Tuesday, November 29, 2011

An Update on Nothing

I know, I haven't posted much lately...
You know why that is? BECAUSE NOTHING IS HAPPENING!!!
I was all optimistic after we signed our Home Study report and sent it back. Our agency got it alright, but it turned out our agent had not reviewed it all. She had signed it so it could be sent as soon as she's reviewed it, even while she's travelling. So I guess she is reviewing it right now and will approve it sometime this week.
I just hope our government doesn't take too long to approve us. Our file will be with them over the Christmas holiday!
Oh well!
In the meantime, we're still trying to get our Ontario agency to send their registration package to us...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Tio R.

My Brother-in-Law has translated our Birth Certificates to English for us. He's such a sweetheart! He did it in less than a week, and for a kiss on the cheek!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Across the Country and Back

The timing wasn't the best. But then again, it's never perfect...
Pablo and I are in Montreal, celebrating my birthday with our friends and family. I'm glad we came, it's great to spend some time with the family, go back to places we used to love when we first started dating and eat at our favorite latino restaurant.
But our Home Study report is ready, we're 4000 km from our agency's office, and our agent is on vacation right now... So we have spent the last week coordinating our report's signature... It has to be signed by our social worker, our agent and both Pablo and I. Thankfully, our agency recognizes how important this is for us, and they rushed the editing of our report so that our agent could sign it before leaving for her vacation. They sent it to my Mom's house, in Montreal, via Purolator. It cost $40, but it was there overnight. Pablo and I signed it over the week-end and we mailed it back to the office in Calgary, for the social worker to sign. It should be there on Wednesday. Once it's signed by everyone, our agency will send it to the Alberta government for approval. In total , it will probably cost us around $150 just in courrier services for the Home Study report. Oh well... at least it's going fast! So far, we're about 1 week earlier than I had planned.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

In Labor...

They say (jokingly) you get enough paper cuts to make up for the pain of delivering a new born. Adopting involves a lot of paperwork, and with is comes a lot of time and efforts invested in trying to deal with institutionnal bureaucracy and its bland representatives. There is also the indiscretion of the Home Study, and the feeling of being constantly judged. The social worker, the extended family, the agency (and we have two of these), even the random strangers who learn about our adoption have an opinion about us and about our project, and somehow feel entitled to sharing it with us. And there is the constant edginess that all this intrusion has left me with, I don't even recognize myself. There is also a lot of frustration, worry and uncertainty.

But you know what I find really difficult? It's the slow ticking of the seconds when nothing is left to do! At least, when we are chasing paperwork, there is something to be done, there is a sense of moving forward. I hated the Home Study interviews, but it felt awesome to cross these on my to-do list.

I can only imagine how hard it will be to wait for a referral once our Dossier is gone!

Friday, November 11, 2011

I Lied to You!

I just got my Birth Certificate by mail. And IT'S IN FRENCH!!!
I already have that, thank you very much! I needed an English copy to avoid having to translate it... Well it turns out I was mistaken. The original act can be filled in French OR in English. The parents decide this. Once this is done, the certificates and copies of the act will always be delivered in the original language. My parents filled my act in French when I was born, so I can't get a certificate in English.

I realize this is of little interest to most of you, but I think I have to correct the information I gave you...

Thank heavens for my professional translator brother-in-law :-D

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Results are in...

Our social worker is a super-woman: she has produced a 23 pages report, which represents us fairly and accurately, in just one week!

She sent her first draft today for us to review. She was missing a few dates and facts, but most of the report was done.

At the end, a section called Recommendation states the following:
It is recommended that Pablo and Genevieve be approved, to adopt a healthy male or female infant, or twins, under the age of 13 months old at the time of adoption, from Sri Lanka.

She will now send it for editing and it will be sent to the government for approval.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Way Ahead

Right now, we have one foot in the Home Study process, and the other foot in the Dossier Preparation process. While our social worker is writing the first version of our Home Study report, we have started to gather information from our Ontario agency.
Our Dossier will consist of:
- Our approved Home Study report
- Our approved International Adoption Application
- Both our Birth Certificates, translated to English and notarized
- Our Marriage Certificate, notarized
- Our Medical Reports, notarized
- Our Interpol and RCMP police checks, notarized
- Our Employment Letters, notarized
- Copies of our Passports, notarized
- 2 Passport Photos each, notarized
- A few forms that our agency will send us once we register with them

In the next few weeks, while we wait for the Home Study report, I need to get my passport redone (it's expiring in December!), Pablo has to get his Birth Certificate translated and we both need to get passport photos taken. Then, we will make an appointment with a lawyer to notarize everything. We should also have received the forms from our agency, so we can fill these out.
If we manage to do all this by the end of the year, we should be ready to send our Dossier as soon as the approved Home Study comes in!

