Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Adoption Update

You may know that we have been considering the idea of adoption for about 4 years now. We have thought, talked, prayed, investigated, etc... over these last few years and finally officially started the adoption process here in Colombia in December 2007. However, because of the holidays, the wheels didn´t actually start rolling until January 2008. It is kind of a slow process because it is handled through the government child welfare system and they are over-worked and under-staffed, probably just like our child welfare system in the USA and all over the world!

The children that are legally ¨adoptable¨ here in Colombia have already, for whatever reason, been turned over to the government child welfare system. Once the child enters the system, depending on the circumstances, he begins a process that takes a bare minimum of 3 months (and in most cases probably a lot more) where the government institution first has to assess the situation and home-life of the child. The goal and the ideal is to see if the parents can and will be helped to be able to reunite the child with their natural parents. If that is not possible they then begin to search for any blood relatives who would be willing to assume the responsibility of raising the child. If there is no other recourse and the parents (or if the parents are deceased, the nearest blood relatives) have signed over their parental rights to the child, the child then is able to be considered for adoption. While the children go through this process, which I have heard can last between 3 months to 2 years or even longer in some cases, they are placed in temporary children´s homes or in foster care.

The first part of the year we saw slow but steady progress as we attended different appointments and interviews. Towards the middle of the year things came to a stand-still and our appointments were canceled and postponed and we didn´t hear anything for about 3 months. Then in September, things started rolling again and we recieved our home visit as well as attended several required workshops. At our last workshop we were informed that we had officially completed this first stage of the process and in a week or two they will put the finishing touches on our case file and it will be sent to the regional adoption committee who will give us official approval or denial.

If accepted, we will then be put on the waiting list and they will begin the process of matching us with the children in the system that are ready for adoption. They emphasize, and we agree, that they are trying to find a family for the child, not a child for the family! The priority is the child. We have requested a sibling pair, either sex, hopefully between the ages of infant and 2 years. So, most likely we will receive two children at once, although we are open to other options, depending on what is presented to us. They have told us that we could probably expect a placement by early 2009, although you learn to just take it a day at a time and not to put too much stock in those kind of statements.

Once a placement is made and all parties are in agreement (if the child is small, he unfortunately doesn´t get much of a say in the matter...imagine being in that situation!) then the legal process begins and we will have to hire a lawyer to work alongside the government institution´s lawyers and begin another process of paper-work and other things that remain a mystery to us at this point. We aren´t sure yet how long that part of the process usually lasts. We are learning as we go.

Depending on the situation of the child, I have heard of different transition scenarios. In some cases the child moves instantly to their new home, in other cases there is a time of visitation and the child gradually makes the move. I think the latter takes place especially when the child has been in a certain foster home for an extended period of time and attachments have been made with the family.

As you can imagine, we would really appreciate your prayers on our behalf for all the things that lie ahead of us on this road.


new mom in law said...

Karen, I am enjoying reading this!! Thanks! Praying about the adoption and excited to be able to follow along! Visit me on my BLOG too!

Mrs. "M" said...

How exciting Karen! I will be praying for you and Jorge. I look forward to the day I can see pictures of the children God has for you two. I am sure the constant unknown and waiting is hard.
Thanks for stopping by my blog and rejoicing with us over little Eli!

Lindsay Fawcett said...

Karen, this is so very exciting. I know God has a plan for you with these children. You and Jorge will make wonderful parents!

Anonymous said...

Karen, I was browsing through and found your blog. I have such a warm feeling about you from high school. And I don't have many warm feelings about high school. I wish you the very best of luck with your adoption. It doesn't sound like life has been all easy-street for you. It was nice to find out what you were up to. --Anna Tyler (Howard), Cary NC