I wish I had more to report, but things are moving pretty slowly at this point. Ryan has been crazy busy at work and we need to get through 10 hours of online adoption training before we can have our last home study visit and our social worker can begin writing things up. We leave for the summer in about 4 weeks, so the clock is ticking.

Good news: after SEVEN separate visits to our doctor’s office, our medical reports (for both our home study and our dossier) are signed, notarized, and ready to pick up. Yay! My passport renewal application has been mailed, Ryan is meeting with HR at work today to get his employment verification letter (for HS and dossier), and we will hopefully get our fingerprinting done for our state criminal clearance (dossier) today or Friday. So even though we’re taking longer to get our home study done that we’d originally hoped, it looks like at this rate our dossier should be about ready to go at the same time.

With all this talk of our dossier, here’s a quick run-down on how the adoption process works in the country we are adopting from:

  • Complete home study
  • Submit I-600A to USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, formerly INS). The I-600A is an advanced processing form for an orphan Visa. Once we are ready to bring our child home, this allows the US Embassy in our child’s country to issue a visa quickly rather than the longer process that is normal for non-citizens coming to the US.
  • Receive I-171H from USCIS. This is the form that notifies that our I-600A has been approved. It must be included in our dossier, so it must be received before we submit our dossier.
  • Send our dossier to Nina, our facilitator. She will translate all of the documents and request a submission date at the SDA (the Ukrainian adoption authority).
  • Dossier will be submitted. I believe the government has 10 business days to check it over, approve us to adopt, and then issue us an invitation to travel.
  • We will travel to Eastern Europe for our  appointment. If we have pre-identified a child/children (not normally allowed in the country we are adopting from, but encouraged with special needs children), we will request approval to visit that child with the intent to adopt. If we haven’t pre-identified, we will be shown the files of several children who fit our criteria. We will then select the child we wish to visit and travel to their orphanage. The country we are adopting from is about the size of the state of Texas, so this may be a long trip (generally an overnight train).
  • We will meet the child/children and give our final decision of whether we’d like to proceed with the adoption or not. We will then be assigned a court date, usually within 2 weeks or so. It is likely that Ryan will have to return home to go to work and I will stay for the court date by myself, and adopt myself as a married individual. This entire trip could take anywhere from 10 days to 3.5 weeks.
  • We go to court and the adoption is approved (hopefully!) After this, there is a 10 day waiting period before we area allowed to take the child from the orphanage. I will return to the US during this time to be with my children at home.
  • I will return to EE (most likely without Ryan) to pick up the child/children, get passports, medical exams, visas, etc. This trip will likely last about a week.
  • Home!

God willing, we’ll be done with all of this by Christmas.