Friday, December 29, 2006

Dossier pieces coming together

Yea! The F@d Ex guy just delivered our packet of certified documents from the Secretary of State's office! So they *were* open this week--fabulous!

Also, I got an email back from our homestudy agency saying that our country report would be ready sometime *next week*, and they'd send it out to our placing agency for review then. We don't even have to send them any extra money for that like I was thinking.

Having more pieces coming together is motivating M to work on getting the last few passport mug shots taken.

* * * * *

Recently I have been attempting to re-calculate how long our expected wait will be until a match. We have been telling everyone "at least two years" but I am wondering whether that's really true. So I have been looking for evidence that it might be either longer or shorter than 24 months.

Rumor Queen had a chart once, that I recall, but I can't find it. It might have been my imagination. In any case, it might not work for those of us just recently logging in.

I looked on my agency website again. They are currently saying 14-16 months for match wait, or 21-24 from application approval to traveling. In my mind, I am really thinking 18-24 months. But also, I am aware that the rumors of 3 years might be true...

My plan is that I will wait a year from our log-in date, and then see how things are progressing. Then wait another year and see, etc. I can't spend any attention nitpicking, er obsessing over, er trying to predict, time details until it gets closer to match time.

* * * * *

Reviewing our dossier instructions (which is as precise and detailed as doing taxes) to see what we should do next, I realized that the batch of docs that we JUST got back will ALSO need to be authenticated by the US Dep@rtment of State.

Looking at the clock, I saw that I had a bit more time this evening before the local mail shop closed, so I whipped out the cover letter et al in record time and got that whole batch of documents back on the road. Woot!

Next up:

Documents being verified and authenticated by various Chinese embassies depending on document source state.
That involves making photocopies of originals, and arranging for a self-addressed, self-stamped USPS return mailer, AND buying money orders. Not to mention the usual cover letter & application form combo. But we are psyched to move all of this forward as soon as humanly possible.

Yeah, I am spending a little more to do next day delivery in many/most cases, but if we are efficient with our time, we might squeak in our dossier submission by the end of January. This is where judicious pushing will shave off time. We shall see!

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Suppressing glee *now stop that!*

We had a great Christmas with family, including with our little niece, who is not old enough to understand the point of unwrapping presents, but old enough to enjoy the presents she gets.

My mother has already hit that *gleee!* stage about the adoption. I think it's brought on by how wonderful my niece is. Twice, my mother has said: "...and I'm looking forward to *another* one!!!!!!!"
Yes, with all those exclamation marks; you know I come by that honestly.

The first time I just said that yeah, we are looking forward to it too, but it was going to be a while.

The second time, I was worried that she was getting so worked up. I told her that I was glad she's excited, but it's going to be at least two years, probably three before she gets a Christmas with our little girl. 2007, 2008, Yup, probably not 'til Christmas 2009, I said.

She looked momentarily distracted by that information but refused to be dampened. "You never know...!!!!" *twinkle twinkle*

At that point, M stepped in and stated it very matter of factly. "No, it'll be at least two years. You should get used to that idea."

That dampened her.

* * * *
I feel bad that we are in a position of squelching her natural excitement at the thought of another granddaughter. I suppose it would not harm anything to let her carry on, except that after a few years of this, we would all be getting worn out with it.

I feel we have a relatively realistic perspective, and I don't want her or anyone else to think that this baby is just going to pop out in a year.

More to the point, I don't want her or anyone else crying from the back seat of the car-- Are We There Yet?? -- when we are nowhere near match time. So it's for BOTH our sakes. Yeah, that's it.

* * * *

On another note, we sent off all 14 documents to our Secretary of State's Office on Friday. According to the tracking system, they were delivered this morning. Yea!!! (So the offices ARE open this week.) If we are lucky, the packet with certifications will get sent out again tomorrow and we'll have them in our hands before New Years.

I also nagged, I mean asked, our placing agency what was up with the home study. We have never seen a final version of that, although we know that it must have been sent to the USCIS in order to generate our favorable determination. But they still have to write up a country report for our dossier. THEY haven't been open, so I also sent an email so our contact would get it as soon as she comes back in. I was trying to be polite and NOT say, "Where the hell is our home study, woman!!" heheh

I know that this is too soon to be gleeful about finishing the dossier, but we can feel the end is in sight.

I have been digging through our dossier instructions to see what the next step will be after we get all documents certified. I know the authentication comes next, but does a copy get reviewed by our agency first? Do we hire a courier to walk our packet in to the Chinese Embassy for translation, or, or does our agency do that for us?? I have gotten info from a variety of sources, so now that is probably confusing me a little. I should look at our official dossier guide to see what they recommend.

