On Adoption

“A child born to another woman calls me ‘Mom.’
The magnitude of that tragedy and the depth of that privilege are not lost on me.”  – Jody Landers
In February 2010 we decided we were ready to make our
dream of adopting a child with Down Syndrome come true!
It was, and still is, a remarkable journey.
Sofie has been home since August 2011 and is flourishing.

Our adoption journey is ongoing but here are some links to a few prominent posts I wrote while on this ride….

Our Adoption Timeline
  • February 1, 2010 – We publicly announced our intentions to adopt a toddler with DS!
  • February 3, 2010 (I think) – We mailed off our Adoption Application and Agreement.
  • March 2, 2010 – We had our first Homestudy meeting.
  • March 5, 2010 – Our social worker came to see where we live and meet Livi.
  • April 16, 2010 – We handed in our first round of paper work and had our second/third Homestudy meeting. It was an extra long meeting so it can count as two meetings.
  • May 21, 2010 – We had our fourth/fifth/FINAL Homestudy meeting!
  • May 26, 2010 – We mailed off our Pt 1 form and documents for Immigration. We are going the Citizenship route.
  • June 2, 2010 – We got confirmation that our application for Citizenship for our daughter was received and is being assessed.
  • June 25, 2010 – Our Homestudy was sent to our agency for final approval.
  • June 28, 2010 – We got our final doctor forms and criminal record checks completed.
  • July 6, 2010 – We received and signed our Homestudy (along with a few other documents)!
  • July 7, 2010 – Mailed our Homestudy back to our agency.
  • November 5, 2010 – We got word that our Dossier has been accepted and registered with the Bulgarian MOJ and we received two proposals!!!
  • November 8, 2010 – Decided which child to adopt and sent a request for her full file and a picture!
  • December 21, 2010 – Received a picture of one of the girls we a got proposal for… a little confusion about whether it is of the girl we requested or not..
  • December 23, 2010 – Received pictures, videos and an observation report of Child #1. Confusion is cleared up… We can’t choose which child until we have viewed all the information on both girls proposed to us.
  • December 30, 2010 – Got hard copy confirmation that our Pt. 1 application for Citizenship was approved… finally and after a lot of drama around it.
  • January 7, 2011 – Received the full files of both girls and their pictures. We decided to stick with our original choice of which girl was ours!
  • January 8, 2011 – Sent in our official request to adopt our Sofie!
  • January 21, 2011 – Received recent video and a few more pictures of Sofie! She is just SO cute!
  • January 26, 2011 -We mailed off our updated medical and criminal record checks, ready for court!
  • February 8, 2011 – Had to manually redo our Criminal Record checks at the Police department to ensure the original documents could be released.
  • February 10, 2011 – Request to adopt Sofie reached Bulgaria and should be at the MOJ by Febraury 14, 2011.
  • March 15, 2011 – Got word that our Agency had our official proposal in the office! They mailed the original documents to us to sign!
  • March 17, 2011 – Received Sofie’s Official Hague Convention Proposal in the mail! Signed it and mailed it back!
  • March 21, 2011 – Confirmed Sofie’s new name for her birth certificate on World Down Syndrome Day!…. Sofie Adina Diyana B—-l 🙂
  • March 23, 2011 – Sent off updated Prior Contact Checks to ensure we haven’t had any recent convictions or anything having to do with children.
  • March 28, 2011 – Received our Power of Attorney,  Declarations and the release form to skip the first trip. These papers allow Anido to apply for and stand in for us at court.
  • March 29, 2011 – Power of Attorney and Declarations were signed and notarized then mailed back to Sunrise to send to Ottawa for authentication.
  • April 29, 2011 – The papers are finished being legalized and authenticated in Ottawa and on their way to Bulgaria!
  • May 3, 2011 – Original documents arrived in Bulgaria!
  • May 16, 2011 – While eagerly waiting and expecting a May court date we got word that we shouldn’t expect court before mid June 😦 We had been thinking we could be getting Sofie in June so this news is pretty devastating.
  • June 7, 2011 – The MOJ gave her approval for our adoption to continue.
  • June 10, 2011 – Our Home Study expires at the end of this month, so we mailed in the update form in order to keep it legally active. Since we are so close to completing our adoption the Agency did not require the $350 fee.
  • June 14, 2011 – All our documents should be in court.
  • June 21, 2011 – We got word that the judge was happy with our application but is wanting more documents. We sent in an updated proof of income and proof of owning property. These will need to be legalized and authenticated in Ottawa before getting to Bulgaria. It is at least a 4 week process before we’ll get court now. Heartbroken.
  • June 27, 2011 – We got word that Sofie is OURS!!! Sofie is LEGALLY OURS! The judge granted the adoption order with only seeing the scanned documents not the authenticated ones! Court had apparently happened about a week earlier.
  • June 28, 2011 –  We got my mom to send off the completed Citizenship papers for us, since we were in the Okanagan camping!
  • July 4, 2011 – Sent of four copies (I read the email wrong and didn’t realize they needed four) of the Citizenship papers to our agency for our Bulgarian agency to finish and submit.
  • July 5, 2011 – Received word that Anido will apply for her passport on July 18th and we can go get Sofie the week of the 24th and she should be ready to come home by August 7!
  • July 6, 2011 – We reserved our flights! Leaving Vancouver July 29 and bringing Sofie home on Aug 9!!!
  • July 22, 2011 – Received word that Anido has Sofie’s new birth certificate and will be taking her to Sofia on Monday to apply for her passport and to take pictures for her Visa
  • July 25, 2011 – Sofie has a stomach flu and was unable to travel to Sofia. It was rescheduled for Thursday. This will postpone the return home date.
  • July 28, 2011 – Sofie’s passport was applied for and her pictures were taken for the Visa.
  • July 26, 2011 – Changed our flights to return home on August 14th. We are praying that her Visa will be in our hands by August 12th or one parent will need to return home while the other stays another week in Bulgaria with Sofie.
  • July 29, 2011 – Leaving on a jet plane to get our baby!
  • August 1, 2011 – Met Sofie for the first time! Our agency also received Sofie’s passport!
  • August 2, 2011 – Canadian Citizenship and visa application was received in Bucharest at the Embassy.
  • August 4, 2011 – Our “Gotchya Day!” Sofie is leaving the orphanage to be with us forever!
  • August 10, 2011 – Received word that Sofie’s Visa has been approved and is en route too us!
  • August 11, 2011 – Have Sofie’s passport with her Visa in it in our hands! We can go home!
  • August 14, 2011 – Brought our baby home!
  • August 15, 2011 – Got to wake up with both of my little girls and cuddle as a family of four!
We waited 1 year, 6 months, 1 week, and 3 days to bring our daughter home!
She is HOME!

