Friday, July 27, 2012

While We Wait

In my last post (FAQ's), I touched on the fact that courts in Ethiopia close for a period of time.  Generally, the courts close from mid-August to mid-October in response to the rainy season which makes daily life in Ethiopia difficult to the point of closing down government offices, etc.

Waiting families like mine begin to dread the rainy season closings as they draw more near because, obviously, you're about to be GUARANTEED an additional two month wait (two months where, without a doubt, nothing's really going to happen in your case).  Now....the good news is that we can still get a referral during this time.  On the other hand, the bad news is that we can still get a referral during this time.  Funny girl, I am.  Getting a referral, OF COURSE, is always good news; however, this wait that we are experiencing, I anticipate, becomes even harder once we've seen that face.  But, you know what?  If given a choice, we don't want to wait to see that face....we'll take it as it comes.

Anyway, I share all of that to say that the closing dates were recently announced and this year, the courts are closing from August 22nd to October 1st.  This is much shorter than previous closings, which is very encouraging.  We started this thing with hopes of bringing home our daughter by late Summer/early Fall (if this were Twitter, I'd add something like #clueless or #dreamers); now, we hope upon hope that she celebrates Christmas at home.

In the meantime.....

  •  The furniture that we ordered for her room arrived.  We still need to buy mattresses but it appears we have some time.  I haven't begun any decorating and don't plan to do so until we've seen her face and know who we are decorating for.  
  • We had a custom-type closet system installed to make better use of the closet space.
  • We registered, today, to attend the Empowered To Connect conference which is being held in our area in September.  This conference is said to be a great resource for adoptive and foster parents.  We are looking forward to it.
  • Some sweet friends touched my heart by the simple gesture of making a point to eat at an Ethiopian restaurant as a means of connecting with and learning more about the culture of our girl. 
  • It's almost that time again....the beginning of the month and a new wait list number.  I'm predicting we move up three spots this month.  What do you think? 

  • Not adoption related....we have had a great Summer with all four of us back under the same roof.  I often look at my boys and marvel at how much they've grown and matured in the last year.  Jordan had a great first year at college and soon he will return.  Braeden will start to High School in less than two weeks.  So cliche' but, really, where does the time go?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Frequently Asked Questions

So, we have officially been waiting at this point for 6 months and, often, I'm asked questions about the process that I thought I'd take some time to explain.

You're STILL waiting?

Yes, we are still waiting.  We began our paperwork and educational requirements in September of 2011.  It ("it" being our dossier...the complete collection of paperwork required) made the long trek to Ethiopia and was received there in January of 2012.  Upon it's arrival, we were placed on our agency's wait list at number 29.

How much longer will it be?

I wish that I knew.  We are currently #17 on our agency's wait list.  The majority of the families ahead of us are waiting for an infant or younger toddler (most are approved/requesting 0-2) so we hopefully won't ever be #1; however, it isn't as easy as it seems it should be.  Our agency only has access to certain children from certain orphanages.  Our call could come tomorrow......or in 6 more months.  (Lord, PLEASE don't let it be 6 more months.)

What exactly are you waiting for?

Well, for now, we are waiting for a referral.

What's a referral?

A referral is the actual matching of a specific child to our family.  When that time comes, we will receive a call from our agency's director with basic information, as well as an email with a picture and any history and medical information that is available on her.  

I keep anticipating how this will happen and where we will all be when that call comes.  I have told Jeff that I don't want to see our child's face for the first time apart from one another.  I figured we were both present the first time we saw our boys; we should be together when we see our girl too.

Jeff and I have contracted with the Vanderbilt International Adoption Clinic and, once we receive our referral information, we will forward it to the clinic for their review.  They will report back to us within 24 hours (with any red flags that they see based upon the medical history provided).  This clinic will be responsible for our daughter's care when she first arrives home; they are familiar with internationally adopted children and their illnesses, parasites, tendencies, etc. and also have someone in their clinic that can speak her language (which helps to make the transition more tolerable).  She will eventually transition from there to our regular pediatrician.

Are you picking out the child that you want?

We are not.  Our dossier clearly outlines the age and  gender of the child that we have requested and been approved for.....a 3-5 year old girl.  There is always a possibility that we could go slightly younger or slightly older than that parameter (with an amendment to our home study) but the child that we are referred should fall into that range.

What will happen after you receive your referral?

We'll begin waiting.....again.  Once we have accepted a referral, paperwork will be filed with the Ethiopian courts for the adoption to take place.  We will wait for a court date to be granted which, hopefully, will be 4-6 weeks after the referral is accepted.  Ethiopian courts close for a period of time in August and September for the rainy season so, IF we were to get a referral before then (not likely) or, for that matter, during the rainy season closing, the wait for a court date could/would be longer.

Are your boys going to Ethiopia with you?

We plan for our entire family to go on one of the two trips.  We had really hoped that one of the trips would occur during the summer months while they were out of school but it doesn't look like that's going to happen.  Though we hate for them to miss school, this is one of those once in a lifetime experiences and we definitely want them to experience their sister's country, her culture and meet her in person as soon as possible.  Not sure which of the two trips they will take....if either were to fall during a time that they were out of school, that one would be the obvious choice.  If not, we'll have to cross that bridge when we come to it.

Two trips?

Yes, we will go first for court and, at that time, she will become our daughter; however, she will need a visa to be able to travel.  We will return home and, guessed it...WAIT for her visa to be issued by the US Embassy.  We will return to bring her home once that step is completed.

Those are the main topics of discussion that seem to be coming up.  The process is tedious and can be confusing; I am happy to help iron out some details for any of you who wonder what in the world is going on.

If you have any other questions that I haven't thought of, feel free to post them in the comments section and I'll be glad to answer (if I can).

Monday, July 2, 2012

Monthly Wait-List Update

No flowy words;
just a much anticipated
monthly update from our agency.

We are currently number 17.
We took three giant steps forward
which is a great thing.

I'm not going to lie;
though we are SO excited
for such forward movement,
we thought that we would be
much further along at
this point in our 
adoption journey.

Referrals have picked up
greatly over the last couple of weeks; 
our agency actually referred
FIVE children to their
forever families recently.

Please continue
to pray for God's perfect
will (and timing) for
our family.  
We are ready.