Thursday, June 4, 2015

the process

So, if you are like us, the thought of international adoption seems big and scary and confusing.  And although we know a lot more about the process now than when we first started, it is still pretty overwhelming at times.  We want to give you an overview of the process and share where we are and what the next steps are for us.

A very simple, stripped down summary of the process is this...
First, homestudy.
Then, dossier.
Then, referral.
Then, travel.
Then, new DeClercq for life.

Currently, we are in the first half of the homestudy phase.  The paperwork phase.  And education.  Homestudy could really be renamed "parent education phase".  We are each required to read 5 books, a number of online resources, complete 12 hours of online education, and attend 10 hours of in-person classes.  Some of that is our agency's requirement, some are mandated by Hague requirements which govern international adoption, and some are China-specific requirements of parents adopting from China.  Regardless of who requires it, we are doing it.

The paperwork is its own beast.  We have a page and a half checklist of things ranging from fingerprinting and birth certificates, to medical exams and personal reflection autobiographies, to a floor plan of our house and multiple financial statements.  The range of information that we provide is very extensive.

We have appreciated the reflection that has come from preparing these documents.  As we really examine our family, our past, our marriage, our parenting, it has been affirming of our decision to adopt.

Moving forward in the process, once we complete the paperwork phase of the homestudy, we move into the social worker phase.  We will meet one-on-one, as a couple and as a family with a social worker from our adoption agency.  She will complete a review of our home and conduct interviews.  Once the homestudy is successfully completed, we submit our "stuff" for approval to the State and Federal agencies that control adoption.  They give us the stamp of approval to adopt.

Then we move into the dossier phase.  Our dossier is a compilation of documents that represents us to the agency in China that approves adoption.  We provide more financial information, more medical checks, more birth certificates, and so on.  These documents are all notarized.  Then everything in the dossier is authenticated at 3 levels and then submitted to China.  Once approved here, we are eligible for a referral.

This becomes the matching phase.  We wait for our child.  We will complete a questionnaire about the type of child we feel will be the best match for our family and for us as parents.  And then we wait.

Once we have been matched and we say "yes", travel is scheduled.  We will then travel to China for approximately 2 weeks to pick up our new child from their orphanage and finalize the adoption in China.  More paperwork, and lots of travel. 

See, less confusing and scary, but still pretty overwhelming.  Questions?  We would love to answer anything you are wondering about. 

Also, we are going to add a box to the right with specific prayer requests.  Generally, you can pray for wisdom and momentum for us through this process.  Peace in our home and in our marriage.  And a continued understanding of God's calling on us as a family in adoption.  And for God's miraculous financial provision.


Luna said...

Thanks for your post. It makes it sound do-able. What age range of child are you seeking? Do you have the option of deciding this in advance? Cheers! Loulena

Adam and Laura said...

We are looking between 6mos-2 1/2 yrs or so. You are able to decide that in advance. The more specific you are about gender, age, and health, the longer the referral can take.