In Mali, the crocodile is featured on many Dogon granary doors. It is there to protect the family, and so, on finding this one, we invited it to protect us on our own journey towards finding a child.

We have spent nine months getting the agreement. We have spent another three amassing papers, mayor’s signatures, personal statements, recommendations, attestations of our morality, emotional stability, and financial security, lack of contagious diseases and presence of infertility…… Infact, just to give you a taste of how much charge some of these documents have, I have to tell you a wee tale about the latter:

Dr Galand of Avignon had, in what he called a pre IVF clean up (‘It looks very nice in there Madame’ he said when I came to ‘and by the way…’) tied my fallopian tubes without either my or Julian’s permission. At the time we were so involved in the process of trying to conceive even half naturally that we simply gave a nod to the illegality of it and went on with the treatment. Later, although we may have had a case, we decided we didn’t believe in the suing society because we didn’t want to be victims of the past but preferred to stay present and even celebrate our childless, art and music filled life. When the ‘certificate of infertility’ arrived I was almost sick. ‘Due to her age’ it stated - I was then thirty-eight - ‘and despite our best efforts, Madame is considered terminally infertile’. Needless to say, I have many contemporaries who are still having babies at our ripe old age of forty-four….Anyway that was just one document.

Where were we? Ah yes, we have all the documents. People have said the loveliest of things. We have three sections of photographs: Us, Our Family, Us at Work and Where we Live. (Lovely pics although everyone in them, apart from the Tuareg guide with me in the Sahara, is conspicuously white. Unlike many of the other candidates we do not live in Marseille or Montpellier or Paris. We live in a small Provencal village.) The next step was the presentation and, having researched Dogon mudcloth motifs and symbols on doors for the cover, I handed the pile of papers over to Julian.

Our dossier, which will be delivered to the ‘Agence Française de l’Adoption’ next week, speaks from our hearts. Let’s hope they hear us.



Good luck with your dance around the paperwork...

xoxoxoThat's quite marvelous, the crocodile!Good God, though, I didn't know that bit about the tubes. But yes. Turning the page. (Lots of pages, I guess :->)

I'm curious how the process works in France and Mali. What happens with your dossier? How is a child found for you and how are you chosen for a child? I guess only Madonna gets to go pluck a child out of an orphanage....

You have put so much thought into the creation of the beautiful cover – it looks so unlike a cold forbidding "dossier" – that I can only believe that they will be knocked out by all that it contains. It looks so warm and heartfelt. The touches of your hands are there. The typeface so mellow and welcoming. And the little crocodile... It's beautiful. Good luck :-)

I've just caught up with all the months of your blog that I missed after I lost you last year (still have no idea how that happened) in time to say Good Luck!

Hi I'm writing this on behalf of Anna at the Guardian- Hello, Just to let you know that, sadly, due to corporate reshuffling the Guardian Abroad website has been closed down. The blogs listings are no longer live, which means that if you had a 'Review my blog on Guardian Abroad' button or any links, these are now directed to the Guardian Weekly website. We're very sorry for any inconvenience caused and would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your creative and much appreciated contribution to Guardian Abroad. Please come and have a look at the new site, and feel free to submit any ideas you have, either about the site or to do with ideas for articles. Thanks and best wishes, Anna Bruce-Lockhart Site editor

I cannot imagine your petition being met with anything other than delight. I wish you nothing but luck and joy as you take these steps towards family.

Hi Ruth,Brillianr cover. All the best in your efforts.

That should have read "Brilliant"

A note of thanks to you and to Julian for sharing your often beautiful insights. The care with which you produced this dossier cover prompts me to recommend a recent book, One Hundred Siberian Postcards, by the American journalist Richard Wirick. It is a memoir of his own transnational adoption that combines thoughtful exploration of Siberian culture and stylized woodcuts of Sakhalin orphanages from the 1920s by E.A. Kreynovich. It's a moving, literate narrative that might strike a chord. Wishing you well on your own journey, from an appreciative U.S. visitor.

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