I got a call from DoCS at around 2pm this afternoon informing us that we have received an allocation of a child to adopt from an orphanage in Colombia. All along we had been told 18 – 24 months from the time our application was approved by Colombia – which would make it mid-year at the earliest, and more likely towards the end of 2009. To be allocated so soon caught us completely off guard, but after a brief period of panic, we are ecstatic and so very excited.
For those of you who knew nothing about our adoption plans (even our parents and family didn’t know until mid 2007), here is a quick rundown on the process so far:
Mid 2005 – we decided to investigate adoption – contacted DoCS
October 2005 – received adoption information package from DoCS, including some booklets and an Expression of Interest form, which we filled in and sent back
December 2005 – received advice that our Expression of Interest form had been screened and we had been deemed eligible to attend a Preparation for Adoption seminar. The next available seminar was in March 2006, which we booked in for.
March 2006 – attended 2 day Preparation for Adoption seminar at DoCS offices in Parramatta.
April to August 2006 – writing “life story” and gathering other required information to submit with application to DoCS.
August 2006 – application for adoption completed and submitted to DoCS.
March 2007 – meetings with our contracted adoption assessor, first together, then individually. Report from these meetings sent to DoCS as part of assessment process.
July 2007 – approval from DoCS, we have been deemed “eligible and suitable”
August to December 2007 – gathering documentation for application to Colombia, including psychological evaulation, birth and marriage certificates, medical and employment certificates, police good behaviour certificates (including fingerprint check!). During this time we also needed to get at least 3 written personal references together from friends. This turned out to be quite time consuming, since there were quite specific requirements and we needed to ask some of our referees to rewrite what they had written.
Dec/Jan 2008 – we finally got our documents together and sent to the adoption agency to be translated, notarised, etc. Once this was done, our file was sent to the orphanage in Colombia to be approved and then to await allocation.
Jan 2008 – we took a 6 week holiday to South America, not to Colombia, instead we went south to the Patagonia region. One thing we did do was to make sure we spent a few days in Santiago (Chile) and Buenos Aires (Argentina) to familiarise ourselves with these cities, since it was likely we would be travelling through one (or both) when we travelled for the adoption. You can read more about this trip in our trip journal:
March 2009 – we received a call from the adoption agency asking us to start getting our documents updated, since the documents sent to Colombia are only considered valid for 12 months. This meant getting a new psych report, new fingerprint checks, medical reports, financial reports and copies of our various documents. We also decided I should get a new passport given that I may need more than 12 months validity to get a visa and my old passport expires in December this year. We still had no idea at this point that we were about to be allocated a child – we just thought this was part of the process and joked about being annoyed if we were still waiting in 12 months time and had to do it all for a third time!
We had just heard that another couple had been allocated a child – which meant that we were next in the queue, hence the request to update our documents. We still weren’t anticipating being allocated a child until well into the second half of the year – we had been discussing our final two uni subjects and had just started a subject this semester and were thinking that we may have to pull out of something next semester if we got allocated. We were certainly not expecting to be allocated a child during first semester!
So we are in a bit of a daze right now. We have a meeting on Friday with our contracted adoption assessor who has a file with all the details of the child we have been allocated – including a photo! We are so excited, and a little bit scared – it is becoming all very real now.