Happy National Adoption Month! Many bloggers are marking this month with special posts, and hopefully I'll be able to do that too. But be sure to click on over to Portrait of an Adoption to see their fantastic 30 posts in 30 days. This series features posts from all sorts of families and members of adoption. I've found the stories to be inspiring and informative. And serves as a reminder that families are made in many ways!
Sometimes I wonder if we'll ever be through with all the paperwork?
These past few months while LM has been home, the paperchase has
definitely slowed down. But as we near the six-month mark (!) that he's
been here, it's starting to ramp up again.
I've been waiting anxiously for this. The time when we could finalize. Many people do not realize that our adoption is finished yet. Up to this point we are only his legal guardians. And knowing that he isn't officially ours has weighed on me. I just don't like things to be left unfinished. So I'm really excited to finally be moving forward to finalizing our adoption.
For Korean adoptions custody of the child has been granted to the adoption agency---in our case, AIAA. We are officially his guardians at this point and had to wait for six-months before we could start the finalization process. Also, all of LM's official records are still in his Korean name, which is his legal name right now.
But soon we will go to court, show them a bunch of papers, our social worker will testify, and we will receive permanent, legal custody. And his name will officially be changed. And finally, this mama can take a deep breath, knowing her LM is really all hers! Yay!
Finalization requirements vary, but for us, we had to complete three post-placement visits with our social worker. The worker made reports about how we were all adjusting, and the reports, along with photos, were sent to AIAA and Korea.
We've completed that and were trying to figure out what was next. On Saturday (awesome timing) our adoption support group had a meeting and one of the topics was finalization. It donned on me that I felt so much more on top of all the paperwork stuff when we were waiting to bring LM home. But I sort of fell off the bandwagon after that and now am feeling completely lost about what's next.
One super cool thing is we found out we are entitled to the documents
related to his immigration and adoption process. In Korea when we took
custody of LM, they handed us a giant sealed envelope that we had to
carry and could never open. We handed the envelope over to immigration
when we arrived at the U.S. airport and never knew what was inside. We
can now apply to get copies of everything in that mysterious package.
Cool! (For those of you interested, this is form G-884. There may also
be additional info, such as the birthmother's birth certificate that the
G-884 will not cover, but you can file a G-639 to try and receive
Tips from our support group were to request
extra copies of the adoption decree at finalization. You'll need them if
you choose to adopt again, and for a variety of other paperwork issues
down the road. Best to get them at the time of finalization. Also, order
many extra copies of the new birth certificate for the same reason.
After we came home from the meeting, there was a letter from AIAA with our consent and approval letter! So...a call to our social worker today to figure out just what we need to do with that and hopefully get a court date soon.
After we are finally final, there's still a last bit of paperwork. We will apply for a Certificate of Citizenship to prove LM is a U.S. citizen, get issued a U.S. birth certificate which lists us as his parents, apply for his Social security number, passport, and change of name/status on health insurance.
So close to the end!
Post-Adoption Paperwork for International Adoptions