Friday, December 3, 2010
Armenian Adoption Adventure- Whew Step 4 more paperwork?
Whew, you have just got over the mounds of paperwork in Step 3 and now you are either: A) Disgusted and don't want to wait 2-3 years B) Want to surrogate adopt c) Adopt domestically, and we have found 2 children in the foster care system that were Armenian (more about that later) 1 a girl has aged out of the system and 1 is a boy who is half-Armenian who has lost both parents.
Next you will compile your paperwork and have it apostilled by the Secretary of the State's office. You can sometimes find a local office like we have here in Fresno and Los Angeles, CA or you can drive to your state's capital and get this process done in 1 day.
The apostille is to insure the notary on your paperwork is authentic, they will issue an apostille for EACH document. When I had mine done it was $10.00 a document. Plan on around $150.00 average.
You have now submitted your home study to your local USCIS who will process the paperwork and it will go to a processing center either in Missouri or stay in your local district. This is for the approval of the 171-h which is the permission to grant an orphan visa for your prospective child.
Plan on this taking anywhere from 6 weeks to 3 months, the USCIS will send you an appiointment for your lifescan fingerprints. Keep in contact with the local Orphan Officer they can help monitor the process.
While you are waiting for your 171-H it is a good time to arrange your documents and have 2 or 3 copies of everything!!!! I arranged mine in a fan folder that you can carry with you easily on an airplane. When your 171-H comes through, you submitt your dossier to Armenia. Create a checklist for yourself based on what the Armenian Authorities will want.
I kept in contact with the AAA and the Armenian and American Embassy, this is easy to do and they can help you out.
Note: If you have been PRE-MATCHED with a child this is unlawful according to the Hague Convention. The only time this is acceptable is when the child has special needs. I happened to know the child I adopted and she spent time in America with me and I spent time with her in Armenia. But this was pre- Hague implementation when independant adoptions were acceptable.
Today, you must be matched by the Central Adoption Authority AFTER the AAA - Armenian Adoption Authority has approved you for adoption. Today it can take years, I have heard of many Armenian couples throwing in the towel because there is no healthy babies available. We try to change their expectations to older children,or slight special needs but many are not willing. The attorneys in Armenia are good to deal with but many claim to be attorneys but are not licensed.
So if you have passed through steps 1-4 you are now in a very difficult waiting game of a match. You watch for the statistics every day. You wait for the next family to arrive back from Armenia with their child ..........you wait, wait, and wait. It seems like an eternity to some of you but hang in there and dream of the end result.
There are many uncertainities today in Armenia and in International Adoption in general. Keep the faith.