When are you bringing little Williams home?

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International_adoption__diagram.jpeg

‘When will you bring Little Williams home?’  That’s a good question and one I wish that I could answer.  It has become a question asked of us almost on a daily basis.  

When I gave birth to our oldest daughter, I took for granted that I pretty much knew the exact timeline  of her arrival within a week or two.  When people asked ‘When are you due?’ I gave a specific date.

This time is very different.  As I look back, I’m glad we didn’t share the news with everyone right off.  As we near ‘Gotcha Day’, talking about it has become exciting.  However, I think I may have gone crazy if I had to answer the question ‘Where are you in your adoption’ on a daily basis for two years before we were even matched.  Dear friends, don’t think that I don’t appreciate your concern and don’t stop asking!  Its just that the process is so different from a physical birth.  There is so much waiting and so much out of our control.  It can be almost maddening.

It’s interesting because I have encountered some people that I think may suspect I am intentionally being evasive about the question.  The opposite is true.  I WISH I KNEW.  If Dr. Adoption would give me a due date to arrive at the hospital to pick our daughter up, I would gladly go.  Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. There are many things about this process which have been eye opening.  The complexity of multiple governments, agencies and paperwork is mind boggling.  (But worth it!)

The Adoption Process
Not for the faint of heart (or the averse to paperwork and killing trees…)

For those of you unfamiliar with the international adoption process, let me try to provide a cliff note version of International Adoption 101.  This post has been in production for quite a while because it took me quite a while to create the graphic.  Bear with me as I paint this  picture for you.  (It resembles a Picasso, not just because of the beauty but because it’s not exactly an orderly process.  You will see what I mean!

There are a few things that affect the length and process for every family:

#1 – The country you adopt from

Every country had different parameters for potential adoptive parents.  (Age, marital status, financial requirements, etc.)   Every country also has different elements affecting the length of time it would take to adopt, such as: the number of children available (which is is also affected by whether or not children with and without medical conditions are available for international adoption), the sophistication of the country’s paperwork and communication system(s) and the passport and visa requirements for entering that country.

 

#2 The Hague Convention

Countries that have signed the treaty known as the Hague Convention, have instilled additional safeguards to ensure that inter-country adoptions take place in the best interest of the child.  There are some additional safeguards and steps in the paperwork process.

 

#3 Your state requirements 

Some states require additional steps or documentation that are unique to the individual state.

 

#4 The travel requirements

Requirements vary based on the country the adoption is originating in.  (Some countries have very limited time frames and constraints for entering with a Visa.)
  

There are a few things that are consistently required for the process of international adoption.

– A Home Study
– An International Adoption Agency
– A Dossier (A collection of supporting documents)-This sounds very covert, but it i not driven by the FBI (although the government does fingerprint you TWICE under  the current process..
– Immigration Approval 

 I won’t go into detail in this blog entry about the complexities of each step, but I will say it can be confusing even for the most organized of people!  I realized early on, that I was not going to be able to push our adoption through the ‘system’ more quickly just by being more organized.  Anything with multiple governments, agencies and people is not going to be a fast process.  There is more waiting than doing. But it is worth it my friends.  So worth it!

Look for more regular updates as we get close to our ‘Gotcha’ Day.  Thanks for joining us in the journey.

 

Your Friend, 
Meredith

LLI  (Live Life Intentionally) 

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