2 Certified birth certificates, one for each of us: check
1 Certified marriage license: check
1 Notarized copy of a homestudy by a licensed CA Social Worker: check
1 Signed petition to adopt a child(ren) from the Peoples Republic of China: check
1 Signed financial statement: check
2 Medical forms certifying our good health, signed by a licensed MD: check
1 Signed letter from our credit union verifying we have the money for the adoption: check
2 Certified clearance letters from the County Sheriff, one for each: check
2 Letters from our employers stating what we do & how much we make: check
1 Certified copy of Jeff's divorce papers from psycho hose-beast ex-wife: check
8 Passport pictures, 2 sets of 2 each: check
9 Photographs of us as a couple: check
2 Copies of the first 2 pages of our passports, 1 each: check
This small pile of paper has taken six months and several thousand dollors to amass. This morning I carefully slipped it into a large manilla envelope with our names neatly written on the front in large bold sharpie. Then it, and I, waded through the sea of insane California drivers whom all insisted on driving the speed limit when it wasn't necessary (the cops had already nabbed holiday weekend drivers and were cheerfully writing them tickets by the time we went whizzing past).
I arrived in downtown LA at the Federal Building, cleared security (cell phone on the table, purse in the x-ray, you through the metal detctor), and headed to the second floor - room 2050 - the land of Criminals, Cops & Illegals (see post on 7/01/04). This time when I arrived, there was no armed guard, no parollees...nobody. You could hear the crickets chirp. So I signed in at window 10 and took a seat. A few minutes later an illegal Mexican woman (in CA? What a shock) and her pushy 9 year old son/translator arrived hollering for someone to come assist them. A moment later, an officious black woman, her attitude proceeding her, came out and distainfully said, "Can I help you?" then she glanced over and saw me, held up her hand in front of the translator and said, "Wait. Can I help you?" not quite so distainfully. I replied that I had already signed in at window 10. She told me someone would be with me shortly, and a split second later the nice girl we talked to 9 weeks ago appeared. She checked my name, asked to see my ID, and then handed me an envelope that was taped to the desk; "There you go. Thank you." and she walked away.
Inside was the last piece of paper: Form 171-H Notice of Favorable Determination Concerning Application For Advance Processing of Orphan Petition. This one piece of paper that says the United States of America has decided we are fit to be parents, and has forwarded a request for a visa for our child to the National Visa Center in Guangzhou, China.
I will admit to being nervous as I drove to Monterey Park. What if we had missed something? What if they had scooted up the Sept. cutoff because of the holiday weekend and we missed it?
It was quiet at USAA when I arrived. Yasmine, who answers the phone & handles the travel arrangments for the parents, informed me that Tracy was at lunch but due back in 10-15 minutes and I was welcome to wait. I waited. Tracy returned and began sifting through the contents of the envelope and rearranging documents. She gave me back Jeff's divorce papers- they aren't needed. The forms we were given for our physical exams were the old ones, and we need to have the new ones filled out with the same information. Jeff's employment letter had to be re-done because it did not state his position. Other than that, we were good! We made the September cutoff, so our Dossier will go to China (DTC) in October!