Thursday, April 3, 2008

What To Expect (We Hope)

There is not a “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” book to read before going to Kazakhstan for an international adoption, but we had the next best thing… a conversation with our new friends Shane and Misty (thanks guys!).

Below are our basic expectations of the adoption process in Kazakhstan.

We leave Cincinnati on Friday and will arrive in Almaty, Kazakhstan on Sunday morning. We’ll stay one night in Almaty and then travel to the city of Shymkent on Monday morning. Once in Shymkent we have an interview with an official at the Ministry of Education. As the official searches through a book of children available for international adoption, we tell the nice lady that the perfect child for us is a healthy young boy with red hair. (That’s a joke… have you ever seen an Asian child with red hair?) Unimpressed with our attempts to charm her, we will be sent to the orphanage (called a Baby House) to meet our child.

Once at the Baby House, we will meet with the Director and she will introduce us to the youngster. During the ‘introductions’, she will explain the basic history of the child and any known medical conditions. Keep in mind that all conversations occur in Russian, so we’re completely reliant on our translator. (The only Russian Jesse remembers from our trip to Russia 5 years ago include “hello”, “beer” , and “thank you” ). During this initial stage, we’ll be able to spend time with the child and continue to gather information about the medical history. Back at the hotel we’ll send all the medical information to the director of the international adoption center (IAC) at Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati. (Allow me to digress for a moment. Our daughter Lana is prominently shown on the IAC website --- Thanks to Kate). Based on this information, Dr.Staat will give us her professional opinion on the health of the child.

Assuming all is well health wise, we will begin the mandatory 14 day bonding period. This typically constitutes being able to visit the child daily for approximately 2 hours, although the Director has discretion on daily routines. Once the 14 day bonding period is over, we wait for a court date. The court date is usually 4-6 days later. At court we ask the judge to grant the adoption, thus making it all legal. Then we start the 15 day appeal period. Jesse and I will travel home without the child to wait out the appeal period and the time necessary to process the child’s passport and visa. The return trip to bring the child home should occur 4 – 6 weeks later. During that trip we pick up our new precious addition, have a final appointment at the US Embassy and come home, for a total of 5 -7 days.

Sounds simple, eh?