Saturday, November 13, 2010

What is the Home Study and the Dossier?

What is a home study?
"The adoption home study is a detailed written report of your family compiled and prepared by a social worker. This can take three to six months to finish. The adoption home study requires the prospective adoptive family to gather different documents, answer several questions, and explore their reasons for adopting. Through a series of visits and interviews the social worker can get a complete picture of who you are and what life is like in your family." Our home study can take 2-4 months to complete

 What is a dossier?
A dossier (pronounced dah-see-ay) is basically a collection of documents and papers. This is what all has to go into our dossier and it can usually take 4-6 months to complete (I sure hope we can get it done sooner!). Once it's finished and completed, it is sent to the Secretary of State where it is certified ($10/document generally). After it has been certified, it is sent back to us, in which we sent it on to Children's Hope in St. Louis. It will be reviewed and sent to the MO Secretary of State to be certified. It will then be sent to a courier for Ethiopia in Washington, D.C. The courier for Ethiopia will walk the documents into the Department of State in Washington, D.C. to be authenticated. Upon return of the documents from the Department of State, the courier will then walk the documents into the Ethiopia Embassy, in Washington, D.C. for a second authentication. The embassy will add their stamp, signature and seal to the back of the Department of State page. Once the documentation process is completed, the dossier will be returned to Children's Hope, processed in their office and express mailed to the Children's Hope Coordinator in Ethiopia. That is when we get on the waiting list for a referral for a child!

So what all is in a dossier?
  • Letter of Introduction - a one page typed paper stating why we want to adopt from Ethiopia
  • Photos of us and our home - 6-8 pictures all on specific papers in specific ways
  • Photocopy of I-171H or 797C - Approval Notice from CIS and Fingerprint Expiration Dates (this must be notarized, certified and authenticated)
  • Original copy Home Study (notarized) and a copy of the license of the home study agency
  • Letter of Commitment (from the home study agency)
  • Employment Letters (letter from employer stating job title, salary, prospect of continuous employment, etc.) and a Letter of Non-Employment (for me, which is a letter stating that I don't work outside of the home and why)
  • Financial Statement (Basically stating our salary, net worth, liabilities and assets)
  • Birth Certificates (certified for every one of us, including the kids)
  • Marriage certificate (certified)
  • Medical letters (one for Michael and I - basically explaining that we're in good mental and physical health and free of any contagious diseases and are effectively able to parent)
  • Local Police Clearance - A separate report for each of us
  • Three Reference Letters
  • Letter of Obligation (a letter written to say that we will submit post adoption reports every year until our child is 18 years old)
  • Clear color copy of picture page of our passports

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