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The Adoption Process

 

The Beginning

The Homestudy

The Dossier

I-171

 

Many people have asked us what the adoption process is like.  Hereís a bit of an overview.

 

Think and pray!

We didnít share our adoption journey with many. We preferred to quietly discuss it within our immediate family.

 

The Beginning!

 

Last summer I finally completed an adoption application. Initially we were looking at China. We attended a two-day workshop in November in Omaha. We had a great time in Omaha. Uncle Berwyn and Aunt Hilda took us out for pizza with their grandsons, Kent and Ross! We learned much about adoption, bonding and paperwork.

 

Sometime between November and January, we decided to switch to Ethiopia. We had followed Steveís uncle and aunt and their work in a South African orphanage. www.ronandlynn.com.  South Africa is not open to U.S. adoptions at this time. We liked the idea of adopting from Africa because of the great need there at this time. We know a family from Orange City who had adopted from Ethiopia and called them for ideas and recommendations.

 

The Homestudy

We began our homestudy with Lutheran Social Services in January. We had a great social worker. Although the homestudy process was a little scary, we were helped through it with the care of our social worker. She came to our home two times. She was able to visit with everyone except Joe. We had to gather material such as criminal record checks and references. We put together a packet of information on our family with pictures and our family story.

Iowa Lutheran Social Services is a partner agency to Childrenís Home and Family Society from Minneapolis. Since they have an Ethiopian program, we ended up choosing them for the actual adoption.

 

The Dossier

Once the homestudy was complete and sent with an application to Childrenís Home, we were ready to gather the material for the dossier.  The dossier is a collection of legal documents that have to be signed and notarized. Laura had the job of gathering material, while Steve made arrangements for notarizing them. We had to gather birth certificates our marriage license another round of criminal record checks as well as bank records etc.  Laura found this section of the journey difficult. It was hard to keep all of the items together, copied, in the right place and organized. Steve stepped in quite a bit on this part! 

 

There are a few things unique to the Ethiopian dossier. We had to do a local criminal record check. We had Sioux County do one, but we also needed to check the records in Boyden. We had to ask the city administrator to write a letter stating that she had searched the Boyden archives and didnít find any criminal activity for Steven or Laura or Paul or Joe. Because Paul and Joe are over 18, they had to be included in all criminal record checks!

 

I-171

Homeland Security must check the federal criminal record as well. The homestudy and other documents must be sent to the state Homeland Security Administration. We had some trouble with this piece. Paul and Joe didnít sign a document stating that they had never been rejected as parents on the basis of a valid homestudy. (We had already signed such as statement.) Since Paul and Joe were being fingerprinted as well, they needed to sign such a statement too. It made us laugh, since if they had done a homestudy on their own, we would hope they would be rejected, since they are both single and somewhat low on cash!

 

Eventually, we each received an appointment with Homeland Security in Sioux Falls. We were each fingerprinted. Later we went out for lunch at Chiles. It was a fun afternoon and we received our I-171 clearance about a week later.