Where we go from here….

September 10, 2008 at 4:31 am 8 comments

The Adoption Process in Kazakhstan

Most people have been waiting for baby news. That’s understandable because, well, so have we. Before telling anything more about the specific child we are getting to know, I want to review the process of adopting in Kazakhstan once you’re here. We are at the beginnings of yet another emotional roller coaster, albeit smaller than the one we have been on. I just want friends and family to understand that the adoption of this child will not be secured until near the end of our stay and there are some things that could occur that would either impede or stop the process. Doug and I aware of this and we want others to be, as well. Let me explain:

On your first visit to the baby house you are brought into the director’s office, told some basic information about the available children and are typically introduced, or shown, more than one child. Referrals for specific children are illegal in Kazakhstan, for good reason: What if you are told that you are getting a certain child and they become very ill, are adopted by a local family, or are reclaimed by their own family before you arrived? All are possibilities. It would be incredibly upsetting to have a child that you’ve been planning for and thinking of to instantly become unavailable. Instead of specific referrals, agencies are notified of when there are available children at the baby houses but specifics of the children aren’t really given. Like all others adopting from this country, this is the situation with us.

For our first meeting at the Delphin House, three children were brought in and we had a chance to hold and talk with each one while the assistant director told us their age and basic health. Not too many details were shared at this time because that is the job of the official director who, as many of you have heard or read by now, had retired the day before we arrived in Kostanai.

Anyone that knows me understands that this very first step is a killer because, if I had my choice, I’d take each and everyone one of the children presented. All have their own unique characteristics and charm and all need loving families. We seriously considered all three of the children and I can’t wait to tell you more about the one we chose.

Choosing our child is only the first step. Next is a mandatory two-week bonding period where you visit the child daily so that you get to know each other. One of the adoption coordinators here told me that it takes about a week for the children to understand the daily visit routine and after that period they begin to expect and start looking for their parents to be. We’re getting there with our little one. Today will be our fifth day of visitation. I love it!

After the two-week bonding period you are able to apply for pre-court, which usually occurs a few days after application. This is just the preliminary court hearing where you meet the judge and are asked a few questions. If this court session goes successfully, the final court date is set. This second court visit seems to be occurring about 10-14 days after pre-court or about six weeks into the entire Kostanai stay. (Please, those of you that have been through this, correct me if I’m wrong.)

An important consideration in this process is that for a child to become available to adopt, the parents must relinquish custody to the baby home. Before any child can be adopted, a second search must be done for both parents where they, once again, must sign papers giving up their parental rights. I think this second search occurs before the first court date, but I’m not sure. THIS is a step that sends fear through my soul, but I also think it is the right thing to do.

During all of the days and weeks waiting for court appearances, visitations are occurring everyday at the baby house and the bond between you and your child continues to grow stronger. These visitations are priceless and one of the reasons that Doug and I chose to adopt from Kazakhstan. In many countries you are basically handed over a child without any time to form a bond before going back to the U.S. In Kazakhstan, there is time for that connection so the transformation from the life they’ve always know to a completely unknown surrounding can be done with someone they have come to rely on and trust. This is also a great time for Doug and I to become more familiar with the daily routines of parenting.

If our second court date is successful, we are granted the right to adopt our child. This will become official after another two-week waiting period where the family has a final chance to contest the adoption. Once that two-week period has been completed, Doug and I finally become Mama and Papa and we can apply for the baby’s birth certificate, passport, and visa to travel back home. If all goes according to plan, this entire process will take us into mid-November.

We could both return to the U.S. after the final court appearance and then come back to pick up the child after the two week waiting period and time taken to process paperwork. However, we’ve decided that I will stay the entire time while Doug returns home so that he can go back to work. (Sorry, Doug.) We both feel that it is important to continue any established connections with our child and because I’ve taken a leave of absence from my job this year, I am able to stay.

