Friday, May 30, 2008

5 Dossier tips

Here are a few tips I have after preparing 2 dossiers in the last year.

1. Don't forget to take change with you for parking meters when you go to get your dossier authenticated/apostilled.

2. Call your state capital to check on your notaries before you travel there. Make sure their stamp has the right expiration date, their name is spelled correctly, and if their middle inital is used. Then, they should sign like it is on their stamp.

3. Make sure you know ahead of time, what type of payments your state capital takes.

4. Make sure your notary is notarizing a signature. If you need a copy of a license, there should be some verbage on the page that says they certify this is a copy of an original and then someone signs it, probably the person whose license it is, and then the notary, notarizes that signature. Don't just have a copy of the license, the notary stamp, and the notary signature and date.

5. Don't expect things to go perfectly, because they won't no matter how thorough you are.

I feel like there are more things I should have to give you. But, either that is it, or I will remember them later. Feel free to ask any questions about the tips, I know they might not be completely clear.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Can you tell I am happy? My dossier is off to V at AAC! I am so happy to be done with it!

I had my medical appointment yesterday and we got the rest of our papers notarized, also. Then, last night I was emailing back and forth with V to make sure everything looked right. At about 8 PM she asked me if she had sent me the Power of Attorney documents. Oh, no! Now I have 3 more documents to get notarized before I go to the capital in the morning! I should have read my instructions closer because it said I would get those documents closer to when I submitted my dossier. For some reason I was thinking we were suppose to fill those out closer to travel. Since our printer at home does not print legibly enough, I put the documents on my thumb drive and went to my favorite place, FedExKinkos.

Then this morning, I went and got the documents notarized before I left to get everything apostilled. It was a beautiful day for an hour drive. I got there fine and gave my documents to the nice lady. She came back and said she could apostille all my documents except for one! For the copy of my doctor's license, the notary had just signed/dated and stamped it. Usually there is verbage that says something like 'I certify that this is a copy of the original' and then someone signs it. So, the notary is notarizing the signature. I am going to do another post of tips I have learned putting 2 dossiers together. Well, I was able to write up a document saying that I certify that it is a copy of the original and then attach it to the copy of the license. Then, they notarized it there and then apostilled it. There is always something, no matter how thorough you are. So, then about 20 minutes later, I had all my documents. I got back to my car and there was 1 minute left on my parking meter, perfect! I drove to another FedExKinkos, made copies of the apostilles and then shipped off everything to V. Then, drove an hour home.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Getting closer to done...

I think I will be able to get my dossier done so I can go to the capital on Thursday and get everything apostilled! It all seems to be working out. Cross your fingers and send up a few extra prayers. Today we had Ryan's medical appointment. I had to go to make sure everything got filled out properly, being the nervous Nelly I am. Well, we found out we basically have to have the Hepatitis vaccine so that the doctor will mark us negative for it. I knew something would come up at the doctor! We could have gotten the shot in the doctor's office, but it would be a lot more expensive than the health department. So, it is 3:30 PM and I call the health department and it turns out they give these shots on Tuesdays from 1-4 PM, but on the last Tuesday of the month they do it from 1-6 PM. Guess what? It is the last Tuesday of the month! I think the Lord is watching out for us. It was still $50 a shot and we each have to go back 2 more times, so I would hate to see how much it would have been at the doctor's office!

Our homestudy is also done and approved by our placing agency! So, tomorrow I go for my medical appointment and then Ryan and I will go and get the rest of our papers notarized and pick up our homestudy.

I saw Kiara get off the bus for the last time for this school year. The next 2 days a friend and my mom will be here because I will be doing adoption stuff. I don't know why, but I was kind of sad. And, not because I won't have my 3 hours by myself every morning, which I will also miss. She is just so cute getting on and off the bus and she loves school. She will get to ride the bus again next year, so I that will be good for her. I want to make a list of what I want to do this summer. It always goes by so fast and then you realize you didn't do the things you wanted to do. So, any good ideas of things to do this summer?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Mother's Day and today...

I thought I would share a few cute pictures from the last few weeks. On Mother's Day we had a family gathering at my mom and dad's. It was also the last time I saw my sister before she moved to AZ. Kiara and her cousin, I guess she would actually be her 2nd cousin, were playing hide and seek and I thought they got pretty creative with their hiding spot. What do you think? Can you find the little girls?
It was nice that I actually got a good picture of Kiara and myself on Mother's Day. I also have a great picture of my sister in our pink spandex color guard outfit from high school. But, I should probably keep that as blackmail material.

Today Kiara officially got her first bike. It is actually on loan from a friend whose daughter out grew it. Ryan had to put a new tube in one of the tires and adjust the seat and then she was off. We were trying to tell her how to pedal backwards so she could brake. You don't realize what a 4 year old thinks. She thought we were saying her bike was going to break!

