So, you are all probably aware now that we have official applied to the Russia adoption program with European Adoption Consultants. We are very excited about this. They have been very helpful over the past few weeks. I have called several times and asked about a million questions. They never did get annoyed with me, and they were very informative.
The process in Russia is different from the one in Taiwan, so I'm going to do my best to explain what we are about to go through.
Once you finish your home study (ours should be done in a couple of weeks), you send it to the agency for review. The home study was not nearly as bad as I thought. And for those reading this and thinking "geez, it took them forever to finish their home study." That was totally our fault. See your home study is only good for about a year. We didn't want to finish it early and then have to redo it later. We kept putting off the completion date so that we could formally apply to another program.
The next step is the dossier. This should be interesting. Below is a list of the required documents for the dossier.
The following documents must be notarized and/or certified and apostilled:
- Marriage license / Birth certificate (if single*)
- Financial statement for Adoptive Applicant ODHS 1681
- Photos of adoptive family and home
- Home Study from Licensed Agency
- Home Study Agency's license (current)
- Social Worker's License
- Agency Letter of Authorized Services
- Consent and Approval Form
- Post Placement Verification Letter
- Local police clearance on letterhead
- Employment letter on letterhead (This cannot be written by yourself personally. It must be written by employer or accountant.)
- Photocopy of Passports
- Powers of Attorney - must be typed
- Statement of Living Conditions
- Promise to Register with Consulate
- Promise to Register with Post Placement
- Copy of I-171H Notice of Favorable Determination, cabled to Moscow, Russia, DO NOT notarize the original, only copies.
I have some of this stuff already, but I'm going to have to get busy requesting the rest of it. The agency said that it usually takes the adoptive parents about 2 months to get this stuff together. I better get started right away!
Ok the next part of this blog is just some useful info about adoption (I'm hoping after you read my series of blogs and you see us at home with our beautiful baby you will want to run off to get one of your own! It would be a perfect world if there were no more orphans...that all the babies in the world would be taken care of by loving parents!). This information is just based on my limited research. I could be totally wrong…I guess we shall see over the next few months.
After you finish your dossier to Russia, and it is accepted, you are officially on "The List." The next step is waiting. Depending on your requests (boy vs. girl, infant vs. toddler, healthy vs. minor health issues) your wait could be anywhere from 6-12 months. We are requesting a healthy infant, no gender specified, so our wait could be about 6-9 months.
Next, we should get the Referral. This is a package we should receive by mail/ups/fedex with a picture of a child (remember the old story about the stork delivering the children…well the mail man will deliver ours…hehe). We might get some medical information; some people have even gotten videos (I'm not going to get my hopes up too high for either of those, because that doesn't happen very often). Jace and I will then decide if this is the child God has planned for us. If so, we agree to travel to Russia to meet the baby.
One reason we didn't initially select Russia is because of the travel requirements. In the past, adoptive parents have had to make two trips to Russia. Recently, they have been requiring that the parents make at least 3 trips. This is a bit of a bummer.
On the first trip (taken about 2 months after referral), you meet the baby and officially accept the referral. Jace and I will get to love on the baby for all of about 5 days…then we get to come back home. Oh yes, that's right. We have to leave the baby there and come back home. This has to be the worst part of the entire process…but it is the rules and we want to abide by the rules.
The second trip is for us to appear in court to get legal custody of the baby. This trip usually takes about 7 days. I'm a bit worried about this one. I've never appeared in an American court, so doing this in Russia where I don't speak the language should be real interesting! If the judge decides to grant us custody, there is a 10 day waiting period before we can bring the baby home. Sometimes the judge can decide to waive this waiting period, but because of recent abuse cases involving Russian children in the United States, they are becoming stricter about this little rule.
At this time, Jace and I can choose to come home, wait 10 days in the states, and go back to Russia to pick up the baby. OR we could stay in Russia for the full 10 days. One of the people I talked to at EAC said that some families decide to stay and do some touristy things in Europe. I'm trying to convince Jace that this is a great idea. I've always wanted to travel through Europe, and this would be a great excuse.
So after the 10 days, the baby is ours. We get to come home. Very exciting, I know. Stay tuned for more…we have a conference call tonight with EAC to go over the required documents and such.