In unrelated news: First modern trauma center opens in Ethiopia
In your dossier packet, you will see an opt-in service offered by KBS Dossiers. This is run by a woman who has gone through the international adoption process herself and now offers her services (for a fee) to families reaching the authentication stage. It's always a topic of discussion on blogs and forums, Is this stage so daunting that I am better off paying someone to do it for me?
The answer is relative to your personality and lifestyle. We chose to do it ourselves for a few reasons:
1) we wanted to be hands-on and familiar w/ all documents being processed on our behalf through the US and Ethiopian gov'ts
2) we're very organized and knew we could handle it
3) we have an amazing agency who we knew we could call if we got stuck
4) based on the above, this was one expense we could pass on
In a nutshell, all the docs you were required to gather and notarize from the beginning are sent to your country-specialist caseworker who will review them for: language (keep it simple for translation purposes later), dates of your sigs matching dates of various notary sigs, all notary stamps are valid for two more years (so your docs don't expire) and a few other points that could raise red flags.
Once your caseworker gives the okay on the above, these docs are required to be authenticated by the Secretary of State (as mentioned in the previous post). This is where you have the option of hiring KBS Dossiers.
If you're on the fence, this may help a bit...
Kai and I spent most of this morning writing our cover letters (for WV, NV, PA, DC, NJ and NY), compiling the docs, folders, their return packets, labels and checks from approximately 8:30am - 2:30pm. We had a few questions, which we emailed to our caseworker. Once we hear from her, we will probably have another three hours remaining.
Its tedious work. If you can't be bothered, just want it done or have very little time - I highly recommend KBS. If you don't mind doing the legwork and want to save yourself a few bucks ($250-$650), I say do it yourself. In the end, your caseworker will be reviewing the final product before it's sent to Ethiopia anyway so it's really a decision of personal preference.