Wells learn adoption process while adding a new member to their family

Friday, October 5, 2007
The Wells family sits down for a moment prior to immersing themselves in paperwork so they can bring the next member to the family home. This picture was taken in late spring as they sport their "Americans Adopting Orphans" T-shirt. From left, Andy, Jack, Jude and Angie Wells. (Rachel Harper/Democrat-News)

Adopting a child from any country is difficult but it is something the Wells family is tackling with great pride and large smiles.

Andy and Angie Wells have two sons, six-year-old Jack and two-year-old Jude, but have decided to diversify and adopt a child from China to make their family complete.

The couple has spent a massive amount of time, over five years, researching which international avenue would be the best to adopt from. After stumbling across "Americans Adopting Orphans," they knew exactly what they wanted.

Adopting an orphan from China has turned out to be a long process, but every adoption process is.

"Our families are very excited about it and very supportive," Angie said.

In March, an agency-approved social worker from St. Louis came for a home study to see the environment the orphan would be introduced to.

"We were extremely nervous," Angie said.

"We spent the week cleaning areas that probably weren't even noticed and fixing things we never use," Andy said.

Paperwork seems to take a lot of time. From start to finish, it will take the Wells family about two years to be able to add the newest member of the family. The travel end of the adoption is no problem to the Wells because Angie runs her own travel business called Adventure Quest Travel out of her home.

Both Angie and Andy needed a doctor's report within the paperwork to make sure they were healthy and fit to take care of the child. Other paperwork, but definitely not all of the different special documents, includes FBI fingerprinting and review of their paperwork by the state and federal agencies.

The Wells finished their adoption dossier, paperwork previously mentioned, and it has been authenticated and re-authenticated. In mid-September, the Wells family got good news from the Chinese Embassy in Chicago that all their hard work of compiling everything was ready to be sent off to the Chinese Center for Adoption Affairs (CCAA) in China. The dossier process consumed nine months or so in the adoption process.

The Wells family decided to do the paperwork themselves to get the full experience of adopting a child. It would have been quicker if the adoption agency itself done all the paperwork.

Andy and Angie have paid their dossier fee and the paperwork should be on its way to China already. The family has to wait for a login date, which hopefully will be received by the end of November. The login date is when the CCAA accepts the Wells' application and puts them on the official waiting list for adoption to receive referral of a little girl for adoption.

On the Wells adoption blog, they say "From the point of our login date, we begin our wait for an actual referral of a specific orphan for us to accept or deny as the little girl we wish to adopt. When we began this process more than a year ago, the wait for a referral from the login date was running about eighth months. We are hearing news from other adopting parents that the wait time has gone up to 19 months with some fearing 20 months or longer."

The Wells see no problem with the ethnicity difference in their family.

"We have no doubt that we will love this child like our flesh and blood," Angie said. "I know my kids, they are going to latch on to her."

Angie said it is obvious there could be future problems in school with ethnicity but "our kids are being raised to respect everyone and to be strong and confident, regardless of ethnicity."

She continued, "I think we will also celebrate her ethnicity."

The couple have made a list of names they think would be appropriate. Angie said they are still debating whether to give her a simple, plain name or make it unique because "she will be unique."

Jack said, "An orphan is someone who doesn't have a mommy or daddy. My baby sister is an orphan."

Anyone interested in keeping up with the Wells' adoption can visit the Web at http://chinasurprise.blogspot.com/. For more information on Americans Adopting Orphans, visit http://www.orphans.com/.

Contact Rachel Harper at


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