So, I mentioned before that we emailed back and forth with the orphanage for about 2 months. They basically gave us a homestudy through those emails. On December 29 (Happy New Year to us!) I opened an email that floored me. The orphanage had approved us to adopt Ling, they just needed to receive our official homestudy. Oh, yeah, that thing! So I contacted our homestudy agency here in Texas. We had already been talking to them but all of the sudden we needed our homestudy completed like yesterday. I had this stack of paperwork to turn in and so began the official process. Now, I have a teeny tiny bit of OCD and I actually had almost all of the paperwork on hand, so I thought. I had our birth certificates, marriage license, insurance papers, mortgage, etc... What I didn't have were notarized medical forms, enough life insurance, a notarized bank statement, notarized employment income letters, and pretty much notarized anything.
Now, while I don't believe it takes a village to raise a child, it takes one to pull together all of the paperwork! First were the medical clearances for all 7 of us. We have a friend in our homeschool family that happens to be married to a doctor. He actually had all of us come over at the same time, in the evening, and turned the paperwork in to someone at his office to notarize them. Seriously! There's a special place in our hearts for this family. :) We needed a notarized bank statement from our bank. We turned a sample letter into them, they charged us $10 and basically sent us a statement I could've pulled off of the internet for free. We went in to talk to them and even had a letter for them to fill in and notarize. They refused! Apparently, our bank is quite skilled at adoption paperwork and told us our agency was wrong. They wouldn't even sign and notarize the statement they sent us. Thankfully, our homestudy agency was fine with their document.
Along with this we had interviews to complete for the homestudy. First Kyle and I went to Marble Falls where the homestudy agency's office is. We took Cailey, our 11 year-old daughter with us. About 1 1/2 weeks later our caseworker came and spent an entire day with us. She did a family interview, individual interviews with all 7 of us, and a couple interview with Kyle and I.
The whole time this is going on, my goal is to get our draft turned in to the placing agency. Well, finally, it was done. PHEW! I came up for a breath of air and then found out we needed the complete official approved homestudy in. It was a week before the orphanage was returning from celebrating their Chinese New Year and the goal was to get it on their desk so they would have it first thing. Now what was a slightly tense but meandering process became an all out sprint. We were still missing Kyle's life insurance, the notarized medical forms, and our fingerprints. This all managed to happen during basketball season (Kyle's a coach at a public High School, our oldest son Ryan plays for the Christian School that is at our church) and the first week of our Spring co-op (I'm the secretary). Our caseworker works in Marble Falls for 2 days out of the week and then from her home (several hours away) the other 3. I didn't want to mail them to our agency if she wasn't going to be there. She offered to come by our house on her way back home on Wednesday. Bless her heart. So Tuesday night around 10 p.m. our life insurance guy had me install a sorta fancy skype on our laptop, interviewed me online (Kyle was coaching a game), and got Kyle processed for an extra policy. I had the email paperwork in hand on Wednesday. That same Wednesday, I was getting nametags ready for Co-op and tying up loose ends while trying to track down our medical forms and pick up a fax I needed for the homestudy. I stalked those poor people that had the medical forms for a few hours. I was expecting to have to drive over to the next city to get them when they called and said they were here in our city at another office. Woohoo! I rush and get them, go home and pick up Ryan to take him to basketball practice. I was scheduled to be in the church nursery that night, and our case worker still hadn't been by our house. She came by our church nursery to get the paperwork. :) What a blessing she was! Now...there were just those fingerprints.