Right now we are waiting for our I-800A approval from Homeland Security. During this 6-8 week wait, there are things that happen. This breaks up the time, which is very helpful for me. I tend to have a hard time waiting for these things. The first thing that happens is a receipt notice in the mail. Very exciting. We got our notice on Oct. 23. Next our fingerprint appointments arrived. We got these on Oct. 29. This was even more fabulous than the receipt. They scheduled us for our live scans on Nov. 8. With our other two adoptions, we received our approval about 2 weeks after our fingerprint appointments. So if this timeframe is similar, we should be able to get our dossier to China before our medical forms expire- maybe with time to spare. We are feeling very thankful and relieved.
Before our dossier (paperwork) can be sent to China, each document has to be certified by the Secretary of State and then authenticated by the Chinese Consulate. Usually we wait until we have all the documents complete (the last one being the I-800A), and then Steve makes a trip to Sacramento and San Francisco. He gets everything certified at the Secretary of State first thing in the morning and then drops off the documents for authentication in San Francisco in the afternoon. Three days later, he picks them all up in San Francisco and sends the dossier off to our agency in Virginia. They check everything and send it to China. After months of working on something that has to be done just so, it is a big relief to have it out of our hands.
This time, we are doing things a bit differently. Since we are in a time crunch, our family coordinator at our agency suggested that we get everything we have at this point certified and authenticated while we wait for the I-800A. This means Steve will be making the Sacramento/San Francisco trip twice, since the I-800A has to be certified and authenticated as well. But it was a really good call on our coordinator’s part. She suggested this because if there is the tiniest thing wrong with any of the documents, the Secretarty of State and Chinese Consulate will not stamp the documents. This is a very precise situation. If they sent us away to fix something, we figured it would be best to do it while we were waiting anyway. And they did send us away. The home study was not notarized correctly, so the Secretary of State would not certify it. Steve had to drive home from Sacramento, then go to the agency in Modesto to get it notarized again, and then drive back to Sacramento to get it certified. Once he was done with all that, he had run out of time to go to San Francisco that day. This was frustrating, but it would have been really upsetting if we were doing this after waiting 6-8 weeks for the I-800A. As of today, our entire dossier (excluding the I-800A) has been certified and authenticated. Once we get the I-800A approval, we will get it certified and authenticated as well, and then our dossier will be off to China!