I hope everyone has a great Memorial Day weekend!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Police Clearances - CHECK! Home Verification - CHECK!

Well, I am feeling much better today. But, it was a tough couple of days. My goal was to finish my dossier by Friday, May 30th, and send it off to my agency. Then, I learned that to be able to get my dossier to my agency in time, I would need to get everything done by Thursday, May 29th. Since Memorial Day is between now and then, it gives us one less working day to work with. But, I figured out how it all could happen, then I learned that the Executive Director at my home study agency was on vacation and I needed him to sign one form. What, one signature was going to keep me from getting my dossier done?! So frustrating! Then, my social worker called and said she found out he hadn't left town yet and she was on the way to his house to get his signature before his flight! C is wonderful and I can't thank her enough. I am so thankful that we picked the agency we did to do our home study.

Wednesday was a big day. Kiara and I went and picked up a letter from my doctor that I needed and we went to FedExKinkos to make some copies. Then, C came for our home study update visit. So, she gave me some papers I needed and she should have our update done on May 28th. Then, all 3 of us headed over to the local police department to get our local police clearances.

Today, we went to my mom's office, she is a realtor. I had to get a form signed by a realtor that describes our home. I also had to get a copy of her license. I also picked up our police clearances and am happy to report that neither of us have a criminal background and 'to the best of the police department's knowledge, our conduct has always been commendable'.

Also, in the last couple of days I have been able to talk to V at my adoption agency more about the Russa process and I feel much better. It is wonderful to be working with someone that cares so much and is patient with me during my emotional times! We were told a week or so ago that the referrals, especially for girls, had slowed down a bit. So, we aren't expecting a referral as fast as we first thought. The earliest we would probably receive a referral would be in September. So, I am just ready to get this dossier done and enjoy one last summer having only one child. Kiara should be a lot of fun this summer.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I don't know why, but I feel so stressed today! Nothing is going wrong, I think it will be hard for me to relax until this dossier is done and sent off to my agency. Next week will be stressful to get everything to happen at the right times in the right order to pull off getting my dossier done. I think what else that is stressing me out is that I still can't get a handle on what exactly is the process once my dossier is done. I don't think I will be able to get as many details as I did with the Uzbek program, which is hard for me. Even if the news wasn't always good, I always felt like I knew what was going on and what would happen (or we hoped would happen) next.

Then on the other hand, so many of my adoption friends have been waiting and waiting and waiting to travel, that I feel so selfish when I feel like this. I am working on being content and it looks like I have a long way to go!

Monday, May 19, 2008

House Deed - CHECK! Employment Letter - CHECK!

Yeah! I got my house deed and it was super easy. Maybe the easiest part of my dossier. All I had to do was go to the county Recorder's office and ask for a copy of my house deed. They looked it up on the computer and printed it out for $1. It was a rainy day, I had never been to this building and it is in a town I am not familiar with, so I was prepared for a disaster. But, I had great directions from my hubby sp Kiara and I found it without a problem and there was a parking spot right in front of the door. Also, Ryan brought home his employment letter so that is done, too. I was also able to make new medical appointments for me and Ryan. So, those will get taken care of next week.

Next on the list is to meet with our social worker on Wednesday for our homestudy update. Hopefully, Thusday I will take care of our home ownership verification that needs to be done by a realtor.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

We will miss you Aunt Dani!

My sister moved to Phoenix, AZ this week! She is getting married on New Year's Eve to Bobby, who lives in Phoenix. We will miss her soooo much. We have never lived so far apart and it might be a little hard getting use to it. I know Kiara will miss her Aunt Dani. Luckily, Phoenix is a nice place to visit, so we will have to visit often. We are a close family that gets together often, so it will seem strange to not have Dani there! Below is a picture of me, Kiara, Dani, and my mom at a bridal luncheon that her coworkers had for her before she left. (Kiara had come right from schoolt that day and she had gotten her face painted like a butterfly.)
So, late last week we went and helped Dani pack up her crates to move. As you can see below, Kiara was a BIG help! Luckily, we are blessed with 6 cousins who are strong men and Scott and Travis were kind enough to lend Dani their expertise. Along with my mom and dad, we were able to get her 2 crates packed up in a little over 2 hours. After Dani's stuff was packed up, we went out for pizza and wings. Below, you can see Kiara enjoying her first chicken wing. Luckily, I didn't have to help with the hardest part, unpacking at her new apartment in AZ! My mom and dad flew out to help, along with Bobby and his brother, I think. They had to take everything up 3 flights of stairs!

