Friday, January 30, 2009

The end of another week

Well, not much news to really report. My facilitator did email me yesterday to let me know that she received the paperwork I sent to her. It is good to know it made it there safely. She is going to take everything over to the SDA on Mon. and have the head of the law department review what we sent to make sure everything is correct. Hopefully they won't find any problems, but if they do we will have time to correct them and send the corrections to Ukraine when we finally send our I-171H.

I am feeling pretty frustrated today. January is about over and the SDA is starting to accept new dossiers this Monday (Feb. 2). Our dossier is not complete, so we are not able to submit it yet. It is not complete because of one piece of paper! Those of you that know me know that patience is not something that comes easy for me. When I want something I go after it and get it done. I also like being in control. Up to this point I had control of what was going on with our adoption. I made the phone calls, got the paperwork, did the running around, etc. that was necessary to get our dossier together. I knew what was going on and where I was in the process. With this last paper we are waiting for (I-171H), I have no control. I don't know when it is coming. I don't know where we are in the pile of applications to be processed, etc. Every day I open the mailbox hoping there will be something, anything from the USCIS. They sure were quick to cash our check though! So, I am praying for patience. The paper will get here when it gets here and then our dossier will be complete. I guess this is actually good practice for what is to come with this adoption. From now on I pretty much have no control over how the rest of this will go. I have no control over how quickly our dossier will be submitted or when we will travel or what children's files we will be shown at our appointment. I have no control over how long it will take to get a court date once we are in Ukraine or how long our child's passport will take or how long I will be in Ukraine. So, I guess I should get used to it now and hopefully I will find some way to "accept the things that I can not change".

On a positive note, Morgan doesn't have a cheerleading competition this weekend so we are going to spend time working on the bedroom for our new daughter!

Monday, January 26, 2009

One more step complete

We received the apostilled document that we were waiting for from PA today. So, I took all of the documents that I have so far and sent them FedEx to our facilitator in Ukraine. She should have them by the end of the week.

We are still waiting for the I-171H approval which will be the final document we need to complete our dossier. So, we're not done with the paperwork yet, but at least my facilitator can translate the rest of the documents and have them ready and waiting when we receive this last paper.

Friday, January 23, 2009

First set of apostilled documents returned

I received my apostilled documents back from NJ today. Now I am just waiting on one that I had to send to PA for an apostille. Once I receive the one from PA I will be sending our dossier to Ukraine (minus the I-171H that we are waiting for).

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

First Post

So, I have decided to start a blog so that our family and friends can follow along with where we are in the adoption process. This will also be where I will add updates and pictures when we are in Ukraine so that you can see what is going on while we are there.

Where to start -

Well, as most of you know, we are adopting a child from Ukraine. We have decided to adopt a little girl between the ages of 3 to 6. We are open to a special needs child as well. We are excited to add to our family and Morgan is so excited to have a sister.

The process -

We are doing what is considered an independent adoption. What that means is that we are not using an adoption agency here in the US. We are working with a facilitator in Ukraine who will translate all of our documents and will also travel with us and help us with the process while we are in Ukraine. The first step in adopting from Ukraine is putting together a dossier, which is basically our adoption application. The dossier consists of a bunch of papers such as a homestudy, medical forms for Joe and I, police clearances, employment verifications, etc. Once we have all of the documents together we have them notarized and apostilled (a verification of the notary at the state level required by Ukraine) and then send them to Ukraine to have them translated. Once the documents are translated we will get a place "in line" to submit our dossier to the Ukrainian government. The agency in Ukraine that controlls adoptions is called the SDA. Once our dossier is submitted to the SDA they will review everything. If they approve us for adoption we will be issued an appointment date to go to Ukraine and meet with the SDA. At this meeting with the SDA we will tell them what type of child we are requesting (one girl, ages 3-6, etc.) and they will pull files on the children in the orphanages that match our request as closely as possible. We will decide from the files we are shown which child we would like to go meet. Once we choose a child to meet we will be given a referral from the SDA that gives us permission to meet the child. We will then travel to the orphanage that the child is in and meet with the child. If we choose not to adopt that child we could go back to the SDA and wait for another appointment to see if they have any other files for us to review. We are only allowed to do this a maximum of three times. This could mean a lot of traveling for us! Ukraine is a fairly large country and the orphanages are located throughout the entire country. The SDA is located in the capital of Kiev and then depending on where the child is that we choose to meet we may have to travel across then country to do so. If we want another appointment with the SDA we will have to travel back to Kiev and then to the next orphanage, which could be in a totally different part of the country. Once we decide that we want to adopt a child we will notify the SDA that we want to proceed with the adoption. We will then be issued a court date, which is usually with in a few weeks. After the court date one parent can leave, and Joe will be returning home. After court there is a ten day waiting period where nothing can really be done. It is a mandatory wait period that is in place in case anyone wants to object to the adoption. During this wait period we are allowed to visit with the child and spend time with them. Once the wait period is over we would then start applying for a new birth certificate, passport, visa and have the medical exam done that is necessary to enter the US. This could take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. When all of that is complete we are free to come home! The adoption is completed in Ukraine, so once we enter US soil the child will be legally ours.

Where we are in the process -

We have completed most of the paper work. All of the documents for our dossier are complete except for a paper called an I-171H approval which is issued by the USCIS (used to be INS). We have sent our application to them and are waiting for it to be processed. I have heard that this could take three months or more, but we are hoping that it will be quicker than that. Other than that all of our papers are together and have been notarized. I mailed them this morning to be apostilled. Once I get them back with the apostilles, I will FedEx them to our facilitator in Ukraine to start translating everything. Then we will only be waiting for that one paper which I will send to Ukraine as soon as it is in my hands. Once our facilitator has that last paper, she will get a spot in line to submit our dossier. I am praying that we will have everything over there by March at the latest and be able to submit before the end of May. Our documents can not be more than 6 months old when they are submitted to the SDA. Our oldest dated document will be 6 months old on May 24th, so if we don't submit by then I will have to start re-doing things we have already done. We are hoping this doesn't happen, but we won't know for a while.

I have added a button on the right of this blog toward the bottom where people can donate through PayPal. Adoption is expensive and we are trying to do this as debt free as possible. If you would have considered buying a gift when we bring our child home, would you possibly consider making a donation instead? While your gifts would be more than appreciated, this child will have more toys than she will know what to do with and more clothes than she could possibly wear just from what we already have from Morgan. Every little penny helps. Morgan is currently saving all of her change in her piggy bank to put into her "sister money". It is really sweet. I also understand that everyone has their own families and expenses, so if you can not give please do not feel obligated. We appreciate anything you do, but do not expect anything! If all you can offer is your prayers, good thoughts and support as we go through this journey, than that is more than enough!

Here is a little video that someone put together about the situation of the orphans in Ukraine -

I will continue to post updates here as things progress.