Confetti and Paperwork

Colombia sends official approval to adopt “Alejandro”

By Clarissa Murray

The FedEx website said our package would be delivered before 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, so I arranged to work from home and spent the morning anxiously listening for the doorbell. Finally, it rang. I ran to the door and ripped the package open. Colored circles of tissue paper confetti burst from the envelope, fluttering all over the floor, a celebratory gesture from our adoption agency. I paused for only a second and continued pulling the contents out of the package: a stack of papers we’ve been waiting to receive for almost six weeks, containing formal approval to adopt “Alejandro.”

We had to go through a new set of paperwork so we could send our application to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for approval. (Photo by Alan M. Murray)

We searched each page, in English and Spanish, learning more about his past, his family, his physical and mental health, and the legal proceedings that made him eligible for adoption.

And then we spent the afternoon wading through the enclosed thick packets of detailed, step-by-step instructions outlining the remainder of our journey to bring “Alejandro” home. Not wanting to delay one moment, we immediately began filling out the I-800 application that petitions United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to approve Alejandro to immigrate to the United States once his adoption is finalized.

While we had hoped to submit it that same day, unfortunately we found a few errors, so we had to request corrected copies. Finally, on Wednesday, after checking and rechecking our application, we overnighted it to USCIS. We’re not certain how long it will take, but we hope to receive approval soon. Now, it’s time to apply to Colombia for our visas.