Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Getting the Adoption Ball Rolling

Yesterday (7 Oct 2008) was a big day for us in our adoption journey...we had our first meeting with our social worker. We are working with Catholic Charities in Baltimore, MD. Our social worker has many years of experience helping families with adoption and also is uniquely qualified since she is a parent of six children adopted internationally.

Our day started bright and early since we had to drive to Baltimore from Southern Maryland (in rush hour traffic). All was well until we got close to Baltimore where we met up with some heavy traffic and a broken down vehicle. We ended up arriving a little late to our appointment. For our first session with our social worker, we started by going over our autobiographies. Before scheduling our meeting, we each had to each write a 7-10 page autobiography. Prior to our arrival, our social worker had reviewed them and had some additional questions. After discussing our autobiographies, we were separated so that one-on-one interviews could be conducted. While one of us was being interviewed, the other filled out a questionnaire that dealt with our parenting style. The questions dealt with topics such as discipline, potty training, and our expectations of childhood behavior. We also had to complete an alcoholism screening.

Once we finished the interview portion, we were given some more information on what to expect in the adoption process. The adoption process is different depending on whether it is domestic or international. On top of that, all international adoptions have different requirements. We have chosen to adopt a child from Korea...South Korea to be more specific. The primary reasons we chose to adopt from Korea is that the children are all taken care of by foster parents (they're not placed in an orphanage), all children get excellent medical care, you have a full medical history of the children, and the children can be adopted at a relatively young age (8-10 months old). We found out that it's almost guaranteed that we will adopt a boy (you can't chose whether it's a boy or girl). If you already have a boy, you are allowed to request a girl for your second adoption.

As you can expect, the adoption process is very lengthy. Here's what we can expect:
  1. Home Study: Approximately 3 months of paperwork (background investigations, medical exams, financial review, reference letters, home inpsections, parenting training, etc.)
  2. Paperwork Processing by Korea: Approximately 13-15 months of sitting and waiting.
  3. Referral: Once the paperwork is processed by Korea, we will get a referral with information (including photos) about the baby that we will be adopting.
  4. Travel: Approximately 3 months after referral we will travel to pick up our child. For Korean adoptions, you can either have the baby escorted to the US or go pickup the child in Korea. We have decided to travel to Korea so that we can learn a little about the culture and also so that we can meet the foster parents.

So right now, the process is expected to take close to 2 years. Yes, that's a very long time. Right now, everything is in our hands. We have lots of paperwork to complete. The quicker we get it done...the quicker we move on to the next phase of our adoption journey.

We ended up our day by getting fingerprinted by the state of Maryland (we'll also need a second set of fingerprints from Citizenship and Imigration Services (CIS), formally called INS). The nearest location was about 15 miles away from the adoption agency. Since it was lunch time, we stopped for a bite to eat at Applebees, hoping to avoid the lunch rush at the fingerprint location. Unfortunately, it's always busy there. When we arrived, there was a line of about 10 people plus another 10 or more in the waiting area. Thankfully, it didn't end up taking as long as we thought. Within about 10 minutes, we were called in. We expected to do the old style ink fingerprinting, but everything is computerized now. Our fingerprints were scanned within a couple of minutes and we were done.

It was a very eventful day. We got lots of excellent information and are very excited to push forward with the adoption. We've also got some special adopotion related plans for this coming weekend (which coincides with our anniversary), but I'll save that for another post.

1 comment:

MrsTowny said...

I am so glad that you got the blog going. We are so excited for you guys and glad that we will be able to share the process with you!!