The interview weeks were somewhat of a break from paperwork. Now here we go again!

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Few Hints for the Home Study

While we’re waiting for the report, here are a few things you might like to know before you start the Home Study process:
-          Prepare! They want to know that you’re not just diving head first into this. Do you know a little about the country? What is the language, the religion? Why are there kids available there? How old are they? Is it mainly girls? Boys? Are there any health issues that are particularly relevant? How much time will you have to travel for? How much money will it cost you? When will you need to pay? If at all possible, try to get in touch with other adoptive families. Even if your social worker does not ask all these questions (ours did), it’s information you will need at some point anyway.
-          You also should prepare by reading on adoption, attachment and how to promote it, trans-racial families and the issues they face...
-          The government (in Alberta at least) is not a big fan of physical punishment. So if you think spanking your child is the solution to everything, think about other disciplinary actions you would take before getting there. I’m not saying lie about it, but there may be a way of putting it that won’t get them thinking your kid is going to be spanked every day!
-          We were also told that the government really prefers the parents to take the full parental leave before returning to work, when adopting internationally. This is because the first months are so critical to attachment.
-          Not all agencies have a Home Study Self Report. Some ask for an autobiography, others don’t ask for this type of preparation. If your agency does not require it, have a look in my previous posts about the Home Study Self Report and take some time to think about some of the issues there. You need to discuss this with your partner, if you are couple. An interview with your social worker may not be the time and place to start arguing about who is going to take time off work when kiddo is sick.
-          Get a fire extinguisher and test your smoke detectors before the home visit.
-         They will ask where your medications and cleaning products are in the home. They don’t have to be in a childproof place yet, but you should have a plan. And if you already have children, you may want to have it done already before the home visit.
-          If you already have kids, your social worker will want to talk to them. So make sure you have discussed adoption with them and that you managed to get them onboard.
-          Look for trouble from a child’s point of view. Is there a pool to fall into? Drugs they can grab easily? Cleaning products to gulp down? Electrical outlets to stick tiny fingers into? Here again, you don’t need to have everything safely put away yet, but you should have a plan to make it safe before your child is there.
Our agency kept telling us: “Be yourselves”. You’re not expected to be perfect, there may have been issues in your past or traumatic events in your extended family. You will have to explain them and how they got resolved, but it doesn’t mean you can't be an awesome parent.
And keep in mind, although it sucks to feel judged like this, it will only last for a few weeks... 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

3rd Home Study Visit

That’s it! Our third and last meeting with the social worker is done! We met her yesterday at the agency’s office. She went over each our personal histories, from before we were together. It was mainly stuff that was covered into the Self Report, so it wasn’t difficult at all.
At the end, she said that there would be no surprise in her report, that we would pass with high marks. I never thought there could be any reason for them to not approve us, but for some reason, I felt tremendous relief!
So her report should be done for the end of next week. She’ll email it to us for review and approval, before sending it to editing, where it should stay for about 2 weeks. When it’s all nice and ready to go, we will have to go to the agency to sign the final report and they will send it to the Government of Alberta. There, it is supposed to take 4 to 6 weeks for them to approve us. Because that’s going to be during the Christmas holidays, I am expecting a full 6 weeks.
Mid-January seems to be a good estimate of when our approved Home Study can be sent to our Ontario agency...
So now, our goal is to have all the other documents required for the Dossier ready by then... And here goes the documents gathering again!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Quebec Birth Certificate

I got some good news last week. I doubt anybody reading this blog will find this useful, because I have never heard of a Quebecois adopting from SL, but here it is anyway: It is possible to get a Birth Certificate in English directly from the Directeur de l’Etat Civil in Quebec.
This means we won’t have to get mine translated, only Pablo’s! I have ordered my English language Birth Certificate, it should be here in about 3 weeks.

UPDATE: Oups! I had misunderstood Quebec's law... This post is wrong. See the truth here.