Of course we indicated our interest in two of the children whose pictures we were sent. There was one couple who was ahead of us in consideration for them, but soon we were at the top of the list. Does that mean that they are guaranteed to be ours? No, but we’re hopeful. We’re trying to complete our paperwork as quickly as possible to make sure no one else is paper-ready before we are.
So what does the future hold from here?
So far, we have completed our application, paid our initial program fees, and have been accepted into the Democratic Republic of Congo Program.
- Next, we have to redo our homestudy. Because our original homestudy was done for domestic adoption through the foster care system, there are a few adjustments that need to be made. That requires meeting with Catholic Charities three separate times. Our first meeting is this week.
- Once our homestudy is complete, we apply to the Department of Homeland Security for Advance Processing. We will await an appointment letter for fingerprinting and await pre-approval for immigration.
- Then we send our home study, criminal background checks, physician clearances, and a half dozen other things to the Congolese authorities as a Dossier.
- Then we wait for our official referral for children. There should be no wait time once the paperwork is processed, if all goes as expected, because we have identified waiting children that we are ready to accept. We’ll likely receive more detailed information on them at that time. For now, we don’t know much.
- Following that, we will be scheduled for local court, which can take 2-4 months. If we receive approval, there is a 30 day appeal period before our case is referred to the Ministry.
- At that point, we file to have the children classified as immediate relatives with the Department of Homeland Security. Approval takes 1-3 months.
- We then file paperwork for the embassy in the Congo to process visas for the children. This process takes approximately 2 months.
- We then obtain a letter from Congolese Emigration for the children to leave the country.
- Finally, we travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo to get the children. The trip will last approximately 7-14 days.
What does all of that add up to? Probably a 6-12 month process.
Because the program in the Democratic Republic of Congo is new, and is becoming more popular, timelines may increase. The very nature of adopting in a country that is not Hague accredited is unpredictable. So far, all adoptions through our agency have been processed in less than a year — and that includes families who have had to wait to receive a referral. We hopeful that ours might be a bit shorter because we’re ahead of the game with our home study being near completion already, and the fact that we are going to accept older children. The faster we can complete our paperwork, the faster we will be able to bring them home.
But there is one other not-so-small issue: cost. $28,000 that we don’t have.