Before I answer the question I left off with yesterday, I have news! Exciting, jittery news. We found out today that our SDA appointment will be in less than two weeks on March 19. Aaaaaaaah! I can’t describe the mixture of emotions. This makes it seem the most real so far because at this appointment they will show us profiles of children waiting to be adopted. Chris and I should, Lord willing, walk out of the office an hour later with a referral, or written permission, to go meet specific children. Please pray for us as we anticipate this appointment. For peace and direction regarding knowing which children to pursue.
Now back to the questions:
“As an American, is it easier to adopt a Ukrainian child since you already live there?”
Weeell, no and yes. Mind you, we haven’t completed the process, but we’ve accomplished the first half (the paperwork monster more technically referred to as the dossier which was mentioned here) before beginning the more exciting half of meeting the child and completing the adoption. So my answer is half way hypothetical.
The reason I said “no” first is because I believe it has actually been harder to live in Ukraine and complete the paperwork as an American. How can it be?! You see, we have all the same requirements as an American living in America…but we don’t. Sooo, for starters, many original signatures are required just to request the correct documents. Then there is the fact that mail one way usually takes two weeks. Third, there is the behemoth part about us not owning a house in the U.S. (Hello, he’s in the military.), and that our Kiev apartment isn’t rented by us, but by his employer. Don’t forget the part about requesting our official marriage certificates, and then getting them apostilled, only to have to re-do those steps (and pay again, of course) because it has been a year and something, something, something about how long they are good for. Add to that needing the authority of many important people to stamp, stamp, stamp, and stamp again that we really aren’t fabricating any of this stuff like employment verification, health check-ups, home study, the license of the home study writer, or the license of the U.S. adoption agency that signs off on our home study (note: we aren’t using an agency for the Ukraine adoption, but the home study still needs to be issued by licensed people with licensed agencies) and it has been a project more than a year in the making. There is much more and on many days it has been a seemingly insurmountable task. We felt like giving up or that we would never make our next deadline on multiple occasions.
Now to the “yes”. I believe we accomplished the harder part of this process first. Now we have the benefit of having a residence in the country we are trying to adopt from. I think on this side, we will have it easier than American families living in America, but adopting from Ukraine. We don’t need to travel on short notice, decide whether to bring our kids or who to leave them with at home. We don’t need to stay in a hotel for weeks on end, eating out for most meals because we don’t know what to buy or prepare from a Ukrainian grocery store. Oh, and we have our own vehicle. All of this adds up to it being a normal part of our life instead of a whirlwind experience not to mention saving boatloads of money.
In the end, perhaps it is a trade off. I’d like to think the harder part is behind us and it was worth it for the upcoming advantages of the other things mentioned.
(note: We actually completed the purchase of a home during the dossier application process, but since it was a short sale, we didn’t know whether or not the sale would really go through or how long it would take. Therefore, we chose not to “wait and see” about the house and instead press on with our adoption paperwork without the documents reflecting home ownership.)
Stay tuned for next time when I answer the most popular questions:
“Do you already know who you are adopting?”
“Sometimes you say children. Does that mean you might adopt more than one?”
“Girl or boy?”