Thursday, November 5, 2015

Final Stages of an Intercountry Adoption in Poland

When we were in Poland 2 years ago, we did not know the final steps of our adoption. We were the pilot family and we were the ones trying to figure things out with our in country translators. It was tough not knowing what comes next or what is required for us to bring our daughter home. Wes and I like to know the who, what, when and where weeks before events happen. We (ok, maybe just me) are big planners. It was very difficult for us (me) to be in the dark and not know what comes next, especially with a newly adopted daughter who needs to be prepared of change in advance.

After talking with a family adopting from Poland who wanted to know more about the last incountry steps, I thought I would share what I told them. Hopefully this post can bring you some comfort and what to expect on the final stages while you are in Poland.

Disclaimer: Laws in Poland and with the HAGUE treaty may change since this post was written. Please keep that in mind when you are going through the process. And if my information is outdated please comment so I can correct it for others!

1. During the appeal period, get visa and passport photos. You will need 4 big pictures and 4 small pictures. This costs around 100 PLN (about $35 USD).

2. Get the final court decree from the judge. You can typically get this document the day after the appeal period is over. You will take this document to the birth certificate office (office locations depend on where your child was born).

3. Get the LONG/complete birth certificate. Poland has two: a short one and a long one. The US embassy wants the long, completed one. Make sure everything is spelled correctly. If your name is misspelled, you have to have it corrected (mine was and I had to get it corrected). If your child’s name is misspelled on the birth certificate you can get it corrected, but if it is misspelled on the court decree, you can’t change it unless you go back to court in Poland. You can fix the spelling when you get home with the court system in the US, so it's not really a super big deal just an inconvenience. This may take a day or two depending on the office. This cost about 35 PLN (about $13 USD).

4. Make sure the birth certificate and court decree have certified translations. You don't want the trouble of having to find someone in the US who is certified to translate these very important documents. The person who translated your home study and other documents before court should be able to translate it for you. Sometimes the Polish court feels obligated to give you, the native English speaker, a certified translation of the court decree. It might be the same person who translated for you during court. This could cost about 30-40 PLN per page (about $150 USD)

5. PESEL number. This is the Polish equivalent of our social security number. You have to get this number before you can get the passport. The office in Warsaw is around the corner from the Polish passport office. This takes a day to get and costs nothing if you are applying for a passport.…/2…/05/how-get-pesel-poland

6. Polish passport. You will need to get a Polish temporary passport. The temporary passport is valid for 1 year after it is issued. During the two week waiting period, go ahead and get passport pictures. You will need them for the passport. This takes about a week to receive. This costs about 30 PLN (about $10 USD).

7. Medical clearance. There is a specific doctor that the US embassy likes to use. You will need to get a form from the embassy for the doctor to fill out. Make sure you have your physical address of your apartment in Poland or the social worker's office address. The doctor will also take the 4 big pictures from you to put on the paperwork. If your child is older than 2 years, they have to get a TB test done. Make sure to ask for results to come back in 2 days and not the typical week. The medical visit takes about a day. This costs about 270 PLN (about $90 USD).
If the child has had the BCG vaccine (TB vaccine), then the gold test would have to be done (blood drawn). When we were in Poland the lab only performed this test 2 days a week and the results take a couple of days to come back. This might cause a bit of delay because the lab only performs this certain test 2 days out of the week.

8. You will take the court decree, the small visa photos, long birth certificate, polish passport and your (parent’s) passport to the embassy to get the visa. You may have to make an appointment. The lady’s name was Ewa (Eva) when we went in 2013. She was so nice and helpful!! She will ask about your agency, how everything went, and if things could be better. They also have a small play area with toys for children. You cannot bring a big purse (my mistake), weapons, cameras or cell phones. You will go through security like you would entering a federal building in the US. The visa takes about a day or two to complete. You will go for your appointment and then come back to get the visa for your child. It costs $230 USD for a immigrant visa. This is paid to the US Embassy in USD not PLN. You may have paid this fee before you left for Poland. If you did then your total cost will be lower!

9. Book airline tickets! You're finally coming home! Pick up that last souvenir and say goodbye to friends.

The total cost for the final Poland adoption steps is about $523 per child.

I hope all of this information is helpful and please let me know if this changes!

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