Sapped of creativity. Thank goodness the kids are hilariously good at it.
As of last Friday (3/14) the homestudy was written in its complete form. Typically the next step would be to have the social worker sign it in front of a notary and send it to USCIS (immigration) to start the approval process there, which takes 4-5 weeks. However, that same homestudy will be part of our application to her country and they expect certain details to be there. Not sure exactly what, but lots of little things. For example, what year we bought our house, or square footage, or how long we've had our current jobs are all details that may be desired; meanwhile the homestudy includes the number of bedrooms and our annual income but not those details. Just examples. A million things can happen here. A million small but fairly easy fixes. "Hey, I see you started your job in 2007, but what month? August? Ok, got it. Done."
If we finalize the homestudy as it is and then those details are requested, we'll have far longer delays this summer as request(s) is(are) made. At that point, we would need to get a signed and notarized letter from a realtor or human resource department or doctor or whoever to confirm the details, get that letter sealed and confirmed at the county and state levels, and then rush-insured-priority-special-delivery send the hand-signed and sealed original papers to the lawyers in-country to have translated and then (finally) re-submitted to the adoption courts. At that point we'd potentially start over a few steps behind where we had been. That would easily be a month or more of delay. Better to spend a week now. Really. Just frustrating anyhow. Because I completely understand making the in-country version perfect for them, but it's annoying that the US side has to wait, too, because it has to all match.
So the various lawyers are spending hours going over the documents with a fine tooth comb. And adding or re-wording things in ways that are expected or will have very clear meaning despite translations.
One of the sticking points goes back to medical stuff. Sparing a lot of details (what!? Who am I?), but the homestudy is required to include some old old stuff that we mentioned. So that means it needs to be mentioned in a way that her country expects, which means the dates, ICD-10 code version of the diagnosis, treatment details, etc. And our homestudy won't put those specific details in without official verification and so we're working on detailed verification of everything. Then, my dears, that could possibly be done. We're hoping (given the weekend of little movement we are entering) that we'll have final wording by Monday, verification submitted by late Monday to back up that wording, and the final homestudy signed and submitted by early next week.
That would put us at immigration approval around late April. Our goal is to get all of our other paperwork signed, sealed, and delivered (not just a saying; those are the actual steps) before then. When we get our immigration approval, then, we'll then just make a photocopy of it and staple a cover sheet to the copy. The cover sheet says "This is a true and accurate copy of the original." We take that and the original to a notary who signs it (after looking at both, of course). We drive that form to our local court house for a county seal; then to Albany for the state seal, and then mail it to our agency in Georgia. They add it to the rest of the packet and off it goes to Europe. We should be translated and submitted by early May.
That's actually a good thing for us. The big deadlines are late May (her birthday) so we'll be solidly in process by then. Better, they take 2-3 months to review the case, so we shouldn't expect an invitation for a court appointment from them until July or early August. Considering she'll be HERE with US from June 2-August 2 (God willing), we want an appointment for about August 3. :) So an early May submission is our goal anyhow. (If they do ask us to come earlier, we'll postpone it as necessary to the earliest possible date. We could even fly to her country for our first part of the appointments in the capital a few days before she leaves here and then meet up with her for the last part of the appointments when she's back in country. But that's to be seen and would require a lot of shuffling.)
If we got an early August visit request, we'd be allowed to file her adoption forms by August 15. Then there's a 2-3 week processing before the court appointment (now into early Sept) and a 2-3 week delay to homecoming (late September). This, unfortunately, lands RIGHT on top of my brother's wedding. Rob will be there alone for the last trip, so if it overlaps I'll take the 3 kids to the wedding alone. Maybe they'll fly into the DC area and join us at the wedding. Or maybe they'll just miss it. But the little kids and I should be there, Russy. :) Coincidentally, we brought Jorge home on Sept 20, 2008, so there's a chance we could double up on adoption arrival day ("Family Day") 6 years later.