Colombia Approves Adoption Dossier

Preparations continue as we work to bring him home

By Alan M. Murray

Today our Colombia Adoption Dossier was approved! This comprehensive collection of nearly 30 documents including birth certificates, employment letters, name verification letters, and psychological evaluation reports, has taken almost a month to translate, review, and approve.

Meanwhile, we’ve been busy.

As a journalist I have photographed many people receiving vaccines or donating blood. It was a new experience being on the other side of the camera. (Photo by Clarissa Murray)

Travel Vaccines

On February 12 we met with Amy Valle at Mainline Health’s Occupational and Travel Health center in Exton, Pa. She reviewed our vaccination history and assessed the specific areas in Colombia where we’ll be spending most of our time. She then administered the first of three required vaccines – Hepatitis A, which made my right arm feel like it was going to fall off and cost way more than a little vial of liquid has a right to cost.

She then gave us refrigerated pouches filled with Typhoid vaccine ($125.00 each), which we took the following week over several days. By the last day, I was so fatigued that I walked around as if in a trance. And Friday we’re very excited to go to Penn Medicine in Radnor, Pa to be injected with the hotly sought-after, costly, Yellow Fever vaccine (there’s a shortage).

So far the Typhoid vaccine has been the worst. After taking tablets every other day for a week I was exhausted. (Photo by Alan M. Murray)

Book Reports

The Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption requires potential adoptive parents to complete at least 12 hours (Colombia requires 15) of parent preparation and education by attending seminars, webinars, and workshops. While we had previously completed this training almost a year ago, Madison Adoption Associates asks each parent to go the extra mile by completing three book reports designed to help us prepare for parenthood and equip us with information and resources to assist children who have come from traumatic situations.

We’ve been reading:

Creating Loving Attachments by Kim S. Golding and Daniel A. Hughes

The Connected Child by Karyn B. Purvis, David R. Cross, and Wendy Lyons Sunshine

Parenting the Hurt Child by Gregory C. Keck and Regina M. Kupecky

I found some old baseball cards that I collected when I was a teenager and used them to design these family cards. We included a photo of each person with some interesting information about them on the back of each card. (Photo by Alan M. Murray)

A Special Gift

Colombia asks that adoptive parents send a special gift to be given to the child when he or she learns they are being adopted. We spent several weeks brainstorming with family and friends, asking for advice from our adoption agency, and searching the web. Two days ago we finally figured it out.

Knowing how much “Alejandro” likes Star Wars, we bought him a pair of action figures from the trilogy saga. We also played off of his interest in sports by making custom baseball-style cards with photos and interesting facts about each member of our family. And we even made one just for “Alejandro.” We sent these items along with a hand-written letter inviting him to be a part of our family. Admittedly, baseball and Star Wars is an interesting combination. I’m not sure Darth Vader ever played this American pastime (unless you count James Earl Jones, the voice of the Dark Lord, who portrayed a different role in  “Field of Dreams”), but his skill with the lightsaber probably qualifies him at least for the minor leagues.

What’s Next

We’re now waiting for Colombia to officially match us with “Alejandro.” They say this could take as little as two weeks. Once approved, they’ll send us a package of documents that we’ll submit to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) so that “Alejandro” can be approved to be adopted and qualify for U.S. citizenship.