Friday, 30 December 2011

Application Fee

This morning, we have paid our adoption application fee to have the process moved forward and the record checks done.  On Wednesday, I will be stopping by the agency to pick up our self guided study books, so we can then start our at home study course.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

The paperwork has been handed in to the Agency

Yesterday I had handed in all of the completed paperwork to our agency.  Because our marriage certificate is in Spanish, I will have to take the original to have it translated and notarized.  As we used a translator and notary for our wedding documents, I still have her contact information and will contact her to request her services again.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

We've moved our adoption meeting

We've talked with our Agency and have moved our meeting to January 11, as we would like to have this sooner than later.
We've finished all of our paperwork, which I will be dropping off tomorrow with our application fee.  The only forms that we're missing are the medical examination forms from our doctor.  Or physicals are booked for the beginning of February, so we should have these completed before our meeting.

For our paperwork, which I've previously touched on, we were required to do the following:
* An International Adoption Application with the Province of Alberta
* The Application Forms to the Adoption Agency.  Part 2 of these forms required us to complete long answer/essay questions of our reasons to adopt and our autobiographies
* SAFE Questionnaire (Structured Analysis Family Evaluation) - which is a multiple choice questionnaire about our childhoods and our relationships with our families and each other
* A copy of our Birth Certificates
* A copy of our Marriage Certificate (you must be married for more than two years to adopt from Ethiopia)
* A copy of my Divorce Decree from the Court of Alberta
* Our Intervention Record Check Form
* Our Criminal Record Check Forms
* Our T4 Slips from our previous tax year
* Our Family Budget Analysis
* and Our Letter of Understanding

From our research, adoption from Ethiopia typically takes 1.5 years.  It takes 4 - 8 weeks to process all the paperwork, so we should have this all processed and hopefully approved by the end of February.  We then have to do a Home Study and an Assessment of our Home, to make sure that Social Services approves for us to adopt.  Once we pass this, assuming we pass, we then would have our request sent to the Ethiopian Government and request to be matched to our child.  When the paperwork reaches Ethiopia, it takes them on average 6 months to approve the papers and match us to our son.  We then have the choice to accept or approve the match.  Once the match is made, we have to apply for immigration for our son to come to Canada.  This can take anywhere between 3 months and one year.

Ethiopia has an adoption process in place with the Province of Alberta and Ethiopia is not a Hague Country.  Hague Countries have government intervention in the adoption process and must first try to find parents for the child in their home country before approving an international adoption.  This can cause the adoption process to take years.

As Ethiopia is not a Hague Country, there are no fees to be paid to the Government of Ethiopia or any agencies there.  All our fees go through our Agency in Calgary.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Happy Moments in an Ethiopian Orphanage

This is a video posted on Youtube from a woman who volunteered in an Ethiopian Orphanage.  She wanted to share the happy moments and laughter she had with the children there.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Christmas McKerrells

We had dinner this evening with Bob's family and played our announcement video.  Bob said a few words and explained our decision to adopt to everyone.  I loved watching him speak, as I could see it was making him a little emotional and everything he said was very genuine.  His parents told us they were proud of us and spoke of other people they knew that were adopted.  We also had to opportunity to engage in conversation with his siblings and we were able to discuss our choice and expectations.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Announcement Video

video

We're announcing to Bob's family of our intention to adopt our child using this video.  Each year, Bob plays a video slide show of the McKerrell family photos of the previous year, so we intend on playing this one first.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Completing the Paperwork

We realized this would be a long process when we made our decision to adopt a child.  We're currently working on the paperwork, which needs to be completed prior to our meeting in January.  The paperwork includes the following:

* Application Forms (Includes References, Family Background, Essay Questions, and Family Planning)
* Structured Analysis Family Evaluation Questionnaire
* Copies of our Birth Certificates
* Copy of our Marriage Certificate (We must be married for more than 2 years to adopt from Ethiopia.  They do not allow for adoptions to couples who are common-law.)
* Intervention Record Checks
* Criminal Record Checks
* Medical Records from our Family Physician (We have a new family doctor and are doing our physical examinations, which started last week and will continue in to January).
* T4 slips from our most recent tax year
* Family budget analysis (We have hired a new accountant and financial planner to help us manage our money).

We have a lot of information to collect over the next month before our meeting and, once the paperwork is completed, we will be taking a course on parenting adopted children and having a home analysis done, to see whether we can provide the right home environment for a child.  The work involved is not discouraging, as this is helping us to prepare and make sure we've thought of everything.  It's also comforting to know that they don't allow children to be adopted by "just anyone" and that if you make the decision to do so, then you have to make sure that you have a loving home and an accepting family and social group.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Telling Our Parents

This evening we've video conferenced with my mother to let her know we plan to adopt.  She was more than excited.  She travels around the United States for business and so we could have either waited until we would see her at Christmas, or we could tell her now before we tell everyone else.  We chose to tell her now.

We will be visiting with Bob's family on the weekend for the annual McKerrell Christmas get-together.  We will be telling his family on Saturday.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Adoption Meeting

We have scheduled our first meeting with the adoption agency for Friday, January 27, 2012.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

We Chose to Adopt

My husband, Bob, and I have decided to adopt a child from Ethiopia.  We've been married for 2 years and have contemplated having children.  We've decided to proceed with a foreign adoption, because we feel that we have a social responsibility to help save a life.  If we have the capacity to provide for another human and choose not to, we're not living to our full potential.

We have also decided on foreign adoption because this would be much more life-changing for the child.  Adopting a child from an area of need will ensure the child will have a higher survival rate.  There are hundreds of children locally that need to be adopted and need love and attention, however, they have a greater chance of growing up healthy, attending public schools, and being able to choose to go to post-secondary education.  For many children living in the Horn of Africa, this is not an option.

We have contacted a local adoption agency and set up a meeting to meet with them at the end of January.  In the meantime, we are undergoing medical assessments and working with an accountant and financial planner to prepare for the process of adoption.  We know this will take at least 6 months to 3 years before we're able to bring our child home.  We wanted to write about our experiences to share our decisions and maybe someone will read this and feel compelled to help a child in need and love them as their own.