Major Adoption-Related Events

  • 09-04-29 Part One Sponsorship Application Completed and Sent
  • 08-11-04 Dossier in Ethiopia -- the wait begins
  • 08-10-24 Dossier on its way to Ethiopia
  • 08-10-23 Dossier back to Imagine
  • 08-10-17 Dossier to Ottawa
  • 08-10-07 Dossier (finally complete) at Imagine
  • 08-09-10 Dossier (most) Sent to Imagine
  • 08-09-04 Provincial Approval Received
  • 08-07-08 Completed Dossier Sent to Province for Approval
  • 08-06-26 HAR Signed and sent back to ABC
  • 08-05-16 HAR Started
  • 08-04-22 Int'l Adoption Self-Study Course Completed
  • 08-04-07 Application sent to ABC
  • 08-02-19 Initial Application faxed to Imagine
  • 08-02-16 References Requested from Friends

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A New Outlook

I spent the last week doing some backyard renos (building a fence mainly) and some thinking about this whole adoption deal. I was really blue as I wrote about being stumped for what to pray for. But I read another person's blog today and she expressed similar sadness over the "we gain they lose" part of adoption. No doubt it is very sad for the families who are giving up their children, and certainly they mourn the loss as we would. But the fact remains that there is a need for adoptive families to care for these many children. Do we do it because we are die-hard humanitarians, out to save the world? Of course not! We do it because we want a child/ children. But regardless of our motivation, the fact remains that there are kids in orphanages in Ethiopia, and we can pray like crazy, and sometimes it's still just God's will that they are there.
I'm thinking now of my old friend Julian who died last month in a car crash. A great, godly guy who did ministry full-time and was a dedicated dad and loving husband and had a pregnant wife and his family made it out okay, but he died. I don't understand why. I can't help but think that he was more valuable to God on this earth than I am, and yet his life ended and mine continues (and I'm so grateful for it). Sometimes it's just part of the plan. I heard somewhere that we can't see what is going on, because it's as if we are looking at the back side of a cross-stitch. And there are clues as to what it's all about -- what's on the other side -- but it is never fully clear. So I just have to trust that there is a plan, and it will work out regardless of my understanding of God's direction.
And so I will pray for the families struggling to care for their little ones and I will pray for their health and success, and all the blessings in the world. And you know what? I don't think it will impact whether or not a child is eventually placed with me. If prayer does make a difference (and I believe it does), then maybe I'll wait longer for my girl. Maybe I'll cause us all to wait longer -- who knows? But somewhere out there is my girl. And for whatever reason, she needs a home. It's written somewhere in the plan. And I ache for her. I am so excited about her. Would I like her sooner rather than later? Of course! I think everyone who is waiting would like that. But I can be patient. I can wait knowing that she will someday come, and that I haven't prayed her away from her family (I know it wouldn't actually work that way, but I wouldn't want it on my conscience), but that she has been given to me for a reason.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Stumped in Prayer

I recently left a message on someone's blog in response to them aching for a match. I told them I'd pray that they would see things start moving soon and that a match would come available to them. But when I sat down later to pray and I thought of them, I thought to myself, "What can I pray for here?" Because to pray for a match is, of course, to pray for a broken heart on the other side of the world. To pray even for my own someday-girl is to hope for something bad for someone else. And even for my girl. Where is the best place for kids to be? With healthy, loving bioparents who can provide and take care of them. Of course being adopted or giving a child up for adoption is painful for both biofamily and child. How can I pray for this?
You hear of people saying how nice it is that people adopt from developing countries, and provide these little ones with all sort of opportunities that they would otherwise not be afforded. But I think every adopting parent realizes that this is not why we do it. We have a lot of love in us, and really want to have a child or children. We do it because we want to have a(nother) child. I want to have another child. And I pray for my little one, growing in a belly around the world as I sit here, that she would be healthy and well cared for, and loved in there. I pray for her family that they are safe and healthy. But I can't help but feel like what I should be doing is praying for them to be able to support their family. That somehow, they would be blessed with all the great things I take for granted.
But the selfish part of me can't do it. I can't wish on this family all the blessings I have, or I will never adopt. So what do I pray? I don't know what to pray for.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Citizenship vs. Permanent Residence

I'm working my way through the paperwork to get a jump on applying for permanent residence status for my girl. Yes, it's very early, probably, but it is better too early than to wait and have her sit in an orphanage for any longer than necessary. I've decided to go for PR status, because it could be a couple weeks quicker, and the sooner she's home the better. Colleen from Imagine says it's good to consider the long term, and if I'm going to go for citizenship, then I may as well do it now. I hear that, but I choose to go this way anyway.

