Tuesday, November 13, 2012

30 Days, 30 Posts: Adoption...The Great Paperwork Chase

I pulled out the big green file for this post; it holds all of
our adoption paperwork.  And, don't mind the candy
wrapper on the papers.  I work best after consuming
some sugar!
Remembering all the steps it took to get our paperwork completed made me want to procrastinate or skip ahead to write the other posts.  Instead, I diligently went and dug through our adoption file in an attempt to  clear out the cobwebs surrounding the paperwork details.

The three basic steps are:
   1.  Have an international home study performed

   2.  Receive the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) clearance to adopt a child from another country

   3.  Prepare/compile all necessary documentation that will become a dossier (dossier: a file containing detailed records on a particular person or subject) and have the documents notarized

Wikipedia defines a home study/homestudy as: a screening of the home and life of prospective adoptive parents prior to allowing an adoption to take place. In some places, and in all international adoptions, a home study is required by law.  Even where it is not legally mandated, it may be required by an adoption agency. Depending on the location and agency, different information may be sought during a home study.  A home study can be used both to aid the prospective parents in preparing to raise an adoptive child, and to rule out those who are not fit to be parents   The ultimate purpose of a home study is for the benefit of the child, not the parents.  Therefore, screeners are instructed to be thorough in their examinations.

Our home study was performed by a social worker.  We met 3 or 4 times during which she interviewed us separately and jointly about our upbringings, views on adoptions, disciplining children, and our families.  Our social worker also provided us with training regarding international adoption and what we might expect after we bring our child back to our home.  Jamie and I actually enjoyed this part of the process; it was fun to talk through all the topics and getting excited about the adoption.

Home Study Documents:
   1.  Personal history questionnaire

   2.   Three references from non-relatives

   3.   Income verification- tax return, pay stubs, financial statement/budget form

   4.Originals of birth certificates, marriage certificates, divorce decrees (if the parents have been divorced), death certificates (if a spouse has died)

   5. Pet inoculations

   6. Well water report

   7. Criminal History Statement 
   8. DCFS (Department of Children and Family Services) licensure forms

   9. Background checks for all adults living in the home

Dossier Documents:
  1. Copies of the completed home study (which includes information from the forms listed above)
  2. FBI/USCIS fingerprinting
  3. Originals of birth certificates, marriage certificates, divorce decrees (if the parents have been divorced), death certificates (if a previous spouse has died)
  4. Passport and Visa pictures
  5. Medical exam and lab tests
  6. USCIS 1-800 approval

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