weeks ago and pointed out an issue with our home study. The home study says that the nurse practioner examined Joel (which is true) but our medical letters are signed by Joel's doctor (stating that he is in good health...not that the doctor examined him). The problem is they don't match. Shannon pointed out all these problems and now we realized that it was not corrected in our home study. Sooooo, we emailed our adoption agency to make sure it really is an issue and they said yes, it's an issue. Sooooo, we emailed our social worker and asked for it to be fixed. She's going to fix it and is acting like it's our fault that it wasn't brought up before. But we did bring it up. 3 weeks ago. Anyway, another delay. She can't get it fixed until Wednesday which means we can't have it until Thursday (maybe). Very frustrating. And now it's made us write a really long blog post that nobody likes to read. So now everyone is frustrated.

FBI Letters Arrive

Yeah! Our FBI letters arrived today via regular mail (they were supposed to have been sent via FedEx overnight last week). Problem. We had statements notarized about our FBI fingerprints last week and they are dated the same as our FBI letters (they need to be dated after the date of the letters) so we have to redo the statements and have them notarized again. Blah.

I600-A Home Study

We sent our home study to USCIS (Immigration Services) in Oklahoma City via FedEx today to be attached to our I-600A application. We went ahead and used one the copies of the home study we received with the messed up signature since the signature only matters for Guatemala (this stuff is only being used for our government). Now we should be contacted by Homeland Security for an appointment for us to go to the Dallas office and be fingerprinted. You'd think all these guys could get together and figure out a way to share our fingerprints. Oh well. That's government for you.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Home Study...Mistake

We received our home study in the mail on Saturday. Shannon read through it to make sure all the corrections were done and they were...but...the notary that signed the documents didn't use his middle initial in his signature which doesn't match his seal. So, we have to get at least some of the copies redone (the ones going to Guatemala). Our social worker will hopefully get them redone today and FedEx them to us.

FBI Doesn't Know ???

Ok. We still haven't received our letters from the FBI. They were supposed to ship them via FedEx last week. Shannon called them on Friday and they said they have no way of knowing how they were shipped or when they will arrive. What?! It's the FBI! They're supposed to know everything!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Missouri Docs Back from Chicago

We received our Missouri documents (Shannon's birth certificate and our marriage license) back from the Guatemalan Consulate in Chicago today. They authenticated both documents. Now they are ready to go in our dossier.