Next stop China

Next stop China
Next Stop China!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Ready for Authentication

My mom, the boys, and I have driven all over Alabama this week.  Sunday, the boys and I drove the girls to camp Maywood.
Monday, Mom, the boys and I drove to the Morgan County Courthouse to have all of our Morgan county paperwork county certified.  Then off to Athens b/c I had one paper that was signed by a notary from Limestone Co.
Tuesday we drove up to Madison Co. courthouse because one of our notaries had signed the paper in Morgan Co. but had their notary in Madison Co.   If I had known that, I would have gone to Madison on Monday also.
On the way home, we stopped by a used homeschool curriculum store in Madison and got the Seth's curriculum for the year.
I finally had all of our Alabama paperwork county certified except for our home study, whose notary happens to be in Shelby Co.  Rather than drag this out 2 weeks with mailing here and there, I decided to bite the bullet and just go do it in person.
So, Wednesday, Mom, the boys and I drove to Shelby Co. to have our homestudy notary county certified, then off to Montgomery to have all of our Alabama documents State Certified. That whole ordeal Wednesday took about 7.5 hrs.  It  has been a long 4 days of driving all over.
I also mailed off our TN and IN papers to get state certified and have those back already.  All of our dossier papers are now ready to be sent to various Chinese consulate offices to be authenticated.  Which means, our 10 pages from Alabama will be going to Houston, my Birth Certificate from Indiana will have to go to Chicago, and Aaron's birth certificate and our marriage license from TN will go to DC.  Crazy.
I was excited to send them off, then found out the Houston courier I was going to use is taking a vacation next week, so they won't be taking papers to the consulate until 8/12. Oh well, I am glad to have those papers finished with county and state certifications.  Now I just to have make copies of everything, fill out some papers pay some money, of course, and send them off.
We haven't gotten any money yet from grants.  So far, all we have heard is that they have received all of our paperwork.  I have applied to 8 different grant agencies. I plan to apply for more, but getting our dossier paperwork done was more important.
Our travel date to China should be sometime between November and February.  I am so ready to go!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Applying for Grants

So far I have filled out tons of paperwork for 8 grants.  There are still a few more that I am working on. It will probably still be about a month at least before we hear from any of them. Most have a 6-12 week decision period, I know one I applied for won't even make a decision until the middle of November.
The last few weeks have been a whirlwind. Back on Father's Day, Aaron got the opportunity to go to a wildfire in Florida. So we raced home and got him packed real quick. Unfortunately, for the time period he was to be gone (16 days) I had already signed up to work 5 days, both weekends that he would be gone.  The first weekend, my two oldest were going on a retreat and wouldn't be there to help my mom.   So, I arranged with Aaron's parents for them to keep the 3 youngest that first weekend. So I drove all the kids 2.5 hrs away up to TN, dropped the 3 youngest off, then drove the older 2 to their retreat which was kind of on the way home, then drove me and mom back home. I worked the next 2 days, had Sunday off, worked Monday, then I drove back up to TN on Tuesday and met Aaron's parents halfway to pick up the kids. I was supposed to work Sunday, not Monday, so I had arranged for one of the youth interns to pick up mom and the older two for church Sunday driving them everywhere they needed to go. Thankfully, someone at worked switched a day with me.

 The next Friday, again, I met Aaron's parents halfway and dropped off the 4 youngest kids.  Madelyn came home with me because she was leaving for a mission trip to Houston the next day.
I was supposed to work the Saturday she was leaving, so I had arranged for me to drop her off at 5:30 am at someone's house and they would take her to the church at 7:30pm to leave that night. I ended up getting cancelled that day. I did work last Sunday.  Went Monday all the way again to TN to pick up the the boys and left 2 kids there.  They were brought home Thursday.

It was an extremely stressful and busy time.Very hard trying to juggle everyone and get everyone to the correct place when I am the only one here and the only one driving.
Thankfully Aaron got home safely!

Another perfect timing...I had applied for USCIS before Aaron went out of town. Well, USCIS sends you a letter and tells you what time to come for your fingerprints.  They had scheduled us for the morning after Aaron returned from Florida. So we did get our USCIS fingerprints taken again.  I believe this is the 4 time since 2007 we have had to go do that there. I don't know why we have to repeat them every time, but we do. And when you are adopting and dealing with governments, you don't question why, you just do it.

We also have almost all of our dossier compiled. Everything that needs to be notarized is done.
The next step is to send my Indiana Birth certificate up to the IN Sec. of State to be State certified. I need to get Aaron's TN birth cert. and our marriage license certified in TN.  Then all of our documents from Alabama that have a notary on them, I have to take to the courthouse in Decatur, have them county certified, which means that they attach a letter saying that the notary is indeed a notary, then I have to mail all of this to Montgomery to have the county certification state certified, where they attach a letter saying that the county certification is real.

When our USCIS comes back, we will attach it with all of our other documents and send it to the Chinese consulate in Houston where they will authenticate the documents.   You cannot send paperwork directly to the consulate, it has to be delivered by a courier.  So, that means we get to pay a courier a lot of money, I will guess it will probably cost $300-$400 to have all of our paperwork authenticated including the courier fees and consulate fees.

We are getting excited though.  The closer we get, the more real it gets.  I am still hoping to have her home by February.  We'll see!