Yesterday, I received a very exciting piece of mail---My USCIS Approval!!! I did a happy dance--there was some jumping and screaming involved. (Always awkward when you live alone.) I've waited 2 months for that piece of paper. I had seriously begun to wonder if it would ever come. But, it did!
I should probably mention that it has two random people listed as Other Adults in the Household. This may prove to be a major problem or a minor issue. I will have to call first thing Monday morning to find out since it was after 5 in Washington, DC when I got the paper. I'm trying to ignore that right now, though, and just focus on the fact that I've been approved!
This approval is a huge step and it now means that things are moving again. I have had all my dossier paperwork ready to go for a month. Now it just has to be apostilled, translated and sent off to the country.
Sara's country is a little different from most. You apply to adopt from a specific orphanage--not just the country in general. I got unofficial approval from Sara's orphanage at the very beginning of this process. Now, they will get my dossier and give me official approval. They are so excited about Sara's adoption that they want all my paperwork now. They want to get a jump on it so that when the official paperwork is ready, they can approve it immediately. So glad that they are so supportive!
Here are the next steps as I understand them. (Of course, they appear to always be subject to change!)
*Dossier paperwork gets apostilled, translated and submitted.
*It is reviewed and approved by the orphanage director.
*I then receive an official referral for Sara. This will include complete social and medical histories and, hopefully, a bunch of updated pictures!
*I accept the referral and we are officially matched. I can then tell you all where she is!
*I apply to the US government to bring Sara here.
*I get a court date in her country and start making travel plans.
*I spend 4-6 weeks in country with my little girl bonding and working on a bunch of legal paperwork.
*We fly back to the US and Sara is a citizen as soon as she steps on US soil!
I know the big question everyone wants to know: When are you going to get her?
In all honesty, I have no idea. I hear different time lines all the time. Some of it depends on the USCIS paperwork glitch. Some of it depends on holidays in country or how busy people are. I've really stopped trying to figure it out! I will have about a month's notice before I travel so I will have time to make the needed plans. Right now, I am hopeful that we will be back in the US for Thanksgiving but planning to be back for Christmas. Anything before that will seem like a blessing!
Once again, I thank you all for your support and I will keep you updated as things progress!