Wednesday, April 28, 2004

April 28 Home Study completely finished

As I look to the last post almost a month ago, I can't beleive that it has taken a month to dot the i's and cross the t's on the home study and make the language suitable for the CCAA, Chinese authorities.

There have been a number of feverent phone calls between us, CCAI and AHA our home study social workers to button this part of the process up.

Since the last post on March 30, I have been to Washington DC twice. The first occassion was to the British Consulate, the same day as PM Tony Blair was in town. The British Consulate is in the same compound as the Embassy and is sited next door to the home of Vice President Dick Chaney.

Both Taney & I had spoken with Martine, a lovely scottish lady working at the consulate to help with the police clearance report from Scotland Yard in London. She with the direct help of the Consul provided three copies of my birth certificate and three copies of our marriage certificate as these were originated in the UK. The whole process took a two hour personal visit arriving at 8am in the morning, while I waited I sat and watched footage of Blair and Bush in Sedgefield, five months before, and before their meeting today together with the result of the Apprentice TV Program the night before that I was doing my best to avoid seeing at any cost.

My day started at 3am, where I drove to 30th Street Station to catch an Amtrak Train to DC that had started out in Boston at 9pm the previous evening. I don't take Amtrak very often, we have this love-hate relationship. I love taking trains, but hate Amtrak with a passion. To remind me why, you only have to board an overnight train at 5:30am to find bodies, blankets and pillows scatterd around the coach class carriages and little chance of a seat without a limb from the next seat not draped over your seat.

It seemed like entering a world of zombies. I hate Amtrack.

I arrived in Union Station DC around 7:30am. Union Station is one of the most beautiful stations I have ever travelled through, its walls simply evoke the romatic notion of rail travel. (Except at 5:30am).

After Martine had more than helped with the necessary papers, and the consulate charged a small fortune for the pleasure, I had to take one copy of the birth certificate and marriage certificate to the US State Department Authentication Office.

The Authentication Office is located in a small shopping plaza, one simply took a number, filled out a form and waitied for the stamps, and State Department letters to be added with the name Colin Powell added. This took no real time as I sat and watched MSNBC and live coverage of Blair arriving in Washington by plane.

These copies now needed to be taken to the consulate of the Peoples Republic of China for their authentication. Another taxi ride took me to a non-descript office building, no flags and the foyer being worked on by builders. One American asked me where I was going and I replied "PRC?" I was directed through a small door and told few doors down on your left. I passed All State Insurance office, ladies restroom, gents restroom and the next door was the PRC.

Organized chaos! I took a number and realized I was in for a long, long wait. So I sat and watched live coverage of Blair and Bush in the rose garden at the White House with no sound and chinese subtitles.

At 12:30 all four windows closed for lunch, and I was still some number away from my ticket. Eventually after two and a half hours my papers for authentication were taken and I was told to return the following Wednesday for a pick-up.

The best laid plans and all that, I failed at the last fence to get the papers authenticated before returning to Philadelphia. Feeling somewhat deflated i left to find a taxi to take me back to Union Station where I battled with the crowds for a seat back to Philly arriving back at 5pm.

Brother-in-law Chris offered to drive me to DC the following Wednesday for the pick up. It is a three hour car journey both ways and te wait at the PRC lasted about an hour. Nevertheless the papers were authenticated without questions and another part of our documenation complete.

Also completed since March 30, the first filing of the I600A, with the home study complete today the second filing of the I600A can also be made in the next few days. We now await an appointment for fingerprinting which given staff difficulties at the Philadelphia office may set our timetable back. But Taney has a plan to bump our file up the pile.

The final piece of the jigsaw completed in the last week by others are our doctors reports and accomponying letters. We are in the best of health.

Add to this that we have completed our Financial Report and our Petition, our letter to the Chinese officials to request our daughter for adoption is complete.

All of this could not have been possible without a number of people. First and foremost Taney for keeping tabs on absolutely everything, Hiliary and Andrea at CCAI for pushing our dossier along and getting the home study prepared for Chinese authorities, Martine at the UK Consulate for going above and beyond usual consulate help and Chris for the long drive to and from DC and my boss Terry for being very, very considerate in letting me have the personal time for my forrays to DC.

Friday, April 02, 2004

March 30, Home Study Completed.

A scant eight pages long, our home study is complete.

The process of the home study has not been the easiest of processes to personally work through. While I recognize that difficult questions need to be asked and answered, one thing I have discovered is that despite my outwardly open nature, there are some private parts of my life that I would prefer to keep just that, which I have had to address during this process.

Our Home Study process was concluded over six hours of meetings including one three hour meeting at our home.

We now move on with the process, as we have received our dossier from CCAI our agency in Colorado who are really good and working things through with us. It is truly a paper chase now that includes a trip to the British Embassy in Washington DC the week after Easter.