Our home study is complete with the exception of a couple of documents. We are waiting on our personal references (4 of them) and CPS check. Once we have these two items checked off the list it is a matter of waiting for our home study agency to finalize it and notarize it! Sheri and I have been very diligent and focused on gathering the required documents for the home study. It has helped a lot that we live so close to the the county courthouse where a number of documents came from and that we have a notary of the public close :-)
We completed the 12 hours of Hague training over a single weekend (was well worth the time! We learned so much more than we anticipated). In addition over a two week period of time we wrote our autobiographies, gathered financial documents (bills, tax returns, bank statements, etc...), gathered birth certificates, marriage certificates, FBI fingerprints and background checks completed, local and county police checks, statement from our water company showing that we have public water, guardianship plans, insurance riders, and the list goes on! The paper chase has been crazy but a great learning experience as well.
We have also been gathering documents for the dossier in parallel with completing the home study. The list is comprehensive so I will not bore you with it. Every document has to be notarized, state certified, and then hand delivered to the Chinese Consulate in Chicago for authentication. There are some costs with gathering the dossier documents that we definitely did not anticipate. Just so happens that the Consulate that serves our state will not accept mailed documents so we have to drive to Chicago and back (11 hours total) and either pay a $20 PER DOCUMENT to have them authenticated in "standard time" and drive back to Chicago to pick them up when they are ready or we can pay $50 PER DOCUMENT, drop them off before 11 a.m. wait and bring them back at 2 p.m. Either way, the total out of pocket cost is nearly $1000 and not expected.
On a brighter note, we are making excellent progress with our dossier. most of the required documents are either on hand or on their way. The big hold up for the dossier will be receiving I-800A approval (we start that process as soon as the home study is complete). The time for the I-800A process varies from 45 - 75 days.
The family and I attended the Indianapolis Chinese cultural festival today! Stay tuned for pics and a write up on that experience!