Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Its Official.


1) my flight is January 12-25.

2) I'm going solo. Dad has given me his final answer.

I'm refocusing and pretending I never knew it was a possibility. I get to see C and Z in just 14 days!!


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

May be changing my flight...

a bit EARLIER. Long story short but there was a possibility of my dad coming with me and because of prior commitments on his part we looked at bumping up the flight. Am VERY sad to say I think he's NOT coming with me (soooooo bummed as it would have been so much fun just Dad and I to go to Africa)...but it did get me thinking that me arriving home from Africa on Jan 31st and flying out on business on the 2nd of Feb...is not so smart. (always knew that but that was our only option at the time). So I am able to move my flight to the 12th instead...returning 25'ish. I will call Golden Rule (HUGE THUMBS UP!) travel agency and confirm tomorrow.

Just talked to Tanis a few minutes ago and she said that option fits her schedule way better...because the missionary plane is coming to pick up a Canadian family that same day (14th). No. NO. NO!!!!!!! I'm not very excited about flying in the what...4 seater...missionary plane 3-4 hours. Sob. Ok...there's going to be a lot of praying on this trip. Can you tell? I hate flying. And I definitely hate flying 4-6 seater planes.

Then Tanis says...we have no bugs here so that will make you happy. Yes. True. She continues with ..." no bats in the house for the last few days" (I wanted to interrupt)...welll... I can't see them but I can hear them flapping up in the ceiling..." Ok. Can I take sleeping pills every night for 2 wks...? :) Maybe if I curl up to C and Z I'll magically fall fast to sleep. :)

Tanis thinks we won't go to the boys' village this trip we'll save it for when Dean comes (that is, unless Dad joins me...).

The list is now:
sweat pants for the boys.
Size 9 shoes for C.
summer polo shirts in solid colors for the boys.
Chai tea and green chai tea for Tanis
and...sleeping pills by the dozen for Janice :)

All kidding aside...I'm so excited I feel like I'm dreaming. To know you are right where God wants you to be doing exactly what He wants you to do..and He is supplying the need every step of the way....is a peace that is almost tangible. (Hope it sticks around for that missionary plane ride...) ;)

Tonight I'm going to bed praying...that my dad is going to bed praying...that this is an opportunity of a lifetime and that God will work out the details so he can have peace about going with his youngest girl to Africa to see his future grandsons.


Friday, December 25, 2009

Flight is booked and ....drumroll....

THE HIPPO SOLD TODAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (you gotta hear this story~!!)....so when we bought our bedroom set off Craigslist in Portland the lady told us she had a load to send to Goodwill and asked if we wanted it. Dean picked through a few things and put them in a box (I didn't know about this). A few wks later I came home to see Dean outside and the boys playing with a hippo outside. The hippo was looking a little spendy so I decided to check it out online. Dean laughed. Meanwhile its Jay Strongwater. (means NADDA to me...but does to someone) ... it sells exclusively on Neiman Marcus for .... $995!!! So I put it on ebay. For $795 with best offer option. I got an offer for $250. I refused it. I've listed it twice since. Today, Christmas day I got an offer for $545 (my asking price was only $595 this time). So sweeet!!! Paying for these adoption expenses one random thing at a time :)

Flight is Seattle-London-Lusaka January 16-30. While ESTATIC to go to Africa (a dream in itself)...and then to meet our boys and spend 2 wks with them and Tanis (cannot wait) I'm all of a sudden weak in the stomach thinking about leaving my family for 2 wks.... ahhh....


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ok an update!

So Tanis had quite the day on Monday in Solwezi!! She took Z and C with her and also a christian friend that is also a social worker in the area. She couldn't believe their proposal...skip the attorney altogether as everything Tanis has been doing is what the attorney does. (TRUE!!!!) and we have not paid him yet. Sooo...that was interesting. They said they simply want to monitor me with the children for a few wks asap and then will get the ball rolling, saying we could likely come back in Feb to complete the adoption. I'm leaving out a ton of details but the bottom line is I'm travelling to Lusaka, Zambia January 16-30th. (The travel agency closed sooner than I thought today so I didn't get a chance to book it today but will tomorrow morning.) Its with British Airways and layover in London (which I'm hopppiiinnnnng I'll be able to meet up with my childhood friend, Mel and her family in London :).

Want to hear more amazing news?! Ok so late last night I decided to clean a pile of mail on the counter....I just start tossing envelopes of junk in the trash. One of which was our mortgage statement. I pay online so I don't need my statement. Then there was another mortgage statement envelope. Threw that in the trash too. Then thought..."I should check them...thats weird. Why 2 statements in one month!?" I open the first one in the trash and I must have had my jaw on the floor!!!! $2120 refund from our escrow account!!!!!!! I RAN upstairs to Dean who was in the shower and I'm screaming going "You will never ever ever believe whats in my hand!!!" It was such a great moment. All in the same day that I found out I'll be travelling to Zambia in a few weeks!!

The good news continues...we are on a streak ;) The travel agency I'm dealing with that offers special fares for adoptions and mission travel got us a ticket of only $1475!!! Need we say how excited we are about that?
Its a good day.

All in a day that changed our family 2 years ago today. The day Dean's mom passed away so suddenly and tragically on our Christmas vacation at the West Edmonton Mall in AB. Mom and Grandma we miss you and we will never ever forget you. Our kids still ask about you and often ask God to say Hello to Grandma for them. XO

Monday, December 21, 2009

A January Trip!!!!!!!!

I just spoke to Tanis (middle of the night for her but she was awake b/c C and Z were wired after sleeping all day in the car).... and bottom line to a very long story is I am set to travel in January my pick of dates!! No court hearing...simply me being watched interacting with the twins for 2wk (they want 3 but hopefully they compromise ... ) I've already left a message with the travel agency and we'll see what they have for times/fares etc.

Ok...... THIS IS SO SURREAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Today is the day...

Tanis is driving right now as I type (we called her on her cell) to Solwezi to visit the social welfare department and she is going to push (we are going to pray) for a court date!!!

I hope to give a positive update soon!!


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Social Welfare update

Tanis texted us Thursday to let us know the Thursday appt she had to meet with the Social Welfare office (about 6hrs drive away for her) was postponed to Monday. So we hope to have good news on that soon!

Also in reading over our blog I'm seeing some friends congratulate us on baby #5...I'm sad to say we've lost baby #5. It was very early in the pregnancy which I'm thankful to say...its hard to imagine how painful it would be half way through etc. We now have 2 babies waiting for us in Heaven...

