Sunday, June 26, 2011

Adoption Application Madness

Did anyone miss me? Did you even notice I was gone? Probably not because I have been a terrible blogger…but I was gone all last week at Camp APAC which is a camp for 144 adopted children ages 9-18 in Alabama. As soon as I have pictures available I will share more about the week! It’s fun to think that in…about 9 years our kids will be able to go! :)

I just thought I would share exactly what goes into an international adoption application. It may bore you or you may be interested, so either way here goes…

Final Application Documents:

  • 3 Page application
  • 9 Various forms to sign and get notarized
  • 6 References with contact information (they each had to write a letter and get it notarized)
  • 2 page “Statement of Motivation” discussing the process that we have been through to make the decision to adopt
  • 1 page “Our/My Child” describing the child that we wish to adopt
  • 2 Autobiographies (one for Barry and one for me) that both ended up being EIGHT pages long. The agency included a 2 page list of questions that we needed to answer…things such as “How are you like and unlike members of your family?”, “Your best childhood  memory.”, “What kinds of things did your parents argue about?”, “How did your parents handle sex education, discipline, money?”, “When did you begin to date?”, “What changes did you and your spouse experience after the honeymoon?”, “What people or events have had the most influence in your life?”, “Describe your employment history, your current job and what you enjoy about your work.” and on and on and on it goes.
  • Certified copies of birth certificates (not just copies)
  • Certified copy of our marriage certificate
  • Financial statement (2 page worksheet detailing EXACTLY where our money goes, monthly expenses, investments, etc…it took Barry and I THREE hours to fill out!!)
  • Certified copy of our property deed, notarized
  • Employment verification letters from both of our employers, notarized
  • Bank letter verifying we have an account, the amount deposited in the past year, the present balance, etc, also notarized
  • Medical Exam Reports for each of us, notarized
  • Proof of Health Insurance which included copies of our health insurance cards AND a copy from our health insurance handbook verifying that an adopted child will be eligible for coverage at the time of adoption
  • Police Clearance form that I had to take to the police department to get them to run a local check on us, notarized
  • Passport photos (not really sure why we needed these because we already have our passports, but they requested pictures with our application)

We also had to fill out Child Abuse and Neglect clearance forms. These are to verify that you have never had a CA/N report filed on you. The clearances are taking around 12 weeks to come back.

We each also had to get fingerprinted which should be a simple process, but it’s not. You have to register online, print various forms, sign various forms, make a million calls to figure out where you can get fingerprinted the quickest, make an appointment, wait a long time, bring your forms to the County jail, get the dude to sign a bunch of forms that he doesn’t understand why he has to sign, fill out fingerprint cards, get ink fingerprinted, tell the dude that you think they are too light and not clear and will be sent back, get told that no they are fine, mail in said fingerprint cards, wait several weeks, then find out that they were indeed not readable, repeat process this time at a different jail, continue to wait to hear back if the second set are readable, all while knowing that you are not a criminal and that this is holding up the adoption process.

Anywho, that may or may not have been my fingerprinting experience.

In addition to all of those documents that the agency needs to satisfy US requirements, you also have to compile documents that satisfy Russian requirements. These documents are called the Dossier and these are the documents that we had to submit with it…

Dossier documents:

  • 2 Certified copies of our marriage certificate
  • Financial statement (different than the one we filled out for the application but ALL numbers MUST match up on the forms and the employment verification letter), notarized
  • 2 Copies of each of our passports, notarized
  • Employment Verification letters in a special format, notarized
  • Certified copy of deed, notarized
  • Proof of real estate ownership preferably from County clerk (after several hours calling all around Dothan we had to settle for a letter from our mortgage bank), notarized
  • Photos of our family and home, specific photos were requested along with forms that had to be, surprise, notarized.

And the last thing we needed right now was to watch 10 hours of online training videos about international adoption. They were actually really interesting…I’ll share more about those later.

So much of this seems simple and straightforward, but it takes FORVER to compile it all! It is difficult in many cases to find the right people that can help you. And then once you request the information that you need it takes forever in some cases to get the correct documents from them. For example it took almost 3 weeks to get Barry’s employment verification letter and it took a month to get Barry in to see his doctor because that was the quickest they could get him in, even with me calling daily to ask if there were any cancellations. OR in the case of the Proof of real estate letter, I literally talked to at least 10-15 people who all kept sending me to different departments and everyone said that they couldn’t help me.

We have spent HOURS on the phone, HOURS driving around town picking up documents and getting things notarized, HOURS completing the documents…MADNESS I tell you! :)

But it is ALL WORTH IT!!


  1. Omg.. I didn't realize everything that was needed for the adoption process. I knew it was long but never to this extent. Thank u sooooo much for sharing this. I'm praying for u that everything goes smoothly and u get ur child soon. That child is going to be soooooo lucky :)

    And yes.. All this paperwork WILL b worth it :)

  2. Whew!! I can't believe how many things had to be And you are right it will definitely be worth it in the end!

    The waiting a month for a dr appt thing would have driven me absolutely just shouldn't take that long!!

  3. Wow, that is crazy, but I guess.. crazy good! :) When I had to get fingerprinted for my teaching certification I had a horrible experience! I felt like a criminal and I hadn't done anything! HAHA!

  4. Congratulations for being so far along in the process! That is amazing! We have our initial applications submitted with our autobiographies and photos, but we have a long way to go before we get to where you are in the process! We're hoping this time goes quickly, but we also know there's a lot of work to be done!

  5. Ugh, we just finished our autobiographies too. For me they are the worst part. I think you have even more paperwork they we do. Kind of makes the statement "just adopt" pretty laughable, doesn't it?

    But it IS absolutely worth it! So glad you are almost finished. Praying for you!

  6. I really have always wondered what all went into it, and I have even done part of this for someone before. Thanks for sharing what you're going through to get your child in your arms! I can't wait to hear more.

  7. Oy. If we choose to move forward with adoption - we'll be right behind you in the application madness (but domestically, so no Dossier)!!! I feel your exhaustion!

  8. Is the first list just for an Alabama homestudy? That's crazy! Things have changed a lot in 5 years! Wow!

  9. I couldn't read the whole list, it made my eyes start to twitch! You're a rockstar for getting all of that done and it will be well worth it when your sweet baby is in your arms! Praying for y'all through this process!

  10. I just read your update and wow it is so appropriate for me this week. I have been working all week on re-creating adoption home study forms for the office and it has literally taken all day every day so far. I can not imagine the time it took you to complete all you have. Loving following you through this process!

  11. It is crazy and not to be discouraging, but, you probably aren't comepletely done with the paperwork chase. However, I can assure you, as I write this from the other side of the adoption process with my sweet baby girl asleep upstairs, it is completely and 100% worth every single word penned, document chased down, reference requested, and a thousand times more! I would do it again IN A MOMENT! Hang in there, try to not be too discouraged as you are asked to jump through one more task, and be encouraged that in the end, you will be doing God's work and you will get to hold a precious child of His in your arms to raise to know and love and serve Him!