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Our Thailand Adoption Journey

Jo, Juan, and Bridger

Welcome to our journey to adopt our new little one from Thailand!

How it all started…

I can’t say that we woke up one morning and decided “Hey, lets adopt from Thailand!” It was a long journey that took over 5 years to get where we are. We did in-vitro to have our son, Bridger. But my body hated being pregnant. I had sever antepartum depression (depression while pregnant), gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia.

Initially we were planning to do another round of in-vitro to get #2. We started the process twice and both times I had health issues pop up that weren’t major, but big enough that we couldn’t proceed with the in-vitro. We took the hint and looked at other options…

Juan, and I finally settled on growing our family through international adoption (something I had always wanted to do), but we still spent MONTHS pouring over the different countries and their requirements before we settled on Thailand. Ok… I spent months pouring over the different countries and their requirements and then would give Juan a brief overview of the ones that fit us the best. 🙂 In the end, I felt that Thailand was where God had our new son or daughter waiting for us.

July 2019 – We get the process rolling with the home study.

In June I connected with the people at Heartsent Adoptions based out of California about the process to adopt from Thailand. They have been wonderful to work with and quick to answer all of my questions. But they couldn’t do the home study since we are in Nevada. Premier Adoptions is the only agency that can do an international home study in the state of Nevada. A piece of advice – Get the list of country specific required documents when you are starting the home study because the requirements for the home study and the country specific ones will be almost identical, BUT the country specific ones have to be notarized. We ended up have to do everything twice because Heartsent gave us the country specific required documents after we completed the home study… what a headache!

October 2019 – I800-A form

The home study is complete and Premier has submitted it to Heartsent. Hooray!! It has been such a relief to have the first big hurdle (the home study) complete! Heartsent now submits the required paperwork for our I800-A form! We are told this takes about 3 months to receive. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) part of our government uses this form to determine if we are “eligible and suitable” to adopt a child from a Hague country.

October 28 – A surprise arrives in the mail

On Monday, Juan and I both received a letter from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) informing us that we had an appointment that Thursday, October 31 (Yes, on Halloween!) at 8:00AM at the USCIS office in Reno, NV (3.5 hrs away from our home in Battle Mountain) to have our biometrics done. What?! Where did this come from!? And what are biometrics? We both agreed there was no way we could go on such short notice… our mistake! The next day I called the number listed at the bottom of the form and heard an automated voice tell me “your wait time is approximately 700 minutes.” I opted for the call back option and was careful to keep my phone on me all day and to make sure that I could hear it. At about 4:00 I received the long awaited call back. The person I talked to was very friendly. I had a good laugh when he told me that there had to be a closer USCIS office… and then came back on the phone to say that in fact there was NOT a closer office. Yep, we live in the sticks. But he also told me that he was unable to change our appointments from his end. We had to mark the box on the form requesting a new appointment. It took SIX weeks to receive that new appointment! Ugh!!

December 10 – USCIS Biometrics Appointment

On Saturday we received our new appointment with the USCIS… for that Tuesday. We had already agreed that no matter what the date for this new appointment was, that we were going to make it work. So we did! On Tuesday we drove 3.5 hrs to Reno. In the USCIS office they took our pictures and finger printed us. Half an hour and we were on the road home.

Woohoo – All documents completed!

Today, December 20, 2019 (Bridges’s birthday) we went to the sheriff’s office to have our final documents done. They ran the local background check and signed and notarized the paper stating that we aren’t criminals. It was the last document on the list to complete! Woohoo! Now to send those to Heartsent. And as soon as Heartsent receives the I800-A form, then everything can be sent to Thailand to be translated and submitted to the board of the adoption agency! We are moving along!

Merry Christmas!

A Minor Setback

Our adoption agency (Heartsent) received a letter from the USCIS stating that our home study was lacking information about how we, the adoptive parents, would be able to handle a special needs child (all children who have lived in an orphanage setting are considered special needs) and it lacked specifics about where the child will be living (essentially what their room is like). So I supplied the information to the lady who wrote our home study and she is updating it with the requested information. I had to laugh at the part about us not having provided information on how we are able to support a special needs child. After all… as an elementary school counselor I’ve had just a little training in that area 🙂

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