The Assistant Stork is an Adoptive-Mommy & Daddy owned and operated adoption courier and paperwork facilitation service. We started our adoption journey in October of 1995, and we realize how complicated and nerve-racking the dossier preparation process can be. With so many different terms and rules for the authentication process, it's easy to get frustrated. We started this service in March 1996 to help other parents get through the dossier authentication process as painlessly as possible.
For your fee, we look over the documents as soon as we receive them and check them for accuracy. If there are any problems with your documents, we let you know immediately. We take your documents to the State Department as soon as possible after we receive them. (The State Department is only open 8AM - 9AM and the mail comes in too late for us to take them through the same day we get them.) At the State Department, we must drop off your documents and they will give us a receipt with the date we are allowed to pick them back up. This can take 3-4 business days, depending on their workload.
As soon as that's finished, we take your documents to the Embassy for Authentication. We leave your documents with the Embassy and visit the Embassy every day until the dossier is ready. There is no set timeframe for the Embassy to process your dossier. It depends on their workload. We double check your documents when we pick them up from the Embassy and then we send the completed documents, along with your receipts, back to you. If you wish your documents to be forwarded to your agency, please include a SASE for us to send your receipts back to you.
The Ethiopia Dossier consists of two "documents:" the dossier bundle and the Power of Attorney. Your entire dossier is placed behind a affidavit that lists everything in your dossier. Your international adoption agency will provide you with a sample affidavit. Please make sure that if your affidavit lists a Power of Attorney in your bundle, that you include a second Power of Attorney in your bundle. You only State Seal one Power of Attorney and the Affidavit (bundle Cover Sheet). Please do not forget that second Power of Attorney. Many families are delayed because they neglect to have that second POA in their bundle.
MAKE SURE YOUR DOSSIER IS IN THE ORDER LISTED ON YOUR COVER SHEET. We can always take in extra documents not listed on the cover sheet, but we cannot take in less. Everything listed on that cover sheet MUST be there. For instance, if you have listed "Divorce decree - if applicable" there had better be a divorce decree there. If not, leave it off the cover sheet. If it is already too late and you have already gotten your cover sheet notarized and State Sealed, draw a line through the items you do not have and initial them.
We take the State Sealed cover sheet, with the rest of your documents behind it, in order, and submit it to the US Department of State. They grommet the entire bundle together as one document. The state sealed Power of Attorney is processed as a separate document.
Please use the service of your choice (i.e. FedEx/ExpressMail/UPS) to mail your documents to:
The Assistant Stork
2144 Aquia Drive
Stafford, VA 22554
Our phone number is: 540-659-6845
Please be sure to sign the "waiver of signature" on your package if you send your documents via ExpressMail. We are in DC processing dossiers when the mail carrier arrives. There is a special place the mail carrier leaves the dossiers that only he or she can see from our door, not visible to the street. This is not necessary with UPS or FedEx, but please do not REQUIRE a signature. Do not bother sending your package any faster than Priority Overnight. We live far enough away from the airport that First Overnight does not get here until long after Steve has left for DC.
Please email us your tracking number when you send your documents so we'll know to look for them. Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. A check made out to "The Assistant Stork" for our fee of $125. I know it's more than our usual fee for two documents, but there is a lot more work involved in processing an Ethiopian dossier than just two documents.
2. A check made out to "U.S. Department of State" for $8 per document, which equals $16. We fill out the submission sheet for the US DoS, not you. Please do not include a DS-4194.
3. A money order or cashier's check (they won't accept personal checks) made out to "The Embassy of Ethiopia" for $95 per document (or document bundle), which equals $190.
4. A prepaid, self addressed FedEx/UPS/ExpressMail (whichever you prefer) envelope for us to send you back your documents. If you choose to send FedEx or UPS, please get an account number. They are free and will save you money. Go to fedex.com, ups.com, or usps.com to create your labels. Do not give us a Priority Mail label to send out your completed documents unless you have created the return mailing label on-line at usps.com. We will not stand in line to get you a tracking number at the post office. At our post office, this step alone can take 2 hours.
5. A self addressed, stamped envelope for us to send you back your receipts if your documents are being forwarded by us to your agency
6. A note with your email address, and your contact at your agency, in case there are any problems.