If you are considering a Japan Adoption, here is a good breakdown of events. It is a giant wait, with many tasks to be completed along the way. All those said tasks make it the best example of active waiting. The whole process is involved which means that there is little idle time.
This is a sidetone, but as you wait, I would suggest finding little ways to connect to your baby even in the beginning. My mom thoughtfully stamped the Tokyo coordinates into a copper plate and strung it on a strip of leather. I paired that bracelet with my beautiful Frankie watch by JORD, that was set to Tokyo time, every morning. It was a subtle [and stylish] way to stay connected to my mystery baby at the time. Those pieces made a world of difference [pun intended], because it tied my heart to Tokyo from the start. It's the little things you know!?
Back on topic... We have been home from Japan for 3 months now, so I am going to be as detailed as I possibly can on how each piece of the puzzle works and how long it took for our family to adopt - please understand that every adoption and timeframe is different.
Faith International prepared us with an adoption wait that could span between 12-24 months. They informed us that some are shorter and some take longer, it just depends. For our family, it only took a short 10 months!
Disclaimer : As I stated above, I will be detailed about our timeframe, but note that every adoption story is different and have completely different timeframes.
A P P L I C A T I O N T O A G E N C Y - 2 W E E K S
The very beginning step was our application to Faith International. We sent off our application at the beginning of November 2016. The application didn't take long to complete. In addition to the application they also required photos. I don't ever really print off pictures, so we included some of our Chatbooks. I live my life pretty daily on Instagram so they were a fun way to show a slice of candid life. I think I sent in 2 or 3 booklets with my application. I used to scrapbook, but children happened, and well...these are a thoughtless auto shipped wonderment in my life!
The application deliberation process was pretty quick. They reviewed our application within a week's time and we had our approval to move forward with the agency. Upon approval, a chunky check of $8,750 was due. Before sending the first big check, I had to do a bit of vetting before I felt comfortable to move forward. I took out my FBI hat and went to work. I found several people that had previously adopted successfully with Faith and had rave reviews. After their good word, we decided to move forward.
To make that process a bit easier on you, at the bottom of this post is a list of personal resources that have decided to make themselves available to you as you prepare to navigate your Japan adoption. Feel free to reach out to them with any questions you may have!
E D U C A T I O N , B A C K G R O U N D C H E C K & H O M E S T U D Y - 4 . 5 M O N T H S
This process is the most involved piece of the puzzle, so just prepare to leave no stone of your life unturned.
We reside in Texas and used Little Miracles to conduct our home study. Before conducting our home study, Texas requires adoption education & a background check to be completed. We were required to take 5 courses. Those courses were done online through Adoption Learning Partners and totaled $149.00 for the package. We took the following classes within a 2 week period:
1 Adopting The Older Child
2 Conspicuous Families
3 Finding The Missing Pieces
4 Medical Issues in International Adoption
5 The Journey of Attachment
These classes could be taken faster, but I wanted to internalize and not rush through the material. Of the required courses, 2-5 were most applicable and valuable to a Japan adoption!
While we were completing the education, we were also doing our end of the background check. Our end was coordinating our digital fingerprinting, medical exams, and compiling documents.
We began our home study process in January right after the holidays and that included a very thorough home visit that lasted about 6 hours. It is invasive, and meant to be, and leaves nothing hidden. Your family bares all, and it is in the best interest of the whole process. During that visit, there was also some one-on-one education involved and it was a great experience.
Our home study was complete and active on April 10th.
* Now that our home study was completed, we could now push forward and apply for adoption grants. That will be an entire post of its own at a later date.
B I O M E T R I C F I N G E R P R I N T I N G - 2 M O N T H S
After your homestudy is complete, the next process is biometric fingerprinting. The approval of this process puts you on the official wait list and thus you get your beloved number in line! Faith International will prompt communication with DHS USCIS and thus you will be given an appointment date and location to report to. Our biometric fingerprinting appointment was set for May 25, 2017 in Houston. We were approved on July 4, 2017 which means we had a 40 day wait time for this approval.
On July 4th, we were given our spot in line - #9 on the wait list
At this point, all our tasks were finally completed and our next job was to wait. We went from #9 to #1 in 51 days. We went through a notably faster timeline because there were an unusual amount of US bound babies all at one time. It was a record breaking amount of babies that pushed through the agency all at once and we unapologetically benefited from this little baby boom! We got our referral on August 24th at 10:15am. Our appointment at the embassy was schedule incredibly fast and we flew out of Dallas on August 27th, 3 short days later. Your referral comes with a good number of photos, medical report, social report of the birth family, and family registry (the equivalent to a birth certificate).
W E G O T A B A B Y
As I said above, we flew out on August 27th and we were united with our babe on August 29th at 10am. The video below is our sweet first moments!
If you have any questions concerning any details in the process please don't hesitate to reach out. I have also included some other contacts below that you are welcome to touch base with as you look toward a Japan adoption! Best of luck and we are So very excited for your family's journey ahead!
O F F I C I A L A D O P T I O N - C O U R T
We found our wonderful attorney Eric Freeby with Brown Pruitt Wambsganss Ferrill & Dean, P.C. that offices out of Ft. Worth in Texas. Eric Freeby specializes in domestic & international adoption and he finalized our adoption in incredible timing! 1.5 month after being home, our son was our son on paper, not just in our hearts. Of course he would only be able to work Texas cases, but your social worker should be able to connect you with attorneys that have a good record.
P E R S O N A L R E S O U R C E S :
If, after your research, you are still interested in adopting from Japan through Faith International, then Kelsey is your girl. She runs point on all Japan adoptions and is kind, and incredibly timely in her correspondence. She took such great care of our family (and many others) as we navigated our adoption, and always made herself available during our process.
1105 Tacoma Ave. S., Tacoma, WA 98402
Monday – Friday, 8:30AM – 5:00PM
Phone (253) 383.1928