It took me several hours to figure out how to obtain 3 copies each of our birth certificates and marriage certificate. Boy, was that complicated!!! The good news is that Kevin was born in Orange County and I was born in Los Angeles County so I'll be able to go there and pick up our birth certificates in person. This is a relief because they've changed the rules for obtaining birth certs. Because you can use your birth cert as proof of nationality, they've cracked down on who can request and get one. So if you need to get one by mail, you have to have a notarized form saying that you are qualified to obtain the certificate in question (i.e. yourself or your spouse). That of course costs an extra 10 bucks. However, the best I can tell (both county websites made this very vague, but I'm pretty sure about it) you don't need the notarized form if you show up in person and prove your identity there.
Our marriage certificate was issued in Santa Clara County (up in San Jose--a 6 hour drive for those of you not familiar with the geography of California). Luckily we don't need a notarized statement for that (I wonder what kind of illegal activity one would get up to with someone else's marriage certificate). The unfortunate part is that since we have to request it by mail, it's going to take about 3 weeks to get back to us.
These certificates are immediately important because we need them to file the beginning of a certain piece of US government paperwork (the I-600A form, if anyone's really interested). This piece of paperwork takes the longest to process, so the earlier you open your file the better. So, off to the Post Office!
As of July 26, 2006, here's what our adoption file looks like. This consists of everything the agency has sent us (minus the informational DVD) and copies of everything we've sent them. Sorry for the crappy camera phone picture. Kevin's off and while he left the real camera behind, it's not hooked up to my computer and I can't get into his computer to download them. Also my hand is pressing down on the stack to make it flat.
Well that big news that I alluded to a couple of days ago has come to fruition.
We are adopting from China!
This morning we got a phone call from our agency (heh, I can say "our agency" now!) saying that our application has been approved and we are officially clients. We are working with Chinese Children Adoption International, or CCAI (click the link at your own peril, and be prepared for heartwarming pictures of adoptive families).
Now we are officially embarking on what will probably be a 2 year journey to parenthood. Our next step is to complete a Home Study. Sounds simple, right? A social worker comes to your home and makes sure you don't have exposed electrical outlet wires and knives on the floor. Nope. The home study is a compendium of dozens of documents in addition to the "counseling" portion (which requires 4 visits with the social worker). The home visitation is the easy part. We also have to collect an inordinate amount of paperwork (birth certificates, marriage certificates, I-blink-254-times-a-day certifcate, state fingerprint check, FBI fingerprint check, income statements, medical clearances, and about 5,000 other documents that aren't coming to mind). And of course all of those have to be signed, sealed, and notarized--which would be very convenient given the notary public in the family--BUT, we're not allowed to use a family member as a notary. Serious bummer.
At any rate, we're very excited to get this party started. It's going to take a lot of rushing around and then a lot of waiting.
The process goes like this:
*Sign on with an agency (CHECK!)
*Prepare the "dossier" consisting of a complete home study, all necessary paperwork, and all government paperwork allowing us to adopt a foreign orphan (3-6 months)
*Send dossier off to be translated into Chinese
*Send completed, translated document to China
*Get a "Log In Date" (LID).
*Wait (approximately 18 months)
*Get matched with a child (called a Referral)
*Get travel authorization (anywhere from 2 to 8 weeks)
*Travel to China (2 weeks)
*Bring our daughter home
*Start it all again for kid # 2 (ha ha, just kidding Kevin. Or am I???) ;)
The way adoption in China works is that all adoptions are run out of a central government agency called the China Center of Adoption Affairs (CCAA). CCAA has a big stack of dossiers from future parents and a big stack of "paper-ready" children who have gone through the Chinese legal process releasing them for adoption. They then go through the stack of dossiers and match one with a child. This is a very stable process, but unfortunately it takes a long time. The youngest children are usually 8-12 months old at the time of adoption.
So we're anticipating Baby Girl Hogan (95% of adoptable Chinese children are girls) around Summer 2008. Hooray! I'll be sure to keep you posted.
Be sure to see Kevin's entry on the cool plaque in front of our house.
Much like everywhere else, it's been hot here. I do feel bad for the folks at Disneyland. Seriously, if there's one piece of advice I would give summertime Disneyland visitors, it would be, "Don't wear a black shirt."
We're gearing up for Kevin's big trip to Philmont, the Boy Scout Ranch in New Mexico (here's the official site, and here's the unofficial official site). Kevin used to work at Philmont and is returning now with Zach's troop. This means that I'm going to be unsupervised for two whole weeks. I'm thinking of throwing a kegger and trashing the house. Wanna come?
My favorite television commercial of all time: Cat Herding.
The best intentions...
How sad that I've been neglecting my little blog lately. Well, lots has happened. First, we went to Wisconsin for my grandfather's 90th birthday. He's so cute! It was a biggish party--about 75 people there I'd say--and the food was great. Following the party we headed down to Chicago to see my cousins Kurt and Andrea and their 2 boys Addison and Ethan. Monday we spent the day at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. What a great museum! I think this is my favorite of all Science museums I've been to (of course, the pool is rather small--Los Angeles and the Smithsonians). Anyway, if you're ever in Chicago you must go--even if you don't like Science. It's just very cool.
Monday evening we flew back. Kevin and I were on a different airline than my parents and Corie so we didn't fly together. We got lucky. On our flight we had "Jesse." Jesse was a small boy. By the end of the trip, everyone knew Jesse. "Jesse, stop it!" "Jesse, stop it!" "Jesse, stop it!" "Jesse, stop it!" I finally stopped it myself by plugging in my iPod. I'm seriously considering noise-canceling ear phones for just that reason.
It's been very hot here--in the upper 90s/lower 100s. Today was supposed to get up to 101 but they seem to have downgraded us to a nearly chilly 97. Good lord. Even the dogs don't want to go outside. It's hard to get motivated in this weather.
In other news, well, we should be having very important news either late next week or early the following. No, I'm not going to tell you what it is. Yes, I'm deliberatly being coy. Bwahahahahahahahaha!
Happy 5th everyone! You know, the day the delegates didn't sign the Declaration of Independence, just like yesterday? We're off for the weekend to a lake in Wisconsin. Pray I don't get eaten alive by mosquitos. I've already gotten 12 bites and that's here in Southern California where mosquitos are pretty rare. Wonderful. Wish me luck!