The total raised from our Krispy Kreme Fundraiser was $890!! Wanted to give you all that update :)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Our Adoption Grant and how YOU can help bring our boys home!

"I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you... John 14:18


Some of you know we have felt called and directed by God to adopt two special orphan boys into our family. We are adopting twin boys from Zambia, Africa. The boys turned 5 years old in August and are currently known as Jacob & Meleki. As a family, we’ve been excitedly praying for them and can't wait to bring them home!


Did you know it is estimated less than 10% of all orphan children are adopted into evangelical Christian families? According to current estimates, if only 10% more Christians in America would adopt, it would be equivalent to providing homes for all the orphans in Eastern Europe (1.5 million), Latin America (400,000), and the US foster care system (150,000).


Some of you are probably wondering what has prompted us to adopt. Well, primarily, we’ve felt so clearly directed by God to adopt that we want to obey Him, and we also have always dreamed of giving an orphan child (children) a family they wouldn't otherwise have. God desires for orphans of all nations to be loved, cared for and adopted into Christian families – ultimately so they can become saved, and be adopted into His eternal family through Jesus Christ! There are so many things God has used to prick our hearts and move us to adopt, here are a few:

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction… James 1:27




While we were praying about whether or not to adopt, we were eating dinner one night in our dining room. Tirzah pointed to two empty chairs and said "we need two more kids so our table will be full"...little did she know, God was just about to direct us to two little boys to fill those empty chairs!


The biggest challenge for us is not opening our hearts and home to another child, but it is in finding the finances to make this happen. We estimate our total cost for adoption fees, document preparation, home study, airfare, travel, attorney fees, etc. to be $14,000 - that’s certainly money we don’t have, but we know God is faithful and is leading us to trust Him. So far we have been able to pay the initial $2750.


Honestly, it’s a little difficult (because of our pride), to make our needs known to the Body of Christ around us, but we also know it’s very Biblical to do so. We appreciate your friendship very much and would like you to pray & consider helping us in our adoption. There are two ways you can help:


1. Prayer – Please pray God would care for Jacob & Meleki in Zambia until we are able to bring them home, that God would prepare Tirzah, Zion, Azlan and Azahria for the upcoming changes to our family, and that God will give us wisdom, discernment, and insight as we raise them to know Jesus.


2. Financial support - Will you please consider making a tax-deductible donation to help us pay the remaining $11,250 in adoption expenses, to bring our boys home?


Lifesong ( HYPERLINK "http://www.lifesongfororphans.org" www.lifesongfororphans.org) has graciously given a Matching Grant of $3,000 to help.


If you would like to be a part of God bringing Jacob & Meleki to Himself through our family, you can send your tax-deductible gift between now and FEBRUARY 10th to the address below. Lifesong is a trusted organization administering the funds on our boys' behalf, and will pay adoption expenses out of funds received.


Please make checks payable to: Lifesong. You may preference how the donation might be used by writing “preference Dean & Janice Walker Family Adoption” in the memo section of your check.

(*Note: In following IRS guidelines, your donation is to Lifesong which retains full discretion and control over its use.)



Mail checks to:

Lifesong for Orphans

Att: Dean & Janice Walker Family Adoption

PO Box 40

Gridley, IL 61744


Thank you for investing in our family and God's family through prayer and finances – it will be an investment with an eternal return! (Matt 6:20)


For Him,


Dean & Janice

Tirzah, Zion, Azlan & Azahria





December 16, 2009


Dear church, family, and friends of Dean and Janice Walker,

Lifesong for Orphans ( HYPERLINK "http://www.lifesongfororphans.org" www.lifesongfororphans.org) is a non-profit Christian ministry dedicated to help meet the needs of orphan children around the world, and obey God’s call to “visit the fatherless…in their affliction” (James 1:27).


The number of children worldwide without families to love and care for them is astounding… there are over 5.5 million orphans in Africa alone!

God tells us in His word He has heard the cry of the orphaned and abandoned children (Psalm 10:17, 18) and He has made a way for them to be cared for – through adoption. As believers, He adopted us into His family through Jesus, and did not leave us as spiritual orphans!


We believe adoption at its core is evangelism--a vital part of the Great Commission is bringing the mission field home. God desires orphans from all nations to be adopted into Christ-honoring families so they may ultimately be adopted into His eternal family through Jesus Christ. God calls us to fulfill James 1:27, “visit the fatherless…” but not all are called to adopt. Some are called to pray, some to give financially, some to go on mission trips, and some to adopt.


Dean and Janice have sensed God’s call . . . and have joyfully stepped out in faith and obedience to adopt Jacob and Meleki from Zambia. As you may already know, international adoption can cost around $25,000 and prevents many godly families from adopting. Lifesong believes God has raised up the Walker family “for such a time as this…” and we have committed an Adoption Matching Grant of $3,000 to help raise the funds necessary to complete the adoption of these special little boys. This means Lifesong for Orphans will match “dollar-for-dollar” everything the Walkers raise from their church, family, and friends between now and February 10, 2010, up to $3,000. We invite you to support them financially to make this adoption possible. Your gift is tax deductible and you will receive a tax-deductible receipt. *100% of all funds raised will go directly to cover adoption costs--nothing will be taken out for Lifesong for Orphans administrative costs.

Will you invest financially in the life of these precious twin boys? . . . It will be an investment with eternal return.


God bless you for laying your treasures up in Heaven,

EMBED PBrush

Andy Lehman

Vice President


p.s. I trust God will do great and mighty things through this, and all for His Glory!


ι PO Box 40 ι 202 N Ford St ι Gridley, IL 61744 ι

ι phone 309 747 3556 ι fax 309 747 4647 ι www.lifesongfororphans.org ι










Sunday, December 13, 2009

Social Welfare and Fundraiser update

We got a call last week from Tanis saying she received a call for the Solwezi Social Welfare office saying they received the file for our boys and they would work on getting us a committal court date asap (have we heard that before...?). Ok so now at this point we are praying for a mid January court date.

We did our fundraiser yesterday morning. First of all a HUGE HUGE thank you to my special friend Amanda Cadman and her nieces (who don't even know me!) for all their full-effort help!!! It was sooooooooooooo cold and we truly could not have done it without EACH OF YOU: Tim & Karen Phillips, Craig & Sarah (from our small group), Kip (also from our group) and Derek and Stephanie and children who selflessly went above and beyond to serve. We are indebted to each of you and take it as a gift to Jesus.

