One of the most common questions we get is, "why is this taking SO long"? The short answer to that question is paperwork and red tape. Well, here's our more detailed answer which includes an overview of the Ethiopian adoption process (every country's different). As you can see, there are many steps and possibilities for significant delays at each one. We're currently at step #10 with our second adoption.
1. Choose an adoption agency.
2. Have a homestudy completed.
A social worker comes into your home, asks you tons of questions about anything and everything, tours your home for safety, and provides you with adoption education.
3. Compile your dossier.
This involves compiling a HUGE amount of paperwork; clearances, police letters, bank letters, employment letters, personal references, medical check-ups, biographies, photo pages, and letters to Ethiopian government to name a few.
4. Have dossier authenticated at the state capitol, Harrisburg.
5. Have dossier authenticated at the nations capitol, Washington DC.
6. Have dossier authenticated at the Ethiopian Embassy in DC.
7. Submit completed dossier to agency for approval.
8. Officially be placed on a "waiting list".
9. Apply to USCIS
This is basically US immigration documenting that you are approved to adopt children and can bring them into the country.
10. WAIT and WAIT and WAIT and WAIT and WAIT and WAIT and WAIT and WAIT and WAIT and WAIT and WAIT and WAIT and WAIT and WAIT and WAIT and WAIT and WAIT and WAIT...you get the idea:). We waited almost a year for our referral!
11. Receive your referral call.
This is when you are matched with your children and receive pictures and information about them. This is a sweet sweet day!
12. More medical testing is completed on the children which is called 2nd Medicals.
13. The children's paperwork is compiled and your case is submitted to the Ethiopian court.
14. The Ethiopian court issues you a date to appear before a judge in court.
15. 1st Trip
Travel for your court date and give your consensus to the adoption after meeting the children.
At this point, if your case is approved at court, the adoption is FINAL! This kids are legally yours, but you cannot bring them home yet...more paperwork.
16. Prepare documents for the US embassy...it goes something like this...
Apply for and receive 2nd MoWCY letter
Apply for and receive birth certificates
Apply for and receive passports
Have a final medical check-up completed by a US doctor
Submit all completed paperwork to the US embassy
Cleared to travel pending the US's approval of the paperwork
17. 2nd Trip
Once you have been cleared for travel by the US Embassy, you return to take custody of your children and appear for your embassy appointment to receive their "travel papers."
18. COME HOME a family designed only by God!
19. ...and the journey continues...