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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Focusing on Adoption part 2: Walking Through The Door

Since it is National Adoption Month I wanted to write a few thoughts down to share.  A couple of days ago I wrote about "Focusing On Adoption".

Let me start with saying I absolutely DESPISE paper work! It is probably one of the most stressful things in my life.  And adoption requires HUGE amounts of carefully filled out PAPER WORK.  But the Lord was gracious and helped us through it.  Mike helped a LOT with it also. so that the primary burden wasn't on me. 
There is also a PRIZE at the end of the paper work! You get to bring home a wonderful little one to love. :)

The processes for International Adoption, Domestic Adoption, and Private Adoption through disruption have some similarities, but they are each a different ball game altogether.
Each require a Home Study.  But that home study will be different because the requirements are different for each situation.

The Foster Care system is not a bad system to adopt from. They however make it VERY CLEAR, they are NOT an adoption agency.  If you want to adopt through that system, you need to be certified as Foster Parents, which we were.  The Classes offered are VERY GOOD in Texas and Oklahoma. I do not know how many states are using them, and even some agencies here in Texas use something different. But the CPS PRIDE classes are very valuable.  Take them SERIOUSLY!

The process of International Adoption is very different based upon the country you adopt from.  The extra complications with International Adoption are the volatile state of adoptions being shut down at any given moment based upon a  judge's personal idea of international affairs.  In Ukraine, it is called a "Blind" adoption country.  You are not SUPPOSED to go and pick a child before hand.  It has been done, including by US, but that was because Sarah knew Erika, so it was allowed. 
Typically, you go and they present files to you and you pick from the file after you get there.
It can be a very stressful process.  Three of the sweet little boys who spent time with Erika and Sarah at their orphanage were brought home in this process to a wonderful family in Tennessee. :) 

With international Adoption, you will also spend time outside of your country.  Sometimes a LONG time.  We stayed around 33 days, a little over a month.  It can be longer in some places and shorter in others, like China. 
We THOROUGHLY enjoyed our stay despite the stresses of the process.  We lived in an apartment and just became a part of a neighborhood, cooking and shopping, tasting Ukrainian foods and enjoying long walks. EVERYWHERE.... we walked, unless we were doing official business.
If I have anything to say to somebody going to another country.... DON'T FORGET TO ENJOY IT!
It is a once in a lifetime chance. :)
And don't forget to bring:  Zip lock bags and this little device made for women so they can pee standing up! :)  Yes I am SERIOUS!  Sometimes there is just a hole in the floor.  I was not made for this.  I will say no more on that subject. :)
The extras required for IA are also MORE background checks, including Interpol, approval from Homeland Security, Approval from the country, more tests from doctors including a psychological profile, and everything has to be apostilled by your state department, or the state department where the document originated.  If you were born in Nevada, you would have to have your birth certificate apostilled in Nevada. etc.
Apostilling is the state department certifying that the notary who signed your documents was a real notary.
Also, MAKE SURE your notary's signature is not going to expire for at least 2 YEARS! Otherwise, if there is an expiration of a document, you have to do it all over again!
International Adoption sort of reminds me of Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes......there is always something new to fill out. :)

For Adoption Disruption, the process is less complicated, especially if you have already adopted.  You need to have your home study updated. 
It is VERY IMPORTANT that you FOLLOW THE LAW.  We had to wait for 2 weeks in North Carolina with Miss Alli until the ICPC paperwork went through between social service agencies.
It was not complicated, just time consuming. 
The ICPC gives permission for a child to travel with you to another state.  It is there for the safety of the child to prevent child trafficking!

But the very FIRST THING that MUST happen, is the parents who are disrupting need to fill out the paperwork for an attorney stating that they are terminating their parental rights.  It is a very detailed paper. It leaves no question what is being done.   After 7 days, it cannot be revoked.  We brought Sarah home without this being signed and it was a harrowing few weeks for her and for us. It left us with no legal representation.
When this paper is filed in court, at the same time, a petition for Adoption is filed and you are granted guardianship. 
I know of people who have brought children home, and then had a family change their mind.  It is gut wrenching for all.  PROTECT YOURSELF and YOUR FUTURE CHILD.
The petition for Adoption takes anywhere from 3 months to a year depending upon what state you live in.  The adoption is finalized AFTER that time period has passed.
The cool thing is, that your child gets to be with you DURING the process. For Sarah's adoption, we showed up in Court and it was like a normal adoption.  For Alli's it was in NC, so we couldn't be there. It was more of just a paperwork process.   But we sure did celebrate when the paperwork went though and we received it in the mail! :)

Just remember, when you are are going through the process, all the fingerprinting, probing,  visits from social workers, apostilling, and stress is so worth it!


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