It is sent! Our pile o’ paperwork is officially in the mail and on its way to our adoption agency in Virginia. (can you hear my sigh?)
Two days before Valentine’s, Matt and I were delighted to find our I-171H in our mail! This was the last piece of paperwork we needed to collect for our dossier to be complete. It took only two weeks and one day after fingerprinting for what is affectionately called the “golden ticket” to arrive (or the official term “Notice of Favorable Determination Concerning Application for Advance Processing”… meaning that once you have a referral the USCIS will in fact grant you a visa for your newly adopted child).
With this last piece of paper in hand it propelled the paperwork frenzy to new heights. The kids and I took a “field trip” to the capitol for the Secretary of State’s certification (they thought it was great fun to actually go in the buildings with the golden man!). We then visited with another notary (thank you, Char!). And finally, I took advantage of the only hours of the day that one can check, double-check, triple-check that notary stamps, dates, signatures, amounts are all exactly right and then scan and make three copies of every document – in the quiet of the night after all the kids are in bed!
I felt giddy this morning reading our family coordinator’s thumbs up to mail our documents (our agency has us email scanned documents for preapproval of accuracy). Please pray that our documents arrive to AWAA safely, on time and that everything is indeed in order! Our family coordinator and another staff member will be going over our documents with a fine tooth comb and then will take them to the U.S. State Department and the Ethiopian Embassy in Virginia before actually mailing them off to Ethiopia. We are told it may take two to four weeks before we receive notice that we are truly “DTE” (Dossier to Ethiopia).
So, after five and a half months, we are officially done with the paperchase. My fat yellow binder that has gone to every appointment, manilla folders of our copies of our dossier and my adoption computer files are now going to sit. I am relieved to have this part of the adoption journey complete. Now that we have done it and understand what each paper is and how to go about getting it, it really doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. It was just a lot to tackle all at once. I would be willing to do it all over again… and would be more than happy to walk someone else through the process!
I don’t think it has really hit me yet that we just entered the “wait period”… we are told this can be the most trying time. The visual I have in my mind is of the Israelites when the Lord would lead them with smoke by day and fire by night. I am hopeful that Matt and I will patiently and prayerfully wait on the Lord; living in each day and ready to go when He calls us to do so. Please pray for our child(ren) whom we hope will come to our family in the Lord’s perfect timing and for us as we wait for that day to come.