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Posts Tagged ‘Democratic Republic of the Congo’


We recently had the opportunity to talk with another parent using our adoption agency.  When we adopted our son from China, there was another family in town that had adopted 2 girls from China.  They were associates with our agency.  They were very helpful and accessible.  It was a great blessing to get to know them during the process.

With a different country this time around, things are a bit different.  We don’t have a family like that near us.  Due to some outrageous internet claims, we wanted to talk to someone who had recently returned from the DRC.  The agency referred us to her, and she was on the trip that was the reason for some of the claims.

We thought it would be helpful for others to hear some of what we talked about.  Here is a summary:

Was this your first adoption?

Yes, it was our first adoption.  We ended up going with relatives who had adopted 4 children from Korea.  They started the process a month or so after us, but ended up on the same trip we did.

What motivated you to adopt?

We have 4 biological children, and thought our family was complete.  We felt like this was something we should do.  We didn’t qualify for some countries, and looked at Ethiopia and the Congo.  We felt that the Congo had a greater need.

How did the process compare for your relatives?

My relatives found the dossier for the Congo less work than Korea.  But they found they had to do more leg work on their own this time.  Their other agency filled out some of the paperwork for them.  There seemed to be some duplication.  Some of that was the process changing (she was referring primarily to the DRC changing their process).  We learned you have to be pro-active.

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"I'm so confuuused!"

In recent weeks Amie has joined some adoption groups on-line.  We entered into the utter ambiguity of the internet.

She came across a few people who were very critical of the agency we are using for our adoption, particularly with their work in the DRC.  But when you Google the person’s name, you discover they now have their own orphan care ministry.  So, is this ministry a response to what she witnessed, or is she just running down the competition?  See the ambiguity?  Enter the confusion.

We wanted more information.  I did not want us to make a knee-jerk reaction (Jesus, we need you!).  Changing agencies meant we only had one option, the one we decided not to go with.  The other agency was used by someone Amie knows, and she was happy with it.  But it was more expensive than the one we are using.  And it was run by lawyers (sorry my lawyer friends).  We preferred to work with Christians so our values would be honored in the process.  One of the main contacts for the African program appeared to be a professing Christian.  To jump ship would be costly in terms of time and money.  We had to make sure jumping was necessary before jumping.

I am reminded of the sleepless night when Amie was pregnant.  She had an ultrasound in Winter Haven, and they determined that Jadon was way too small.  We needed to see a specialist (the next day!!), and we were scared.  We’d waited so long (not as long as Abraham and Sarah), and to think that something was seriously wrong had us on our knees in desperation.  Turned out that a more advanced ultrasound revealed that she was not dangerously small.  But the specialist remained involved to make sure nothing changed for the worse.  Jadon was barely over 5 lbs when born, but you wouldn’t know it now.

Like that day, we realized we needed more information.  We communicated with the agency, letting them know what happened.  You could tell this didn’t take them by surprise.  It was a thorn in their side- you could sense their frustration.  We were told a lawsuit was pending.  The answers to many of our questions would be answered shortly.  Okay.

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DHS got back to us fairly quickly with appointments to get our fingerprints done.  They are in relatively early February, but we’ve heard that in some places you can show up days or even weeks earlier.  This could potentially speed up our process.  Why is that important?  If we adopt in 2011, we will get a tax refund, not a tax credit.  That is a big bunch of cash we can use to save for Eli’s surgery (since he isn’t currently insured) or replenish our savings after using the last few IRS checks for Eli’s adoption and then to stay afloat financially during the transition.  It is a practical concern as we think about the long range plan.

Rumor has it that there has been an outcry against the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s change of policy regarding baby curriers.  There are internet rumors that they will revert to the older policy allowing you to hire someone to transport the child to the States.  Since we already have 2 kids, it puts a strain on the family for a parent to be gone for a few weeks.  It makes it harder for the kids to adjust when Mom (or Dad) gets back.  Not an impossible thing, and many families have done it.  But something else for us to think about and plan for.