How did it go? Wellllll....it was cold. Have I said that already? And there were at least 130 dozen donuts left over unsold....and well...honestly its nice to know thats God's deal-not ours. This was so in His hands. We did it (out of my comfort zone) and He could have easily sold them all in an hour...we did it for Him. We did profit - the total is not in yet. We were amazed and the pure kindness of complete strangers. Many who gave to us not even wanting the donuts but just wanted to give to help with the costs of our adoption! Strangers simply driving by and seeing a need!!

We are continuing to wait to hear back from LIFESONG to hear if we were approved for a matching grant of up to $4000 for donations. When we do hear back we will be sure to update the blog on how you could give a tax deductible donation if you feel led.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

An emotional journey.

This is such an emotional journey. God started it and He is going to have to complete it. So much of this is out of our hands included the financial side! Today after reviewing more than 10 granting organizations--consistently--the rules are they will not off grants unless you are adopting through a licensed agency. Sigh. That eliminates us!!

Talking this morning with 2 friends over coffee they suggested doing a bake sale. Hmmm this could work!!


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Fundraiser...

IS happening. That's interesting. Yes our church talked to us and are excited to support us in our adoption! Soooo we are trying plan that for this or next weekend!!

Got a date from Uscis AND>>>>>

We got a date from USCIS for our fingerprinting and biometrics appt...guess when? Ok ... my birthday :) Thats kind of cool!!! Dec 8 in Yakima. Yay!

Even more exciting news...??? #1 is we have bio baby #5 on the way (soon to be baby #7) that we are soooooo excited about and #2 news....we talked to our twins tonight!!!! so cute I could cry!!! Said a bit of memorized english words and Mama that they've never met and still don't know anything about ... melted.

:)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sister Sombo

So Tanis (aka Sister Sombo) is now the guardian of our boys! Even though the courts do not require it she wanted to foster them so they could learn English. Saturday Tan got a knock on her door and it was the boys with their g. aunt! She was "going into town to live with her daughter" and wanted someone to take care of the boys! Soooo it worked perfectly. (side note...I can't wait for Tanis to send us some pictures b/c we sent her home with a massive suitcase of clothes -- both new and some from Zion and Azlan--and I'd LOVE to see them wearing the little clothes we bought!).

So today Tanis brought the boys, with their g.aunt and their bio dad to Zambezi district Social Welfare office to meet the social worker. Tanis said it was quite insane how the man almost sounded like he was pressuring the aunt to NOT give them up. But she was very firm that she could not provide for them. Three hours later (!) and 2 bored little boys later....they were done. The bio dad and g.aunt signed relinquishment letters in the social worker's presence and Tanis made a date of next Wednesday to go to the village with the social worker.

We are praying to have a court hearing date soon so we can plan (whats that?!) and get a flight etc.

Tanis said she has hired a teacher to start teaching the boys their ABC's , 123's etc. Today they earned "A" :) She later heard them in the bath singing at full volume YES IN ENGLISH "Dare to be a david..." she couldn't believe it! Just from hearing it in sunday school. She put them on the phone last night to say "Hi how are you" and it was the cutest thing ever. Sounded like those adorable little voices from African Childrens' Choir :)

I just love you Jacob and Meleki. Cannot wait to bring you home.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A bit of a delay

Tanis called today to say that her car broke down today and all in all its still broke down and she had a 22hr day...and the trip tomorrow to Chris our s.worker has to be cancelled. She hopes to reschedule by Friday.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fundraiser..?`

Not happening. We just got word tonight that our church will not be our 'non profit' so we can do a fundraiser. I don't know what to say. So I won't. One thing I know is its a hurdle and we are kind of excited to see what God has in store!

Got my I-797C today!!

Ok I know -- who even knows what that is but it was cool to write it :) From USCIS it was my notice that they did receive my I-600A and that they will process it and notify me of when to do our fingerprints and photos.

:)

Ok the little things that excite!!

While doing our banking yesterday I noticed my check to USCIS was cashed!!! WOOHOOO! Why does this excite me? Who knows. You'd have to be in my shoes to understand I guess ;) But it does mean they have my file!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Spoke with Mulenga (attorney)

I finally reached Mulenga and its only 10:30pm!! Maybe it will be an early night! I told him I received his email and that I was in contact with Musenge "yesterday morning" (last night) and stated that only I am required to come for the initial visit. I asked who makes the decision and he said "Oh absolutely, she does". So therefore we are clear that only I am required to go! This is fab news as Dean can be home with our children and wellll that saves a lot of hassle :)

I asked Mulenga when we could know the committal hearing date by and he said we should definitely have a date in a few wks when I am to come. I can't even say how exciting that moment will be!!

For now we are waiting to hear how it goes on Monday with Tanis and Mr. Chrissy (his preferred name) visiting Jacob and Meleki in the village.

Also we got the go-ahead from "LifeSong" today that we can apply for a grant and see if they approve us. (we needed the go-ahead since we are adopting independently). This would be awesome if we did get this because people who wished to support bringing our children home by giving financially would receive a receipt for tax purposes and LifeSong may match a portion of the gifts we receive through them up to $4000! So we hope to have that application filled and in the mail by Friday morning.

Still looking into the Krispy Kreme fundraiser and waiting to hear if our church will do it under their non-profit name.

We have so much to be thankful for and so much to pray about. Can I say how completely over-the-moon excited we are?! I cannot believe this lifelong God-given longing to adopt children from Africa is actually happening. I'm humbled. And overwhelmed that He would choose as a family for these precious boys.


Email from our attorney

I just received this email this morning from our attorney:

Dear Tanice,

I hope you had a safe flight back to Zambezi.

Further to our discussion on 5th November 2009, I am writing to confirm that it will be imperative for Dean and Janice to travel to Zambia prior to the children being committed to their care for the statuory 3 months period.As I indicated in our meeting, this requirement for the parents to come to Zambia prior to the commital order, has been insisted on by the American consulate at the embassy in Lusaka. With the Canadian families for whom we have carried out adoptions through Kids -Link international, the prospective adoptive children have been commited to fostering in the hands of an orphanage or other third party. In effect Dean and Janice will be required to travel to Zambia twice in order to conclude the adoption of the twins.

