Hi All-
Has anyone created a flowchart of the paperwork and procedures necessary to do a Russian adoption from start to finish that they would be willing to share with others on the journey?
I am a volunteer who helps families with many aspects of the process and we are trying to create a handbook for our group so each family is not forced to "re-create the wheel" or find out that some things can be done concurrently, and not necessarily consecutively to save time, for example.
Also has anyone found any great "shortcuts" or happened upon kernels of advice to share in the process that could help other families avoid huge stress or extra long waits during with the adoptions?
Thanks for any help anyone can provide. We all want these kids home soon!:-)
I must say that if anyone is under the assumption there are any shortcuts other than what their respective agency has found, they are highly mistaken. Your agency knows the exact requirements for each country and then the exact requirements each region you are then assigned down to the exact wording of the documents.
We received a 2 inch book with the agency and the country's requirements which includes sample documents. My suggestion is that an accredited licensed agency handle the adoption (there is a difference) look on the internet to find out the about accredited agency's out there (check to see their license in the country and check with the Better Business Bureau) use an AGENCY not a "middle man." In doing that, not only do you get samples of what to do, when to do it, but you have a person assigned to you who begins to know you and your feelings, likes and dislikes and holds your hand along the way. You will also have the comfort in knowing others have followed before you and are now home with their child/children.
Shortcuts? Find out where your documents are to be apostilled in your state, how much your state charges for each document apostilled, get a Fed-Ex account set up ASAP, get at least 3 original/certified copies of your marriage license and birth certificates and send in for your I-600-A and have you fingerprints done ASAP. Then buy plenty of blue ink pens and get ready to fill out form after form, write your life story, get references, sum up your total net worth, copies of deeds of your home, copies of income taxes for the last 3 years, pictures of each room of your home (2 different angles) and place them in a book. And best of all find and get to know personally a notary republic - that person will become your best friend.
Shortcuts? There is no such word in adoption.
Good luck - may God Bless each person who is beginning or in the middle of the paper chase.
Bham AL
Susan covered the topic well.
I had problems with the paperwork that was notarized. The embossing was hand, not ink. The notary didn't press into the paper hard enough. When these docos were to be apostilled, they were rejected for that very reason. He showed me how the notary was supposed to emboss the paper. Needless to say it added 2 days into our process and all had to be redone.
I think there are shortcuts, or maybe a better way of saying it is a more efficient method than some realize.
My agency (which I love), gave me a list of all forms, documents required, etc. and I began my journey. I realized almost 5 months into the paperwork, that I could have saved 2 months by making the I600-a the VERY FIRST thing I sought after. I did not apply for it until I had spend weeks / months gathering other documents just to realize that I would have to sit around and wait for the I600-a with nothing else to do.
Another "shortcut" I could have taken was to turn in an incomplete dossier to have the search for a match begin earlier. My agency in state works with a second, out of state, agency which is accredited in Russia. I was being guided through the process by my in-state agency until my dossier was turned over to the out-of-state agency. What the in-state agency didn't know at the time, was that the out-of-state agency would accept an incomplete dossier, have it sent to Russia, be translated, and entered into the database to begin our search - all while I was doing the final paper-gathering / waiting for my I600a.
I could have saved 2 months by applying for my I600a first, and I could have saved another 2 months by getting the ball rolling in Russia with an incomplete dossier. These 4 months would have meant that I could have been offically waiting in late March rather than mid-July. Not only would this have saved almost 4 months, but potentially, it could have meant that we got a referral and travel dates before the summer slowdown.
Yet another "shortcut" is to stress the need to have documents notarized by notaries that are all commissioned in the same county if your state, like NC, requires that notarized documents be authenticated at the county level before apostilled at the state level. We live on the county line and some doc's were notarized in one county, some in the other. Not understanding the process until we were knee deep in it, we never thought about having to drive documents to two different registrar of deeds offices which were an hour apart.
This process can varry by state and by agency. It can also vary by region in Russia. Your clients should be getting an extensive checklist from their agency.
You may not find a complete flowchart for the process, but you may be able to create a tips sheets.
I hope this helps.
Thank you all for your tips and suggestions. I will use them all to help create a "flowchart" for our group and others who might need help.