Guys!!! WE GOT OUR LICENSE!!!!!!
Oh MAAA WOORRDD… This one “tiny” document that we need to be able to adopt Joy… that we began the process to get 2.5 years ago… that many times seemed impossible… well, we GOT IT LAST TUESDAY!!!!!
& goodness me, it feels good!
We had no clue how difficult this document would be to get. NO CLUE. If you don’t know what I’m talking about when I say ‘license’, or why on earth it would be necessary or take so long to get, let me rewind a little…
As residents of Ontario, Canada, it is law that we work with an adoption agency. So, when we finally found an adoption agency in Ottawa (who were equal parts crazy and amazing enough to work with us), we were told they would require a LICENSE to adopt from Uganda. See, in all of Ontario (perhaps all of Canada), there are no adoption agencies that had a Ugandan adoption program. International adoption is super complex. We can’t hop on a plane and go get Joy and hope all turns out well. We need our provincial government to give us the green light to do that. Otherwise, if we tried to apply for Joy’s Canadian permanent resident visa after the adoption went through in Uganda, we wouldn’t be able to bring her back to Canada… hence our adoption agency needing an actual Ugandan adoption program (which involves a lot of diplomatic-type work and close familiarity with Ugandan law. If you are wondering why all this is so important… please read a previous blog of mine that talks about human trafficking in International Adoption).
I hope you’re caught up with why we needed this important document. So, we understood that it was a necessary step. We just didn’t know it would take so long. Technically, this isn’t OUR license… it is our adoption agencies license. The government is familiar with our case and know the program is essentially for/because of us… but it will also eventually be there for any resident of Ontario to be able to adopt from Uganda.
It would be too nauseating to explain every detail, twist and turn along the way to getting the license. It involved working with our adoption agency to create a mammoth of a document (the license application) which included scanning line by line through Ugandan laws, late nights of research, emails and phone calls to various individuals in Uganda, conversations with lawyers, adoption advocates, officials, and more. It involved me travelling to Uganda (almost two years ago) to meet with officials in the government, as well as someone at our adoption agency travelling to Uganda (a year ago) to do more of the same. There was a lot of miscommunications, close calls, conflicts of opinions, questions back and forth, months with hearing nothing at all, and so much more. There have been fingers crossed, prayers sent up, another desperate email sent, another morning with no news, and a lot of tears of frustration and of missing Joy.
It’s been a hard 2.5 years. If you are familiar with our entire adoption journey, you would know this is just par for the course with us. I can’t even begin to express the gratitude that we have for the lady (Joy’s dormitory mum) who has been taking care of Joy these past few years at the boarding school. She has truly been a saint and answer to prayer. She has taken Joy to the doctor for things like malaria, septicemia, and a bad flu. She has shown Joy love and consistency, all while taking care of her own grown children, and the other students while school is in session. She keeps us updated, let’s us talk to Joy on her phone, and sends photos. Honestly, there is no one we are more grateful towards (though, the executive director at our adoption agency would be a close second, perhaps tied with the most generous couple who are supporting a massive chunk of our costs… it takes a village, and we are forever indebted with gratitude).
So, so, so, so…. WHAT NOW:
Well, as much as I’d love to tell you that we are hopping on a plane tomorrow, there are a few more important ducks that need to line all up into a row first…
While our homestudy has been completed for a while now (and updated as certain documents have expired over the years), and although our private adoption practitioner has given us her mark of approval, this document will now be sent to our provincial government for a final review and approval (we couldn’t submit this document until our agency had the license).
Our agency is requesting an expedited process (prayers welcome, fingers crossed), but there are no promises, and this process takes on average 4-6 weeks*.
Child proposal approval:
THEN, although we all know it is Joy we are adopting, we still have to officially be “matched” with her. So once our homestudy is approved, our agency submits our ‘child proposal’ (which is basically a document from Uganda all about Joy and her background). This proposal will be submitted for review and approval. Again, our agency is going to request an expedited process, but this takes on average 2-3 weeks*.
Letter of No Objection:
Once our Homestudy and Child proposal are both approved, we will receive a ‘letter of no objection’ (LONO). This is the final document we need before we are able to travel to Uganda. It is the important document that will be sent to the immigration office in Dar Es Salaam (the regional office for East Africa). It means that once our adoption is finalized in Uganda, Immigration Canada will see that Ontario has also approved of this adoption (which is important… we don’t want to get left in limbo).
All in all, we are sincerely praying that we may be able to be in Uganda for Christmas. Though, in all likelihood, it will more likely be early in the new year. More than that, I hope to be there for Joy’s 10th birthday in early February… I can’t fathom us missing that…
We have already begun packing up our things to put in storage, and we will be moving in with my sister, brother-in-law, and their kids, soon in order to save some much needed-moola.
Stay tuned for updates that will HOPEFULLY come at a more regular interval now that things are moving forward!!
Praise the Lord! We are so excited and grateful to finally have overcome this hurtle!
Thank you sooo much for your prayers, positive wishes, and for holding on with us! We have felt the love!