However in view of the fact that Dean and Janice are probably both in full time employment, they will only be required to stay for at least 1 - 2 weeks so that they can make initial contact with the children prior to the commital order. They can then return to the states and come back to Zambia after 3 months in time for the granting of the formal adoption order.

Kindly be guided accordingly and kindly confirm the transfer of the initial deposit required for the adoption process.

regards,

MULENGA

It looks like my late nights are not quite over yet and I will be staying up tonight to call both Mulenga and the Consular to verify what the social workers are saying that only I am required to come for the initial visit.

Please continue to pray.

Its a go!!

Tanis texted me this morning and said that she spoke with Mr. Chris (our now social worker!) and she will drive 50km and meet him on Monday and they will drive together to the village and see the boys. The process has realllllllllllly begun!!! If they give me a date within the normal Christmas holidays, my sister may travel with me! (which is pretty cool especially since we have not seen each other for 3 years!)

Now we have to get the fundraising into motion!!

Overwhelmed.

With emotion. It is 12:30 am. I've been sitting here calling my attorney (call back in 2 hours he is in court). I asked for the number for the Social Welfare office (since my only source is Google and it apparently is an old non functioning number) and she said "call back in 2 hours and I will have it for you". ...

I found some number for some place that I honestly did not even know who I was calling...services for juveniles or something but I did know it was in Lusaka and that was a start. I asked for three women's numbers and surprisingly the lady gave them to me. (These names were given to me by the lady I met in IL that adopted in Zambia as the 3 Social Workers that deal with adoption). Then the lady I was speaking to asked who I was and what I wanted etc. She totally knew my case!! She said your attorney was here speaking with me last week. She said "I am the one at the Department of Social Welfare that will approve or not approve your case" !!! Ok this is a big deal. So we talk more. It is a bit frustrating because of the phone delay and the accent that in some words I was simply unable to understand what she was saying :( She said NO Tanis can NOT foster the children that that simply does not make sense. Ahhh. She said "you can come here for 90 days yourself and foster them." I asked if we both have to come and thankfully she said "no, just you". So then I told my story. How we believe we are to be these childrens' parents yet we have 4 small children here in the USA and I simply cannot up and leave my children for 90 days to move to Lusaka. The she said "Oh no problem, just come and meet the children. Spend one week with them and then go home and 90 days later come back to adopt them". I must have asked her to repeat that 3 times to the point where the lady was a tad frusterated with me :) But I was so elated I needed to hear it again. And again :) She said since the children are in Zambezi district that we needed to call that office but in the end it was her that would review our case and have the final say. I asked for the phone number for that office and she did better. She said "here is a gentleman's name and number, tell him I sent you". I was on the verge of tears.

I called him. Mr. Chris ______. He answered the phone immediately and I told him who sent me and the story. He said "we can help". He told me to get Tanis to call him today and that he would meet with her and then drive with Tanis in country to go meet the children and to get a letter from their bio father saying he was relinquishing his parental rights (he abandoned the children at birth but Tanis met him and he is very willing to write the letter). Then he said he will call me and tell me when to come.

Ok I just hung up the phone with him and tried to call Tanis but she is likely already in hospital for the day. I texted her (how cool is that?!? Yes we text...to a village hospital in Chitokoloki Zambia!!!) and hope to hear back from her. I am exploding with emotion. Tears. Excitement. Overwhelming emotion of staying up several nights to get nothing now to get so many answers and be led in the right direction.

Psalm 18:6 "In my distress I cried to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From His temple He heard my voice; my cry came before Him, into His ears."

Thank you God for hearing my cry. For "I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you".

Please continue to pray.

--Just got in touch with Tanis who was so excited at our news. She is going to call Mr. Chris right now and said his office is 50km away from her and she is hoping to set an appointment to meet him on Monday. She will text me an update.



Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Update.

(Last night I stayed up and could reach NO ONE. All numbers were busy or "call back in 2 hours" and it was clear I was to go to bed. I did so. Not so willingly. I really wanted more answers).

So 2 days ago Dean and I are talking about the possibility of going to Zambia soon...and we look up flights. We remember Tanis saying she LOVES flying British Airways as their service is awesome (and they stop in London which is fabulous since I do have a sweet friend and her family that live in London that I'd love to meet up with!). So we go to BritishAirways.com and guess what? Right on the home page there is an offer: Fly with us anywhere we fly between such and such dates and receive a FREE companion flight to use anytime in 2010 when you fly with us again. Ok. SO this is pretty amazing. If I have to go to Zambia...soon...then when we go again one of us flies free!!! It didn't really hit me right aways but then I thought...ok this seems to be for us. Thats pretty amazing!! We are talking a $1600-2000 flight free! I called on it today and got the details and if we fly before Jan 29th then yes we get one free companion airfare anywhere they fly!!

Then today I get a sidekick email from BAirways saying huge slashes in their prices and included in the list was Seattle to South Africa...for quite a discount.

It hit me how often I miss seeing God. I pray and then take the answers for granted too often. It would be sad if in all these 'little things' along the way...I missed God.

We still have no idea whats happening ...if/when we go. If I can go instead of both of us (which with having 4 small children at home would be awesome if Daddy could stay home with them)...we know nothing except the only thing that matters here--this is God's. These precious boys are His and we are simply the ones He is using. The more we realize that the more humbling it is. I absolutely love love the verse in John 14. Verse 18 says "I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you". I read it on a friend's adoption blog recently and it brought tears to my eyes.

We are also trying to put together a little fundraiser. Perhaps a Krispy Kreme fundraiser to help raise the funds for some of the adoption expenses. This too has been very humbling for us. I think there's a part of me that wants to say "we did this". "We worked hard and WE adopted these children". The further we go in the process the more I realize its really not about us at all. It quite frankly has nothing to do with us. I'm excited to see what God will do!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Tonight

The plan is to stay up and call the social worker contact I have...and our attorney and perhaps the Consular. Praying for good news!!


Friday, November 6, 2009

.....

Nevermind...I stayed up 2 more hours past when I called the Consulate but Miss Consular is still in a meeting and will likely be in a meeting til noon and guess what..? The Consulate closes at noon on Fridays. Sigh.

Goodnight.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I need Your help.

God-I need Your help.


Tanis calls me today and says she spoke with our attorney in Lusaka on Thursday and the problem they are facing is that while she can foster the children, etc....they need Dean and I to appear in court for the committal hearing for her to foster them for 90 days. Then we go home and come back again when its time to bring them home.

