Our paperwork journey

This post is mainly meant for other families adopting from Taiwan (independent private) who might glean some insight into the paperwork process.  We live in Tennessee and this is a chronicle of our journey so far:

We contacted Adoption Assistance in Smyrna, TN regarding our need for a new homestudy.  The application fee was $50.  Lisa Mosley was wonderful.  She worked with us intently to get our homestudy completed in six weeks time.  We had to do some additional training that was specific to international adoption, but we were able to do that training online at minimal cost.  She charged us $500 to update our homestudy from domestic to international, plus what we had to pay for a South Carolina background check (any state you’ve lived in other than TN in the past 10 years) for me and the online training. 

Lisa got us our approved new homestudy on June 27.   After I got it, I e-mailed it immediately the director of the program in Taiwan (name protected on this blog).  When you get it from Lisa over e-mail, it won’t be signed and notarized, so whenever Lisa gets the notarized copies for you, scan the last page and e-mail it to our Taiwan contact.  You do not have to wait to send her the whole thing…she will want it ASAP to start translating, then when you get that original last page with signatures and notary, just scan it to her.  She had it translated, then FedExed it back to us.  We got it back from our Taiwan contact on July 13.  On July 14, I did the notary process.
I went first to a notary for Davidson County (but any county is fine).  Use someone whose notary does not expire for at least another year.  You will have these documents:

                2 copies of your Chinese homestudy

                3 copies of Power of Attorney paperwork

                3 copies of Adoption contract

                3 copies of Adoption agreement

The notary will not know what the Chinese homestudy says of course, but they don’t have to.  They just have to sign that it is your signature on the forms.  You and your spouse sign anywhere on the last page of the homestudies.  Our Taiwan contact will circle where you are supposed to sign on the other forms.
After you get them notarized, then go to the County Clerk for the county of the notary you used.  I used Davidson County Clerk’s office downtown in the Howard Building (lower floor).  They have to certify on each document that the notary who notarized your forms is really a notary.  It was $33 ($3 per document) and they took a personal check.

From there, I went to the Secretary of State’s office at the Snodgrass Building downtown.  The address is 312 Rosa Parks Blvd. Nashville.  It’s on the 6th floor (Business Services).  You will need a photo ID to get access to the building.  They charge $2 per document and I paid cash.  They are open from 8-4:30 and their phone number is 741-3699.  When they ask you about your documents and what you need, tell them you need AUTHENTICATION.  Taiwan is a Non-Hague country.
The next day, July 15, I drove to Atlanta to the TECO office.

TECO in Atlanta (Proper and Consular Services)
1180 West Peachtree Street,
Suite 800, Atlantic Center Plaza,
Atlanta, GA 30309
TEL: (404) 870-9375
FAX: (404) 870-9376

I talked with a lady named Joan there.  You do not have to go in person, but because we had been through so much with the paperwork, I wanted to deliver it myself!  Fill out the application before you go.  http://www.roc-taiwan.org/public/Attachment/681922131071.pdf.

TECO costs $165 and you need cash or money order.  You will also need to take copies of your passports.  Make copies of all of your documents as well.  They will tell you your paperwork will be ready in 3-5 business days (for the Atlanta office...other offices may be done same day), but it only took her one business day to get ours done!  Then, my cousin, who works very near the TECO office in Atlanta went to pick up our papers and mailed them, along with our photo pages, an original notarized English homestudy, a copy of each of our birth certificates and a copy of our marriage certificate, back to our Taiwan contact via FedEx.  FedEx may tell you they don’t deliver to the city we need it to get to, but they do.  There is another city that the paperwork goes to first, then it’s taken by the Taiwan postal service from there.  It cost us $88 to send FedEx priority.  It got to our Taiwan contact in four days.  It was entered into court on August 1.

In the meantime, we had to get passports (application for first time applicants: http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/79955.pdf and instructions: http://travel.state.gov/passport/get/first/first_830.html).   

You will apply with USCIS for your fingerprints/immigration.  Fill out the I-600A http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-600a.pdf and send it in along with all of the documents they need: see instruction sheet: http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-600ainstr.pdf.  Our total for USCIS was $890 ($720 fee then $85 for each of us to be fingerprinted), check made to Dept. of Homeland Security.  Then, the FBI will send you a notice that they received your application and then you’ll get another one after a couple more weeks that tells you the day/time of your fingerprinting appointment.  We didn’t wait until our appointment to go.  We just walked in and took our chances.  We did call USCIS first and asked about our particular center to see if we were even allowed to try to walk in.  They said we could try.  I found out that if you call 1-877-424-8374 (the National Benefits Center), a few weeks after you get fingerprinted, they will have your case assigned to an officer.  The officer we had didn’t know we had been fingerprinted early, so she hadn’t done anything with our case.  Since I called to tell her we had already been, she got to work on it right away.  We got fingerprinted on July 25 and received our approval on August 13!  We have heard from other adoptive families that it is a good idea to check with the embassy/consulate you will use in Taiwan BEFORE you travel to make sure that they received your immigration paperwork. 

AIT Taipei

2nd Floor, Consular Section
#7, Lane 134, Hsin Yi road, Section 3
Taipei, 106
Phone: (02)2162-2000, ext. 2306

We also used our Senator's office for help in expediting our passports.  In TN, that is Lamar Alexander.  I spoke with Heather Downs in his Knoxville office: 865-545-4253. Heather also mentioned that if we had issues with AIT in Taiwan, we could contact her for help.
We hope this helps!  Please e-mail me at stephaniekaye73@hotmail.com if you have any questions :)


  1. Stephanie, thanks so much for breaking all of this down for us!! I have a much better grasp on what needs to get done and what the timeline looks like. I'm now going to make a to do list. Our homestudy is the only one with a check next to it! Hopefully translation will have one soon:O)
    Blessings and prayers for your journey!

  2. Yes, thank you SO much for taking the time to do share this with us!


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