Thursday, March 24, 2011

Two Very Large Binders

and a third on the way!  Wow - a lot of paperwork.  A lot of online courses (6).  A lot of reading.  All part of the educational requirements to adopt.  I was surprised that I had already read a lot of the recommended and/or required articles and books related to adoption.  This is at least one benefit of spending months and months (if not years) on adoption research! 

First on our never ending to-do list was an hour long review of the dossier requirements with our case manager.  I completed this last night.  Fortunately, only one parent was required for this phone conversation since Bruce had a dinner meeting.  Our next steps are to complete all of the education requirements and to be finger printed.  Our prints have to be sent to the FBI for criminal clearance.  Apparently, this can take up to 14 weeks so our agency wants us to get going on that now.  Hopefully we can get through most of the education requirements this weekend.  It is going to be hard since Bruce is so very busy with tax season. 

I am still working on setting everything up on this blog.  It is quite a time consuming process for the novice!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Bulgaria Adoption Considerations

In considering international adoption, I came up with a list of criteria to help determine which country was right for us.  Travel requirements and time frame were probably the most important items for us.  Below is a list of important criteria and facts pertaining to Bulgaria Adoptions:

  • Travel - Bulgaria requires 2 trips.  The 1st trip is about 5 days and the second trip is about 7 to 10 days.
  • Time Frame - Bulgaria's time frame to complete the entire process is about 2 to 3 years.  For Waiting Children, the time frame is about 1 year.
  • Age - Bulgaria requires the adopting parents to be between the ages of 23 and 55.
  • Children Available - Bulgaria orphans are available beginning at the age of 18 months.  Older children and sibling groups are also available.
  • Marriage - Bulgaria allows couples married for at least 9 months and single women to adopt.  Adopting parents cannot have more than 2 divorces.
  • Children in Home - Bulgaria requires adopting parents to have no more than 6 children already.
  • Income - Bulgaria requires adopting parents to have a positive net worth and meet the U.S. poverty guidelines.
  • U.S. Citizen - Bulgaria requires one of the adopting parents to be a United States citizen. 
These are some considerations when thinking about international adoption from Bulgaria.  Different countries have different guidelines.  Reviewing these considerations will help to determine which factors are most important to your family.

International Adoption - Dossier

What items are required in a Dossier for International Adoption?  Bruce asked me this question awhile ago while we were discussing adoption.  After some research, I came up with a list of potential items required in a Dossier.  I posted the list below.  Keep in mind that each country requires different items, so these items may or may not be required by the country you are adopting from.  The list applies to both parents adopting.

 1.)  Medical health review your doctor
 2.)  Marriage certificate and Divorce certificate, if applicable
 3.)  Birth certificate
 4.)  Death certificate for a deceased spouse, if applicable
 5.)  Verification of employment
 6.)  Verification of residency (mortgage statement or rental agreement)
 7.)  Financial information such as bank accounts and statements of debt
 8.)  Federal Income tax returns
 9.)  State police background check
10.) Passport verification
11.) Reference letters
12.) Pictures of your house and family
13.) Verification of your adoption agency's license
14.) Power of Attorney to your international adoption agency
15.) Adoption agency application forms
16.) Post adoption placement information and agreements
17.) Certified home study

Most, if not all, of these items have to be certified, notarized and/or apostilled depending on your country.  These are items I found while searching international adoption dossier.  I hope it gives you a good idea of what items may be required.

A Little Background

So, why adoption?  Adoption has been on my mind for a very long time.  We talked about it as a family several years ago when the girls were little.  But it really wasn't the right time for us.  International adoption required long travel times and we did not want to leave the girls for several weeks at a time.    

I continued to view adoption websites here and there, but we never really continued talking about it.  Eventually, I started doing some research on adoption from different countries.  I eventually stumbled on to Bulgaria.  Bulgaria required two short trips to complete an adoption.  This seemed like something we could do.  We began talking about adoption again.  I continued to research Bulgaria adoptions.  More and more I felt Bulgaria was the perfect country for us. Bulgaria has many (approx. 7,000) children in orphanages waiting to be adopted.  I really believe God was leading us to this country.

We finally started discussing the possibility of adopting two children from Bulgaria with our girls.  They were very excited, even after we explained the significant changes it would bring to our lives.  They definitely wanted to adopt.  Now it was up to Bruce and I to make a final decision.  We almost started the process about a year ago, but changed our minds for various reasons. 

I thought that was the end of it.  But I could not stop thinking about it.  I continued researching Bulgaria and praying that one day it would work out for us.  By the end of 2010, we were talking about it again.  I kept praying that we would make the best decision for our family.   

We finally decided to proceed in January.  By February we had filed our application with our agency and were approved.  Our next step was to have a beginning orientation with our agency and sign the final contracts.  We completed the orientations and sent the contracts and initial payment in last week.  We received our confirmation of acceptance into our agency's waiting child program yesterday.  Now, the journey begins....

It's Official ...

We are clients of All God's Children International!  We have officially started our adoption journey to bring home two children from Bulgaria.  Although I am not much of a writer, I want to chronicle this journey for our new children.  It will be forever a part of their adoption story.  In addition, we can keep family and friends up to date on our adoption process.