I finally looked to see what part of the adoption process we are in now. I checked out the flow chart that our agency provided us. Unfortunately, the step that we are in now is described only as "Wait for the process to run its course in Guatemala". That might be enough information for some people, but not me. I want to know what is involved in that course that our process is running. I did a little internet research and found a little more. Below are the steps that I believe we have left to complete.
Currently we are in the following steps:
1. The lawyer submits all the documents in the case to Family Court, and petitions the Family Court to assign a social worker to investigate the case.
2. The lawyer requests authorization from the US Embassy to have DNA testing performed on the birth mother and child to confirm that they are indeed biologically mother and child. DNA testing is done with supervision and a photo of the birth mother with the child is taken at the testing site to ascertain their identities.
Next we will have to do the following:
3. Family Court social worker reviews your dossier, interviews the birth mother, sees the child in foster care or orphanage, and (almost always) approves the adoption. The social worker writes a several page report summarizing the facts of the case and attesting to the reasons that the birth mother cannot care for the child. The birth mother signs consent for adoption for second time.
4. Meanwhile the DNA test should have been performed, cleared, and submitted to the Embassy with your dossier for review and approval by the Embassy. The case cannot take the next step after Family Court until the Embassy DNA approval has been issued. This is a safeguard to prevent a situation in which a child is legally adopted under Guatemalan law, but not eligible for immigration under US law. A third consent by the birth mother is signed during the DNA process.
5. The lawyer then submits a petition for approval of the adoption case to a notarial officer of the Attorney General's office (Procuraduria General de la NaciÃ³n or PGN). (A Notary in Guatemala is an attorney with additional powers, not simply someone who certifies signatures as in the US.)
6. Notary in PGN reviews all the documents (often requesting that some be re-done because of minor spelling errors, expired notary seals, etc.) and almost always approves the adoption. The PGN may at their discretion investigate aspects of the case if they wish and as a result of that and other variations, time in this step (as in many steps) can vary widely.
7. PGN issues its approval for the adoption to proceed.
8. The lawyer then meets the birth mother for the4thh and final sign-off.
9. The adoption decree is then written and issued by the lawyer and the child is legally now the child of the adoptive family.
10. A new birth certificate is then issued by the Civil Registry with the child's first and middle names unchanged, but with the names of the adoptive parent(s).
11. Lawyer takes new birth certificate and applies for a Guatemalan passport (although the child is adopted by US parents, he or she is still a Guatemalan citizen).
12. All documents are translated into English by certified translators, as required by US INS regulations.
It looks like so much! I think a lot of it will move pretty fast though, so it probablyisn'tt too bad. I also emailed our case worker yesterday. She said that case updates should come out around the end of this week or beginning of next week so hopefully I will have lots of good news to report then.