Monday, August 25, 2014

My Adoption Process Overview

Is it superstitious of me to fear saying that things are going according to plan?! (Or is it just plain cynical?) 

Oh well, I've gotta celebrate when I can...
Passports & Visas - DONE.
Article whatever went to What's Their Name's desk- On the DATE!

Now we wait for only ONE clearance--Travel Approval--before we jump on planning our leap overseas to get our little boy! 

I find myself taking a look back on this adoption process and wondering how I could communicate what this process looks like as simply as possible. I see it in segments now...

Application | Dossier | Match | Travel

Should I make them all start with the same letter? Hmmmm....
Apply, Amass, Attach, Away! ummm....
Fill, File, Fit, Free to go!
Plan, Prepare, Pair, [de]Part!

In layman's terms, this is what you do:
You apply to an adoption agency, you gather a trail of paperwork that documents who an adopted child would go to, your agency introduces you to an orphan (or orphans) to consider adopting and accept one, you work with immigration, lawyers and/or other government agencies to get there!

Here's what's going on behind the scenes, or really, how we've explained it to our toddler son:
Mommy and daddy need a lot of people's permission to have your little brother... The adoption agency's, the social worker's, the state's, the country's, and the country we're adopting from. Then, your little brother needs permission to come here from both this country and his.

Those are all phases that don't overlap much, so take a deep breath. 

Throughout all this, you have these advocates: 
your adoption agency -they represent you before the country's orphanage and child welfare government agency
your social worker -he/she is seeking the best interest of your prospective child... just like you, so don't be scared!
your lawyer -(if needed) he/she represents you before anyone who messes with you!

But... throughout the process, some plates will need spinning:

  • Finances - paying fees. This goes without saying, right? Everyone knows adopting isn't usually cheap, but my fear of holding back the process because of a silly thing like money played with my mind. Review the financial timeline and give it real dates.
  • Applying for grants - if you need to or choose to. This sometimes drove me crazy. I found it difficult to prioritize who to send what first; time was precious and I needed the money to match the need at the right time. Working on my dossier documents while fulfilling added requests for documents felt overwhelming. But I understood why these organizations needed W2's and our monthly budget, and detailed paragraphs of our testimony, and referral letters. In the end, most of them paid off and I'm so grateful for that!
  • Keeping paperwork current - Those notary stamps, doctor's clearances, and reports have expiration dates. If one is "going bad" you need to renew it before the rest of the batch grows old while awaiting that one's renewal. We had to get our physicals redone, as well as some documents that had already gone through three hoops to be considered "ready to go." The documents hurt me, the needles hurt my husband.

And once you know who you're adopting, you'll want to keep in touch of course! I created this photo book for Silas using regular 4x6 photos. We sent three packages, I wish we had sent more. 

I'd love to do more adoption-related helps. Personalized books?Videos? Scrapbook albums? Infographics? Design helpful to-do lists? I was aghast at how few there were out there. Aghast, I tell you!

It sounds like I have some work to do. But which to tackle first?

What would be helpful for YOU to know about this process?

PS- If you're interested in helping us fill some of these needs the orphanages have posted, shoot me an e-mail. We will tote however much you send! The orphanages we are visiting when we pick up our boy at the end of next month are in need of...

  • winter clothing for children up to 18 months old (onesies & winter sweaters)
  • small hand towels 
  • bibs 
  • toys that make sounds
  • bottles for cleft lip and palate kids
  • nursing pillows