I decided to post her email to me, which reiterated the phone conversation we had about the differences. I thought maybe this could be helpful to others trying to decide. Here it is:

"Time-lines for the immigration process for either PRV or Citizenship is a case-by-case basis. We can provide you with the average time-lines that we have been experiencing. Adoption agencies have no influence over the Immigration visa office, we do our best to follow-up to stay informed.

"PRV: The first step is to submit a sponsorship application to sponsor a child from the foreign country you are adopting from. Once the application has been submitted to the CIC Mississauga office, it typically takes about 10 business days to receive correspondence from Immigration Canada, acknowledging receipt of your sponsorship application – at which time the Permanent Residence application forms can be prepared. The PR application is submitted in two stages: Once a family has given formal consent to a proposal, the child’s information is completed on the PR forms by the country representative and submitted to the Immigration Visa office in the foreign country. The visa office then opens a file for the child and begins processing the application. Typically the immigration medical is requested within 2 months from this time (some families have experienced a longer wait). After the court decision is completed and the supporting documents obtained (Birth certificate and foreign passport) are obtained (these are typically obtained any where from 3 weeks to 2 months following the court decision (again, this is out our control – this all depends on how busy the offices are that produce these documents – sometimes errors can be made on the document and it has to be reapplied for)) they are sent to the visa office to join your PR application, at which time the second stage begins. After the foreign visa office receives a copy of the court decision and supporting documents, it typically takes 3 to 8 weeks for the visa to be issued (again, some families have experience a longer wait for unknown reasons).

"CITIZENSHIP: The first step is to complete and submit the Part 1 application, which is to confirm that one of the adoptive parents is a Canadian citizen. Once the application has been submitted to the CIC Sydney office, it takes about 2 weeks to receive an acknowledgement letter, and then another 1 to 2 months to receive the Part 1 Decision letter. This is due to a high volume of applications being received by the Sydney office (the acknowledgement letter will state that it will take 2 weeks to receive the Part 1 decision letter, this has not been the case however). After the Part 1 Decision letter is issued, the Part 2 application can be prepared. The Part 2 application is not submitted to the visa office in the foreign country until the court decision is completed and the supporting documents (Birth certificate and foreign passport) are obtained. This is where the time-lines become similar to PRV. Once all documentation is obtained, it is submitted with the Part 2 application to the foreign visa office for processing. Timelines we have been seeing for the visa to be issued from this point has been 6 to 8+ weeks.

"* Note: It is not recommended to apply for both processes, as we have observed families experience a longer wait in these cases. Immigration Canada has stated that, in the case where multiple applications have been submitted, the Canadian citizenship will be assessed before the permanent residence application."

So there you go! Straight from the mouth of someone who knows what she's talking about. It doesn't sound like PR is quicker, and Colleen said sometimes it's not, it's about the same, but on average, it is a couple of weeks quicker. This is because one of the processes (I think Citizenship) is new (you couldn't apply for it straight away with adoption before I guess), so they're being real sticklers about it (and maybe just ironing out the wrinkles at this time).