Adoption update: I have spent my week working on my dossier and not much else. My weightloss efforts have gone out the window until I can get my dossier done. I have made great progress. Tomorrow I will be working on getting a copy of my house deed. I think I need to go to the county recorder's office for that, but I am still not sure. If anyone knows for sure, feel free to let me know. Hopefully, I am right and I will have that done tomorrow. I am waiting until late next week when my mom gets home from AZ to help me with a couple of things I need from a relator. Since she is one, I will be using one of her friends. Our social worker is coming this week to do the visit for our home study update. So, at the end of this week, all I should be waiting on is the home study write up and to get our medical exams and local police clearances done. I am hoping to make those medical appointments tomorrow, hopefully for the very end of May. It is hard with Russia because the police clearances and medical exams are only good for 3 months! So, you don't want to get them to early. Since my home study is suppose to be ready by March 30th. I am hoping to have those done around the same time. Then, I can take everything to the state capital to get authenticated.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Why Russia...

More than 700,000 orphans are living in 2,000 state-run orphanages. Of those, 95 percent have a living parent unable to or unwilling to care for them. That doesn't include the estimated 2 million to 4 million homeless orphans living on the streets and in railway stations.

Of those who are not adopted and leave the orphanage between the ages of 16 and 18:
50 percent of the girls become prostitutes
40 percent of the children become addicted to drugs or alcohol
40 percent commit crimes
10 percent commit suicide

Also...Just 1 in 10 former Russian orphans becomes a functional member of society.

132,500 children are abandoned to the state in Russia every year, up from roughly 67,000 in 1992.

Nearly 4,640 Russian orphans were adopted by Americans in 2005, down from a record 5,865 in 2004.

13 out of every 100 children adopted by Russians are eventually returned to the orphanage.

40 million children in the former Soviet Union are living in poverty.

Sources: Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation, the Commission for Children at Risk, Human Rights Watch, European Children's Trust, Rosstat Agency

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

An early Mother's Day present!

Like mother, like daughter! Kiara came home from school today with a Mother's Day present she had made. My mom got her off of the bus, so she couldn't give it to me then. But, as soon as I got home she got it out of its hiding place and couldn't wait to give it to me. I am the same way, once I have a present for someone, I can barely stand not to give it to them. I think I got this from my mother, too.
We always have to close our eyes when we are getting a present. :)

I received a beautiful coaster made just for me by the proud girl above. I am very blessed to have such a sweet and loving daughter. I love you Kiara!

This is a horrible picture, but I just had to share our matching double chins!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


Sorry I have been absent for awhile. After much thought, prayer and tears, we have made a big decision to change countries. We will now be adopting from RUSSIA!! It is so hard to walk away from Uzbekistan, but I think it is the best decision for our family. It makes me wonder why God led us to Uzbek first, we never even considered Russia at the beginning of this process. But, if I remember right, a year ago Russia was going through the whole re accreditation process. So, it wasn't a great time to start an adoption in Russia. And really, the earliest we could have started a Russian adoption with our agency was the beginning of March. That is when the agency they use got re accredited. So, maybe that is how God led us to our agency, AAC, if we hadn't been drawn to Uzbek, we probably wouldn't have come across AAC. And, I can't imagine being with any other agency. V has been amazing handling the ups and downs the country of Uzbekistan has brought. She is a great woman and I trust her completely! Until I wrote that all out, I hadn't really realized how it is pretty easy to see how God had us in His hands the whole time, even though it was emotionally exhausting a lot of the time. I guess the moral of the story is, just because there are bumps in the road it doesn't mean that God has left you to figure it all out on your own. You still might be right where He wants you even though it got a little bumpy! Plus, I wouldn't have met my Uzbek blog pals and I can't imagine not having their support during this process! You guys are the best!

So then, what is the plan with Russia? Well, guess what? More paperwork! Surprise! I get the privilege of putting together my second dossier. I can't tell you how unenthusiastic I am about that, but I am slowly starting to get the motivation again. It is my hope to have our home study updated and sent into immigration for our change in country by June 1st. I know I can easily have my part of the dossier done by July 1. (Shouldn't it be easier the second time?) So, I am planning on sending our dossier over to Russia at the beginning of July or whenever we get our new 171. I have been told that in the region we will be adopting from, you usually receive your referral in about a month!! Yes, a month!! But, of course, no one does any work the months of July and August, so I won't be expecting to get ours until Sept. Which, if the paperwork takes longer than expected, at least I won't feel like I am losing time. With giving ourselves a bit of padding, we should have our daughter home by Feb 2009! It would be incredible to have her home by my sister's wedding on New Year's Eve, but I am not going to get my hopes up.

I have so much to learn about Russia and the adoption process in this new country!

Friday, May 2, 2008

All Better (Almost)

Thanks to all of you who were worried about Kiara. Luckily, we didn't have to get her blood taken because her temperature went back down and hasn't gone back up. Her nose is still runny and she has a bit of a cought, but she is so much better. She went back to school on Thursday. (thank goodness!) She hadn't been to school in 2 weeks!