It’s official! We’re adopting a baby! Charles and I are so excited to share this news with you all. We have been involved in the lengthy process of completing all of the necessary requirements and paperwork since early this year. We knew that we always wanted children, and Mother Nature determined that we would go the adoption route to achieve our goal. I knew all along that we would make an announcement on our blog, but the timing had to be right. And it feels right to tell you now and to share the timeline that we have followed since January.
After a couple years of trying to have a baby the old fashioned way, things just weren’t happening. In January we officially decided adoption was the way we were going to start our family. We were drawn to international adoption since we have spent a lot of time in different countries volunteering with school-aged children and working in orphanages. After we knew for sure that we would adopt internationally, the next step was to pick a country. We researched and learned that many countries we volunteered in or had been to didn’t allow adoption to people from the United States. If they did allow U.S. adoptions, it was for older children. Since we are going to be first time parents, we want a child that is as young as possible. We also decided we wanted a Hague country. This means we will have more paperwork, but the Hague countries do everything they can to prevent child trafficking. After many hours of research, we selected Thailand as our country and selected an agency that has been working with them for decades.
(Playing with some of the orphans in Burma)
Right before I left for an annual volunteer trip (this year to India), Charles and I hurriedly filled out paperwork to send to the agency. They needed to see if we would be good candidates for their Thailand program. I was up in the middle of the night in India due to jet lag and checked my email. That’s how I found out we were accepted into the Thailand adoption program. It was a relief to know we are good candidates. The moment I arrived home from that trip, I sat down with Charles, and we started figuring out which paperwork we needed for our dossier. A dossier is a collection of documents.
We selected a local social work agency to do our home study. The home study was not hard. It consisted of a few interviews in their office and then an actual visit to our home. Marty, our social worker, went through our home to make sure it is a safe environment. She made sure we had fire detectors and that our house is suitable for a child. She also interviewed us separately to talk about our childhoods and how we would raise a child.
During this time there was a lot of other documentation we had to collect for our dossier, and there was more paperwork to fill out. Some of the things we needed were letters of recommendation, letters from doctors declaring we are healthy, blood work to prove we are healthy, and letters from our bank and accountant. We had to meet with a psychologist and get cleared that we are mentally stable and can mentally care for a child. Plus, we had to get finger prints to prove we were never arrested and are not criminals.
The next step was that we each had to get a clearance from each state that we have lived in since we were 18. This was another way of checking to see if we have ever been arrested. This step is Hague specific. Between Charles’s time in the Navy and my moving around after college to live in different places in our country, we had lived in 10 different states. This took a lot longer than anyone expected. The states’ requirements differed. In some states we had forms to fill out, some needed the forms notarized, and some required payment. Some of the states returned their response in a day, and others took months. We were so frustrated with the wait.
We officially received all of the state clearances which gave us an official home study. We finally had everything for our dossier. We just needed to get a seal from the county, a seal from the New York secretary of state, and authentication from the Thai consulate. We received the rest of our paperwork from the agency two days before heading out of town for the Haven blog conference. I was able to get everything notarized and get the county seal in one day.
( I was in a hurry so I grabbed a quick picture of Grand Central Station on the iPhone).
The day before flying to my mom’s to go to the conference, I went to Albany (the New York state capital which is two hours away) to get the secretary of state’s seal. Then I drove another hour to a train station to take the train into New York City. I arrived at Grand Central Station and took a cab to the Thai consulate to give them the packet. I rushed back to the train in less than an hour. It was my fastest trip ever to the Big Apple. However, it was long enough for me to get a street vendor pretzel which I LOVE.
All of our paperwork for the dossier arrived back from the Thai consulate. We had a few more forms to add to the completed dossier, which weighed two pounds, and then we dropped it in the mail to the agency. Finally, we are on the waiting list. So it’s official. We are paper pregnant!!!! Sorry, this post is so word-heavy, but we are just so excited to be on the waiting list, and we thought you might like to see our process. Each origin of adoption country, each agency, and each state can have different requirements. Although it is tempting, I am not decorating our child’s room just yet. I might do some painting, though! We still have a long journey ahead of us.
It can always change, but we are thinking right now that it will be about two years before we can go to Thailand and pick up our little one. Plus, our little one won’t be so little. Since it is a long process, the child will most likely be between two and three years old when he/she comes home. So, most likely our little one has already been born. We won’t know if the child is in a foster home or an orphanage until we are matched with a child. There are advantage and disadvantages to both.
Any tips dealing with a toddler will be appreciated. Thank you all for reading our adoption story. This is such a special time, and I wanted to share with you all. We will post updates with you as time goes on and things happen.