To adopt internationally, the documentation is mind blowing.
A home study
But when we realized the Lord had a purpose for us, a path to follow.. we started the paper chase.
The first step was to gather all the the docs needed for our home study.
Home visits from our social worker.
Marriage and birth certificates for each of the crazy 8.
Insurance and banking statements.
Social security cards.
And even rabies certificates for our dogs and photos of the lock on our pool fence.... just to name a few.
But wait wait... we're not done yet!
The home study process is just the start of the paperwork.
And pictures of both our family and our home.
...complete with a crazy amount of color coded, to-do, post-its.
and this is the crazy part,
each and every document needs to have the signature notarized. Our doctor, employers, our own signatures, social workers, etc... Nobody gets to just "sign" anything. All have to sign in the presence of an official notary who indicates that the person who signed it, is indeed who he/she says he/she is.
Then the Arizona Sec of State has to state certify every document to indicate that the notary is indeed who he/she says she is and is an official notary. 'Cause all those fake notaries are always trying to pull one over on the general public.
Then these docs, ('cause who would want this fun process to end yet?) with notaries and state certifications, are FedEx-ed to the China Consulate here in the good ol' USA, and they indicate that the Secretary of State is indeed who they say they are. Just in case you were doubting them.
Only after this paper trail of everyone validating and authenticating and certifying who everyone else is, can we deliver the very-large-by-now pile of documents to the China government for review. And don't you be messing with any of the staples, grommets, or stickers 'cause that will invalidate the whole thing!
Somewhere in the middle of it all, Hillary Clinton got involved.
Arizona seal for state certification
Our agency then-
1) looks over all the documentation and may or may not ask for revisions, (thankfully ours didn't)
2) ships it all off to China,
3) where it is translated,
4) and ONLY THEN it is finally turned over to the CCCWA (fancy schmancy adoption lingo for the division of the China gov't that is in charge adoptions)
5) who ultimately awards the the ever-coveted LID (Log In Date)
This part of the adoption process, the paperwork/dossier gathering, usually takes families 4-6 months.
Our LID is January 27, 2011.