Ok. Thats kind of a big deal. Especially since the lawyer says we may have to go in a few weeks.

Tonight I'm sitting here at 11:30pm with everyone in the house sleeping....making some calls.

I called the lawyer, call back in a few hours.

I called the Consular at the US Consulate in Lusaka, she is in a meeting call back in an hour.

I called Tanis, we spoke. Talked over some things.

I called the Social Welfare department in Lusaka who I am told, makes the decision on the fostering. She was blunt and not that friendly. She told me "this won't work you MUST come live here for 3 months". I told her we simply don't think we will be able to pick up our family and move to Zambia for 3 months. She proceeded to tell me what if I get home and don't like the children. Ahhhh. I told her we are committed to these children and will do what it takes to make sure they are loved, accepted and nurtured. Finally after asking several times if I am white... (?) and if the children are Zambian and black (...?) that she will speak to her chief and to call her in a few hours or Monday.

sigh. I will not feel overwhelmed because I know. I know. I know, God, this is Yours. I'm not seeing the light here but I know this is what You told us to do, so please show Yourself. We need to see You.

We will do what we must do to bring our children home. Until God shows us otherwise, clearly, we will continue to search for answers and solutions.

Please pray for our family and our boys in Zambia.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Wow!!! God hears and answers!!

So last night I stayed up late to call our attorney and for the first time ever ... the line was busy. For 15 minutes. Finally I sat down on the side of the bathtub and prayed. Good idea. I prayed that God would hear our prayer and have the lawyer not only agree to negotiate a price...but drop the 'fee' by 40%. I ended my prayer, took a deep breath and called. He answered the phone and said "Janice I have good news for you, I am willing to lower the fee to $_____ "which was exactly 40% less!!!

I ran in and woke Dean (who I don't think comprehended b/c he asked silly questions like "Azlan lowered his fee?" :) and couldn't sleep because I was so excited!!!!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Officially waiting!

Yay! What a day!! I submitted our I-600A this morning and as well shipped a package overnight to an address in Ontario for Tanis to pick up on our way back to Zambia for the lawyer! (homestudy, documents, family photos etc). Good thing we thought of this as Tanis said it would take 4 weeks or so for them to receive it if I had to mail it to Lusaka.

I cannot possible describe the feeling.

A dream is about to come true!

Friday, October 30, 2009

An Exciting Update!

Tanis was given a contact by our lawyer in Lusaka--as a family that successfully adopted a child into the US recently. I emailed them and in a very quick exchange of emails I was given a phone number to call them directly. A unique situation for sure but I was able to pull out of their story things that could help us. They attributed the success they did have to working with KBF and Associates Law Firm in Lusaka (our attorney as well). One thing she did say is that she felt they were charging us too much as there really is no additional fees for siblings to be adopted, especially twins.

With that I stayed up late last night and called KBF. Our attorney was out of the office so I spoke to the lead attorney. He was very courteous and quickly said he wants to assist us in whatever way he can and his fees "are flexible" :) He told me to call him back Tuesday morning and he will have an answer for me on how much he can reduce the fees b/c he wants to go to the court and see if they will let him do one set of paperwork seeing as the boys are twins. That was good news!! So I'm asking you to pray that they will reduce their fees and we will hear this on Tuesday.

I decided to go ahead and file the I-600A with USCIS here in the States. It seems that while we are qualified to skip that step...it is causing confusion because the Consular in Lusaka has no experience with it therefore she is asking for us to do it the 'normal' way :) Easy enough. The packet is signed, sealed and sitting on my counter and when the children wake from their naps I will head out and mail it.

We were told we will be given the opportunity to rename the children at our court date in Lusaka. Yes this is something we have chosen to do. For a number of reasons actually. A name is something very special that we have given to each of our biological children. Great thought has gone into name each one. This is the one thing we can give our adopted children as well, have not raised them from birth but in this new beginning in their lives we can name them. A name that has great meaning in their situation of being adopted from Africa. A name that flows with our childrens' names. And the decision has been made that they will be all of the above, plus names of their own language. That has added a fun challenge to the mix of finding a name for our boys! We have been working with Tanis on this basically using the same methods we have in choosing a name for our bio kids. Meaning. Significance to us. Unique. Containing a Z. I think its actually easier doing this in another language at this point :) As we get closer we will announce the names but for now--they remain our secret.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Where to start...?

What has been happening for the last several months on our adoption front? Ahhh. Where to start...?

We have both been feeling like we are "in the process" -- our lives are pretty busy and I will confess sadly we just have not put our children in Africa as priority. We both came to a genuine realization of this a few weeks ago:

It was a busy evening and Dean was on the laptop, I was cleaning the kitchen. I asked him to help me put the kids to bed. So he closed the laptop and we both went upstairs to get jammies, sippy cups and tuck 4 kids into bed. We came down and I resumed cleaning, Dean went back to the laptop. He opened the computer and said "Ok Jan...trying to send me a message?" Confused, I say "what do you mean?" He simply turns the laptop toward me and the whole screen is a picture of the twins. I had not touched the laptop.

That was all I needed. I stayed up late that night to call our attorney in Lusaka...only to find she no longer works there. Great. Her partner was rude and said "get us money and we'll talk further". Didn't sit well. So back to the drawing board. I googled more adoption attorneys in Lusaka. Made several unanswered calls. Finally one gentleman answers, just so happens I talked to him months earlier and he totally remembered me!

He seemed experienced in International Adoptions and one of the best parts was he was very excited about Tanis living in Zambia as he said she can be our "foster parent" of the twins for the required 3mths before they can leave the country!

I told him Tanis would be in Lusaka while waiting to fly out to Canada in late September and asked if he would be willing to meet her-and we set an appointment.

Tanis did meet with him and got a few documents for us to sign. She came and visited us early October for 5 days. It was so exciting to not only get all their medical records from birth but all all the photos from 5mths til now!

Let's fast forward to last night. I stayed up late getting the I600 file ready--long story but we were waiting for required documents from Zambia before filing with USCIS. Just out of the corner of my eye I noticed a note in the instructions about where to file. If we were adopting a child from certain countries we would file this document in the USA ... but if the country was not listed then it was to be filed directly in the country of the child's citizenship...at the US Consulate.

Ok. Thats kind of big. I was about to send it off then we would be waiting forever for them to not only get to our file but return it to us so we could send it to the proper place!

