Well, having gotten over the excitement of my adoption ‘passing court’, the next step is actually getting her over here. In many ways, I feel like I have given birth to a whole lot of paperwork.
My next few posts will deal with this, and whilst it will only be of real help to those who have decided to take the ‘independent adoption’ road (i.e. not with an agency who would be handling all this for you), I think it would be pretty much the same scenario in whichever country you might have plans to adopt from.
Unless you have the time and flexibility to travel and do it all yourself—a process that could take months—you will need to appoint an ‘agent’ to do all the work for you. In my case he’s a contact of contacts made when I spent time volunteering at my daughter’s orphanage. I haven’t actually met him, but I know he has done the post-adoption paperwork for other adoptive parents and knows the ropes. I think most orphanages would have someone on hand to do this, for a fee of course. And you WILL need a fixer on the ground; I can’t imagine it ever being possible to do this by remote in a developing country.
So the first thing I did was contact him by phone, followed by an email spelling out exactly what I needed doing, stating my fee (not a huge sum, but substantial) and what I was prepared to pay for expenses. Given the fluctuating euro, I gave him a figure in that currency (and not his own) to cover myself. I also said that I would pay 30 percent up front and the rest when the paperwork was finished (in this case her passport, at which point I will travel down and take over). I was advised that the bigger the final carrot, the more chance he would do it as quickly as possible.
He has agreed to my proposal and I will be transferring my first payment to his bank account tomorrow. The first thing he needs to do is pick up a copy of the adoption decree from my lawyer and with it apply for her new birth certificate, which will have my surname on it.
I think the scariest thing in all this is trusting him with the original adoption decree papers. I envisage them bouncing along with him on crowded mini buses to a chaotic, traffic-paralysed city, then back again to his rudimentary home in his village far away. If the original were ever lost, heaven knows how long it would take to get a replacement, and it could even make the decree void. I expect numerous other setbacks and possibly a bit of bribe paying to officials along the way. But like everything else in the adoption journey, you just gotta have faith.