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Friday, March 26, 2010

5) Timeline

OK, so there's a timeline in theory and there's a timeline in practice. You won't be surprised to know that sometimes in reality things go much slower than what's been promised by the agencies involved.

On the other hand, you will be frequently surprised by how some things go far quicker than you imagined or were led to believe. Like Einstein said, when you're canoodling with your girlfriend, hours go by like seconds and when your pants are on fire, ten seconds can seem like ten hours.

So yes, there's waiting involved in this process. How much you wait depends somewhat on how on-the-ball you and your RIPA are, but largely on the unique circumstances surrounding your adoption and your luck.

Our personal waiting experience at various junctures in the process was as follows:

(*Note*: These were sequential events, each dependent on the previous step - no two steps could be done in parallel)

1. From submitting our documents to our EFAA to receiving our completed HSR: ~ 2 months (depends on how busy your EFAA is)

2. From registering with multiple RIPAs to our first being offered a child by a RIPA: ~ 1 week (unusually quick - I attribute this purely to luck)

3. From accepting the child to completion of our final adoption dossier: ~ 3 months (unusually long - we spent a long time waiting for our EFAA's license to be renewed by CARA)

4. From submission of our dossier to CARA to receiving our NOC: ~ 1 month (CARA claims they won't take more than 15 days)

5. From receiving the NOC to filing the adoption petition in court: ~ 2 weeks (depends on how busy and responsive your RIPA's lawyer is)

6. From filing the petition to our (one and only) adoption hearing: Just over 1 month (depends on the court calendar and the availability of the judge - mid-year and year-end holidays can stretch this)

7. From the court hearing to receiving the court order allowing the adoption: ~ 10 days (depends on how resourceful your lawyer is with the court clerks to expedite things)

8. Registration of adoption deed and getting our child's birth certificate: ~ 1 week (more or less predictable - involves local municipal bodies, so you may have to grease some palms here)

9. Getting our child's passport: ~ 10 days (more or less predictable)

Most RIPAs will tell you the waiting period for a child (item 2 above) is a minimum of 1 year and that there's a long queue of parents waiting. They will also tell you that as NRIs, you get 2nd priority after domestic parents - which is true in theory. In reality though, if the RIPA thinks they have a perfect match between you and a child, the queue counts for nothing. So don't be discouraged by tough talk from mean (but gold-hearted) social workers in your RIPA.

All in all, our entire journey - from first applying for an HSR to being back in our host country with our adopted child took exactly 1 year. We were lucky in being matched with a child very quickly. We were unlucky at other times - for instance, unfortunately, just as we began, our EFAA's license expired and the wait for our EFAA's license to be renewed by CARA seemed to take forever.

For what it is worth, the official timeline for inter-country adoptions is published on the CARA website. Take a look at it here. (but don't believe it)

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