Thanks to the government (states and federal) I have successfully had 2.5 hours sucked away from my life. Here is the tape I navigated through this morning.
Criminal records check, notarized $29
County clerk certification- verify that the notary is valid $2
Secretary of State- Authenticate that the notary is valid and the county clerk is real $3
US Secretary of State- Apply an authentication to say- Yes, this is the signature of the TN Sec. of State. $8
Chinese Embassy- Authenticate to say this document can be accepted in China because all these signatures and seals are legit. $20
Criminal records check, notarized $10
County Clerk certification- $2
Secretary of State- $10
Houston Chinese Consulate- $20
It took phone calls to each office except the consulate and embassy to verify the address, amount charged and correct procedure. Every office requires a cover letter and self-addressed envelope. The embassy and consulate require overnight delivery and the same for returning the documents.
I guess all this had to be figured out eventually so it is 2 hours now or then but you nearly need a degree to navigate all this! I think I need to write a book.