Wednesday, November 8, 2006
The Adoption Process...the beginning
Bryan and I have known for quite a while that we were going to adopt a child and finally got the ball rolling on that in the fall of 2005. We chose Children's Home Society (CHSFS) because they are excellent at what they do and have a great support system before, during and after the adoption. We also have friends who adopted through CHSFS and had nothing but good things to say about them. By December, our initial application was approved and our preliminary background checks and physicals came back clean. (We also had letters of recommendation written by Chuck, Matt's mom Cathy, and Bryan's boss Amy. Thanks guys!)We attended PAC (Pre-adoption Class) in late December, where we learned more about our options and about the adoption process. After looking at all of the countries open for international adoption and giving the domestic program a once-over, we decided on adopting an infant from China. (I'll have to write a Why China? post later) We did our homestudy in January and February, which consisted of filling out questionnaires about our thoughts, feelings and motivations for adoption. We also met with Jill, our Social Worker, to discuss all of it. To wrap up that process, Jill came over to the house and determined it was safe and habitable. (even though the nursery was full of broken glass and stained glass supplies!) After Jill wrote up the report that said Bryan and I would make excellent parents, we started the dossier process in early April.Oh, how do I explain the dossier process? It was insane. We needed certified copies of our birth and marriage certificates. We needed copies of our passports which meant we needed to get passports. We needed to have more physicals with specific blood tests (HIV, Hepatitis, etc). We needed those physicals notarized! Thank goodness my cousin Gina is a notary and was kind enough to drive down to our doctor's office to witness his signature. Eventually all the notarized paperwork would have to be sent to the state to have the notarization certified. We needed to have a net worth statement notarized and certified. We got fingerprinted by the BCA and had background checks pulled at every level of the government from the city of South St. Paul on up. The list goes on and on. While we were chasing all of that paperwork, we were also petitioning the CIS (formerly known as INS) to approve us to bring a "foreign born orphan into the U.S. and claim them as an immediate family member". Wording like that makes you all fuzzy inside, doesn't it? The CIS process also involved fingerprinting, this time for an FBI background check. All of our dossier paperwork was complete and back to CHSFS by early May, where it was sent for that state certification I mentioned above. We then just had to wait for our CIS approval to come back, which it finally did in June. Then, all of our paperwork was bundled up and sent to the Chinese consulate in Chicago for a once-over and to be translated into Chinese. It was back in Minnesota by early July, where it was sitting and waiting for other dossiers from other families to be completed so we could all be sent in a group to China.So, it's mid-July and our dossier is complete and ready to be sent over to China at any second. We had finally finished the paperwork and were days away from starting the wait for a referral. At that point in July of 2006, the referral time in the regular China program was approaching one year. We were looking at getting a referral in July of 2007 and travelling in September. That was the plan anyway, until little Miss Maggie came into our life. And that story will have to wait for another day.