Growing up in Boston, it's hard to not become superstitious. Back there, people actually believe that if you wear the right shirt, hat, or unmentionable after your team's win... they'll win again. How do you think the Patriots have won so many games in a row and the Red Sox won the World Series?
If it works in sports, it must work in adoption, right?
Well, one Mom recently published a post spelling out the court process for Taiwan adoption. Hours later... she had a final decree. Could it be that we have different judges? Probably. But I choose to think if I post the process, we too will be getting good news SOON. (stop laughing people, it could happen!)
Here's the court process in a not-so-small nutshell.
1. District Court Process-a. The family court office reviews the case/petition and a Judge is assigned to the case. b. Judge reviews and considers the case and schedules a "hearing". Hearings are handled differently depending on the birth family's situation, the judge's schedule, persons representing the birth family and those representing the adoptive family. The time involved in getting a hearing scheduled depends on the judge's calendar/schedule and that of everyone else required to attend. Hearings can result in--The immediate decision to finalize the adoption (though this is rarely the case) or - Result in the judge's request for more information (in one case we saw the judge request additional counseling for the birthmother and he scheduled a follow-up hearing. A(gain, this is rare).
**note - we have not gotten word that we've even accomplished this so far.
Most often, the hearing just provides a judge with more information about the case and allows him/her to rule on the adoption with confidence. Most often, the judge's decision (final ruling) happens weeks or even as long as months after the hearing. The responsibility of the District Court is to make sure that every issue related to the best interest of the child has been considered. Though lengthy and frustrating at times, the District Court process protects the child, the birth parent, the organization caring for the child, AND in the end protects us as adoptive parents. When the District Court decisions have been made, adoptive families can be confident that the process was handled with consideration and in the best interest ofthe child. 2-4 MONTHS
2. Part I of Final Decree(first decree). Once the District Court hearing has been completed and the judge has had time to make a decision to finalize the adoption, he/she issues the first part of the Final Decree. This is a short statement signed by the judge that is forwarded to the parties involved (social services organization on behalf of the adoptive family and the birth family) notifying everyone of his/her decision to finalize the adoption. This first part of the Final Decree must go to each party and there is a waiting period of 10 days before any more can happen to ensure that everyone has been notified of the judge's decision. 2-4 WEEKS.
3. Part II of Final Decree. Once the 10 day waiting period is up (and the court staff finds time!), the second part of the Final Decree is forwarded to all parties. When the second part of the decree is received by your child's social service organization, the court process is DONE!
4. Household registration change and immigration requirements. Before adoptive family travels, a lot must be accomplished by the child's social service organization. All court documents and background info on the child must be officially translated to English and submitted with certain paperwork to AIT. Also, the child must have his/her Visa medical exam which is forwarded directly (unopened) to AIT's immigrant visa office. At some point the child's guardian must file for a household registration change. The household registration is a file located at local government offices in Taiwan that contains certificates and information about each person in Taiwan. Your child's household registration is attached to his/her guardian's file until the adoption has been finalized by the Taiwan courts. Once the child has been legally adopted in Taiwan, the guardian files with the government office to remove the file from theirs and create a new file showing that the adoptive parent(s) are the new legal guardians'.The household registration change takes a day or two or a week depending on the placing organization and the local government office. 2-4 WEEKS.
5. New family receives a travel date. Each organization in Taiwan is different in when and how they schedule a travel date. Some wait until all of the above paperwork is filed and then give the family notice to travel quickly. Some schedule the travel in advance, while they work at preparing the above documents, giving a couple of weeks notice before travel.