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They’re Ours!! Adoption Finalized!

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1 year, 9 months and 8 days after meeting our three youngest children for the first time they are ours! Adoption complete! What does this mean for our family?

  • No more home visits!
  • We get to make all decisions regarding our children (without counsel from The Team)
  • We are free to travel anywhere and anytime with our children, without special permission and notes
  • No one can take them from us. No changed minds, or family members suddenly appearing
  • We all have the same last name! We are now the Le Chevalliers!
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Signed, Sealed and Delivered…I am Yours!

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When we adopted Lola and Diego there was a lot of hand holding through the process. We adopted through a private agency in the United States. Our agency gave us a sheet typed out in ‘comic sans’ that gave us a step-by step account of what to expect during the process. I remember sitting down with that sheet of paper and going through each step with our case worker and asking her how long for each step. Even with that, they said the PGN process could be between 2 weeks and 6 months (yes…we got the 6 month end of that deal).

This time we are adopting domestically, through the fostercare system. This has been a very different process, and I have never really known where we are in the process. After something BIG , happens I will ask…What next? about when do you anticipate this being final?

The difference is, we have our babies here with us. I get to hug them, hold them and kiss them goodnight. The adoption paperwork is really a matter of formality (don’t get me wrong, I will be excited), but it’s not like when we were waiting for Lola and Diego. Everyday that passed, was a day lost. It was excruciating knowing that they were somewhere else, and not knowing how they were being taken care of. I already loved them, they were already my children. I had several women that had gone through childbirth, try to commiserate with me over the fact that they were a week or two past their due date. Although, with all things relative, and I am sure that really sucks and is physically uncomfortable, i would think to myself “yea, but you had your baby, safe, warm and in the comfort of your womb”

That is why I am not stressing over the details of the ‘when’ the adoption will  be finalized, in my heart, it’s a done deal. What will finalization mean for our family? It will mean that we will no longer have 4 different last names, it will mean that we can make any decision regarding their education, health, diet or even hair (yes hair) that we want. We will be able to travel anywhere in the world we want to go, and we won’t need special papers and permission just to cross the state line. It will also mean that we will not have home visits (except for just a few post-adoption visits) anymore, even though we have been very fortunate to have the best GAL (Guardian ad Litem) we could ask for, and our case worker has been one of the great ones.

So for those that are curious about when all this will happen, here is where we are at:

Georges and I need to have a stack of files signed in front of a notary, and then we file with the County Clerk Office.  The county clerk has 30 days to return it to our case worker, then she has 60 days to to process and submit to the state. they don’t have a deadline, but turn around on that is about 30 days. We just watch the mailbox for the next 3-4 months for the decree to come in the mail. No Judges, No courts…just the mailman bringing us the paperwork one day.

 

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…and in other news

An article ran on CNN’s website this week Overseas adoptions rise — for black American children. It was interesting reading through the different points of view, and I remember hearing the same thing about Canada a few years ago.

I am going to play devil’s advocate here: It seems that the article  has a slant towards Holland being a very open- minded country, lacking in racism, and this may be true. The article contrasts  adoptive parents from Holland to the adoptive parents in the US. Emphasizing the US parents  who choose to  pay high fees, and endure the red-tape of foreign adoption to avoid adopting from the US, which is known as domestic adoption. The article states that this is a race issue. I disagree.

Ian, Ann and Dax (Korea)

Ian, Ann and Dax (Korea)

Let’s explore the idea of Holland being a Utopia of “One World” thinking. Historically, the Dutch were heavily involved in the slave trade. This does not mean that this is still the sentiment, but it does bare mentioning.

I am curious to know the number of  ‘Foreign/US adoptions’ verses domestic adoptions that are occurring in the Netherlands?  Could the reasoning behind the rise in these adoptions be the same reasoning behind many US families? That a the best distance between birth families is  a long distance? The writer points out that many birth mothers are leaning towards adopting out their children to The Netherlands because they are welcoming to an open adoption. I have to interject that it is much easier to be open to the idea of an open adoption when the families are not living in the same town, or even state, but thousands of miles away in another country.

Leanne and Zadie (Ethiopia)

Leanne and Zadie (Ethiopia)

Speaking for myself, and many parents that I have had conversations with, we all have our reasons for the countries that we have chosen. Usually birth-family contact was  one reason why they/we chose to go with a foreign adoption, not race. As a matter of fact, most of these parents ended up adopting a child of a different race (Ethiopian, Guatemalan, Chinese, Korean or Vietnamese). It’s not an emotional threat that most of these parents are concerned over, but more about the complications that an open-adoption creates. Other reasons included the length of time, the road to adoption can sometimes take years, but some programs are known for having a shorter process. Another friend offered this when asked about choosing international adoption:

“When I decided to adopt, my first call was to the agency that my parents adopted me from in South Dakota. They would not consider a single mom. That led me to Vietnam, and after that long journey(in more ways than one!), I absolutely believe that my daughter and I were meant to be together and that she was the one meant to be in my life. I knew it the moment I first saw her, she was waiting for me and looked at me like, “finally! where have you been?”.~Mary

Angela with her beautiful family including son Jay (USA)

Angela with her beautiful family including son Jay (USA)

As a parent who is experienced in both foreign and domestic adoption, I believe that yes, foreign adoption is much easier in regards to birth family contact. Domestic adoption is not for the faint of heart. We chose domestic adoption for this journey because we had been through adoption, fostercare and we knew that it would be a challenge, but we were ready and up for this challenge.

Mary and Molly (Vietnam)

Mary and Molly (Vietnam)

In response to the media, in particular this CNN reporter,  please stop questioning the motives of adoptive parents, and smile upon these beautiful families. While researching this blog post, the answer I received repeatedly was that there was a “pull” towards that country, whether it was here in the US or as far away as China! It is my belief that we do not choose our children…they have chosen us, it is up to us to find them.

Chris and Caleb (USA)

Chris and Caleb (USA)

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Travels Begin

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A few weeks ago I posted on facebook that we were beginning a new chapter in our lives…many of you that know us well, guessed it, and we have shared this decision with a few friends and family. Instead of the excitement that we are feeling towards this new journey, we have felt trepidation from some…so I am hoping this blog will help friends and family understand our decision. I am also hoping that friends, family and possibly strangers may stumble upon this and realize the many blessings that adoption and foster care bring.

We adopted our two children from Guatemala 4 years ago, and we have always talked about adopting again. When the conversation of becoming foster parents came up, it wasn’t completely a new idea. It has been an evolution though. We were first introduced to foster parenting through our beautiful children’s foster parents, Rosa & Lorena.  We are still in touch with Rosa, and have had the privilege of  being  able to see her twice now, and we talk on the phone frequently.  We were/are very grateful for Rosa and Lorena, the two women who fostered our children while we were waiting to bring them home.  We thought, “How can they do this…love these child, and then let them go?”. Well, now we ask “How can we NOT love these children and possibly let them go?”

Now it’s the first question that I am sure many of our friends and family are asking.”How will they be able to let these these children go without their hearts breaking?”  We expect there to be heartache along this journey, and if there isn’t, it means we are not doing our job with our hearts open.  Here’s a question…if you knew that you would only have a year, 6 months or even a week with your child…would you choose not be with them? I believe that these children are meant to be ours, and imprint on our lives, as we imprint on theirs. It may be a few days, months, or they may stay forever…but whatever the length of time they are with us…they will be Family!