Well, if I don't *have* to send it over to the agency twice, I don't mind! I would be happy for our placing agency to take care of all of it! If that is actually true, we might be even closer to the finish than I thought. That would be lovely. Then I could start all those house projects that will occupy me for two years. :)

Actually, I am about to start classes for a slightly new career direction. I am excited about that. Something to take my mind off the dossier after it's logged in. And it will be done well before we are matched... I have at least two years to make inroads (experience) in at least two new directions. Boo-yeah!

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Saturday, December 23, 2006

Documents going on a trip.

Wow. Yesterday was a full day. M and I spent large chunks of time writing/reviewing/editing the final draft of our adoption petition. It's like writing a thesis in double time. But it was the last document we needed to complete to move forward, so we hashed it out. M kept saying, "It's great! It's perfect! It's done! You don't need to do anything more on it!" But several tweaks later... it was even better (I hope).

We are somewhat more motivated by the CCAA's new restrictions involving health, wealth, age, etc. We are very lucky that we are not immediately impacted. But it does make us that much more eager to get our paperwork in the queue.

Anyway, we then compiled our documents and braved holiday traffic (ack!) to go first to the bank for all the notarizations we'd accumulated (our bank does free notarizations for us--yea!), and then to our favorite mailing store where they know we are in the thick of adoption paperwork.

All of the 14 documents went off to the secretary of state's office to be certified. Whee! The only low point was that one of the guys at the shop told us a scary story about another couple who had sent off the same kind of batch to the sec. of state's office, only to have their documents shredded! They had to start over from scratch. Oh, I really didn't need to hear that. But I figure that there's no point in worrying about such extreme disasters until/unless they occur. Have I not already done my share of worrying?? Why, yes, I have.

I don't know if that office will even be open the week after Christmas. It's possible that they will be out until January. But if they are /in situ/, we might get them back before New Year's. The other birth certif we had to send off to another state was turned around and back in our hands in fab record time!!!

After we had sent off the whole thing, I finished feeling snippy and went straight into feeling weepy and tired. It's been an emotional ordeal, and more so when I have been doing the bulk of the paperwork and obsessing over getting all the little details right. M points out that even though we've had to focus on the dry and picky paperwork, each part is embued with emotion, and that has an impact. The fact that we've sent off what we think are ALL the docs we need to finally almost finish our dossier is very emotional. It's also a relief. I feel like we've been running a long race, and we've finally reached a major milestone and can coast for a while. Of course, this is just a breather before we are back at it to finish the process entirely.

Left to do:
Have extra passport photos made for via purposes.
Photocopy and sent to placing agency for dossier review.
Send to Chinese embassy via courier to be authenticated and translated.
Transfer more money to cover agency fees.
Photocopied in entireity and sent to our agency with two LARGE CHECKs.

And then we will be finished only two months behind my original goal. Ah well. Onward.

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Five Lessons on a slow day

I'm feeling slow to keep moving forward with IA procedings now that Christmas preparations are competing for attention. Despite being "so close' to finishing the dossier. (It's all those editing decisions.) However, I have a few recent points to note.

We got our birth certifs back via F@d Ex, although one now has to go to the Secretary of State office of its state of origin. Turns out the documents from Vital Statistics, etc are sooo official that we didn't have to send it way over there to the county office first after all. Doh! Waste of $30, that what with sending it by Special delivery foreward and back. :( But the lady from the county office was nice enough to call me long distance and explain that specifically, so even though I felt dumb, I at least was clear on what was going on.

/First Lesson: Read the damn instructions before you send money! / :)

On the up side, I just got the special goodies for thank you presents to all of our references. Handmade goodies that are particularly scrumptious and beyond my own skills. For which we paid lots of appreciative money. It involves chocolate. Yeah. Say no more. If you are one of our references who wrote us such nice letters, you have already been wallowing in the results of our gratitude. :) Yum!

/Second lesson: Appreciate the people who help you. /

I'm waiting to hear from either of my two friends who are due any day now, and --who know!-- could be in labor as I type. I trust that eventually I will hear the news.

/Third lesson: Enjoy other people's success and good news. Everyone deserves to be happy./

One of said friends sent me a nice little thank you note for my shower present, letting me know about her expected maternity leave and expressing a desire that I come and visit her and the baby during their time at home. :) I am looking forward to that! Unfortunately, she then added a "good luck in building your own family" to the end of it. Errrr WTF? A little gratuitous pity? Yeah, I guess she is feeling guilty that it's her instead of me about to give birth. But WHY draw my attention to that fact? I guess she couldn't go without mentioning that. Thanks. It makes it SO much easier to maintain my composure and genuine good wishes. [ahem] Anyway... as I was saying...

/Fourth Lesson: Guilt sometimes causes one to say insensitive or intrusive things when it would have been better left alone. /

/Fifth and Biggest Lesson: I hope I have enough wisdom and sensitivity to avoid being an ass to others by accident. /

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