Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Roadsign: I-600A and Dossier Ahead

On March 28, 2011, we received our official Gladney approval letter and certificate!  Our application along with the homestudy had been accepted.  The next stop for us would be submitting the I-600A Advanced Petition for an Orphan application to USCIS and compiling our Honduran dossier which includes getting an apostille for each document.

(I warned you at the beginning of our journey to pack a in point.)

USCIS:  a federal government agency that approves an adopted child's immigration into the US and grants US citizenship to children adopted from other countries.  They have recently consolidated their efforts to process these adoption applications in one central location.  They work exclusively out of the National Benefits Center in MO.  (formerly known as INS)

Dossier:  a collection of required documents sent to a foreign country in order to process the adoption of a child in that country's legal system.

Apostille:  a seal from the Secretary of State in the state in which you reside that verifies that the seal of a Notary Public is indeed valid and authentic.

Honduran Dossier Checklist:
  • Home Study
  • Home Study Agency License
  • Father's and Mother's Birth Certificate
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Divorce Decree (if applicable)
  • Copy of Deed or Lease
  • Bank Statement
  • Father's, Mother's, and other Children's Medical Reports
  • Father's and Mother's Employment Letters
  • Father's and Mother's State Police Clearance Letters (fingerprints required)
  • Father's and Mother's Passport Copies
  • Psychological Evaluation
  • Psychologists License
  • 10+ Family and Home Photos
  • Religious Reference Letter
  • Government Reference Letter
  • Community Reference Letter
  • USCIS I-171H Approval Letter
  • Letter from Honduran Consulate
The USCIS takes an average of seventy-five, yes, seventy-five, days to process the I-600A application.  You cannot get your letter from the Honduran Consulate without it and you cannot submit your dossier without the letter from the Honduran Consulate.  

There are several Honduran Consulates in America and each serves a specific region of states.  We live in North Carolina and our consulate is located in Atlanta, Georgia, yes, Atlanta, Georgia.  We will need to appear in person at the Honduran Consulate in Atlanta, Georgia, yes, in person at the Honduran Consulate in Atlanta, Georgia, to receive the letter that is necessary to accompany our dossier to Honduras.

The goal is to take the time waiting for our I-600A application to be approved and compile our dossier so that the two will be completed at about the same time.

Our agency offers an experienced dossier service to assist with the collection of the documents and getting the required apostilles.  However, it was at this point in our journey when we went off the beaten path and took a detour on the "Adoption Highway".  We collected all of our own documents, formatted all of our own photos, and got all of the apostilles ourselves. 

flashing CAUTION signs:

  1.  To avoid delays on the highway, do not wear sunglasses in your photos (wink)
  2.  The fingerprinting office is very busy right after lunch
  3.  To avoid additional time and fees, confirm that your doctor has a notary public in the office
  4.  Often, the bank's branch office cannot issue the bank statement on letterhead that is needed for the dossier.  It must be issued from their central office.  Request for it to be emailed to your branch or allow extra time for it to be mailed to you.  Once you receive it, it will need to be signed by the branch manager and notarized. 
"...we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope."  Romans 5:3,4 

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