Wednesday, June 20, 2007

It's all about Notarizing

...we have finally figured out which documents need to be notarized and authenticated in the US and which need to be dealt with here. Another interesting thing we have learned after an enormous amount of frustration, lots of email with SW and a discussion on the phone with Agency Director: Notarizing/Authenticating in the Netherlands and the US are very different. Here's a hint: To be a person who is certified to notarize a document in the US you must take a short course. To do that in the Netherlands you need to go to school for a million years as well as be an attorney. This explains why our US docs need to go on to the State Department for authentication after being stamped by a Notary; in the Netherlands a Notary's stamp is pretty much equal to the whole Notary-State Department thing. I am far too tired to get into it any more now, suffice to say a bit of light has dawned and we are just about certain as to what we need to do. What we are very clear about as of tonight: The Holy Grail is the "Red Stamp" of the Vietnamese Government on every single document.

I would also like to add that my mum is awesome for busting a move to organize an appointment for our second Medical certificate (more on that later but yes, it involves a Notary), and MaryEllen -whom I have never met- in the Legal Department at my job's headquarter office in Boston who has been so sweet in getting everything organized for my Employment certificate. *Sigh*

Tomorrow morning I start my 2 week trip home with a flight to Philadelphia! I'll be hanging with my girlfriends till Sunday then off to my parents house in Massachusetts for a few days. Hans will meet me next Thursday, we'll catch some R&R in Upstate NY with friends, then back to Massachusetts. In between the fun will be some paper chasing and notarizing. Yeah.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Now the fun starts

In case you were wondering where we are in the adoption, there are 2 things. One, we are waiting for the final draft of our Homestudy to send with our CIS application and fingerprints to the US Consulate in Frankfurt and at the same time we are working on pulling the documents together for our Dossier which will eventually go to Vietnam. This is the part that is sooo not fun. It is notarizing and authenticating hell. I will be sure to document every exciting step!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Adoption barbque & Homestudy

This afternoon we went to the home of our Social Worker, Debbie, for an "Adoption Barbque". All of the couples in attendance were either both American or like Hans and I, Dutch/American.

The Vice Consul from the American Consulate in Amsterdam was there to talk about citizenship and the Hague Convention, etc. He was really nice and seemed genuinely interested in us. I was a little afraid that a government official wouldn't be too thrilled about spending a beautiful Sunday afternoon with us but he stayed, ate and shared some consulate stories.

We met some lovely people. It was nice to be able to share experiences and talk to others who are going through or have gone through the adoption process. It was such a good feeling to be able to chat with other women who have similar phyical issues as I have, acknowledge the difficulities but then talk about Bugaboos and diapers! Hans mingled with a few guys and I am quite certain that they were not talking about either of the above mentioned. The good news is that Hans catagorizes things like 'aparatus for babies' under 'gadgets', so for those of you who know Hans, you won't be surprised that we will have nothing but the most up to date model of whatever the coolest stroller is.

There were two really cute babies there as well. It was inspiring to see them with their parents and know that we are on our way :)

In other news, we recieved the first draft of our Homestudy! We made two little name spelling corrections but otherwise it was perfect. We are really happy with how it turned out. Very strange to read so much about yourself! The next step: Our SW will forward it to our agency in the US for her review. She sends it back, we sign it and it along with our fingerprints and background checks go to the Frankfurt Consulate for our I-600 approval.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

not so charmed

My married name is spelled incorrectly (by one letter) on my Pennsylvania Child Abuse Clearance form. Our SW said that it might cause a glitch processing our CIS application and that I should call the office at the American Consulate in Frankfurt to find out if I need to request a new one. I got the number and called. Wrong number. Got another number from the website, wouldn't go through. Called a third number and the man who anwered asked me to read the numbers I had out loud. Then he proceeded to laugh and say they were wrong. And he kept laughing (not sure why it was so funny!), then put me through to another receptionist who connected me with the CIS office. A voicemail picked up but I couldn't leave a message because it was full. I called the receptionist back, she gave me another number. I called, got lots of automated options, pressed the correct buttons, then when I finally got to the right extension, no one picked up. I tried this two more times with the same problem. I spoke to another receptionist and she said there was nothing she could do- either someone picks up or they don't.

Try again tomorrow....

Monday, June 4, 2007


Today our SW came to our house and we completed our Homestudy interview. It was totally painless but we are happy it's over! Our kitties Appie and Jip behaved like angels so that was a relief. Another bonus was that this visit had motivated us to finish up some home-improvement projects, too.

Once the final draft of the report has been finalized we send it off to the CIS office in Frankfurt, Germany with an application, our fingerprints and copies of other documents. Our 'letter of approval to adopt' should be sent out to us within 4-6 weeks after they recieve our application. It's pretty quick because we are in Europe and the consulate offices here don't process a zillion adoption applications whereas some people back home wait up to 3 months for approval.

Time for a beer!

Next up: Adoption Group Barbque...