So after my last blog I’ve gotten such overwhelmingly positive feedback I must make a public statement showing my gratitude. So thank you, to everyone, who has shown such awesome support for our new journey! With that great response, came a lot of questions about the adoption process so I thought this blog I could devote to sharing with you the general process. As always, I’ll keep you up to date with where we are!
As said in the last blog, we have officially registered with our agency, CHSFS. Because we live in Iowa, they are able to be both our local agency and our international agency. I chose this because there would be a seamless handoff from one to the other and will hopefully minimize any confusions, etc. So once our registration was accepted, they sent us our official application packet. This packet is about 30 pages long and includes mostly questions about us. It also has many places for our signatures so they can retrieve all of our personal and public records. On top of that, we need physicals from our physician for all and three personal references. Our references, Dan and Becky Asleson, Greg and Emily Ball and Cheryl Goodwin, are writing what I’m sure are beautiful letters on why we would be good parents to another child/more children. So once all of that is completed, we send it in, with our first payment. (Note: we are now just waiting for all of our physicals and references and then we’ll be done)
After our application is accepted, we will go through an adoption course. This course is based out of St. Paul but as I understand we’ll be able to take it online as well. Anyway, they will go over such topics as transracial and transcultural adoption, adopting siblings, other siblings in the house, etc. After this course, we will have homework that will become part of our homestudy.
After the course, we enter into our homestudy (or adoption study). This includes 2-3 visits with a social worker. One of which will be in her office in Cedar Rapids and at least one other will be in our home. The basic reason for these is to get an in-depth look at our childhood, marriage, parenting skills, etc. The one in our house will be so she can look at all the childproofing measures we’ve taken, etc. At the end of the homestudy, the social worker will write a recommendation as to how good we will be as well as how many children we are qualified to take at that point. This does not mean how many we will be given, but she will give the max number we are allowed to ask for. (Note: we have to wait for our homestudy until we are in the new camp house).
While the homestudy is taking place, we can begin to get some of our paperwork ready for what is called the dossier. The dossier is a HUGE packet of information that will eventually be translated and sent to Ethiopia. So we will be busy getting fingerprinted and getting lots of government paperwork signed and translated. Apparently this is a long and tedious process but can take anywhere from a couple days to a couple months depending on how hard you want to work. (For those who know me, you know there is a good chance I’ll be working to get the record time in dossier submission). J After the dossier paperwork is in working order and we have an approved homestudy, we send it on to our agency that approves it and sends it on to Ethiopia. Once Ethiopia officially accepts it, we are officially waiting for a referral.
A referral is basically at least one picture and all the background information possible on your child. They tell you to expect anywhere from 4-9 months for a referral. Because at this time we are thinking of a toddler in between Trysten and Dailah or a young sibling group, it appears referrals come a bit faster as those are the ones who are least likely to be requested. Once our referral comes in, we have one week to consult with our doctor as well as a doctor who specializes in international adoption to make sure that the health history looks great. We can accept or decline the referral anytime within that week.
Once the referral is accepted, we are officially waiting for a travel date which they say takes anywhere from 8-12 weeks. What is going on in the meantime is basically all of our paperwork going through the Ethiopian courts again, but this time referring to this particular child.
Once we get our travel date, we’re off! We stay in Ethiopia for about a week. During that time, we are allowed to either stay in a hotel or in the care center’s lodging (which we will do because it’s free and from what we’ve heard/seen, beautiful!) Our child will be ours as soon as we hit the soil so we can keep them in our room with us or gradually work into bringing them to stay with us over the week (which they recommend with toddlers). At some point in that week, we are invited to travel south to meet any birth relatives of our child. This may include one or both of the parents but more than likely it is the grandparents, aunt and uncles, etc. It will also include a going away party at the care center for our little one the last night we’re there.
Once home, the child is ours in the States as well, we just have to sign an official paper for Iowa once we get here!
So we’re really excited. I’m having problems cooperating with the slow nature of the process and being so reliant on others. I tend to appreciate control with these kinds of matters! Anyway, I’ll let you know once we send in our application since that will be the next step. We appreciate all of your thoughts and prayers throughout this! Thanks for checking in.