Thursday, October 30, 2008

Do I even dare say it!

We are at 4 months (18 weeks) today - Do I even dare say that we are now passed the half way mark...I hope I did not just jinx myself. I feel like we are getting soooo close...

However, as you can see, we are all going a little crazier by the day with this wait!

It is great to hear about all the recent referrals. Congrats to all the families who have recieved such wonderful news!

I guess I shouldn't have said it...Just heard from Imagine this afternoon - we are now being told "7+ months" for our referral - How quickly things change in just one month! Wonder what the delay next month will be? That brings us to at least Feburary now - @#$% - not feeling so close anymore. I feel like I am running a dog race around the track for the rabbit...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Teaching moment with a 4-year-old

Sara: "Mommy, am I white?"
Mommy: "Well, we are kind of whitish, beigey, pink."
Sara: "And our new baby will be brown?"
Mommy: "That's right."
Sara: "Well, our new baby won't match."
Mommy: "The new baby may not match our skin, but he/she will match our family in other ways. The new baby will have brown eyes and black hair just like Daddy. You and me have the same skin, but look at how we are different - what is different about our hair?"
Sara: "You have straight hair and mine is curly!"
Mommy: "People come is all different shapes and sizes, that is what makes us all special."

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Let it rain...

Let it pour...let the referrals begin again...first one announced today after a 2 month drought.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Because a few friends have asked...

Well, this post will certainly not be anything new or informative to my fellow Etho-adoptive bloggers, but I have had a few questions lately from friends and family regarding our international adoption process and thought I would break it down from the beginning. Please add comments/clarity/questions as you feel necessary.

Deciding to go international - An international adoption has always been a possibility for us, we said that if Sara turned four and we were still waiting domestically that we would start the international adoption process. So we probably started talking about it approximately 2 years ago, began exploring our options more seriously in summer 2007, and made our decision in fall 2007 (see the "Why Ethiopia?" post). If this would have been our first adoption or used a different local agency we would have been required to take an educational course on adoption; however, we took this course before we applied for our first adoption in 2003, which saved us several months of time.

Applying for international adoption - Our first meeting with our Adoption Agency was scheduled in February 2008, where we signed our "Letter of intent" to adopt internationally and were provided with the endless paperwork to start our homestudy.

Completing a homestudy (3 months) - So we completed one homestudy for Sara's adoption, one homestudy for our second domestic adoption, and a third for our international adoption. Fortunately for us, we had our domestic adoption file open with our agency so we were able to use most of the history content to develop our international file. For clarity, an international adoption file or application is called a "dossier". So, I will now refer to our "file/application" as a "dossier".

The following is a list of just some of the documents/tasks/materials we had to complete/compile/gather as part of our homestudy approval:

* Security Clearance (Fingerprint Check through Interpol in Ottawa)
* Medical Reports from Family Doctor
* Handwritten letter to Minister of Women's Affairs in Ethiopia - explaining our desire/reasons to adopt a child from Ethiopia
* Proof of Life Insurance and Health Benefits
* Passport photos
* Criminal Checks
* Notices of Assessment
* Letter from Employers
* 4 reference letters from non-family members
* 2 pages of labelled photos of our family
* 12ish page personal, work, family, parenting, etc. questionnaire
* Trans-racial questionnaire
* Request questionnaire - selecting gender, age range, and why

Homestudy Interview - Again, fortunately for us, because we had already completed a VERY intensive homestudy interview as part of our first adoption application, we simply had to provide an update homestudy interview.

Provincial approval (1 month) - After our interview, our local adoption worker compiles ALL the documents we have collected/completed and requests our approval for an international adoption, our dossier then goes to our provincial government for formal approval. This means that the province approves our dossier and our gender/age request.

Foreign Affairs approval (1 month) - Our local agency then sends our approved dossier to the international adoption agency, who then sends it to Ottawa where it gets legalized and authenticated by Foreign Affairs and the Ethiopian Embassy.

Dossier travels to Ethiopia (Less than 1 week) - Once our dossier is returned to the international adoption agency, they send it to their contacts in Ethiopia and we are officially put on the "waiting list" (for lack of better words). Currently, we are being told that our referral will come approximately 6 months from this time.

Referral (about 6 months) - This is where the real fun begins! A "referral" means that we have been "matched" with a child; we receive photos and a medical and social history of a child. Our international agency will send the referral to our local agency, whom, in turn, will inform us that our referral is in. We will review the referral and formally accept the referral. At this point, the child is put "on hold" (again, for lack of better words). The child is NOT legally ours until after court.

Court (1-3 months) - Receiving a court date can take anywhere between 1-3 months. This is the legal process in which the child legally becomes ours, granted by the Judge in the Ethiopia courts.

Waiting to Travel (2-4 months) - Once this Adoption Order has been granted, we will wait another 2-4 months for the immigration documentation to be prepared for our child (passport, birth certificate, visa). Once the final piece of documentation has been prepared by the High Commission, we will be notified and then we can travel to Ethiopia.

Travelling to Ethiopia (7-10 days) - Once we receive notice to travel, we are required to travel to Ethiopia for at least 7-10 days to pick up our child. We are only required to send one parent to Ethiopia; however, we will be travelling as a family (Chad, Laura and Sara) to pick up the final member of our clan.

And worth EVERY second of our time, energy, frustration, labour and waiting!!!!!!

Sunday, October 05, 2008