Yesterday, we had our first of three post-adoption home visits with Cindy, our case worker from Adoption Horizons. Today’s visit consisted of two topics: (1) the process that remains and, (2) Ethan’s progress.
The remaining process
Last month, Randy wrote a little about the rest of the adoption process, but today, we learned there is a bit more work (in terms of paperwork) remaining than we anticipated. There are basically three steps:
- File the intent to adopt.
- File the petition for adoption.
- Finalize the adoption in court session.
We talked more about the court hearing today, which we expect to take place sometime this fall. At the court session, three things will happen:
- The adoption will become legal and we will receive a certificate of adoption.
- Ethan’s name will be officially changed from his Korean name to Ethan Quinn.
- Ethan will become a US citizen.
Following the court hearing we will be able to get Ethan a Social Security number.
The odd thing in all of this is that we won’t receive any formal document stating that Ethan is a US citizen. So, his Social Security card will identify him as a resident alien.
However, after the court hearing, Cindy will help us complete more paperwork to get an actual Certificate of Citizenship for Ethan (which can take up to a year to receive). Once we obtain this document, we take it to the Social Security Office and they will change Ethan’s status to US citizen (with the same Social Security number). What a process!
For now, all we have to do is contact the lawyer’s office to file an intent to adopt. We will work with the lawyer that handles most of the adoption cases through Adoption Horizons (they have the process down pat and and will lead us through the process).
Adoption Horizons uses the Cumberland County Court and knows all the judges. Cindy described the court appearance as a photo op. The judges are happy to pose with adoptive families (it’s the only time there’s no opposing party and everyone walks out happy!). Family may attend with us. It’s like a celebration of sorts.
Ethan’s progress report
We went over any medical updates (immunizations, weight, length, etc.) and what formula Ethan’s on, what he’s eating, how much he’s eating, etc. A groggy Ethan finally appeared on the scene after a rare two-hour nap. He soon transformed into a well-rested, smiling, pleasant little guy!
Ethan charmed Cindy with his cute smile and demeanor. She made developmental notes as he cruised and babbled. Ethan warmed up to Cindy by the end and went over to her.
One interesting question that Cindy asked us was, “What has been the biggest adjustment?” I was upstairs for a diaper change when Randy answered. So I got hit with the question when I returned. I paused — it was hard to think of anything immediately, because life is just so full of wonderful moments with Ethan! Finally I responded, “The 24-hours of it all.” Cindy looked at Randy and smiled. Randy had answered with a similar answer.
A closing thanks
We are grateful for Cindy, our case worker. We always enjoy our conversations with her. She responds promptly to our questions and her return phone calls are never rushed. Her demeanor puts us at ease. She is on top of all the paperwork and requirements and walks us through what we need to do, step-by-step.
Cindy repeatedly expressed reassurance regarding the purpose of these post-placement visits, saying, there is no reason a child would be removed at this point in the process, except for the same reasons that one’s birth child would be removed from his or her home. So, even though there is more to the process, Ethan is our son. We are a “forever family.”