Adoption agencies celebrate several milestones that adoptive families achieve during their international adoption processes, and one of the most anticipated ones is when a family is matched with a child in need. Personally, one of the most exciting calls that I make to adoptive parents is calling them to share that they have been matched with a child. This call is an emotional one for me, but even more so for the adoptive parents, who usually express their emotions through happy tears.
Recently MLJ celebrated the news with our second family adopting from Burkina Faso, who received a match of a toddler-aged child. This family waited only twelve months after dossier submission to the central authority in Burkina Faso to be matched with a waiting child in need of a forever family. MLJ’s first adoptive family in our Burkina Faso program was matched with a child after waiting only eight months. We are happy to report that these waiting timelines for a referral after dossier submission in Burkina Faso are significantly less than originally anticipated when the program first opened. We celebrate with both adoptive families now waiting to complete their processes and bring their children home.
Adoption from Burkina Faso is dictated by The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (also known as Hague Adoption Convention). The convention focuses on guarding against child trafficking and ensuring the placement of children with families in an ethical and transparent adoption process. Who ensures an ethical and transparent process? The central authorities of both the U.S. and Burkina Faso. The important thing to remember when adopting from a Hague Convention country is that a specific process must be followed which involves obtaining necessary approvals from both the sending and receiving countries prior to beginning the legal adoption process in that country. Failure to process the adoption in the correct manner will result in the denial of the child’s visa.
For most convention countries, including Burkina Faso, the steps (and milestones to be celebrated) for adoptive families after being matched with a child are:
- I800 Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative Provisional Approval
- Issuance of the Article 5 Letter by the U.S. Embassy
- Completion of the legal adoption process in the courts
- Applying for and receiving the child’s U.S. Visa
- Traveling and bringing the child home to the U.S.
Processing timelines of the above steps are yet to be seen by our first two families adopting from Burkina Faso, however we are encouraged by the timelines seen so far, which are proving to be shorter than estimated. The most celebrated moment, of course, will be when these two families are able to bring their children home to join their new forever families. These families have opened their hearts and homes to children in need; offering a child the gift of a forever family that will protect them and love them is one of the greatest gifts a family can offer. What greater gift is there to the most vulnerable in our world?
Congratulations to MLJ’s Burkina Faso adoptive families for being matched with their children! We look forward to sharing the next milestones with each family as they move through their adoption process. Interested in adopting from Africa? Check out our Burkina Faso program today!
Photo Credit: Jerome Vancon