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Once the adoption process is finalized in the courts, and families have waited the mandatory 30-day waiting period and received their Certificate of Non-Appeal (CONA), they will receive their Adoption Order which finalizes their adoption in Burkina Faso. This means that they are now the legal parents of their adopted child! The final steps in the adoption process are now to obtain their child’s post-adoption birth certificate, which names them as their child’s legally recognized parents, and to obtain their child’s Burkinabe passport. Once these final steps are completed, it is now time to arrange travel to Burkina Faso for their embassy appointment and to bring their child home.
The purpose of this trip is to obtain the child’s U.S. visa, allowing their child to legally enter the U.S., and to meet with the Central Authority officials, from the office of the Ministère de l’Action Sociale et de la Solidarité Nationale, La Direction des Placements et des Adoptions (Ministry). During this trip, families are required to stay in Burkina Faso for a minimum of fifteen (15) days. During their stay, they will meet with Ministry officials on two occasions; the first is an official “meet and greet”, the second is to supply a photo of the family and their adopted child for the Ministry’s adoption book.
Of course, the primary purpose of this trip is for the family to finally meet their adopted child! This meeting is one of the most anticipated moments of the entire adoption process, and families may find themselves excited and nervous; we remind families to try and remain as calm as possible, with as little expectation as possible. The introductory period in Burkina Faso is very child-focused, with the child introduced to their new family slowly, over a period of 3-4 days, a period of socialization if you will, until the child is comfortable with their adoptive parents. Once the child is comfortable, he or she is allowed to be released into the family’s custody full-time.
Prior to departing for their trip, families will contact the U.S. embassy in Ouagadougou to arrange a tentative embassy appointment and request medical forms and instructions. During their stay, families will need to attend an embassy medical appointment with their child with an embassy-approved panel physician. Medical test results are provided to the embassy as part of the visa approval process. The embassy interview appointment generally lasts about one hour, and the child must attend the appointment with the family. Generally, if there are no hiccoughs, visas and visa packets are available within 1-3 days following the visa appointment date.
During much of their stay, families will have time for sightseeing and shopping, as well as plenty of bonding time with their child. This two-week time period also allows families time to familiarize themselves with their child’s heritage and culture.
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