When we started on this adoption journey, I had no idea how long this process would take! Originally, I had hoped to have our dossier sent off by the beginning of the year. We're well into February and we're looking at another couple of months before we're even on the waiting list!
Oh yeah, and our wait time got extended to 26-30 months! Sheesh!
As of right now, we are still pursuing Ethiopia, and we're just settling ourselves in for a long wait. We'll see what God has in store for us!
Here's a brief outline of the process, for those of you who might be curious:
1. Choose an agency - we are using America World Adoption and have had a great experience.
2. Send in an application with your agency
3. Begin your homestudy and your dossier paperwork (I recommend the Louisiana Baptist Children's home and Family Ministries for your homestudy if you live in Louisiana! We love our social worker, Ashley!)
4. Once the Homestudy is complete, send in your USCIS application (to get approved by the U.S. government to adopt a child)
5. Send off you dossier (finally!)
6. Wait a loooong time (After 2 years, parts of the homestudy and dossier have to be updated)
7. The next step seems so far away that I'm not even sure. I know we'll travel to Ethiopia twice and get our child on the second trip.
We're on step 4, and also completing a few more things for our dossier.
It is kind of overwhelming, but we're simply taking it a step at a time. It's also somewhat of a relief to know that, although adoption is expensive, we have a couple of years to save up the money for it.
Frequently asked questions about our adoption:
Do you get to choose the sex/age of your child?
Yes, we do! Our request right now is for a male child aged 0-4 years old.
Do you have to go to Ethiopia?
Yes, we will travel twice, once to handle "official" stuff, and then we'll come home and wait for it all to be "officialized" before we can go get our sweet child. Izzy and Korban will not travel with us.
Why is the wait so long, if there are so many orphans?
GRRR! We are asking ourselves that same question! It's not because there is a lack of need, that is certain. Our social worker explained it to us this way - it's kind of a funnel effect at the paperwork end of it. Ethiopia is working to become Hague certified, which means they follow a strict series of steps to ensure that these children are truly orphans and have not been kidnapped or their families coerced to give up their children in exchange for money. In taking all of these extra steps, the process is slowed down considerably, but it's actually a good thing, I guess. Same thing on the U.S. end of it. They want to make sure that we are fit parents genuinely seeking to build our family. That said, I know that the process could be simplified, on our end at least. We have filled out the same information so many times, and a lot of our dossier simply duplicates what has already been done in our home study. There is a lot of red tape to get through, state certifications, notarizations, and in two years we have to redo it all, because my birth certificate will apparently be obsolete in two years, as well as my marriage license. None of those official documents can be more than 2 years old. How much sense does that make?
The thing I have to remind myself is that our life is not on hold during this time. We can even pursue other adoptions or have more biological children during this wait time, should the mood strike us. :) It's all for a very worthwhile cause, and I suppose if I can spend 4 years pursuing a college degree I don't use, I can spend three years waiting and working toward our precious Ethiopian child.
I hope I haven't discouraged any of you who are thinking about pursuing adoption! Please let me know if you have any questions!