Cost of Adoption:
International adoption is expensive no matter what country you adopt from. It ranges from $15,000 up to $50,000+. The total cost to adopt from Bulgaria is approximately $30,000… give or take. When we first decided to adopt we had just enough to cover the costs of the application and home study from a gift from Dad’s life insurance. We thought it was very fitting to put that money towards bring his grand-baby home! We started there and decided to take a leap of faith. Since we do not have an extra $30,000 lying around and we’d rather not use too much of our credit, we have and continue to look for ways to save and raise these funds.

Through some very generous gifts, we have received $12,810! Thank-you everyone who has been able to financially support us! It is truly a huge blessing.

I’ve been asked, a few times, what all the money goes to so I thought I would outline our cost…
  • Feb 3, 2010 – $3500 to our agency, Sunrise, for our Adoption Preparation Package. This included all the fees for our Registration and Homestudy. It also paid our Social Worker.
  • Mar 25, 2010 – $54 to our police department to each get Criminal Record checks for our Homestudy.
  • March – We also had to each get a medical form signed by our Doctor which he didn’t charge us for 🙂
  • May 20, 2010 – $50 to our Notary Public for notarizing our passports and ID’s for our Citizenship application.
  • May 26, 2010 – $100 to our Canadian Government to make our Citizenship Application for an Adopted Child.
  • June 9, 2010 – $14.78 to UPS to courier our Passports and Birth Certificates to our Sunrise for notarization and copies that needed to be added to our Dossier.
  • June 28, 2010 – $54 to our police department to get updated Criminal Record checks to send to Bulgaria with our Dossier.
  • June – We had to get more in depth medical forms completed by our Doctor for our Dossier which he didn’t charge us for! I love our Doctor 🙂
  • July 19, 2010 – $6103 paid to Sunrise. It is the first half of their Inter-country adoption fee ($3000), Fed Ex and Legalization fees ($900), and part 1 of our Bulgarian Agency’s fee ($2203)
  • January 25, 2011 – Had to update our medical forms from our Doctor for court. Again he didn’t charge us! I’m sure he’s saved us close to $300 dollars so far.
  • February 8, 2011 – $50 for the updated manual criminal record check. This got reimbursed because it was a cost that is built in to our Sunrise fees.
  • March 17, 2011 – $4200 to Sunrise. It is the second half of their Inter-country adoption fee which they reduced for us because we are adopting a child with special needs. It was reduced from $3000 to $1500. The remaining $2700 covers part 2 of our Bulgarian Agency’s fee.
  • June 21, 2011 – $17.81 to have more document couriered to our Agency to get them sent to Court as soon as possible.
  •  June 28, 2011 – $23.35 to have our citizenship application couriered to our Agency. Canada Post strike made couriering the only option.
  • July 4, 2011 – $22.95 to resend 4 original copies of the citizenship application to our Agency. I didn’t read the email thoroughly and missed that they need four copies.
  • July 8, 2011 – $2250 Ordered to be converted in to Euros for the 1500 EUR Orphanage donation.
  • July 8, 2011 – $2291 Ordered to be converted in to Euros for 1700 EUR spending money and the hotel costs.  We may need a bit more but we will bring our Credit Card.
  • July 14, 2011 – $2822.14 to Menno Travel for two adult round trip tickets to Bulgaria! We got humanitarian rates because we are taking gifts to the orphanage 🙂
  • July 14, 2011 – $505.70 to Menno Travel for Sofie’s one way ticket home!
  • July 14, 2011 – $142 to Menno Travel for a year of out of country medical coverage for Jon and I. The one year coverage was only a little more than getting it separately.
  • July 27, 2011 – $2574 to Sunrise for Part 3 of Anido’s fees. Their fees are similar to the ones we pay our Canadian Agency. They pay for the time they spend and related costs working on our adoption.
  • August 2, 2011 – $1262.25 for the hotels that we booked on Expedia.
The total we’ve spent is $26,036.98!
I think that’s about it until we get home!
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