Last night I looked up the number for the US Consulate in Lusaka Zambia and called. Finally reaching someone he quickly said "Ok, I can help but now is not a good time to talk can you please call back at 2pm?" Meanwhile thats 4am our time...so I'm thinking NOOOOOOO...but I managed to keep him on the phone long enough to get an email address. He said at 2pm he would email me and by morning my time I would definitely have a reply with the details of filing the I600.

This morning I was excited to check my email only to find...no email. So even though it was now after 6pm Zambian time...I called. The recording said the US Consulate is now closed but if you know the extension please dial it now. I decided to do so assuming I would get the gentleman's voicemail. It rang. And rang. And rang. I think I was daydreaming when someone said "Hello?" that through me off!! After a few questions with a lady that was clearly American I found out I was actually talking to the Consular herself! She was so friendly and helpful! She pulled my email and promised that by tomorrow morning my time I would have an email with all the details laid out! When I got off the phone with her, she had already written me a brief email confirming that I would have a reply tomorrow and wishing us the best with the adoption!

This afternoon I got a call from Tanis (who is still in Manitoba for 5 more days). She was clearly excited and said she had GREAT news from the attorney in Lusaka today! Because of some naysayers doubting our attorney was legit, she had been advised to get references of successful international adoptions he has completed. He wrote today and actually gave us the most recent adoptive parents' names and email!!!

Of course I thought this was all too good to be true! All in a day no less! So I promptly sat down and wrote the man an email and in 2 minutes he had replied saying he was forwarding it to his wife, Amy, who could better help me! She then wrote me a detailed reply within 15 minutes! She is very excited because she just adopted their 20 month old Zambian baby boy in May 09 and said she only wishes she had someone who was just through it to give her direction. She gave me her phone number and we have set up to talk tomorrow afternoon on the phone. She said she highly recommends the attorney we are dealing with as they 'bent over backwards' to get through hoops for her!

I'm so on top of the world I could scream!! God has blessed us beyond belief and we believe He has chosen us to be the family for our precious little Zambian twins.

Please continue to pray for them and us and that this would go smoothly!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Definitely a heart pounding moment.

This morning I called a local attorney to ask him some questions about immigration. He stated very confidently that you cannot by any means get a child into the country without having fostered them for 2 years in their own country. (!!!) I questioned him stating 'how do so many other families adopt without doing that?" he said "the agency provides your ticket out of that law". Then my heart skipped a beat. I don't believe we could adopt these children with an agency b/c they are not in an orphanage.  

Dean said "Janice you know that God can overrule this--don't be stressed about it". I called USCIS the immigration office and he explained everything and with a smile said 'no...what that law means is the child will be immigrated into the country no problem but they will not become a permanent resident of the US until we have had custody of them for 2 years" BIG difference!! So all is good. He recommended I file the I600 instead of the I600A since we have already identified the children that we wish to adopt.

If you read this-we hope that you will pray for our family on this journey. And pray for these precious children in Zambia.


1:30am

This is the time of day when I will have progress in this process. I'm so tired. BUT I did get to speak to the lawyer in Lusaka twice in 10 minutes! I don't know if I was at all coherent...

So now we need to pray for the next step.  The first step with her is to deposit $1000 into their account for their legal advice, at this time they will start the file.  She told me what she wants detailed in the email to her and she will work on it now but she will not send it to me until she has that $1000 to their office.  

Ok.  So here's where God comes in. Bigtime.  Though our process is much less expensive than adopting through an agency~every step right now seems to be about $1000.  

We are ready to move forward and are praying about when we can do this next step.


Monday, May 4, 2009

Email from attorney #1

I actually just received an email from the first attorney I spoke to last evening. Since adoption in Zambia seems to be so rare and going independently (without the use of an agency) I want to provide a step by step process (I have searched and searched online for someone else's detailed journey and have not found it) as a resource for others.

Here is the email:

Our Reference:  M/614/NCH/tkc

Reply to our Lusaka Office



28 April 2009




Janice Walker

 


Dear Madam


TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT FOR PROVISION OF LEGAL SERVICES


Thank you for your instructions.


We confirm that the firm will be pleased to act for you upon the terms set out in this letter and our terms of engagement enclosed herewith.


Our understanding of your requirement


We understand that you require us to prepare an opinion for you on the process and the necessary steps to facilitate your adoption of twin orphan Zambian boys. 


Conduct of the matter


Our aim is to provide you with legal services of the highest quality.  To achieve this, it is important that we share an understanding of the basis on which we shall provide services to you.


Our services to you will entail:


The rendering of an opinion to you setting out, among other things, the legal process for the adoption of children in Zambia and what will be required from you and the current care giver.





Fees


Our fees are governed by the Legal Practitioners Act (CAP 30 of the Laws of Zambia), the Legal Practitioners (Costs) Order 2001 and the Legal Practitioners (Conveyancing and non-contentious matters) (Costs) (Amendment) Order 2001.


We will require a deposit of US$1000 (before Value Added Tax and bank charges) which is our standard charge for a legal opinion/legal advice.  Should you require for us to proceed to take the necessary steps to effect the adoption, time will form the basis of all future charges.  We advise that the following hourly rates will form the basis of our charges to be applied in the conduct of litigation matters on your behalf; the firm will also charge for care and skill, VAT and disbursements in addition to the hourly rates listed:


Partners

US$ 150



Associates

US$100


We will then send you monthly bills for work done in the preceding month.  Please note that all bills must be settled within thirty days after delivery of the same and we would be obliged if this were adhered to, to enable us continue providing you with efficient and timely service.


Confidentiality


MNB is under a strict professional duty of confidentiality to you in respect of your matter.  The only exceptions to this are where you authorise us to disclose information; where we are required to make a disclosure under applicable regulations or legislation;  where the information is already within the public domain.



You agree that we are authorised to disclose that you are a client of the firm and that we have acted for you on any matter where information about that matter is in the public domain and on any other matter where you consent to such disclosure.


I would be happy to discuss with you any queries you may have on the contents of this letter.  If you agree with the contents I would be grateful if you would confirm agreement by signing and returning to me the enclosed copy.


Yours faithfully

MNB



Nchima Nchito

MANAGING PARTNER


I have read and understood the contents of this letter and agree to the terms contained herein.



Signed: ---------------------------------------------  Date:-------------------------------------------

Janice Walker













So excited!!!!

So I stayed up last night and called 4 Zambian lawyers! How exciting to actually talk to somebody in Africa! The first lawyer assured me he deals with adoptions but wouldn't give me any information over the phone just said he would email me. 