So…we are here…things are starting to progress…but there is still much to go through before it is final! We start this second part of the journey with contained excitement and much hope that all goes successfully.

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8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Susan  |  September 10, 2008 at 11:20 am

    hello! Sorry we missed you today, we were not outside (as I doubt you were outside either!) since it was soggy and chilly out during vistitation time! Now it’s super sunny though, and nice!!

    The process is a long one, here in Kostanai, but honestly, having been here almost 6 weeks, I have loved every moment. You will be AMAZED and enthralled the more you get to know your little one…the bonding period is amazing.

    I am happy you have chosen a kiddo, and also became life long friends with Natasha! I am thankful to have Sean here with me. I am already getting sad about him and Joe both leaving a week from tomorrow…but that just means we are getting closer to bringing our daughter home for good!

    Hope to see you soon!

    Reply
  • 2. Carol Nylen  |  September 10, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    Wow! I keep checking this blog for more news, and that was a great summary of what you’re going through…..wow. You have incredible stamina and endurance–just for the adoption process! I also admire your stealth–in not giving away any information about your child. I’m so happy you’ve chosen, and it WILL all work out. Enjoy each day–I imagine it must feel all so surreal–being in a whole different country and the visitations….Sounds so great.

    Thanks for the updates–you really do stay on top of them and keep the rest of us informed!

    Keep ’em coming!

    Carol

    Reply
  • 3. Tricia  |  September 10, 2008 at 8:45 pm

    You will be so happy about your decision to stay there. It really does make your bond with your child stronger which will make all of that travel home and transitioning easier on both of you. I just wanted to tell you that our second relinguishment paper was sought after the first court hearing. I know it is hard to go through all of this with worry in the back of your mind. I felt the same way and even more so as we attached to our child. It is one of those things where you have to have faith that it will all work out in the end. I surely am keeping you in my prayers and wish you all the best. Tricia

    Reply
  • 4. Ellen Norton  |  September 10, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    I am reading your posts to Mark, he sends his best to you both. Thanks for all the updates from sooooo far away. The internet is awesome.
    Do you have water yet?
    Love seeing the pictures.

    Reply
  • 5. Cassie  |  September 11, 2008 at 12:10 am

    Hi Kelly and Doug! Wow, what an amazing experience! We have been so happy that you are blogging, and that thus we’ve been able to read about a lot of what you’re going through. Thanks!

    You use the word “emotional roller coaster”. Yes, does it ever sound like one! We can’t imagine what that process was like of choosing the child that you’d like to adopt out of several. That could be really gut-wrenching! But how wonderful that you’ve made a decision, and are getting to know the child who will be your very own little one–though we read about all the hurdles that have to be gotten over, which do sound extremely scary!

    We will stay tuned for more news and pictures! We are thinking of you and wishing you the best as you continue to go through what sounds like a very joyous and also very frightening and emotional process! Cassie and Matt

    Reply
  • 6. Shannon  |  September 11, 2008 at 11:48 am

    Love reading all about your trip…the pictures are great. Keep up the good work.
    Shannon

    Reply
  • 7. Beth  |  September 11, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    Hi Kelly and Doug;
    Wow what a process. Kelly ,ike you I would have a very hard time picking which child. Hopefully and it sounds like that those that are not picked still are in a place where they are loved and nurtured, and not a warehouse of cribs and babies that you see so often in documentarys about overseas orphanages.
    I can’t wait to see pictures but certainly understand you wanting to make sure that any picture we see will actaully be the child you are bringing home.
    I love the updates keep them coming.
    Hey Doug, I saw Suzanne Legere yesterday from TA as she was running the BLVD. She ran by me before I could say Hi, but it’s nice to know that she is still in the area.
    Beth

    Reply
  • 8. Lanetta Gobble  |  September 11, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    wow… we also share the above feelings….so glad you are blogging… and know we are thinking and praying for you.. can’t wait to hear more about the child soon….

    Reply

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