With the acceptance and subsequent signing of the adoption agreement, we entered the phase of adoption known as the paper chase or paper pregnancy. We’ve got a list of documents to either write ourselves or to track down from others, and while at first the list seems daunting, when I break it down, it doesn’t seem like such a huge deal. We are lucky to live in the state where all but one of our documents will need to be obtained and authenticated, and that the final document we need is from a state that offers a service in which the necessary document is printed, certified, and walked to the office where it will be authenticated.
During the paper chase, we also will be going through our home study, itself with its own list of documents and requirements. We have a list of things that need to be done as we enter this process, some of which are not so difficult to complete on our own, and some of which we’ll need help to complete. What I mean by this is that if you have a hankering to do some heavy yard work prior to the home visit, we won’t turn you down if you show up in our yard to do it.
A lot of people have been asking us about how long this process will take, and our goal for this initial paper chasing phase is to have our part done by the time we leave for vacation on September 25. After that, it is largely out of our hands, but there are a couple of scenarios that could play out. The first is that we are put on the regular waiting list for a healthy baby girl; the wait at this time is six to thirteen months. However, we are also open to special needs*, so if we identify a child whose needs we feel we can meet before we receive a referral through the waiting list, then the time could be shorter. So the short answer is that it will take twelve to eighteen months total, with the disclaimer that adoption can be unpredictable, so it could be shorter or longer than that.
In other words, we don’t really know.
What we do know is that between us and our daughter is a small mountain of paperwork, some elbow grease, and some creative financing. We are now looking into our funding options in earnest, as we will go through the funds we saved even more quickly than I anticipated**. We have applied already for one grant and will likely apply for more, are looking into various loan options, and will begin brainstorming fundraising ideas that will be good, clean fun for everyone involved. If you’d like to be involved in any way in helping us find the funds to bring our daughter home (ideas welcome!), please drop me a line at marymuses at gmail dot com.***
*While we don’t have a list, we have an idea of the types of needs we feel comfortable and capable handling. At this time, this includes various physical deformities, vision or hearing impairment, and treatable illnesses. We’ve thought long and hard about this, believing that every child deserves a loving family and at the same time recognizing our own limitations and those of our larger community of family and friends.
**I wouldn’t necessarily call what we’re encountering hidden fees, but there are fees that are not often included on agency lists, some of which because they’re small and some of which because they are unique to each family. This includes fees to obtain various documents ($10 here, $15 there, $22 somewhere else), adoption training fees (for Hague accredited agencies, ten hours of adoption training is required), and what I like to call Life Update Fees for things like cat vaccinations and physicals.
***Of course we will accept financial help with open hands and grateful hearts, but what I mean here more than anything is if anyone has information about grants or loans we may be unaware of, we’d love to know about those. Even if you think we’ve heard of it, maybe we haven’t, so please let me know.