Friday, July 13, 2012

Hurray! Home Study's Done! We Have To Do What Now?



We are now officially done with the home study portion of the adoption process.  Now comes the fun - the I-600A, which I was disappointed to discover wasn't something Barney Fife cited on "The Andy Griffith Show," but is the Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition.  

This application is 8 pages of instructions and 3 pages to be filled out.  We have to mail the application in to the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services so they can determine if we can properly care for an adopted child.  Along with the application we have to mail the USCIS the following:
- Two sets of fingerprints
- Proof we're U.S. citizens (such as birth certificates)
- Marriage certificate
- Certified check for $890

When the USCIS approves our I-600A, they'll send us am I-171H form, which is a Notice of Favorable Determination Concerning Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition (Whew!  That really rolls of the tongue, doesn't it?).  We'll also be sent a request that the notice of this approval has been sent to the U.S. Embassy or consulate in the country we plan to adopt in.  The I-600A is valid for 18 months from the date of the approval.

To download a copy of the I-600A form go to the USCIS site at:
http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis

As if all this doesn't sound like a ton of fun, we have to begin gathering more information and documents for our dossier.  The dossier is a collection of forms containing detailed information about us.  This involves us compiling documents, getting them notarized with various seals from county, state, and U.S. government.  More paperwork.  More legwork.  Although many of the documents were needed for our home study, the majority of them will have to be notarized, certified, apostilled, and authenticated.


As to what goes into a dossier, here's a listing that was posted on Adoption.com:

  • Health statement for adoptive parents - usually a written report by your physician (on his letterhead) after you have undergone a complete physical examination
  • Financial information – usually written letters from the financial institutions with which you do business stating your account balances
  • Adoption petition (provided by your adoption agency)
  • Post Placement Agreement (from your adoption agency)
  • Form I-171H (this is the only time a copy of a document is allowed in the dossier) from the USCIS
  • For married parents: certified copies of birth and marriage certificates
  • For single parents: certified copy of birth certificate
  • Certified copy of divorce decree (if applicable) – obtained from the probate court of the county where the divorce was finalized
  • Certified copy of death certificate of former spouse (if applicable) – obtained from the state office of vital records
  • Proof of home ownership (or rental agreement) - a copy of your most recent monthly mortgage statement or your rental agreement
  • Employment verification - must be on company letterhead and have a recent date – ask your company’s human resources department for a letter stating how long you have worked for the company along with your current annual salary. (Note: You must include employment verification even if you are self employed.)
  • Homestudy – obtain a certified copy of your homestudy from the social worker who conducted the homestudy
  • License of your adoption agency (Note: check to be sure the date on the license is valid)
  • Results of your criminal background check – visit your local police station to obtain this document
  • Copy of the photo pages of your passport
  • Letters of reference – it’s okay to use the same references you used for your homestudy.
  • Copy of your most recent Federal income tax return – if you don’t have a copy, the IRS can provide you with a copy (go to http://www.irs.gov/faqs/faq1-6.html for instructions on requesting a copy)
  • Power of Attorney (given to your adoption agency coordinator)
  • Photographs of your family, relatives, pets, and house
Overwhelming, isn't it?  Especially for me since I'm not highly organized or good at filling out forms.  So your prayers and support will be greatly appreciated.  

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