To Certify or Not to Certify, That is the Question

We are now compiling all the documents that will be placed in our dossier.  Basically a dossier is our life in a nutshell.  This file tells the story of us, our entire existence in a 20 page folder.  Somehow what we had been providing to them for the homestudy was inadequate for the country we are adopting from and everything now must be notarized and apostilled.  So to recap, we had to prove ourselves worthy to parent an abandoned child to the homestudy agency, the placement agency, homeland security, and now another entity will judge us once again, just in case someone missed something.  FREAKEN FABULOUS!!

Full disclosure here: We really have not questioned many of the things they have asked us to do.  The timelines are so strict and we bounce from one requirement to the other so quickly that there really isn’t any time to ask why.  We do however find that during the few periods of waiting for approvals or documents to be reviewed, that it gives us time to reflect on all the things we are disclosing of ourselves and our family.  It is at this time that you find Chris and I saying “wait” “what?” and “pass the wine” way more often than we care to share.

On this occasion we are stumped by the process of certifying all our “already legally certified, sealed and notarized” papers. Papers like birth and marriage certificates should already be pretty legal right?  Well the dossier requires the copy to be seen by a court clerk (state of issue) and certify that its a real copy from the original.  Did I mention that we are a military family?  We were all born in different states and countries, we were married in another and I was naturalized in yet another.  The kicker is that my birth certificate is from Peru.  No one is certifying that bad boy in the US so now it has officially become an international headache.  Peru child is very lucky we have this much patience:).

So here is what a Dossier for a peruvian adoption needs to include:

  • Health statement for adoptive parents– usually a written report by your physician (on his letterhead) after you have undergone a complete physical examination.
  • Letter of Request (addressed to the director of general adoptions in Peru)
  • Post Placement Agreement
  • Form I-800a approval from the USCIS.
  • For married parents– certified copies of birth and marriage certificates.
  • Certified copy of divorce decree (if applicable)– obtained from the probate court of the county where the divorce was finalized.
  • Proof of home ownership (or rental agreement)– a copy of your most recent monthly mortgage statement or your rental agreement.
  • Employment verification – must be on company letterhead and have a recent date– ask your company’s human resources department for a letter stating how long you have worked for the company along with your current annual salary. (Note: You must include employment verification even if you are self employed.)
  • Home study– obtain a certified copy of your home study from the social worker who conducted the home study.
  • License of your adoption agency. (Note: check to be sure the date on the license is valid.)
  • Results of your criminal background check– visit your local police station to obtain this document.
  • Copy of the photo pages of your passport.
  • Copy of driver licenses
  • Psychological and psychiatric evaluations
  • Name affidavit (all your aliases)
  • Photographs of your family, relatives, pets, and house.

Some need to be notarized, some certified and all apostilled

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