Saturday, July 11, 2009

Time Line??

Probably the one question we get most often in regard to adoption is what the time line is and where we are on it. So, I am going to try to explain that, along with an update of where we are currently in the process.

Our adoption process officially started with application to our adoption agency. The estimate for total time is 14-24 months from the time you apply until you are home with your child(ren). Of course that can vary greatly along the way for a number of different reasons. Once we were accepted into their Ethiopia program, we began what is called the "Paper-chase" part of the process, also called "paper pregnancy". The estimate for completing this phase is 4-6 months. There are a number of different documents that need to be collected during that time, including the home study. Once we have collected all of the needed documentation, together it is called our dossier, we send that to our adoption agency to review and send to Ethiopia for translation and their consideration. At that point, we are waiting for our referral, usually for several months. The referral is information, usually very limited, on a specific child or children that are a potential match for our family. If we choose to accept the referral, a court date will be set in Ethiopia, usually a few months after that. Once we pass court, we will plan our trip to go get our child(ren). There are some things to be completed while in Ethiopia, but I don't know the specifics on that. Once we are home with our child(ren), they are officially and legally ours, but there will be some things still to follow-up on such as post-placement visits and re-adoption (having to do w/ name change, etc.).

So, that's the general time line. Where we are is in the paper-chase. We have all of our paperwork that is possible for us to have completed at this point - in fact, we have for several weeks now. We are still waiting on our final home study. We applied for our home study at the end of March, but they didn't schedule our first appointment (official start) until the end of April. At that point their estimate was 7 weeks to complete the home study . . . it has now been 10 1/2. Once we have our home study, we can immediately proceed to the next step which is an immigration form that has to be applied for through USCIS. The estimate is that it will take 6-12 weeks to receive our approval. Once we have that form, we can take our paperwork to the Secretary of State for authentication and it is ready to go to our adoption agency for transmission to Ethiopia.

Of course, there are fees and costs all along the way in this process. The Lord has been so good to us and, so far, we have not had to delay any of the steps due to finances. We have the money order already for the USCIS form and enough in the bank to pay for State authentication. We will then need $7,200 in order to get our paperwork sent to Ethiopia. We do not have that amount yet, but have a small fraction of it saved. If we get to the point where our paperwork is completed but we still do not have the total $7,200, we will have to wait until we have it in order for our paperwork to go to Ethiopia. After that, I believe there will be no fees until the referral stage when a bigger portion of the fees and travel costs will come up. We sincerely desire to follow God's leading in all of this, and we know He is faithful to guide us, and provide if He continues to lead us down this path.

For those of you who are praying for us, we are always in need of prayer for our faith and wisdom. We also request your prayer in regard to whether we are able to adopt 2 siblings or a single child. We desire to adopt to siblings, but that is rare within the age group that we are adopting. So, when the time of referral comes, if there are not siblings available, we need wisdom to know whether to go ahead and adopt a single child, or wait for siblings. My personal prayer is that God will either grant our desire for the siblings, or change my desires to match His.