5/14/14

Adoption and Red Tape


I was trying to get organized today. I had thrown all my papers for the adoption into various folders and stuffed everything in a box. We have been watching documentaries, webinars, and reading books. If we keep track of everything, we can get "educational credit."

We were provided with a sheet of paper on which to write everything we had read or watched to get credit. When I misplace something, it gets me organizing. After shuffling through papers, and throwing a stack away, I still couldn't find it.

I let it go, knowing it would turn up later. It did. As I was showing my husband the new folders I had created, I saw it stuck behind our Dossier Packet. Every time I've looked at that packet for the dossier I just give a huge sigh. One word comes to mind: WAIT! We have had that packet for over a month and not been able to do anything about it.

Until today.

My social worker had mailed our home studies to us on Monday. I've been faithfully watching for the mail truck around 1:30 every afternoon since then. Today, while getting ready for naptime, we heard the doorbell ring. I had to sign for a package! Without even looking, I knew it was the home study.

I couldn't wait to tuck everyone into bed and go upstairs to look through the paperwork. Everything looked great! We can send in our I-800A now and start on our dossier!

Here is a shortened version of what goes into our dossier (which is sent to China):

Application Letter
Birth Certificates
Marriage Certificates
Employer Verification Letter
Financial Statement
Medical Suitability Certificate
Police Clearance Letters
Home Study
Copy of USCIS Approval (I-797)
Reference Letters
Copy of Passports
Passport Photos
Recent Photographs of Home and Family
Copy of ALP Training Certificates

All of the paperwork for the dossier is time-sensitive. Nothing can be over six months old. We need to get birth certificates, marriage certificates, and passport photos that must all be issued in the past six months. We will also need to get more fingerprinting and verifications. There a few other documents that our agency will provide for us. We have a dossier specialist we will be working with us to help guide us the entire way and review it all before we send it in.

Although still a little daunting, I am ready to tackle this beast! I am feeling confident and positive that everything seems doable. After our home study - I am trying to prepare myself for hiccups and hangups.  We will still be doing a lot of waiting. 

I am sure, if you are not in the process of adopting, this list seems overwhelming and exhausting. The amount of red tape is unbelievable. Even though we knew it was a lot of paperwork, we are still floored by everything we must do to adopt this child. For example, we have to send in our I-800A form, which is a huge ordeal, in order to get ONE piece of paper back for our dossier (the I-797).

We recently watched the documentary "Stuck" - it can be found on Netflix. Although not necessarily from a Christian point of view, it paints a pretty good picture of how much red tape it takes to bring a child home. The policies that were created to protect against child trafficking - although noble and were done with correct motives - have made adoption so very difficult. Children all over the world are forever stuck because of these policies.

It is sad and heartbreaking to know that some children will spend the rest of their lives in orphanages or foster care, not because no one wants them, but because no one can take them home.

I am hoping that our adoption story will encourage those around us to considering joining the adoption movement. We know that not everyone can adopt, or even wants to adopt. We do know that everyone should want to help. I was a little discouraged with the end of the movie "Stuck." The only answer the world can offer is to change policy and governments. The answer the Christian has is so different: changed hearts. Although we should be interested and proactive when it comes to policy – the real issue is a heart issue.


I am currently reading a book called, "In Pursuit of Orphan Excellence." I have not read very much, so I cannot say whether I agree or can recommend this book. In the beginning, the authors concede the fact that not all orphans will be able to adopted. As Christians, that does not change commands from scripture:

James 1:27 – “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble.”

Christians are to care for orphans. We are to care for the poor. Our family wants to encourage others to join in the adoption movement. I do not know what that looks like.  I do not know what God will do in your heart.  I do know that there are lots of places and organizations that help orphans. If you need direction, I can point you to a couple of places.

More than anything, we want to encourage others to pray:
Pray about how to be involved.
Pray for those already involved.
Pray for the children who are waiting for a family.

We do not need a change of red tape. We need a change of heart. Christians have that: the Gospel. It changes hearts and lives. The Gospel is the key to helping the orphans around the world.

As I have said before and I will continue to say throughout the entire process:  no amount of red tape will keep us from getting our daughter.