Once we made the decision to adopt we needed to prepare a dossier, this is a time consuming process that we eventually repeated three times before we finally got out appointment.
The first thing we needed to do was prepare our dossier. Here is a list of documents included in our dossier:
Petition for adoption
Letter of obligation
Certification of INS approval letter and I-171H
Photocopy of each of our passports
Original copy of our marriage license
State background checks for each of us
Employment letters for each of us
Medical forms for each of us
Copies of the medical licenses of the doctors who did our physicals
Copy of our social worker's child placing license
Copy of our social worker's clinical social worker license
Power of attorneys for each of our facilitators in Ukraine
All of the above are either notarized or are certified documents, and all of them must be apostilled. Apostilling is done by the state and it is the process to verify the notary.
For the homestudy, we had to complete a lengthy application listing everything from what we did as children, our relationship with our siblings to our financial status. The social worker came out and spent a couple of hours with us one evening and interviewed us. (Three months later I had the report in my hands).
Process to get Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) approval
Downloaded our adoption application (I600A) from the INS website in March 2005
Gathered required documents (birth certificates and marriage license)
Mailed the adoption application (I600A) with all supporting documents except our completed homestudy to INS on March 18, 2005
Received an appointment time to have our fingerprints taken by INS for FBI background check and we had this done on April 13, 2005
In June our homestudy was completed by our social worker and submitted to the INS.
Received INS Approval on July 20, 2005
The Home Study Process
Contacted a licensed social worker to perform our home study in March
Gathered documents required by our social worker including two letters of reference
Social worker visited and inspected our home on April 13, 2005
Received first draft of Home Study in late May
Cathy Harris reviewed our completed home study
Awaited home study final draft completion by the social worker
Social worker submitted home study to INS in June
Final copy of Home study
received the first week in July
Ukraine requires complete physicals including blood tests. We completed this in May 2005 and again in April 2006
Obtained employment letters from our employers ( in 2005 and 2006)
Ordered copies of our marriage license, had them apostilled in California ( had to re-order these this year also, since they are only good for one yeaer)
Gathered remaining documents required for dossier (all notarized)
Faxed our dossier to Cathy Harris for review
Re-did some documents that needed minor adjustments
Contacted our Ukraine facilitator that Cathy arranged for us and began making arrangements
FedEx’d our dossier for "apostilles" by our Secretary of State, this it to verify the validity of the local notaries signature.
Made extra copies of our dossier before sending our translator in Ukraine.
Our facilitator submitted our translated dossier to Adoption Center for approval.
Our dossier was accepted the
day before that stopped accepting documents in September 2005. We just made it
under the wire.
We joined several Ukraine adoption message boards on the internet, one is run by Cathy Harris, the other three we belong to are Yahoo boards. Belonging to four boards can be time consuming as each one sends between 10 and 25 messages a day. But these boards are worth it. as they provide a lot of really great information and support through all stages of the process from people that have already adopted from Ukraine as well as from people at various stages of the adoption process. Recently I joined the FRUA board and have found this board to be just wonderful. I highly recommend anyone going through the adoption process consider joining FRUA.