Hallelujah, our dossier is DONE! Well, it has been "done" in the sense that we have had all of the documents for the past three weeks, BUT, we FINALLY got approval from our agency to submit it without Evan's surname in the appointment request letter (For those of you who are in the dark about this "issue," in order to request a specific child from the SDA in Ukraine we must include certain information in our appointment request letter to enable them to locate the child's file. We were hoping to submit the letter with his first AND last names, but the director of the orphanage has been on vacation all month (along with everyone else in Eastern Europe) and we have been unable to get it). Rather than using his first and last names in our request we simply used the information that we had available (first name, birth date, city, orphanage) and are hoping that it will suffice (we will still ask the orphanage director for his surname and pass it on to our facilitator just in case the SDA is unable to locate his file with the information provided, however).
Now that I have confused everyone completely with senseless details, let me tell you about my day! On Friday Richard and I took the last of our documents to be notarized. Unfortunately it was too late in the day to run them by the courthouse to be county certified so I decided to add that to my "to do" list for today. I woke up bright and early this morning, got dressed, woke the kids, fed them, dressed them and finished gathering all of my paperwork. Thanks to my wonderful friend Stacey (seriously Stacey, you are FANTASTIC), I was able to run my countless adoption "errands" this morning WITHOUT my children in tow (they are too young to realize how happy they should be that I didn't drag them along for the ride, but I will be sure to tell them how lucky they were someday!).
I left the house this morning around 9 am. My first stop (other than to gas up the mommy mobile) was the Greene County Courthouse. Ohio is one of several states that requires additional county-level certification of documents. These certifications simply state the the notary who notarized your documents is in fact a notary commissioned in that county. I spent about 25 minutes at the courthouse and then hopped back into the mommy mobile with my newly certified documents and headed for Columbus (just over an hour away). Upon arriving in Columbus I proceeded to drive around for 15-20 minutes looking for a place to park. As luck would have it, I managed to find a metered parking space between my two destinations. . .as luck would NOT have it, I had somehow managed to walk out the door this morning WITHOUT my stash of quarters for the meter!!! After rummaging around in my purse, the cupholders, and the floorboards, I managed to come up with about 30 cents which bought me about 15 minutes. With no other options, I quickly said a prayer that the meter maids would skip over the street I was on and I started to head for the Franklin County Courthouse about 4 blocks away.
The Franklin County "Government Center" is an enormous building and I have to admit, after visiting the Greene County Courthouse earlier this morning (very small, very straightforward), I was slightly overwhelmed. The information I had found on their website had instructed me to go to the 23rd floor so I headed for the elevators. Now, I have to say, I generally enjoy a good elevator ride, but these were like elevators on speed. By the time I reached the 23rd flood (which probably only took about 3 seconds. . .seriously) my head was spinning and I felt like I was going to puke. For a minute I thought I had just stepped off an amusement park ride rather than an elevator. So, when I walked into the office labeled "Clerk of Courts" and was told I would need to go back down to the 3rd floor, I was less than thrilled by the thought of getting back onto the warp-speed elevators. I took a deep breath, stepped onto the elevator and held on for dear life. Eventually, with the help of several very helpful people, I found the correct office and was able to get my last two documents county certified.
Once I was done at the courthouse I headed back to the mommy mobile to see if I could scrounge up any more change (by this time the parking meter had been empty for a good 20 minutes), but alas there was no more change to be found. Again, I said a quick prayer that the meter maids would be on their lunch break and unable to hand out parking tickets and walked the 4 or so blocks to the Secretary of State's Office to have all of my documents apostilled. I have visited the SoS several times now, so this trip was old hat. I was in and out of that building (whose elevators, thank goodness, operate at normal speeds) in less than 15 minutes. Stepping out of that building I felt like a new woman. My paperwork was DONE!!! I could just feel the weight being lifted off my shoulders. Unfortunately I didn't have a lot of time to celebrate as I needed to high tail it back to the mommy mobile before the meter maids came back from lunch. Heaven must've been smiling down on me today because thankfully, my windshield was free of parking tickets when I returned.
I made the drive home and relieved Stacey of her duties (really Stacey I cannot thank you enough. . .just thinking about dragging my children through the streets of downtown Columbus (and taking them on warp-speed elevator rides) makes my head spin. . .you really are FABULOUS) and then collapsed into a pile on my couch and took a few minutes to revel in the elation of having our paperwork DONE!!!
Unfortunately the director of our agency is on vacation this week (a very well deserved vacation I might add) so she won't be able to send our dossier off to Ukraine until next week, but really, I am just glad that it is done. I will be sending it to the agency tomorrow and then I will be throwing myself a little party! For some people, the "waiting" is the most stressful part of the adoption process. While I admit that it is hard to wait, it is probably the LEAST stressful part for me. No, my stress comes from having that paperwork sitting on my desk, knowing that it is still in my hands and that I am still in control of it. Once it is gone, out of my hands, and I have no control over the process, I actually relax a little and it is wonderful!
It feels SO good to be DONE!!!