The Timeline

2001 – contacted some local adoption agencies, but didn’t pursue it

2003 – contacted Sunrise Family Services, but again didn’t pursue it

2006 – made decision to pursue adoption. Our first choice – Vietnam – is now closed for adoptions to Canada so we decide to adopt from China

January 2007 – we begin the adoption paperwork.

February 2007 – we meet our social worker and begin the home study and education courses.

April 2007 – we are advised by Sunrise that BC has now signed an adoption agreement with Vietnam and adoptions are resuming. We make the decision to pull our application from China and switch to Vietnam. Luckily our dossier had not yet been forwarded to China so it was an easy change.

Sunrise does not work with directly with any orphanages in Vietnam, so we have to go through another agency – Terre des Hommes (TDH) who are based in Ontario and Vietnam.

October 2007 – after endless amounts of paperwork, notarized documents, financial documents, medical and criminal record checks, and our completed home study, our dossier is sent to TDH in Ontario. Dossier is sent from TDH to Vietnam shortly thereafter.




May 2008 – begin first step of immigration paperwork.

June 2008 – home study has expired and needs to be updated. Just a matter of filling out some forms.

October 2008 – Sunrise contacts us to advise they are now able to work directly with Vietnam to facilitate adoptions. We are given the option of switching our application from TDH to Sunrise. Unfortunately due to higher fees with Sunrise and cancellation fees with TDH it would cost us an additional $10,000. Sunrise estimates they we would travel to Vietnam within the next couple months if we switch. Checked with TDH and they estimate 3-4 months more if we remain with them. We decide that speeding the process up by a couple months wasn’t worth the additional money, so we declined to switch and remained with TDH.

November 2008 – TDH advises us we are officially #6 in line for a baby girl.

January 2009 – medical and criminal record check has expired and must be redone

February 2009 – we are advised we are #8 on the list for a baby girl. Not too happy as we seem to be moving backwards (we were #6 in November). A few emails later and we were advised that this was a mistake and in fact we are #4 in line. Note that the previous October we were advised “3-4 months”. Endlessly moving timelines are the nature of international adoptions.

March 6, 2009 – TDH officially advises us we are next in line for a baby girl. Looks like the day is finally approaching. TDH estimates “perhaps a couple months” before we receive our proposal – the timing will depend on whether their next baby is a boy or a girl.

March 9, 2009 – we attend a gathering of couples that are in the process of adopting from Vietnam through Sunrise, or have just returned from Vietnam. Couples that were behind us on the TDH list and who switched to Sunrise are already back with their babies. There were two boys and two girls, ranging in age from 4 months to 9 months. Had we switched to Sunrise when we had the opportunity one of those two girls would have been ours.

March 23, 2009 – Our time has come! Got an email from the agent in Ontario saying she had forwarded a proposal to our agent here in Vancouver.  The Vancouver agent called me at work just before 5:00 and at the same time sent an email with pictures, a scanned copy of the birth certificate, and her medical information. We’ll be contacting a doctor that specializes in reviewing medical records for international adoptions, and once she gives us the green light we’ll formally accept the proposal. Sounds like we won’t be traveling until around August.

March 27, 2009 – we officially accept the proposal of a baby girl, born in a hospital in Ha Long City on Jan 04 2009. Her mother was an unwed teenager who disappeared from the hospital shortly after giving birth and abandoned the baby. Her name is Van Thahn Tran and is at  an orphanage in Quang Ninh.

March – October, 2009 – police investigation into the abandonment and time spent trying to locate any family members. When none are found the baby is officially declared available for adoption.

October 03, 2009 – we fly to Hanoi to pick our baby up.

October 06, 2009 – the day of the Giving & Receiving ceremony in Ha Long city. We bring Elise back to our hotel after the ceremony.

October 07 – 19 – arranging for Elise’s Vietnamese passport and Canadian passport.

October 20, 2009 – we return to Canada with Elise.

1 Comment

  1. Sounds like it was knuckle gnawing countless times but she is absolutely beautiful, a delightful Quang Ninh girl like our Tien. Our family wishes you every good wish and congrats. Chuc Mung Nam Moi.
    Susan Blake and Tien

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