Friday, March 16, 2012

In Which We Have Incredible News

I was sitting at my computer this morning trying to figure out how to sign up for a class on Thai culture that the Thai Association of Washington is offering this summer when my phone rang.  It was our adoption coordinator.  "I got a package in the mail this morning," she said.  "It's your referral!"

Let me say that again with the proper emphasis.  It was our referral!!!!!  I can't possibly put enough exclamation points on there to convey how excited I am, but you get the general idea. 

The call was a complete and total surprise, as we weren't expecting to see Ellen's referral for another six months to a year.  I spent the rest of the day in a state of joyful, delirious shock, dancing around my living room in between making phone calls. 

So what does that mean for our family?  It means that we are officially matched with our daughter by the Thai government and that we can move forward on her adoption.  It also means that our projected timeline is bumped way the heck up.  While there are no guarantees, we're likely to be traveling some time between late summer and late fall.  We're no longer worried about her aging out before we are able to travel, and this year we'll be celebrating Christmas with our daughter! 

I can't tell you how thrilled I am about being able to write that sentence.  I just feel blessed beyond belief that this our adoption is really happening!

Because Thailand is a Hague Convention country (look here for more information on the Hague Convention adoption process) there are still quite a few things that have to happen before Ellen comes home, but this was a huge step forward and means that we are officially matched with her by the Thailand government. 

Here's a breakdown what needs to happen between now and the time we bring her home:

1.) We send the Thai Department of Social Development and Welfare (DSDW) an acceptance letter for her referral.  That's going out first thing Monday.

2.) Our agency reviews our paperwork and makes sure that everything is up to date and in good order.

3.) The DSDW board meets, confirms our acceptance and paperwork, and sends out a piece of paperwork known colloquially as the To Whom It May Concern letter (TWIMC).  Basically this contains permission from the Thai government for us to take custody of Ellen until her adoption is complete (Thai adoptions aren't finalized until at least six months after the child travels to the USA).  The TWIMC is the next big piece of paperwork we'll be waiting on.

4.) After receiving the TWIMC, our agency submits paperwork to the US government to have Ellen provisionally approved for immigration.  They also send paperwork to the Interstate Compact for the Protection of Children to receive final confirmation that it is in Ellen's best interests to be adopted by us and that all other options that would allow her to be adopted and remain in the country of her birth have been exhausted. 

5.) Once our agency receives all this paperwork back, they send it to the US Embassy in Bangkok.  The embassy processes it all and issues a Hague Convention Article 5 document, which they send to the DSDW.  This is an extremely important piece of paper that gives Ellen final permission to immigrate to America. 

6.) When the DSDW receives the Article 5, they will issue us an invitation to travel to Thailand and take custody of Ellen.   Then we get to fly over, meet Ellen, attend a DSDW board meeting for an interview.  After that we'll visit the US Embassy for her passport and US visa before heading home with our daughter! 

So that's why it will be a few more months before we travel to meet Ellen, and while I would love to bring her home now I'm grateful that all of these safeguards are in place to protect her and the other children in similar situations. 

And of course we were expecting to wait much longer for the fantastic news we got today.  I still can't believe that we're officially matched, and that we'll have her home before the end of the year!!! 

Oh my goodness, I better get to work on her room!



kat said...


Priscilla said...

I'm so happy for you guys! Congrats on the fabulous news!!!!!

Rachel said...

That is such fantastic news! So happy for you! And, I guess made even more exciting that it was so unexpected! It would be great if you were travelling at the same time as I'm out there this summer! God Bless

Mary said...

I totally cried some happy tears at my desk at work when you called me. And then I hung up and announced the good news to all my coworkers, tears be damned. I'm SO excited for my niece to be coming home this year. :)

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Happy squeal!

Huge congratulations, and I hope the rest of the process/red tape moves quickly!


Anonymous said...

Oh awesome! Best news ever! :)

So excited for you.


Joy said...

long time reader here, in tears of joy for you. Thats FANTASTIC

Jennifer Jayhawk said...

Awesome news!!!

Simply, Sarah said...

I'm soooo excited for both you and Ellen (and the boys of course). Congratulations!!!

Emthe said...

That's the best news I've heard all year. Congratulations!

xraevision said...

Such happy news, Jess! I hope everything continues to go smoothly from here.

Katherine said...


Kristin said...

This has been the weekend of AWESOME!! Thrilled for your family!!

Kristin said...

This has been the weekend of AWESOME!! Thrilled for your family!!

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