The next one I stayed up as late as I could because it was 8am in Lusaka and she said the lawyer was not in yet but to try in an hour. That would have been 1:45am or so and I tried to stay awake, but failed.  

I woke this morning and called back--now 4:30pm Lusaka time.  I got to speak with a gentleman that DEFINITELY knew about adoption!!! He asked me several questions like 'are you married'? 'working?' "US citizen?" etc.  Then he said he would email me a detailed list but was kind enough to give me some details:

-He said the entire process would be 3 mths TOPS! (so exciting!!!)
-He said yes the country does require a 3 mth foster period but that they have been known to waive it or let someone like our sister Tanis to foster them with provided proof of relationship to us.  He said that when adopting from an orphanage, the orphanage itself can act as the 'foster parent'.  
-He said entire cost would be about $5000 including lawyer and court fees etc. (homestudy fees and travel costs of course would be extra).
-He did stress having a letter written by the children's caregivers stating their wish to relinquish the children also stating that they have not been paid or coerced in any way.
-He said though doubtful the family has birth documents, he can access them through the department of health.

So now we'll be putting our homestudy process in high gear and then applying for the I600A document and hopefully we'll be well on our way.  If you think of us and our precious boys in Africa, please pray.  


Sunday, May 3, 2009

Getting serious.

I just got off the phone with Tanis. She was telling us her frustration with reaching attorneys that can help us find out what our process is. SOoooo while on Skype with her I googled Lusaka Zambia attorneys. Why I have never thought of that before tonight...I have no idea.  An entire list popped up that was very detailed even telling me who deals with adoptions!! So I'm waiting about an hour or so and it will be 8am in Lusaka, and I will try calling them. 

I also just got this from the Department of State's website re: Non Hague Adoption. If this looks overwhelming to you--welcome to my world. ahhhh


I'm excited to see what we find out tonight.  We are ready to get this process moving faster.  Praying the God who started this--guides us to a knowledgeable attorney that can help.


Non-Hague Adoption Process

The process for adopting a child from a non-Convention country differs in some key ways from adopting from a Convention country. To date, about 75 countries have joined the Hague Adoption Convention.  If you are adopting a child from one of the countries non-Convention country, the following general process applies to you.

Overview

The process from non-Hague countries generally involves six primary steps:

1.     Choosing a Licensed Adoption Service Provider

2.     Applying to be Found Eligible to Adopt

3.     Being Referred for a Child

4.     Adopting the Child

5.     Applying for the Child to be Found Eligible for Immigration to the United States

6.     Obtaining an Immigrant Visa for the Child


Non-Convention Process Steps

1.)  Choose an Adoption Service Provider:   

The first step in adopting a child from a non-Convention country is usually to select an agency or attorney in the United States that can help with your adoption.  At a minimum you will need the services of someone licensed or authorized to perform a homestudy for your state of residence.  
Choosing a qualified adoption service provider is a very important part of the adoption process.  Adoption service providers must be licensed by the U.S. state in which they operate.   Learn more about choosing a qualified  adoption service provider in theWorking with an Agency section of our website.


2.)  Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt:   

To adopt a child from another country and bring that child to live in the United States, you must be found eligible to adopt under U.S. law.   The Federal agency that makes this determination is U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).   You will not be allowed to bring an adopted child (or a child for which you have gained legal custody for purpose of emigration and adoption) into the United States until USCIS determines that you are able to provide a suitable and stable home for that child.    

To apply, you may choose to complete an immigration form (called I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition) and file it with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  Along with this form, you will submit a home study to USCIS that includes in depth information about your health, finances, home, background, and more.  Form I-600A should be filed if you have not yet identified a child or intend to go abroad to locate a child for adoption.

If used, the I-600A Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition should be filed with the USCIS office having jurisdiction over the adopting parents’ place of residence. The following documents must be submitted with the I-600A:

  1. Completed and signed I-600A (Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition);
  2. Proof of the prospective petitioner’s United States citizenship;
  3. Proof of the marriage of the prospective petitioner and spouse, if applicable;
  4. Proof of termination of any prior marriages of the prospective petitioner and spouse or unmarried prospective petitioner, if applicable;
  5. A “home study” completed by the appropriate State organization with a favorable recommendation (USCIS regulations include very specific instructions on the issues to be addressed in the home study, authorized providers of home studies, and the recommendations regarding suitability); and
  6. Filing fee of $670.00.

In addition, you, your spouse (if married), and each additional adult member of your household must be fingerprinted as part of the I-600A application. For adopting parents in the United States, USCIS will provide information once the I-600A is filed on being fingerprinted at local USCIS offices. For adopting parents residing overseas, adopting parents should contact the U.S. embassy or consulate with jurisdiction over their place of residence to schedule fingerprinting prior to submitting the I-600A.

 

At the time of filing the I-600A, the petitioner should request that USCIS notify the U.S. embassy or consulate in the country where they plan to process the case as soon as the I-600A is approved.  Learn more under in theEligibility to Adopt and Home Study sections of this website.


3.)  Be Referred with a Child:  

If you are eligible to adopt, you can be matched with a specific child, in accordance with the laws and regulations of the child’s country of residence regarding intercountry adoption.  The child must meet the requirements of his or her country for determining if a child is eligible for intercountry adoption.  The child must also meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. immigration law.  



4.)  Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody for Purpose of Emigration and Adoption)   

Although adoption procedures vary from country to country, most countries require that prior to any court action, a child placed for adoption be legally recognized as an orphan or, in the case where a parent is living, be legally and irrevocably released for adoption in a manner provided for under local law.  In addition, the adoption laws in most countries require the full adoption of the child in the foreign court after the child has been declared an orphan or released by the living parent to an appropriate foreign authority. Some countries do allow simple adoption, which means that the adopting parent(s) can be granted guardianship of the child by the foreign court. This may permit the child to leave the foreign country to be adopted in the United States. A few countries do allow adoptive parents to adopt through a third party without actually traveling to that country.

 

IMPORTANT: A foreign country's determination that the child is an orphan does not guarantee that the child will be considered an orphan under the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), and eligible to come to the United States to live.  Foreign country may use different legal rules to determine if a child is an orphan. Questions that involve interpretation of specific foreign laws may be addressed to competent authorities in the COO or to a foreign attorney operating in the country where the adoption will take place.

