Wednesday, July 10, 2013

This. Is. Africa.

TIA, I learned today. This. Is. Africa! :) Asking why here solicits this answer!

Court went well. I felt confident and nervous, but Danny and my lawyer Victoria said I did good! 

Many people have asked, now that court is over, when are we coming home?!  I wish I knew!! 

Here's a brief synopsis of what the Ugandan adoption timeline includes in the order it is supposed to happen as I understand it. Think general. Items are subject to change on a moments notice, and you may wait an extra day, or week. TIA. 

Court date- a general date when you may or may not be seen by the judge. If he has too many cases, you may get bumped until tomorrow. Or next week. The case number assigned to you does not mean a thing. TIA. 

Meeting/picking up your child- this generally happens as soon as you are in country, which is usually scheduled for about a week before your court date.

Blue Form at Embassy- this is an excuse to introduce yourself to the Embassy and its your 'ticket' to a medical appointment. You NEED the blue form to get an appointment at IOM. 

Medical appointment- (IOM) your child needs a physical and TB test for the Visa appointment (last step). This should happen as soon as possible. However, they only see certain ages on certain days, so you must coordinate accordingly. And wait there for your turn for the 8am appointment they have given to five other families as well. The number they give you when you check in, it's just a number on a piece of paper people. I had number 5. 11, 12, and 13 were called before us. TIA. 

Court hearing- you need to have a hearing before the judge to get the actual ruling for legal guardianship. The basics of court are to present the orphan's case. Witnesses and current guardians are questioned under oath to make sure the child is actually an orphan and thorough investigations have been completed. The potential parent(s) can also be questioned. Some questions he may ask are why Uganda? Why adoption? What is your money source besides your work? Why do you live alone? Do you have a dog?  TIA. 

Legal Guardianship- I have Imani with me now, but I do not have 'custody' of her yet. We petitioned for that yesterday at court. So I guess you could say I'm parenting her, but essentially I'm just a nanny in the eyes of the law here. TIA. 

Verbal ruling/written ruling- yes, there are two. You get the verbal first after about a week usually, basically the judge has drafted the order and made his decision. If you get a yes ruling, your lawyer can ask for an order to start the passport process at this point, instead of waiting for the carefully proofread written ruling, which could take another week. Or two. TIA. 

Passport process- your child needs a passport to travel. In order to issue a passport, the passport office needs to know the child's legal guardian. Also, the passport office is busy. I'm not sure of the actual process that happens behind closed passport office doors, but I basically paid a professional waiter to go to the passport office everyday until Imani's is complete. He's simply a gentle reminder that he's waiting for a passport. TIA. 

Visa appointment- This happens at the embassy and is the appointment that brings it all together and is our ticket to leave the country with Imani! All the very important paperwork (copy of dossier, 3 years tax returns, DS-1981, DS-230, I-600, and I-864) that Danny and I have been keeping close to our person AT ALL TIMES, along with the IOM medical file, court ruling, guardianship order, irrevocable release from previous guardian, orphan file, passport, and a fee, gets me an appointment to get a Visa. The appointment can only happen on a Monday or Wednesday and there are only so many time slots. It may be the day you get everything. Or 2 days later. Or a week. But they tell me the appointment lasts an hour and you can usually get the Visa issued within 48 hours. But, this is Africa, so don't hold your breath :)

So when you ask me (or Danny) when we are coming home, and we don't have a concrete answer, this is why. Because this is Africa people. This. Is. Africa! :)

1 comment:

Kate said...

Reading every word and hoping for speedy, kind, and efficient African adoption helpers. Hey, we can hope, right?

What about the arm? What did I miss?