Not flesh of my flesh
nor bone of my bone
but still miraculously my own.

Never forget for a single minute
you didn't grow under my heart
but in it!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Pick-Up Trip Paperwork

About two weeks ago I began readying all of the paperwork that I have to be prepared to present at my final interview at the US Embassy. I am completely paranoid that I will forget something and that they will not let me take Gabriella home with me.

I consider myself to be a fairly intelligent person, but I feel that you have to be a complete braniac to be able to correctly complete all of the immigration forms, that is, after you figure out which darn forms you have to complete in the first place. My adoption agency has not provided much assistance or guidance and, even after I asked them my questions, I do not feel like I got a complete or accurate answer. So, I have had to rely on families who have already been through this process and on the various internet adoption forums that I follow. I have deduced that I need an I-600, an I-864?, and a DS-230. I say an I-864"?" because I still do not know if I need the I-864, the I-864A, or the I-864W; so, what do I do to be on the safe side, I completed all three! Not only did I complete each of these forms, but I am taking 2 blank copies of each of them; 1 copy completed but not signed; and 1 copy completed, signed, and notarized. I will take the unsigned copy because the Embassy official may want to witness me signing it in front of them and I will take the blank copies in case I made any mistakes. I was told that the lawyer should prepare the DS-230 for us, but why take any chances!

As for other documentation, the requirements differ for families that have visited their child prior to finalization of the adoption and for families that have not visited. This is because children whom have had a prior visit come home on an IR-3 Visa. Children whom have not had a prior visit come home on an IR-4 Visa. IR-3 Visa recipients are automatically considered citizens the moment they land on US soil. Also, with an IR-3, the adoption is processed in the country of the baby. Gabriella will be coming home on an IR-3 Visa. Even though her adoption will be considered complete in Guatemala because of her IR-3 status, I plan to readopt Gabriella here in the US so that we do not have any issues in the future. Because of the different Visa classifications, different documentation is required by the Embassy. More paperwork is required for the IR-4 Visa. So, paranoid me, just to be on the safe side, has met all of the document requirements of the IR-4 Visa. I have prepared both notarized copies and regular copies of my past four years of tax returns, my past four years of W-2's, my latest pay stub, my main passport page, my passport pages showing my visits to Guatemala, my license, my homestudy, a copy of my homestudy agency's license, and a non-notarized copy of my original dossier.

The other thing that I have had to prepare is collecting crisp $20 bills! I have heard from various people that the Embassy requires payment in crisp $20 bills. So, last Thursday, I asked my bank to order me new $20 bills. They were supposed to be in yesterday, so I went to the bank today to get them, but they did not have them in and did not know if they would be able to get any. A very kind bank teller, though, spent about half an hour with me this afternoon searching through a stack of $20's for ones that appeared newer and crisp!

Insanity, right?! I know that this all probably sounds pretty crazy, but after the year I have had with this adoption, it seems completely warranted to me! I am too close to the end and I refuse to make a mistake that could cause any type of delay in Gabriella coming home! Despite all of this preparation, though, my brain is constantly thinking of anything additional that I may need to prepare or take with me. Let's pray, though, that I have everything I may need.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sure someday you'll back happily and realize that this level of confusion was a good preparation for the world of parenting! Good luck with it! See if you can bring a color copier in your checked baggage.... or al teast a digital camera and card reader which could do the same in a pinch.

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