 

Some countries will require your personal appearance before their court. Sometimes, countries require a period of residence by you or your spouse (if applicable). In these cases, you may find it necessary to spend an extended period in the foreign country awaiting the completion of the foreign adoption documents.  Additionally, several countries require a post-adoption follow-up conducted by the adoption agency or the foreign country's consul in the United States.

 

To learn about the specific requirements of the non-Convention country from which you are adopting, refer to the Country Information on our website. 

 

 

5.)  Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Immigration to the United States:  

After you finalize the adoption (or gain legal custody for the …) in a non-Convention country, the 
USCIS) mustdetermine whether the child is eligible to immigrate to the United States.

Adopting parents file the I-600 petition to determine if  a specific child meets the US   “orphan” classification in the INA.  Depending on the circumstances of the case, the I-600 may be filed with the USCIS office having jurisdiction over the parents’ place of residence, or with a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or Consular Officer overseas:

  • Adopting parents currently residing overseas should file the I-600 with the overseas DHS or consular officer at the U.S. embassy or consulate with jurisdiction over their residence.
  • Adopting parents residing in the U.S. may file the I-600 with the USCIS office with jurisdiction over their place of residence, or may contact the U.S. embassy or consulate in the country in question for information on filing the I-600 overseas. Parents will be permitted to file the I-600s with DHS officers at U.S. embassies or consulates where Department of Homeland Security immigration officials are assigned. At Embassies and Consulates without DHS immigration officials, parents may generally file the I-600 only if notice of I-600A has previously been sent to the Embassy or Consulate, if the U.S. citizen petitioner is physically present before the Consular Officer, and if the petitioner does not already have an I-600 petition pending somewhere else for the same child. Parents are strongly encouraged to verify I-600 filing procedures at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate overseas prior to travel to the country in question.
  • Parents may wish to consult with adoption agencies, U.S. embassies or consulates overseas, and/or other adopting parents to determine whether they wish to file the I-600 overseas or in the United States. Processing times for I-600 petitions vary depending on where they are filed. Intent to travel to the child’s country may also affect U.S. resident parents’ decision on where to file the I-600.
  • Note that parents who have adopted abroad without first demonstrating suitability to adopt by filing an I-600A must file the I-600 petition (and accompanying suitability documents identified in Step 1) with the appropriate DHS/CIS office, not with a consular officer. Consular Officers can only accept I-600 petitions at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad when they have been notified that an I-600A for a family has already been approved.

I-600 petitions should only be filed for children who fit the criteria, if any, identified in the parents’ I-600A approval (e.g. if adoptive parents have been approved to adopt one child, they should not file I-600s for two children).

The following documentation must be presented in order for an I-600 petition to be approved:

  1. Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative;
  2. Child’s birth certificate;
  3. A final decree of adoption, if the orphan has been adopted abroad, or proof of legal custody for purposes of emigration and adoption;
  4. Proof of “orphan” status per definition above (ex. evidence of abandonment, written relinquishment, death certificates, etc. depending on the circumstances);
  5. Proof that the pre-adoption requirements, if any, of the state of the orphan’s proposed residence have been met, if the orphan is to be adopted in the United States; and
  6. Proof that adopting parents have seen the child prior to or during adoption proceedings.

If an I-600A has already been approved, the adopting parent may file an I-600 for one child without any additional fee. However, if parents are adopting two or more biologically unrelated children, there will be a $670.00 fee for the second child (this fee is waived for siblings).

Parents should note that documentary requirements for filing the I-600 petition are somewhat different, depending on whether the petition is filed with USCIS or the Consular Officer.  USCIS officers may generally initially accept an I-600 with only the child’s birth certificate, and, if not previously provided with the I-600A, proof of marriage of the petitioner (if applicable).  USCIS also permits a petitioner to submit copies of some documents in lieu of originals.  Form I-600 petitions filed with Consular Officers, however, must have all required documentation at the time of filing, and such documentation must be submitted as originals.

As part of the decision to approve an I-600 and immigrant visa, the DHS Officer or Consular Officer will carefully review information about the orphan and his or her personal situation. This review is documented by the DHS Officer or Consular Officer on an I-604 Orphan Investigation form. To protect adopting parents, the child, and biological parents, any indication or allegation of fraud, child buying or other inappropriate practices will be investigated as part of the I-604 review (or at any time that such concerns arise prior to visa issuance). While the I-604 review for most cases will consist of an analysis of available documents, some cases will require additional interviews, documentation or a field investigation, all of which may result in delayed processing on the case.



6.)  Obtain an Immigrant Visa for the Child:   

Once USCIS or the consulate has approved the eligibility of the child for adoption, apply for an immigrant visa at the U.S. Embassy. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you.  As part of this process, the Consular Officer must review the Panel Physician’s medical report on the child.  

Be aware that the adoption of a foreign-born orphan does not automatically guarantee the child’s ability to immigrate to the United States.  An orphan cannot legally immigrate to the United States without USCIS processing.

Age Limits - There are age limits on eligibility for adoptions and immigration, regardless of whether or not your state laws permit the adoption of older children (or adults).  U.S. law allows the adoption and immigration of children who are under 16 years of age, with two exceptions:

  • Biological siblings of a child adopted by the same parents may be adopted if under 18 years of age; and
  • Orphans over the age of 16 may be adopted as long as the I-600 petition was filed on their behalf before their 16th birthday (or before their 18th birthday in the case of an orphan who is the sibling of a child adopted or coming to be adopted by the same parents).

If all the documentation for the orphan is in order and there are no legal bars to visa issuance, the orphan will be provided with an immigrant visa consisting of a packet of supporting documentation and either a cover sheet or visa placed in the child’s passport. Both should be hand-carried with the child (not packed in luggage) when they travel to the U.S. and should be presented to the immigration inspectors at the port of entry. Do not open the envelope of supporting documents.

The immigrant visa is valid for 180 days from the date of issuance, which means that adopting children have 180 days to use the immigrant visa to travel to the United States.

Orphans are issued IR-3 or IR-4 visas:

  • IR-3 visas are for orphans who had a full and final adoption overseas by both adopting parents, when both parents physically saw the child prior to or during local adoption proceedings and where the state where they reside does not require re-adoption in the U.S.
  • IR-4 visas are for orphans whose prospective adopting parents’ have legal custody for purposes of emigration and adoption and who have satisfied any applicable state pre-adoption requirements or for orphans who had a full and final adoption overseas, but whose parents did not see the child prior to or during the local adoption proceedings.