International Adoption Paperwork

‘adoption application’ is Googled around 10,000 times per month globally.

I was really offended the other day when my husband complimented me by saying I was awesome at filling out paperwork.  Do I really want my legacy to be “paperwork guru?”  Even if that’s what it takes at times to make it to the next seemingly impossible level.  What if my destiny is filling in the blanks, re-checking the facts, researching the requirements, reading the fine print, choosing the correct postage envelopes, and waiting for a response?  What if someone else’s destiny hangs on your next deadline for filling out a form?  The international adoption process, as I’m sure is the same with domestic adoption, requires a ridiculous amount of filling out forms and interpreting documents to make sure that you’re including the correct information, especially if you’re adopting from a country whose adoption requirements are not clearly defined.  And is this what God called me to do?  A lot will be left up to interpretation, so it’s your responsibility that you understand the “interpretation” that will be most beneficial for the child and fight for it tooth and nail.  But still, can filling out paperwork be considered a talent? a skill?  Who was going to fill out the paperwork if I had not?  Yes, I’ll have to admit that it feels good to get some credit for having done the work, because it’s the fine details of adoption that go unnoticed.  What makes me think I’ll be a good mother anyway?  But, it seems like people from the outside, see the most important decision, as the one you made in the first place to adopt.  In reality though, the decision to adopt has to be made again and again, every single time you’re required to fill out an additional form that will determine if you’ll make it to the next level of screening.  It’s like you’re mailing out all of your little insecurities, nicely organized in a frail little envelope that will ‘God knows how’ make it to destination only to be scrutinized by objective eyes and ears who will weigh your innermost thoughts and motives from a cruel, cold and unemotional distance.

Waiting for the response to one of those applications was excruciating.  Maybe it’s best if the paperwork gets lost in the mail after all.  One time, an application that had to be sent to the department of homeland security immigration services was returned to us with a package of pages printed straight off the internet about adoption requirements in Cameroon.  We were advised to read those pages (Um, we had already read them probably 100 times) and our application was basically at a standstill unless we provided proof of a lot more money than we had.  At that point, instead of sending in that proof, I sent in one of many emotional appeals that would be used during the process, to the email address provided.  In short, I explained the situation, that the sibling group we were trying to adopt was my husband’s younger siblings and that they were living alone in Cameroon right now, as both parents were deceased and that there was no one there capable of taking care of them, and is this really what the system of checks and balances is about?

Shockingly we received an email response that requested we send in the birth certificates of each child, my husband’s birth certificate and both death certificates.  Now, THAT was something we could do.  I was elated at the victory and scared to death of success.  We were allowed to send those in through email, as attachments.  The application was forwarded to the embassy in Cameroon, and we were not required to send in any additional financial documentation to support that part of the application process.

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5 thoughts on “International Adoption Paperwork

    • Hi Delana,
      Thank you! We are actually done with the paperwork, including the re-adoption that had to take place once they arrived to the states. I will check out your book about adoption. Although our children were much older at the age of adoption, there have been a lot of “surprises” about the difficulties of us all becoming one, big happy family. God has been faithful in seeing me and all of us through the most complex of times. Thanks for stopping by my blog! ~Anna

      • oops! Now I saw their ages over on my other post! 🙂 Wow, you do have your hands full! Mine are 23, 21, 19, and 12. We have had the 12 yr old half her life now! It has been quite the journey! She is doing so well now!

  1. They got here December 2009. The oldest almost missed the “cutoff” for age limit on a sibling group. She is now 20. The middle one is 18. The youngest is 16. They have done such a great job acclimating to this culture. The two oldest have graduated from high school and are now in community college. I wish I could get inside their heart and head and understand what this has all been like for them, but I’m pretty much too self consumed (meaning, I’m not sure I can handle the truth until they are out on their own), and I’m sure they don’t want to “get deep” with me. Maybe some day. How old is your daughter? Do you feel like she really considers you as her “mom?”

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