Adoption FAQ

 Frequently Asked Questions


  1. How long was your adoption process?
    1. From start to finish (start being when we first took our International Adoption Course) it was approximately 1.5 years.  We have tried to make our timeline easy to follow and one should be able to determine the various lengths in between steps. If not, please email us and we’d be happy to help answer any questions.
  2. How much did it cost?
    1. We never did officially total all of our expenses. But a quick total of travel, home study, fees, postage brought our total to approximately $16-17,000
  3. Which adoption agency did you use?
    1. We worked with Christian Adoption Services and had a great experience with them.
  4. ***What files did you include in your Dossier?*** (We only sent copies, not originals)
    1. Letter informing where to send completed Dossier
    2. Letter to Colette showing interest in adopting from her center
    3. Letter to Central Authority of guinea requesting to adopt a child
    4. Letter to Source De Vie Centre asking them to be our representative in Guinea
    5. Letter of Approval to Adopt from the Alberta Government
    6. Approved international Adoption Application
    7. Completed Home Study
    8. Christian Adoption Services license
    9. Copy of passports for both parents
    10. Notarized document attesting the photocopy of our passports conforms to the original document of both passports
    11. Medical Examination report for both parents
    12. Employment letter (template received from CAS)
    13. Proof of income (T4 and notice of assessment of both parents for the past 2 years)
    14. Copy of marriage license
    15. Copy of birth certificates
    16. Copy of police check
  5. Was it safe in Guinea?
    1. We always felt safe. Anytime one travels, especially to a third world country, its important to use common sense and wisdom where one goes and what one does. We never travelled on our own. Colette drove us when we needed to travel to various places.
  6. How long did you stay in Guinea?
    1. We stayed for one week.
  7. Where did you stay and what were your living arrangements like?
    1. See next section.


  • Colette arranged for us to live with a local, English-speaking lady. She had a little baby and her, university aged, brother was also living in the same house.  We always felt safe. We lived on the first floor while they lived on the second floor. We paid less that $50/night.
  • The house was in a concrete walled compound, with barbed wire on top and gate, with a guard.  The guard is a misnomer, as it is just a family that lives on the compound for the owner to open the gate when the owner comes and goes.


  • Power : We only had power for 3-6 hours every day. It usually turned on around 12am. This is wonderful, because you will want to have a fan on while you are sleeping. The owner of the house turned on a generator for us from 6-12, usually every evening. (helped us charge our electronics.)
  • Water: We used bottle water for almost everything. Water turns on most days during the middle of the night. This is used to help fill your water buckets so that you can take a bucket bath, maybe hand wash clothes if needed during the day.

Cooking & Food

  • We had a propane camp stove that Colette provided for us at the house. We used this to boil and cook for our meals. It also provided me with a hot cup of coffee every morning. Very important for us coffee lovers.
  • We went to a local market, with Colette, and purchased supplies for our stay. We bought rice, potatoes, canned beans, canned chili. We also brought along rice cakes, granola bars. We purchased water and pop while we were there. The house did have a small fridge, which worked, when the power was one.


Are there hotels in Conakry?

  • Yes. We went and had a couple of meals at a few hotels. I do not know what the rooms like, but have been told not to have high expectations. They still charge regular North American rates. Hotel restaurant food is the same cost, if not higher than North American prices. A meal for three, with drinks and dessert cost us $75 US.

What immunizations did you receive?

  • We only took the mandatory yellow fever vaccine. We are not current on any other vaccinations. (Hepatitis C, etc.)

What Malaria medication did you take?

  • It was recommended we take the daily Doxycycline. Which is what we took. Remembering to take it daily was sometimes a challenge, but for the most part we did ok. You do need a full stomach when taking this pill as we both noticed we felt quite nauseous when we hadn’t eaten much.

How much money did you bring along for your trip?

  • We brought along approx. $2000 US cash. We didn’t need this much, but we were unsure of what unexpected expenses might arise.

Who did you use for your French translation work?

  • The AB government kindly recommended Liette Wilson. She is certified, prompt, reasonable and provided us with great service. We would recommend her! You can contact her via email – wliette[at]hotmail[dot]com

Once You’re Back Home

Who was your doctor?

  • Christian Adoption Services recommended Dr Baxter to us.  She is superb! You can find out more about the Edmonton Adoption Clinic here & Calgary options as well.
  • ***IMPORTANT*** You will be asked to get blood work done for your child as part of the routine checks when they arrive back home with you. I strongly recommend you go to the Stollery to get your child’s blood taken. We had a very bad experience with with lab technicians being able to find a usable vein. It seems our story is not uncommon. The Stollery are great at working with kids. If possible see if you are able to get your lab work done through them.



  1. Hi Darren!
    My husband and I have just started the adoption process through Guinea and were told by friends that there is a google group of other families doing the same? Anyways, it’s so awesome to read your story and just wanted to touch base with you. (I couldn’t find an email address for you so hope this works just as well).

    • Hi Megan,
      Exciting to hear about your journey to adopt. Best probably to email me: darren (at) darrenherbold (dot) com I’d be happy to chat with you.

  2. Daralyn Thielen says:

    Are there age restriction for the adopting parents?


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