Saturday, 12 April 2014

We've Completed the Course Work for Our Local Adoption

Bob and I had met with Children's Services at the beginning of January to start the process for our local adoption.  We had submitted the request for our Criminal Record Check and Child Intervention Check, along with all of our supporting documents to start (i.e. Marriage Certificates, Birth Certificates, etc.) to start this process.

We had then also registered for and attended the required courses, which ran from the beginning of February through the middle of March.

However, we did have a wrench thrown in to our plans mid-January.  I had been corresponding with my ex-husband's son, who is now 18 years.  My ex-husband and his new wife had moved to another province and his son was homeless in Edmonton.  We had brought him down to Calgary on a bus and he's been living with us ever since.  He's finishing his high school diploma and has been working out at they gym.  Changing his diet and exercise regime has allowed for him to gain 30 lbs over the past few months.  He has some issues he has to deal with, but he's much healthier and in a much better place.  We're also working on helping him rebuild his relationship with his biological father.

Because we are now the parent to a teen (one who I have had a bond with for years), our adoption is on hold.  We would need to wait until January to move forward, as 12 months would be required before adding additional children in to a family with Children's Services.

Monday, 11 November 2013

We're Still Adopting

After closing our case for International Adoption with Alberta Children's Services and with the DRC Program with our Agency, we have decided to continue on the adoption path, but we've completely changed course.

We've submitted our application to adopt with the
Wednesday's Child Program.

We have decided to adopt a child or sibling pair that is currently in our local Foster Care System.

I had attended the information session the first Wednesday of October, when Bob was in Albania and then dropped off our application the following Friday.  When I attended the session in October, it seemed as though we were a unique case.

I attended the November session, this time with Bob, and we found out that we're one of 35 families who have recently changed from an African adoption program to the Wednesday's Child Program.

It looks like it will take another 3 - 4 months for our first interview and to be assigned to a case worker. Since we already have our paperwork from our dossier, the steps to complete our revised home study will go quickly.  However, we are, sort of, starting the process all over again.

What happened to our International Adoption?

I haven't updated in a while, as we had to really think about the path we wanted to take and which direction we want to go.

Back in April, we received a letter from our agency in the US asking us to sign and acknowledge that there are difficulties with the DRC Adoption Program for Canadian Families. And, the program may be terminated or delayed at any point and that there would be no reimbursements for families in the process, should this occur.  We were hesitant in signing the document, because they kept confusing the Province of Saskatchewan with Customs and Immigration Canada.  We sort of felt that an agency handling foreign adoptions should know the policies of the countries that their families are from.  Furthermore, it was disheartening that they didn't seem to know the difference between the Provincial Government of Saskatchewan and the Canadian Government.

As we're from Alberta, we decided to just ignore this letter and we stayed in the program.  By ignore, I mean, we didn't sign it and send it back.  I had actually called the Director of Alberta Children's Services and had a lengthy discussion about this with her.  She had suggested to make sure that we had all the facts before accepting any matches (i.e. asking for complete and translated medical records, have the abandonment certificate and know who dropped the child off and why, ask for a copy of any birth records, etc.).

So, we continued to wait to see what would happen, as we had already invested so much time in this program.

The third week of September, I had sent an email to the Director of the DRC program with our agency asking whether there were any updates.  She asked me a couple of questions, which I thought she should know, had she ever looked at our file.  Then, that afternoon, she emailed over a photos of a potential match, the most adorable sibling pair.

However, we had many questions about this match and the missing information.
1) Why were there medical records for the girl and not the boy?
2) Why were the documents not translated?
3) The children appeared to be much older than what they were claiming.
4) They believed the children may be siblings, but they had no idea.  I asked for a DNA test or some sort of verification and this is not possible until after we accept and pay for the match ($14000 USD) and then pay for the DNA testing after.
5) There was no record of who dropped the children off at the orphanage.

