Good news! Our I-800A and dossier documents have been approved by the US and CARA, so we are now eligible to be matched with Riya’s children.
If you haven’t been through the adoption process you have very little context for that statement beyond just us telling you that it’s “good news.” As such, here is an overview of the high level process up to this point so you can get a sense of where we’re at:
- Complete an initial pre-application with the adoption agency, Children’s Home Society (CHS) to determine if we are eligible to apply for international adoption
- Complete a formal application with CHS to become approved for international adoption with the agency
- Complete required pre-adoption training
- Complete a home study with an assigned social worker
- CHS compiles all the home study information, meets, and approves our home study
- Receive an invitation/instructions from CHS to begin the paperwork as applicants within the “India Program”
- Submit an adoption application (including our completed home study report, tax records, fingerprints, and other personal documentation) with the US government (the I-800A)
- The US government approves (or denies) our I-800A application for international adoption with India
- Compile our dossier, which consists of many personal documents (birth certificates, doctors’ health reports, tax returns, criminal records, proof of employment, etc); each of the documents must be notarized and apostilled (which is essentially have each notary signature notarized through the secretary of state office) and color copies of the entire dossier must be prepared in triplicate
- CHS submits our dossier to CARA (the Central Adoption Resource Authority in India)
- CARA reviews our dossier and provides initial approval as an internationally adoptive family with India
- Once we receive our dossier approval from CARA, we are eligible to be matched with Indian children available for international adoption
Meanwhile, here’s what’s happening with Riya’s children:
- Riya requests adoption for her children and legally surrenders her parental rights
- Riya’s children are placed under the care of a licensed children’s home/orphanage (since there are not any relatives able to care for them)
- The orphanage arranges for required health assessments and a family history report to be completed for the children
- The orphanage submits required documentation (on behalf of the children) to local authorities and requests a “legally free” certificate for each child
- Once the orphanage receives confirmation of the children’s legally free status, they submit paperwork to the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA)
- CARA authorizes the orphanage to place the children for adoption
- The orphanage places the children for international adoption through an online portal (called CARINGS), where all Indian children available for international adoption are listed. All adoption agencies world-wide who are licensed and registered for adoption in India have access to this portal, but the general public does not.
Despite Riya’s request that she wants her children to be adopted by us, designated adoptions within India are not permitted. This means that we have to follow the standard adoption process and be matched with the children through the CARINGS portal, just as any approved family would. We have no way to know when Riya’s children will become available for adoption on the CARINGS portal, and we’re not permitted to be given advance notice of that information. Therefore, CHS is viewing the portal multiple times per day looking for Riya’s children to become available for international adoption. Once they see the children show up online, they will immediately try to select the children to be matched with our family. This “matching” process occurs on a first come, first served basis – so we are hoping and praying that CHS will be the first agency to request Riya’s children for referral in order to match them with our family.
And so we wait, with no idea how long this waiting will go on. Maybe several days, several weeks, or several months. We just simply don’t know.
As you might imagine, this is hard for us. It’s hard to wait, it’s hard not having any assurance that Riya’s children will be matched with us, and it’s hard to not be able to DO anything to move this process forward or help care for the children in some way.
In the meantime, we are reading books on adoption parenting, attachment, and transracial families. We are also continuing to explore ways to finance the adoption. We’ll soon share more information about a fun Thanksgiving Day fundraising event for the whole family!
Thanks for your continued encouragement and prayers as we wait!