Dossier January 31, 2008
In adoption there is a lot of reference to the "DOSSIER". Since this is such a huge source of emotional stress I thought I would explain what is involved. We have decided that dossier is French for "boatload of paperwork". Each country requires a dossier from an adoptive family- what is required is up to each country. Our Chinese dossier was VERY long, specific and exact. If middle initials were used for 1 document then all documents must contain middle initials. I believe we had 25 documents for our Chinese dossier. The Ethiopian dossier was much simpler, yet in its simplicity caused much more stress for me (the main document gatherer) as I had a hard time "letting go" of the perfectionism demanded by the previous Chinese dossier I had done. Now that the paperchase is over and our dossier is safely delivered to the Ethiopian Ministry of Women's Affairs (those that oversee adoptions) I can take a deep breath and acutally record what was needed for this adoption process.
All document have to be original copies. If an original is not possible then a 2nd paper has to be attached and notarized that is is a copy of an original. All documents are notarized - we did this at Scio City Hall, where they didn't charge a single fee, and very nicely signed and stamped every document we had. After all documents are notarized they are then taken to the Secretary of State Office (in Salem) where they are then certified. They charge you $10/document to put a fancy gold seal on your document and say that the person who notarized your document is licensed to do so. Then all documents are mailed to the Assistant Stork in Washington DC. She varifyies that all documents that are needed are there and then she takes them to the Department of State. They charge you a fee to have all documents made into 1 document "the dossier" and to put a fancy stamp on it saying that the USA recognizes all the state certificates. Then the Assistant Stork takes your dossier to the Ethiopian Embassy, where they look through it and make sure that all the documents needed are indeed there and then they charge you a fee to have a fancy stamp put on the dossier stating that they accept it and that they recognize the Authentications of the USA , and the state , and the local notary. Whew!!! When this is all done it is then sent to Ethiopia where I am sure they charge more fees and put more fancy stamps on it...
So... what is in an Ethiopian Dossier you ask???? Well...
Cover page- list everything in your dossier
Homestudy- This is huge. You have 4 visits from a social worker to discuss all aspects of your life. We each had to write an autobiography that ended up being about 40 pages long!! Our SW was great!!
Homestudy Agency license
Social Worker's licence
Birth Certificates or copy of Passport
Local Police Clearance letter
FBI Child Abuse Clearance letter
Employment Verification Letter
Medical reports and letters from Doctor
Personal letter as to why you want to adopt from Ethiopia
3 reference letters from friends
Post Placement Agreement
License of Adoption Agency
Letter from Bank
Power of Attorney to allow this child to be adopted in your name
Most countries require that you have received you I-171 ( this is the letter issued to you after you have filed you I-600A- orphan petition, which gives you permission from the USA to adopt internationally) before you submit your dossier. Ethiopia only requires that you have it when you travel. What this means is that it saves about 3 months wait off your timeline. We are currently waiting for our I-171 while our dossier is in Ethiopia. This is a huge time saver.
Currently, our dossier is in Ethiopia being translated. We hope to hear in the next couple of weeks when our court date is. We are also waiting on our I- 171 from the US government, giving us permission to adopt. We did ask for an expedited I-171 due to the fact that we will have a court date soon. Please pray that we will hear soon on both of these items.