So we are well on our way to finalize our adoption file.

Every single document of our file has been collected, legalized, stamped and “appostiled”. Needless to say that because of the fact that my husband is from Israel, I am from Belgium, that we got married in South-Africa, live in Switzerland and are adopting from Ethiopia, collecting a 2 page long list of official documents is a bit like …. standing in front of an ice cream counter with 30+ flavours to choose from. Not easy, confusing but for a sweet purpose !!

We started with the first part of the adoption process in 2004, finished our homestudy and received our agreement to adopt in 2006. Since then, we have had to file updates on our authorization (we first started to adopt in India but this did not go through, then we had one cancelled adoption in Ethiopia). Now we are hoping to send off our file mid June. If we are lucky we should get a referral in about 2 months after sending our file ! So things are going fine and we are cautiously optimistic.

Maybe I was in a better space emotionally in 2005, less drained by years of treatments and repeated losses, but I did not mind the homestudy at all. We did indeed go through a rather inquisitive process and people where checking our personal details quite deeply re. earnings, spendings, home, health etc. but it was done with a very sensitive and gentle approach. At that stage you could really feel the purpose of a homestudy is to assess the viability of the project and the future adoptive parents in the best interest of their child to be.

Then came the real “paperchase” and that was a different story all together. The first big difference in international adoption is whether the country has ratified the “Hague Convention”. Countries that have ratified the Convention benefit from a shorter and simplified procedure, so prospective adoptive parents are keen to select those countries with the result that said countries are saturated with the many demands and cannot process new incoming files.

The countries who did not ratify the Convention are usually more “exotic” regarding the paperwork and certificates they request. Which is still ok so far. Where things really start to be bothering is the level of “authentication” they request. At this stage we have had to authentify official documents, issued by official government’s institutions. It is like having an official stamp on another official seal and of course every stamp is disgustingly costly …. so much waisted time and money that could be invested in taking care of sick/abandoned babies !! ARGHH.

So to pass this frustrating stage of the process without too much anger and bitterness, I copy every single paper of our file with the intention to make a crafty “papier-maché” sculpture with our future child !!