Life has been very full lately and I haven’t had time for an update. Once our I-171h showed up, I made one last trip to our notary and then last Monday, August 30, we drove up to our state capital to have all of our documents apostilled at the Secretary of State’s office. An apostille is essentially a form verifying that the notary public we used actually exists and is in good standing. . . pretty silly, but every document in our dossier (all 18 of them) had to have one of these lovely little forms stapled to it (at the bargain price of $20 each, plus additional fees for each of the five notaries we used).

Apostilled Dossier

From there, we walked to the local Fed Ex Office, where we packaged the whole thing up and sent it off to Eastern Europe. For whatever reason, I was SO NERVOUS about this. The Fed Ex lady asked for a dollar value and we had to laugh . . . is it possible to put a value on so many months of work? Just half a pound of paper with a few staples and a bunch of stamps on it, but it represents 8 trips to the doctor’s office, 5 visits with the notary, countless calls to various public officials (from the Attorney General’s office to our county tax assessor), 12 calls to USCIS, a day trip to the USCIS service center, dozens of e-mails to Eastern Europe, hours spent scanning and e-mailing documents, 8 hours of interviews with our social worker, 15 hours of adoption training, countless hours collecting and photocopying documents, 3 hours of driving for the apostilles, hundreds and hundreds dollars in notary and apostille fees, and last but not least, hours and hours of prayer.Ready to Ship!

Fed Ex lady said the maximum value we could state was $1000. We didn’t think that really came close to its true value, and we didn’t want it to get held up in customs, so we had her declare a value of $1 and hoped for the best. I told Ryan that even if it was lost and had to be re-done, $1000 wouldn’t be much of a consolation prize anyway. After four days of stalking the tracking details page on FedEx.com, it was safely delivered and we breathed a sigh of relief. Thank you, FedEx, you served us well.

Now we wait for the translation to be completed and our facilitator to get a submission date. Hopefully this will happen within the next week or so. If all goes well, we should be traveling to meet Vika sometime in October. I can’t believe we’re almost there!

In other news, Ryan and I were able to leave the kids with their grandparents and get away for a couple of nights of the weekend.  It was a sort of “test run” to see how our toddler (he’s 19 months old) would do being away from us, since we’d never left him overnight. Having to be away from the kids for so long has been one of my biggest fears about this adoption. Thankfully, the kids both did GREAT and didn’t even want to come home!  I feel so much better about traveling now, and know that even though we’ll miss them, the kids will be fine and will enjoy the time with their grandparents. We are so blessed to have great parents on both sides who love our kids and are willing to support us by caring for them while we travel. THANKS Grammy and Papa and Grandma and Grandpa!

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