Jumble of Thoughts

The rest of November passed me by fairly quickly, but let me doing a lot of thinking in the wake of National Adoption Awareness Month.

Of all the things that continue to bounce around inside my head and take up too much of my wakeful hours, the Flip the Script movement is at the front. I did a lot more reading that writing last month. One, because I was doing my best to listen to other adoptive narratives as I had told my readers we should. Two, because I found that a lot of adoptees do not want non-adoptees writing the hashtag, even if it is to be, in lack of better terms at the moment, an ally. And I get it – similar to other movements, that is supposed to be their space and they deserve to own the whole the it. I am actually going to go back through and take the tag off all my previous entries. I do not want to talk over any part of the adoption triad. I think next year I may even chose to stay silent for the month so as to say, “I am respectfully waiting my turn.” I hope that makes sense.

Again, my thoughts with adoption are all knotted together at the moment.

I was caught off guard over Thanksgiving by a relative on D’s side of the family. We had known this particular relative had some reservations about the adoption because of the decades they had lived in Africa previously. But over that weekend, there were other, more disappointing “concerns” to address that I feel should mentioned and cleared up here.

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Officially Waiting

As of today, our dossier is officially in the hands of the agency in Johannesburg.


We started this process almost two years. Long talks about what we imagined our future family would look like, our individual concerns regarding adoption, and whether or not we felt up to the many challenges that would soon present themselves just during the process of applying to become adoptive parents, never mind the ups and downs of parenting. And even through all those considerations it had never occurred to use just how much of our energy we would have to put into the paperwork.

I mean, it was just papers, after all.

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Just a brief update – D and I received our I800-A receipt of approval in the mail yesterday! We are good to go for an adoption for one child between the ages of 0-2 through November of next year~ yay!

What we got in the mail was the not the official form we need to sign and have apostilled. I have since learned that yes, that was the official form. We needed an affidavit, once again, outlining that we agreed the attached copies were true copies of the form from Custom & Immigration. So it was off to the notary’s office… again.

I have contacted our international adoption agency for further guidance, but at this point we are only waiting on THREE things for our dossier:

  • Signed and Apostilled USCIS Approval Form Copy Affidavits
  • Apostilled HR letters for D
  • One last Apostilled Reference Letter from a Friend

Then it’s off to South Africa to wait!

Envy Check

The process of adoption is hard and really never ending, no matter what member of the adoption trifecta one happens to be a part of (adoptees, birth families, and those like us, the adoptive parents). These beginning months of our journey seem to be hard, and I know being an adoptive family will eventually be even more difficult, which is why I am taking this moment to put my jealousy up on the shelf.

We are blessed. We are so grateful that we can consider adoption as our first means of building a family. D and I have not experienced the heartbreak of infertility or child loss. We are not struggling to find the financial means to bring a child into our home and raise them in comfort. Our jobs allow us to save up ample time for the need to stay in country for the weeks and weeks needed to complete the adoption paperwork in South Africa.

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Phase II – The Dossier

So we are finally at PHASE TWO of this paperwork process. Our family physician gave us a bit of a hard time about the paperwork – he wanted us to come in to follow up on our bloodwork in order to get the medical forms we needed to finalize the home study. Except that we did not really go over anything. We just waited around in the office while he finished up the paperwork, which I had to constantly correct as he and the notary kept forgetting to fill out important sections.

But, now our home study has everything, including the official offer letter for my new job! (That’s right! I am officially a new federal employee, which means benefits and income so we can continue onward with the adoption.) Our social worker has said we can expect our final copy of the home study hopefully sometime next week.

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Spring Fever

The spring season is upon us.

I am so eager for the rain, warmer weather, and fresh buds poking through the soil. Not so happy about the cold I caught while we were visiting family for a cultural new year celebration back in the Midwest. It kept me under the weather these last few days, but D and I still got to enjoy the pleasure of little kiddos running about with all the joy of presents and people to pay attention to them. Watching D observe the littles as they ran in circles through my mother’s house and attempted to kiss the New Year goldfish warmed my heart. His eyes just lit up. Granted, these kids are amazingly awesome children, very polite, happy, and listen pretty well to their parents. But it is still fun to imagine the heavy pitter-patter of small feet in our own home some day soon for the Persian holiday. My only regret is that I forgot to request a session of family photos for our dossier to South Africa.

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Interview or Interrogation?

Our second home study visit was over this past weekend. D and I tidied up the main floor a bit and talked over our views on adoption again as sort of a preparation to meeting with our new social worker. We were both nervous – I do not think I have wanted someone to like me this badly since I met D’s parents for the first time. I made up for my  jitters by being extra smiley and bubbly like I do, but really, in the end, I am decently sure we made a good impression. She was certainly enthusiastic and we were happy to hear that she would be our social worker for the whole duration of our adoption (that means even after placement as we send back reports to South Africa on how our family is doing).

Was it anywhere as terrifying as I thought it would be? No way. It did not feel like an interrogation to me, and the things she asked where not really that much of a surprise for me; D did mention later a couple of questions caught him off guard but they were not too hard to answer. But it was almost fun for me – talker that I am – to share myself and my hopes for a family and why I thought we were a good fit for adoption.

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The Hague Adoption Convention

As we get closer to moving into the second half of our adoption process, I want to inform people why we were so set on adopting from a Hague Convention country. Too often when you hear about international adoption, you hear the tragic stories of families being coerced to give up (not place for adoption) their children – either with promises that they’ll be able to get into contact or lies that their children are only going abroad for the education, not being formally adopted to another country.

This is not all cases of adoption, but it should not be any. I make no claims that the Hague Adoption Convention process is guaranteed to eliminate these sorts of tragedies, but it is important that more checks and balances and a stricter background check is in place to ensure that as new families are being created, other families are not being destroyed. The Convention begins with,

Intercountry adoptions shall be made in the best interests of the child and with respect for his or her fundamental rights and to prevent the abduction, the sale of, or traffic in children and each State should take, as a matter of priority, appropriate measures to enable the child to remain in the care of his or her family of origin.

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Home Study Hullabaloo

One recommendation I do have for anyone thinking about going through the adoption process in the future is that you will have to let go of your established timelimes. If you are an obssessive scheduler like me, this will make you break down on occasion. Or maybe more frequently.

I have said before on this blog that I had expected to be done with this portion of our adoption process so many, many months ago. Seven weeks earlier I was telling myself there was absolutely no way we would not be done with our home study by early January and working on our international dossier.

I laugh to keep from crying at my continued naivety.

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