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Wonders never cease, but some things never change.  One thing that doesn’t change is Amie is not really a blogger.  I really didn’t want to run this thing since I barely have time to keep my own blog afloat.  But, being the martyr I am I’m plugging away at both.

Since we mailed off the I-600A form (which meant we somehow had enough money to pay for everything related to it- like 3 sets of fingerprints), not much has happened.  We did receive electronic notification that our form reached the necessary office in TX.  Then we received a written notification, which includes our case number.  Our paperwork is probably now in Phoenix, shuffled from one office to another.  It is always good to waste time and money like that.  But it gives us more time to put together the next heap o’ money which promises to be much bigger than any previous heap o’ money thus far (in this adoption).  The ante keeps getting higher!

In honor of the paperwork shuffle, here’s some J. Geils Band with the Southside Shuffle.

We did hear from our adoption agency about some changes that took place.  In the blog post Amie never put together on why the Democratic Republic of the Congo, she would have mentioned that currently you did not have to travel to the Congo.  You could pay for a baby escort.  Escort no more, baby.  The word we received is that now at least one of us has to travel to the DRotC.  So far 2 of Amie’s friends have volunteered to go with her and bring back our newest child(ren).  One of our deacons has a plane and loves to fly it.  We pondered taking the scenic route up through Greenland, England, France and into Africa.  Since he doesn’t own a jet, this could take awhile.  And Amie claims I’d have to film every second of the journey- even when I drug the child(ren) so they sleep on the never-ending plane ride.  It would sort of be like the original Indiana Jones movie.

We have time to figure all of this out.  If you want to add to the heap o’ money, then see the How You Can Help page.

 

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I suppose we’ll continually be comparing our current process with our previous process.  The latest thing we did to work on the dossier was obtaining the legal documents necessary- birth certificates.

China required Secretary of State certified documents.  So we had relatives pick up copies, mail them to us and then sent them to the proper states to be certified.  It had quite a few steps, but everything seemed to get done in a timely fashion with few problems along the way.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo requires Certified copies, with seals.  We don’t have to send them back for the Sec of State to certify.  Easier, right?

Not so fast.  Thankfully my parents went and picked up copies of mine (always get a few back up copies, just in case!  The cost per additional copy is not much and you save time should one get lost.).  Apparently they had a difficult time getting to and from Dorchester, MA.

Keep reading, it will make sense

Since Amie’s parents are in NY now, we decided to use the only company (whose name shall not be uttered) that handles these things.  Yes, they have a monopoly and monopolies are often inefficient.  Having no competition, they can be as inept as they want and you still have to deal with them.

We previously had Amie’s sister pick up copies.  It is more difficult since she too has been married and has to bring documentation to prove she’s eligible to receive them (identity theft is a big problem).  We decided to spare her the pain.  It was multiplied for us.

I would suggest traveling back to the state of your birth rather than dealing with them who shall not be named.  It was THAT painful.  You might even save time flying home.  You’ll get fewer gray hairs.

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A friend e-mailed us to let us know the 700 Club had a piece on the DRC today concerning their First Lady who is a professing Christian.  Don’t read this as an endorsement of the 700 Club, Pat Robertson or anything CBN.  This is informational.

You can watch the clip on their site.  I didn’t find it on YouTube so I could easily embed it.

It is a country rich in natural resources like diamonds, copper, gold and zinc.  But poverty has this nation in its grip due to political turmoil, warfare, terrorism and corruption.  The CIA estimates that 5 million of its citizens have died since 1998 due to disease, violence and famine.  Many people have been displaced by the violence, and tens of thousands of women have been raped and/or mutilated.  As a result, there are many orphans there in need of love, protection and provision.

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We’ve been wanting to add to our family for about a year.  After the shock of the initial adjustment from adopting Eli, we started thinking about it.  Amie was investigating while I was searching for a new position.

Shortly after relocating to Arizona, Amie had narrowed search.  We’ll do another post on why we picked the agency and country, but essentially we are pursuing an adoption from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

We have begun the paper work, made an additional payment and have begun chasing down official documents.  We hope you’ll check back and see the progress periodically.

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