11 Things You Must Know about International Adoption

11 Things You Must Know about International Adoption

1. You will be expected to jump through hoops. When something is requested of you do not ask why just do it and do it fast! YOUR adoption will not happen without work from YOU.

2. Nothing is impossible. It may be difficult to obtain a document in one day with an authentication but it is possible and you will find a way. Be creative!

3. Delays are inevitable. All time frames in adoption are estimates but there will always be speed bumps and delays in the process. Do not let it get you down, roll with it.

4. Changes always happen. Changes to paperwork requirements, time frames, length of travel, dates of travel, etc. CAN and DO happen. It is important to be flexible!

5. Attention to detail is a must. Please double and triple check your dossier paperwork. Keep track of dates, notaries, expirations and numbers. All documents must be consistent in spelling of names, financial information, age of child desired, etc. Every detail matters.

6. There will be a waiting period. No matter what country you are adopting from or what age of child there will be a period of time where there is nothing to do by wait. Use this time to live your life, spend it with friends and family, prepare for your child and keep educating yourself about adoption.

7. Almost everything is out of your control. This is a scary thought but a fact of the process. You are at the mercy of the foreign government where your child lives – they will work at their own pace and by their own rules. You do not have to like it but you have to accept it!

8. Be aware of cultural differences. The rest of the world does not do things exactly like Americans. During this process and especially when you travel to the foreign country be respectful of the differences and understand that there is more than one way to do things.

9. Entitlement. The foreign government acts in the best interest of the children, not the adoptive parents. You may not view it this way as it does not always match American standards of “best interest” however the other governments believe they are protecting the children. The foreign government is not asking American families to come adopt their children. They are under no obligation to release confidential information or expedite the process. Until the adoption is finalized - families do not have rights to the child and are not entitled to confidential information about the child. Adoption is not a right and not an entitlement – rather a privilege, a gift and blessing. It is understood that from American perspective that you are spending a lot of money and time to help a child so may feel like you deserve all the rights and information however the perspective of the foreign governments is much different so understanding this may help your mind frame.

10. No child is perfect but they all need families. Any child that spends time in an orphanage will be exposed to illness, will have some delays, and will have come from a difficult background prior to being institutionalized. Please be aware that these children need love and attention but may also need medical care. Educate yourself on common diagnoses of orphanage children and find a good international adoption doctor to help you evaluate. The more informed you are about what to expect – the less scary it will be when you receive your referral or meet your child for the first time.

11. Adoption is worth it every time. The journey is long and hard and takes strength, perseverance and love but once your child is home you will agree – all the hard work was worth it.

Our Case Manager, Alina Radoslav = My Favorite

“Adopting one child won’t change the world; but for that child, the world will change.” This is the way Alina closes each of her e-mails. I love the quote, and it certainly seems to depict her perspective. It’s wonderful having a case manager with such a perspective.

Taken from Adoption ARK’s website, “Alina Radoslav was born in Romania. She graduated from a prestigious University in Timisoara with a diploma in Psychology and Pedagogy. She also received a Master of Arts Degree in Educational Management. Alina decided to learn and work in this field because she loves children. Alina began her career as a high school teacher and then moved into a psychologist position at a private counseling center in Romania. These experiences helped Alina better understand children's minds and hearts. For her, helping children is not work; it is a life style. Alina feels best when doing work that changes lives forever and brings happiness to so many families. Having the opportunity to work in the adoption field is the most rewarding and noble mission ever!” If you’d like, you can see Alina’s picture by going here: http://adoptionark.org/public/pag8.aspx. Scroll down about halfway. She is beautiful, and has a beautiful daughter!

I’ve talked to Alina several times over e-mail. We officially got to meet on the phone last Thursday, 4/30. She is wonderful! She talked through the process with me and shared more about Nepal. Nepal was on hold for adoptions for 18 months as they (Nepal) fine-tuned their processes. Things are back up and running and there are 10 families at Adoption ARK that have completed their paperwork for 2009 and are waiting to receive their referral. (Oh Jesus, bless them!) Alina said that Adoption ARK is VERY familiar with all of the details that Nepal requires, and she will walk through each one of them with me in this next year. She also said that as the 10, 2009 families, complete their adoptions this year, she will send us their names/e-mail addresses (with their permission) so we can talk with them about their experiences.

Alina gave us our marching orders. She said there is a lot to work on, but she wants me just to focus on the things she assigns to us. The reason is because we are on the 2010 list for adoption (the Nepal quota for 2009 has been met—they only allow 10 adoptions per year, per agency), and she doesn’t want things done too quickly to ensure they don’t expire before we receive our referral in 2010. In most cases, things expire after 1 year. So, right now, we are to:
1. Determine a home study agency, and get it approved by Alina.
2. Upon approval, start our home study.
3. Get our psychological exams done. We are required to be interviewed by a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist, and to take two psych tests: the MMPI-2 and the Rorschach Ink Blot Test.
4. Start our 10 hours of required adoption education.
5. Get our FedEx account set-up and send Alina the information. (This is done; just need to send it to Alina.)

All-in-all, Alina said she wants everything done by October/November. This means everything: the home study, psych exams, FBI fingerprints, adoption education, USCIS I600A stuff. All of this stuff will be put into our full dossier, except the psych exams. (The psych exams are not a requirement for adoption; they are a requirement of our agency.) Alina will send our dossier for translation in December, and than in January 2010, she will send our translated dossier to the orphanages in Nepal. Then we wait for our referral! All of this stuff takes about 6 months to accomplish, and we have just that, which means we don’t have to rush anything! That’s a great feeling.