At our first court date on February 22nd, the Judge said to our Guardian Ad Litem that she had 45 days to file her report. I am told the ruling is the same for the Children's Department.
On March 12th, we had our interview with the Children's Department. The department office space was certainly not what you would expect. Long, dark, narrow hallway, lined with closed doors.
|Looking down the hallway towards the entrance.|
We quietly wandered down the hallway, feeling completely out of place, glancing at every door as we passed, looking for any sign that may indicate where we were supposed to be. We were in complete awe that this was the very place the NAC holds their meetings, and where we received our approval so many months before. The place that we often tried to envision during our long wait.
One door is labeled 'Children Officer'. We passed by it, walked to the end and returned upon realizing that this was our best bet. We knocked and slowly opened the door, peering in. 4 people glanced up from their desks, further making us feel out of place. We asked them if they could tell where we were supposed to be. 'Do you know who your interview is with?', one of the women asked. We hadn't the faintest idea. We were simply given a time and the name of the building.
She escorted us down the hallway, to an unmarked room and poked her head in, asking the woman inside if she was expecting us. Indeed she was.
The room was furnished with a large conference table, surrounded by chairs. The interview lasted about 1.5 hours. Questions that would basically summarize our homestudy. Finances, house description, religion, the interracial family factor, our family's involvement with the process and how they support us (seemed to be large focus on this - if at all possible, they really want to see family coming to visit you here.) etc. I would say the largest focus was on family, we had to write our siblings names down, their marital status, how many children, what they did for a living, etc.
And last but not least - the one question that was not on her list, but has every social worker etc. pondering about us. "Why would you want to adopt when have biological children?? Is it really true that you have no medical condition limiting your fertility?" As in disbelief of the accuracy of the reports.
We explained our desire to give a child a family... etc (You've all heard it here before!), and then she told us that she remembered our dossier from the NAC meet when we were deferred back in May 2012. Apparently, we had them all confused as to why we are adopting when we can easily have biological children. I believe this made them a bit suspicious of our intentions. She said they debated back and forth as to whether our children were old enough to fully understand the adoption and rights of the adopted child is the same as their own. She said the legal age to consent is 16, but they thought it would be best to have our children sign a legal consent. Which now makes sense to us why they had us take our children down to the lawyers office back in Canada to sign that they consented the adoption before we could resubmit our dossier! It seemed so silly... well, actually, it still does, but at least we now know the basis of the decision.
We left there with a date for our homevisit for the the 21st. The home visit was really quite quick, just a quick walk through of the house.
We were hoping that she would submit her report the following week, or even the week after that.
It is now 51 days - if the 45 day requirement is indeed true, they are late. The problem with this, is that the report needs to be filed before we can file for our next court date... which is only our second court date. The third court date is the ruling, and is typically at least 4 weeks after the second. We are hoping that the reports are filed this Monday and we can get our next court date on the 26th, putting our ruling at the end of May, and our departure time around the end of June. (It takes about 4 weeks to get the adoption order, passport and visa for Z.)
So now, you know why I am starting to stress. Next week we will have been here 6 months. Our visas will be expiring. A 3 month renewal (which, as we find out, actually doesn't yet 'exist' in the alien system here) - is a whooping $220 per person!! $880 that we certainly did not budget for as we were told the visa would be a simple renewal. More time here, simply means more $. Ugh.
Finally, it is only now that I am starting to feel like I could go home. Not because of my frustrations, or anything about the process... but perhaps of timing, and likely combined with the feeling that I have almost seen and experienced everything that I have set out to do. 2 months ago, the thought of leaving here made my heart sink, and now I am simply ready to sink my teeth into a good old fashioned Big Mac - yep, it's true... and something you will NEVER hear me say again. ;)