Finally! I was legally granted "full and complete guardianship" of Julia!
Outside Municipal Court 10, just after receiving the judge's ruling
This is a HUGE success and something to celebrate! Yet, it does not mean that we are on our way home to meet friends and family just yet.
Next step: Wait one week for the orders to process through the court, be returned to the lawyer's office and get a copy of the guardianship order. Hopefully, this can be done within one week.
From this point, we are told something different at each office and/or with each person we inquire. We could have to petition for travel permission with the children's offices in Nairobi. But hopefully......
Julia & I outside the Dept of Immigration when we picked up the application for her Kenyan passport
Next step after that: Take the guardianship orders papers and other documents to Immigration and apply for permission to travel and a passport. This should take about two weeks to obtain.
Next step after that: Assuming that we do not hit any road bumps prior to this point, once we have Julia's passport in hand, we can book an appointment for a visa application interview with the American Embassy. This can be a three week to three month wait list. This is the most difficult part of the whole process from this point. There are MANY reasons why we could be denied. Being the legal guardian of this minor child does not necessarily make her chances of getting the visa any more likely. This is where we might need the travel permission from the Children's Department or the courts. Yes, you might be thinking, "Just go ahead and get it all and be overly prepared for whatever they ask for." As logical as that sounds, it is not that easy and the departments are not so willing to anything without being ordered or invited to by the other department.
Next step after that: Plan and book a trip to America!! Best case scenario would be that we can go to America sometime this summer or early fall.
Thanks, Auntie Terry, for helping take care of Julia during our day at court....and your whole time with us. :-) So glad you are here to be a support during this time!