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Here's a completely off-topic post. An old aquaintance of mine (Julian) died in a car crash last month. The car rolled and he was not in his seatbelt and his pregant wife and two kids were okay or recovered from their injuries, but it made me think. If he had his seatbelt off, what was he doing? His dad died in a car crash when he was two years old so he ought to have known better. But even though I am an avid seat-belter, I on occasion take it off on a long car trip to grab a fallen toy -- but since I'm not really focused on the road, isn't it the most important time to be wearing the belt? I think as parents we want to help out our kids (or at least avoid being distracted by screaming or whining while we drive -- fair enough), but really, what good are we to them if we suffer the same fate as Julian?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Immigration and Lusty Scots

I called the gals at Imagine Adoption today. After months of emailing to pick their brains for info, I just needed to hear a voice on the phone to reassure me that indeed these people really exist. It did much to put my mind at ease.
I talked with Colleen, one of the immigration specialists to find out which was the best (fastest) way to get my little gal home. She said that Permanent Residency is quicker by 2 or 3 weeks, but that I should consider the long term. Will I want to go for citizenship eventually? Well then, she said, I may as well go for it now. It's only a couple of weeks difference, and isn't always quicker. I just think that a couple of weeks is a couple of weeks and I'm going to do PR right now, and go for citizenship later. I mean, it's not like we're going anywhere right after she gets here anyway, and it only makes things more complicated for travel in that I have to apply for a visa for her to travel. That's fine. I just want her home ASAP... let the bonding begin!
I also talked to Erica, who filled me in a bit about what it'll be like to travel there. I guess the first day is for getting settled, the second will be for visiting my gal, and on the third day, I can take her with me if she's okay, or I'll visit again and then come get her the next day. I'm going to try to work it out that I can visit one of the international schools while I'm there. It'd be great to go back when she is old enough to remember Ethiopia and teach for a year, with the kids in school there. Just a thought, but it would be nice to check into while I'm there anyway. Erica's checking into the feasibility of that.
She also said that once they get my stuff, it should probably be about a year until pickup. That's better than the 15 months I originally expected. I'm so excited. That puts us at next August, which admittedly is expensive travel season, but after spending like, a million dollars on this adoption (not literally of course), whatever.
Anyway, that was my day. On a complete aside, Gerard Butler... YOWZA (I'm watching P.S. I Love You right now). Anyway...

Monday, July 7, 2008

Off to Meet the Wizard (of the provincial government)

Well, the wait continues. I thought that keeping a blog about his whole process would be a great way to log all the exciting developments. I was wrong. These developments are, well, developing soooo slowly, that they can hardly qualify as "exciting." The HAR is being sent off today to the Anne Scully (?) at the provincial government, who will read it and then send it back with (hopefully) her stamp of approval. I doubt it happens often, that a family is recommended by an agency, only to be denied by the province. I hope at least.
I finally paid for the HAR on Friday. I increased my credit limit on my Rewards Visa, so that I can pay for all I can with it. Since I'm spending it anyway, I may as well benefit right? With a mere 50,000 points (equal to spending $100,000) I can get $500 off of a plane ticket. Okay, so it's not great, but hey! that's $500 I can keep in my pocket. Admittedly, I'm not going to spend that much on my adoption, but as I've had the card for many years, all that I spend will contribute to the points I already have.
This waiting is already hard, and I haven't even received a match yet. It's like being pregnant for a very long time. A very long time. Like a whale (490 days). That's a long pregnancy. A human has a 280-day gestation period. And as an adoptive parent, there is the loss of not being able to talk to the belly, and sing to it, read it books, and feel the little shmoo rolling and kicking. When I was pregnant with Jonah, I did all of these things. I got to know him even before he was out. I learned his waking and sleeping times, and was just able to talk to him. I miss it with this one. Instead of getting to know her, I spend my time wondering about whose belly she's growing in. If her first mom is getting enough to eat, if she is healthy or diseased, if she laughs or sorrows. Does she know yet that she will be giving away her baby? Does she wonder about me? I pray that she's okay, because I'm powerless to do anything else.
My goal for this week: send off the part I for the immigration of my babe. I guess I can get that going, and then when I have a match, I can send off part II. I'm trying to just be as proactive as I can. and do everything in my power to get her here ASAP after we're matched.

Some sites I've found a lot of information on immigration are these:
Christian Adoption Services (Alberta)
Immigration Canada (of course) these are the forms you'll need
Immigration Processing Times

If you are on the journey too, I'll try to share as much helpful info as I can.

Also, here are the websites for the HAR, and agency I'm working with:
Adoption By Choice (HAR)
Inspiration (Agency out of Ontario)