Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A little more USA detail

A lot of people ask us "so when can you bring her home" or "how long's that gonna take"? This comes to use from our closest friends as well as those whom we don't really know. I think most people realize that any kind of adoption can take a long time. We've gotten fairly deep into the "official" paperwork - often referred to as The Paperchase. Getting clearances, physicals, drug tests, etc, etc. All of this is required by the laws of the US government and to some degree the Guatemala government. So, let me describe the process and basic timeline with a little more clarity.

Where we are now: We are currently in the home study process (that's a great link if you want a comprehensive explanation of this). This is where a professional licensed social worker literally studies the family and home of the prospective adoptive parents. This is why we need the various clearances and must be interviewed. In January, the social worker will also visit our home for an inspection. The end goal of the home study is to produce a giant packet referred to as a dossier. Parts of the dossier are used for these purposes:

  • An application to Department of Homeland Security the right to bring a foreign orphan in to the United States.
  • Documentation for our family to formalize the adoption and become CJ's legal parents
  • To apply with the proper Guatemalan government agencies (often referred to as PGN) for the right to adopt a Guatemalan born orphan.
  • Lot's of private internal adoption agency stuff that I won't get into at the moment.

How long this will take: There's no way to know for sure. Our social worker is fantastic at keeping us up to date and making sure we know what to do next. In our last couple of e-mail exchanges, the latest guesses have us completing the home study by the end of January. It will take about 2 months (1-4 at either extreme) from that time for DHS to approve the immigration. That puts us into the end of March. Any good project manager would add at least a month to the estimate assuming a change order or some VP changing priorities - oops, sorry, wrong subject there. Anyway - let's assume some kind of delay somewhere, but not quite worst case. We could be sending our paperwork to Guatemala sometime in April/May.

Then what? Then we wait for Guatemala to approve the adoption as well. This could take a couple of months - which puts us into June. Soon after that well get a referral and start the immigration process from Guatemala. I'll include another post about the Guatemala process - I think it's worth discussing.

So, bottom line - when can you bring her home? Based on all of that stuff above. We really are looking at bringing home CJ right just over a year from now. It would seem most likely to happen in very early 2008. Right now, we're mentally prepared for Jan/Feb 2008 - if we beat that, then great - either way it will be a major blessing!



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