After reviewing the papers, sending the medical information to a High School Colleague who is a medical doctor and fluent in French, and engaging in a 2 hour conference call with the Director of Alberta Children's Services, we had decided that, should we get some of the missing information (which the agency said they were looking for), we will accept the match gladly.

Then, the agency stopped corresponding with us for a couple of days until, we finally received a BCC email that went out to every family in the program informing us that the program has been shut down for at least 12 months.  This email was sent out at 10 pm on the last Friday of September.  It indicated the decisions to suspend the program went through on the Wednesday and they waited to the weekend to inform the families, whilst their office was closed.

So, we had not accepted the match, did not pay for the match, and the odds were that this would likely never go through, especially since Alberta Children's Services have stopped accepting new applications to adopt from DRC in Spring.  This was absolutely devastating and we were highly disappointed in how this was handled by our agency.  I have to admit, I didn't leave the house the entire weekend.

So...what do we do now?

Bob was leaving for Albania on Tuesday and I was going to be alone for a couple of weeks.  Monday Morning, Bob got on the phone with Alberta Children's Services and discussed our situation and we made the choice to close our International Adoption File.

I had then contacted our agency and asked for them to send our dossier back to us via Fed Ex and close our case.  They didn't ask any questions and we received our file back 3 days later with all of our paper work.

Monday, 1 July 2013

And, Still Waiting

We've recently received a few notifications from our agency.  As Canadians require more paperwork in order for travel to be approved by CIC, they are now going to charge Canadian families more for their matches.  This is bittersweet.  On one hand, we know there is greater chance that Part II of immigration will be approved by CIC, on the other hand, shouldn't that already be included?

The other notification we've received is that the DRC officials are now approving exit letters again.

The delay in our match is partly based on the delay in exit letters and partly due to the changes in the program for Canadians.

We're continuously told that we're at the front of the line and we should be matched shortly.  It just depends on the next set of children to come in to the orphanage.  When I spoke with the ladies at Alberta Children's Services, they told me that everyone is told they're next in line, regardless of agency or countries for adoption and they wish the agencies would stop telling parents this.  We believe we should be receiving our match within the next couple of months, but we're not entirely sure...

I guess we're just going to have to continue to wait and see...

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

(We) Will Wait (For You)

Now I'll be bold
As well as strong
And use my head alongside my heart
So tame my flesh
And fix my eyes
A tethered mind freed from the lies

And I'll kneel down,
Wait for now
I'll kneel down,
Know my ground

Raise my hands
Paint my spirit gold
And bow my head
Feel my heart slow

'Cause I will wait, I will wait for you
And I will wait, I will wait for you
And I will wait, I will wait for you
And I will wait, I will wait for you

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Still Waiting

We're waiting for our match and I'm guessing we may have a couple more months to go.  While we've been waiting, we've made some very positive changes.  We understand that food means love to children adopted internationally.  We also know that we will need to keep an abundance of food in our home and readily available (i.e. a bowl of fruit and nuts on the counter in reach).  So, we've done a lot of research on food and nutrition.

Here are the changes we made:
1) Over the holidays, we bought a juicer and we've been using it every day to juice whole foods (fruits and vegetables).  We're currently doing a juicing cleanse and we plan to keep juicing on a daily basis.
2) We've adopted "Meatless Mondays", which is our dedicated day to be vegetarian.
3) We're adding Chia to salads and steel cut oats
4) We've cut out Aspertame
5) We avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup and MSG whenever possible.
6) We try to buy local organic produce - although sometimes this can be difficult
7) We switched from colas and lattes to tea

We've started making these changes over the past couple of months.  I had stopped eating beef two years ago and we started buying mainly organic produce then, but we've spent more time recently analyzing our diets.  We haven't really lost any weight, but we're feeling much more alert, we're functioning better at work, and we feel happier.

Since our child will equate food with love, it's important to us that we have the right kinds of food and that we can teach what it means to have a good diet.