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April 1996 - Perserverance Is The Key
Russian Adoption Experience
We're really starting to roll. (By the way, it really helps to work for people that are understanding) My husband and I were able to juggle work with all the running around we had to do.
Anyway, back to the story. We completed the questionnaire, sent them to the agency and sent the references (FEDEX) to our friends. My husband drove to the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) to obtain the forms necessary for Immigration approval. FYI- The INS in Newark, NJ has posted hours of operation but they usually close early (because they are very busy?). The first two days Guy went to the INS they closed early so he finally pushed his way in on a day they closed at 1 o'clock. He went through all of this just to pick up the forms (I understand that Childrens Adoption Network can obtain these forms now). We completed the I600 (preapproval form) and sent them in with the fingerprints. Our local police department did the fingerprint forms for us.
We then asked the agency for a video of the child (we also asked for the video on two other children - mainly for comparison). We received the video two days later. We were informed by the agency that Dana Johnson at the International Adoption Clinic reviews these videos and provides his professional opinion as to the childs condition. Dana Johnson is an excellent resource on Russian children and adoptions. WHAT A WONDERFUL ORGANIZATION TO WORK WITH. I Federal Expressed the video to Dana and received a call back the following week. He explained that he felt that Vladamir was a pretty healthy child.
Now it was time to start the Homestudy. A Social Worker by the name of Nadine called us and made arrangements to come to our home the following Sunday afternoon. She spent 2 hours with us interviewing us as a family and individually (even Guy-Michael and Jennifer). She took some notes and said she would like to come back the next Sunday to finish up. We met for another hour the next Sunday and two weeks (and $600) later we had a completed (approved) homestudy. Our agency had informed us that the state fingerprints had come back approved but we were still waiting for the federal fingerprints and the child abuse (DYFS) approval. The agency told me the federal fingerprints could take four months to get back and that there was nothing they could do to find out the status or push it along.
Children's Adoption Network was fairly new and still learning so they were unable to assist us as much as we would have liked. Always be prepared to push it along yourself. Children's Adoption Network is no longer in business .
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Christopher Thomas's Story(last updated January 6, 1998)
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