Note ~ Smiley Face denotes steps completed - 2 for second adoption
Charles and I filled out a bunch of paper work about our upbringing, our relationship, our beliefs about raising children, etc. Then we had several meetings with a Social Worker who talked to us (as a couple & individually) about all of the previously mentioned topics & more. Once we found the right social worker, everything went great. There are a couple of ways to look at a home study - one is as invasion of our privacy, the other is as a means of building a connection to our future family, and an opportunity to prove that we will be good parents. We chose to look at it as the second option. We have an amazing Social Worker & when she came for our appointments, it was pretty much like having a friend over for coffee. If anyone in the London area is looking for a Social Worker, we would be happy to pass on her contact information.
When a couple chooses International Adoption, a package called a Dossier needs to be compiled. This includes (among other things) getting medicals, police checks = Local & Interpol, and making sure finances are in order, marriage certificates, passports...- along with all the documentation (in triplicate at least) to support everything.
We also created a Profile - letter & pictures - to share important information about ourselves, our families & how we will welcome a child into our lives. Important information to share in about 6 short pages! If anyone is interested in seeing our profile, we would be more than happy to share, just let us know. Copies of our Profile will be sent to South Africa to assist the Social Worker there with matching us with the child that is meant to be part of our family.
Our complete file will go the the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth to get approval & make sure everything legally is in order.
Once we receive Ministry Approval, our file will then go to the Social Worker in South Africa. There may be a delay, as there are already files there that need to be matched before more files can be worked on.
The Social Worker in South Africa will study our information and work to match our profile to a child who needs a family. There is no definate time given for how long this part of the process will take - other than it will take the amount of time needed for a child's perfect family to be found...
Once we receive a referral, the time until travel will be about 5 weeks. This is when we will make our final travel arrangements & prepare to meet our child. 5 weeks seems like a long time, but with everything that we need to do this should fly by!
For the adoption to be legal and complete (all documents, passports, etc), we need to stay for 21 days in South Africa. This will be an opportunity for us to begin to get to know our child & begin the bonding & attachement process, as well as have a first hand experience with the South African culture.
If anyone has any questions about the process we would be more than happy to answer them - don't be shy, we just ask that you think about how you (or your child) would feel if someone asked you the same question.