Tuesday, April 5, 2011

What's Next??

Most people you talk to about international adoption really don’t understand the process and the volume of paperwork that is required to bring a child home. We so appreciate India and their love for their children and strict compliance with the Hague Convention and all the rules and requirements. It is sad that some children are used (in other countries) for material gain when it comes to adoption. We are thankful India is a Hague Country and follow all the rules and procedures. All being said, we pray for a speedy (and compliant) process. The following are the steps after the home study has been approved….for those interested… this is why it takes so long to bring a child home. Thanks to this website, I understand the process better. http://newdelhi.usembassy.gov/adoptions.html

Step 1 (After the home study has been approved) File I800A – seek approval to be determined as suitable to adopt a child. This is filed with USCIS.

Step 2 Convention country matches family with child, working through an accredited approved adoption agency. This is called the referral! Yea, we have this!!

Step 3 Filing of Form I-800 – seeking approval for this specific child to immigrate to the U.S. and become part of our family. This is the stage we are at on April 4, 2011!!

Step 4 Visa Application: Following the provisional approval of the petition by the USCIS office, it is forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC). NVC notifies the respective post and the Form I800 is forwarded to the Embassy/Consulate. The biographic data form (DS-230) and information on required photographs are mailed to the family (us) or the agency. These documents are then mailed to the Immigrant Visa Unit of the U.S. Embassy, New Delhi.

Step 5 After the Consular Officer at the Embassy reviews the application and determines that there are no ineligibilities, the Consular Officer will issue a letter under Article 5 of the Hague Convention to the Convention country's CA stating that the family have been counseled and are eligible for the adoption and that the child will be authorized to enter and reside in the United States. The family or agency will be notified via e-mail by Embassy, New Delhi about the issuance of the Article 5 letter. The family then adopts the child or obtains legal custody of the child for purposes of emigration and adoption. The adoption/guardianship order must not be obtained UNTIL Embassy, New Delhi, issues an Article 5 letter. (This part I’m a little fuzzy on when we travel…or if someone in India on our behalf handles this for us….since the estimated time in country is only 10 to 12 days – I’m thinking travel might be after step 6 below).

Step 6 The Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA) will issue a certificate under Article 23 of the Hague Convention certifying that the adoption has occurred in accordance with the Convention. Article 23 is a requirement only for adoption cases. Guardianships do not require an Article 23 letter. At this stage, the family or agency must provide valid proof to the Consular Officer that the adoption/legal custody has been completed. In cases involving an adoption in the country of origin, the competent authority such as the court of the Convention country must certify that the adoption was done in accordance with the Convention. In cases involving only a grant of legal custody for purposes of emigration and adoption, the family must provide proof that the grant of legal custody occurred. Generally, this will come via a judicial or administrative act expressly authorizing the family or those acting on their behalf to take the child out of the country and bring the child to the United States for adoption in the United States by the family.

Step 7 Once the adoption/guardianship has been completed, and the family has the child's passport, they should contact Embassy, New Delhi to schedule an immigrant visa interview.

After verifying compliance with the Convention and Intercountry Adoption Act (IAA) and determining that no visa ineligibilities exist, the Consular Officer will grant final approval of Form I-800.

The Consular Office will then issue one of the following certificates:

(1) A Hague Adoption Certificate to the adoptive parent(s) certifying that the requirements of the Convention and the IAA have been met with respect to the adoption, or

(2) A Hague Custody Certificate to the PAP(s), certifying that the requirements of the Convention and the IAA have been met with respect to the grant of legal custody.

Finally a immigrant visa will be issued to the child in either the IH3 (Orphan adopted abroad by U.S. citizen or Child from Hague Convention Country adopted abroad by a U.S. citizen) or IH4 (Orphan to be Adopted in U.S. by the U.S. Citizen or Child from Hague Convention Country to be Adopted in U.S. by a U.S. Citizen) immigrant visa category. At this point, the adoption process is complete and the family can travel back to the U.S. will their newly adopted child.

So now you can see why it takes 10 months to process after the referral.  We're still praying we get to travel before the end of Dec 2011...but we know it may end up being 2012.  Either way, we have the rest of our lives to be with our little girl....she's so worth the wait. :)

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