~ Leap Of Faith ~

The Collins Family

Friday, October 5, 2007

Paperwork, Paperwork, and More Paperwork

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When we started the adoption process, I knew that there would be a lot of paperwork to fill out to complete our homestudy and our dossier. Once the agency accepted our initial application both the homestudy packet and Philippine program binder with the dosssier portion were sent to us. Our agency told us that on average it takes couples 3-6 months to complete all of this. Being competitive by nature (probably from sports), I was thinking that Wes and I would not be the average couple and we would have our paperwork completed within 3 months and so 3 months became my goal. Volleyball season starts in August, but doesn't really get going until games start at the beginning of September. My goal was to have all of the paperwork out of our hands by September 1st.

Our first portion to tackle was all paperwork associated with the homestudy. The homestudy exam included a huge packet of questions for both Wes and I to fill out. The questions dealt with childhood experiences, relationships, finances, education, faith, and future plans. We had to have copies of birth certificates, marriage license and police background checks. I also had to do an indepth overview of our finances. Once we sent in all of this paperwork, our homestudy advisor, Judy called to set up an appointment to meet with us. I was so nervous about her coming to our home. I spent the entire week before cleaning our home from top to bottom. I had this vision of her coming in with a white glove doing a full home inspection. Our friend, Rick and Cheryl also had Judy for their homestudy. They put us at ease as they told us that she was fantastic and really put them at ease from the moment she walked into their home. She didn't even ask to look around their home. They had to ask her if she wanted a tour before she left. At first, Rick did tell us to make sure and do a good job of cleaning our attic space above our carport (which I haven't even seen to this day) because Judy likes to climb.

Judy came to our home for the first time and we spent a couple of hours talking about our homestudy paperwork just to make sure that she understood everything so that she could write up our homestudy paperwork. She watched us have interactions with Jaidyn and Addy and then we talked about just life in general. It was much more informal than I had expected. Our second visit with Judy went well also as she had emailed us the homestudy earlier in the week to review and check for errors. She made the corrections and told us she would have the final copy finished and sent to Holt by the end of the week.

While we were waiting to have our homestudy finalized, we began working on our dossier. Putting together everything for our dossier was a daunting task, and took a lot of time. The dossier is the presentation of our family to the Philippine government, so every little detail had to be perfect and precise. It consists of material specifically requested by the government to support our application for adoption.

Here is the Philippines Dossier Checklist
Family Pictures
* Two identical sets of 8-10 different photographs, mounted on 8 1/2 X 11 paper
Photopgraphs to be included are of yourselves, immediate and extended family members, rooms inside of house and outside of home.
Birth Certificates
*One certified copy and 2 copies
Marriage Certificate
* One certified copy and two copies
Police Clearance
* One on official letterhead and 2 copies
Medical Forms
*The medical exams included testing for HIV and tuberculosis. We also had to include letter's from our physician showing that Jaidyn and Addy were up to date on all medical exams and shots.
1040 Federal Income Tax Form
* Three copies of 1st page only
Reference Letters
* One original and 2 copies - include employer references for each spouse, friends,and priest who have known applicants 5 years or more.
Psychological Evaluation
* this has to be completed by a licensed psychologist or social worker with an LCSW degree. Report has to be 1-2 pages in length and should include statements of family relationship, early childhood experiences, and coping mechanisms in relationship to crisis.
Application Form For Inter-Country Adoption
Information and Personal Data Form
Self-Report Questionaire
*Wes and I both had a series of questions that we had to answer about our families, reoccuring dreams, friendships, and self.
Letter of Acceptance
* To be written by the designated guardians of our children. Wes and I have chosen my parents, Dave and Rhonda to be the guardians of our children if something should happen to us and we were no longer capable of caring for them.
Type of Child Acceptable To Family
* Complete to match child preference in our homestudy.

Compiling all of this paperwork was very time consuming. We had to spend a day in Jeff City to get our police background completed and notorized. We had to schedule separate medical exams to fit our work schedules and had to go back later in the week to have the tests read and have letters written for Jaidyn and Addy that they were in good health and up-to-date on all of their shots. I made many phone calls trying to find a psychologist who would do an evaluation for an adoption without making it a huge drawn out process. I was also hoping that our insurance would cover this evaluation, but no such luck. The evaluation did take up one whole afternoon, but she came to our home to do it, so that was nice that we didn't have to drive to Springfield or St. Louis to have one done. We should have asked people to write us reference letters when we first started our dossier paperwork, but waited to do this until we were finished with all of it, so it took us several weeks to receive these back from everyone.

We sent our finished Dossier paperwork to Holt on September 11th. So I was a couple of weeks over my original goal, but it is a great feeling to have it done and out of our hands. I received an email from Kristine, the assistant Philippines program director within a week letting Wes and I know that everything looked good and it has been sent on to KBF.

I also received this email from her on Friday, September 28th.

Eva from KBF e-mailed me today, and said that she has now endorsed your dossier and submitted it to ICAB today. It will take approximately 3 months for their approval, and then you will be added to the "Roster of Approved Applicants." We will contact you when we have this good news. Please let me know if you have any questions. Have a great weekend!
Kristine Daniels"

So now we just sit back and wait to hear that we have officially been put on the Roster of Approved Applicants. We should hopefully hear something by Christmas at the latest. Completing the dossier has required a great deal of work and persistence, but we are sure the reward will certainly be worth the effort.

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