Day 13 – Court Assignment

While we waited for the news about our court assignment today, we decided to spend some time in the hotel pool. The boys needed to expend some energy and the sun was shining, so…..IT WAS COLD!!! Of course that didn’t stop them. It just took daddy awhile to get in the water so that Cameron could “swim” in the deep water. The things I do….=)

After lunch and naps we got a phone call that Magnolia was waiting in the lobby for us. We met her and our lawyer, Mrs. Trudy, on the porch of the hotel. They were so excited about our court assignment!

For those of you that don’t know the process, here is the basic run down of what takes place with an ICBF adoption here in Cali, Colombia region:

  1. Adopting parents arrive in Colombia
  2. Usually on Tuesdays, the ICBF will make an appointment for the presentation
  3. The adopting family goes to the presentation appointment. They are given the history of the child, their routines, and any other important information that the adoption parents need to know.
  4. The child and parents are united and a date is set (usually the following Monday) for the integration meeting.
  5. The adopting family and the new child spend the next week bonding.
  6. At some point during the week a letter giving the lawyer permission to work your case has to be notarized by the public notary.
  7. After the week of bonding, the integration meeting is attended by the adopting parents and the child. In this meeting the psychologist asks a lot of questions about how the parents and child are doing. At the end of the meeting you sign the document stating that the ICBF of Colombia believes that the adoption is a good match and that the courts should finalize the adoption in the best interest of the child.
  8. The next day, the paperwork is submitted to the family court system and a court is assigned. This is a very important step since there are 11 possible courts that the case could be assigned too. Each court has its own personality and in our case the lawyer and our interpreter both wanted either court 3 or court 11.
  9. Once assigned to a court….you wait. Could be 2 weeks, might be 4 weeks. You just never know and in some cases it can be even longer. Everything affects the length of time that it takes to process the documents. Holidays, vacation days, and strikes can all play a role is this waiting game. There is nothing else to do but to enjoy the city, or in some cases travel to other destinations within Colombia. You just can’t leave the country.
  10. Finally the day will come when you will get the call that the adoption is ready to be finalized. You go to the family court building, sign what is called the sentencia, and at that point, the adoption is complete. The child now legally belongs to the adopting parents according to the laws of the Hague Convention.
  11. Once the sentencia is signed, the lawyer takes a copy to the original birth city of the child to get copies of the original birth certificate and to have new birth certificates created. Normally, this takes place the next day.
  12. Once the birth certificates are in hand, the adopting family can travel to Bogota to finish the immigration process. Travel plans are made and the flight is scheduled.
  13. Once in Bogota, the first order of business is the child’s Colombian passport. This takes the first day to secure.
  14. The next day, you can go to the USA Embassy to submit the paperwork for the adoption visa.
  15. It may take a day or two for the visa to be completed. Once done, the adopting family goes to the Embassy to get the adopted child’s visa.
  16. Now it is time to go home. Because you have to purchase a round trip ticket, your departure date is normal weeks away, or I guess in some cases, already passed. You have to go to the airline office and negotiate the change to your tickets and purchase a ticket for the new child.
  17. Finally, you fly home and face immigration on the USA side. This can take a couple of hours depending on the number of people.

So, there you have it. Nice, huh?

Prayer Requests:

  • Continue to pray for our bonding with Cooper. Things are going well, but we are still working with a bit of a language barrier.
  • Pray that Cameron continues to get better.
  • Pray that our paperwork gets approved and everything moves quickly in the court system.

So, did I mention that we got court 11? =) We celebrated with ice cream at Ventolini!