For the past couple weeks I have been talking about the ups and downs of the CI (or Certificado de Idoniedad) process. I have also had a couple of comments from readers, also doing their CI, who, like me, believe that at the end of the day, it's a matter of saying what the ICIF (Institución Colaboradora para la Integración Familiar) social workers want to hear.
Of course, knowing the ‘right’ answers from day one is difficult, and I have heard that the ‘criteria’ varies from ICIF to ICIF. Which is why (and I repeat) knowledge is your greatest power. Join forums, try and keep in touch with others who formed part of the group at your initiation session (they will be seeing the same social workers as you, just not in the same order) and dig around for tips and insider information. By scouring the internet, I actually found a report written by a senior ICIF social worker on the qualities she was looking for in a CI applicant—bingo!
Looking back, I can’t say I was really all that worried about not ‘passing’ my CI and knew that if I was denied, I could appeal (although this is a costly and time consuming option). I finished my last interview and although I had to ask straight out, my main social worker said that she was going to ‘recommend’ me for a CI. (Whilst your ICIF team makes a favourable—or non—report about you, it’s ultimately up to the committee at the Generalitat’s L'Institut Català de l'Acolliment i de l'Adopció to grant you a CI, based on their final report).
I left the last meeting walking on sunshine, and couldn’t wait to ring my best friends and let them know. I was confident that the committee at the ICAA wouldn’t out forward any objections to my case—and started to make plans, at last!
This was late June. Calculating that it would take about six weeks for my ‘resolution’ (or actual CI certificate) to get to me in the mail meant that I could go to West Africa and visit my little girl during the August holidays. Whilst I was there, I could deliver my CI and all the other relevant papers to my lawyer and finally get the ball rolling for my adoption case to go to court (international adoptions are a judicial matter in the country I am adopting from).
But before that there was a lot to do; legal translations (more on those in another post), an airfare to Africa (for a good price—in August!) booster shots, a visa etc.
But my skates were on and all was going smoothly. Then, about four weeks later, I got a call from the receptionist at my ICIF. She asked me to come in for an ‘extra’ meeting. Her reasons were vague but in my shell-shocked state I managed to decipher something about the ICAA committee not being ‘clear’ about my case. My heat sank, along with my dream of spending summer with my daughter, or perhaps any summer at all.