On Wednesday we received our dossier requirements from our adoption agency. This is an exciting (yet daunting!) milestone for us. For those who are unfamiliar, the dossier is basically a set of paperwork that prospective adoptive parents must gather and submit before they can adopt internationally.
Some of the documents we have to gather include: our home study report, a letter of intent to our child's orphanage and the Ethiopian government, financial statements, letters of reference, physician's reports, state criminal clearances, employment verification, certified birth and marriage certificates, proof of residency, power of attorney, photos of our house and family, and approval from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
All of these documents must be sent through a careful process of certification and authentication in order to be legally accepted. After gathering and notarizing each item, we will submit our dossier to our Secretary of State. Next, it goes on to the U.S. Department of State and then to Ethiopia's Embassy in Washington, D.C. Finally, the dossier will be sent to Ethiopia where it will be translated, processed, and examined before we can receive our referral. Whew! It looks like the entire process will take us at least 3 months, and that's if we hustle.
As a nod of encouragement, my sweet coworker gave me this beautiful flower... how fitting!