We’re still here! Everything about this process continues to surprise us. Just when we think, “that delay won’t happen to us”, “we surely won’t have that obstacle”, it happens. It’s just the nature of the beast. 🙂 But God is working these kids into our hearts and preparing us in His perfect timing. We couldn’t orchestrate this any more perfectly. We are hopefully days away from having a completed homestudy. From there we will send in our I600A, (Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition). While we wait for that to be processed we will finalize all of our dossier, (a file containing detailed records on a particular person or subject – basically a compilation of all of our important documents that will be send to Ethiopia) and get finger printed again. When our approval comes, it’s called an I-171H, we will be ready for a referral, this is when we will be officially matched to our kiddos. And at sometime after all of this, we will receive a court date and get ready to travel. I read a good and realistic summary of this timeline from our agency this morning and I thought I’d share it if it was helpful to anyone:
It seems that we get the most questions from families in the adoption process, and rightfully so, on timing. I will list the timing on what we are presently seeing between the various steps. Please keep in mind that this can fluctuate. For instance, we regularly see an office (like MoWA) come to a standstill if there is a seminar. In that case, everyone goes and the office does no paperwork during that time. The point I’m trying to make is that this is certainly not set in stone!
Application to Home Study and Dossier completion – This varies greatly and mostly depends on the family. Home studies generally take 2-3 months and USCIC approval another 6-8 weeks after that.
Dossier Completion to Referral – This, of course, varies greatly and we have no control on this. In most situations, the more flexible a family is on age and sex, the quicker this is.
Once a family accepts a referral – This takes 1-3 weeks before the case file is ready to submit to the court.. The orphanage director must sign an agreement with the new family’s’ name on it. Other miscellaneous minor documents that may have been in the process at referral may be completed also during this time.
After the court has accepted the file, they will assign the first court date within 1 to 2 weeks. This first date is when a birth parent or guardian will appear. In the case of abandonment, the file will be opened at that date and double checked to make sure all the necessary documents are there. If the documents are all in the file, then the judge will at that time (or a short time later) set the date for the adoptive family to appear. This is typically 2 to 3 weeks out. IF there is a document missing (for example, maybe the approval letter from MoWA is delayed), she will wait until that document is received before setting the second date. The great thing about this newer way of scheduling is that the adoptive parents can rest easier knowing that their adoption will most likely be pronounced final while they are there.
Once the adoption is final, it takes about 5 weeks to complete the paperwork that the Embassy needs in order to investigate. Once this file is submitted to the Embassy, they generally take a month to investigate and then give the family notice they can travel for the visa interview soon after that.
The total of weeks from referral acceptance to Embassy approval is typically between 9 and 13 weeks. Please remember that if there are any other extenuating circumstances, it will add to this time.
So, we’re definitely looking at some time ahead of us, but we are hopeful that it will pass quickly! We are thankful for this time to help us grow stronger as a family and be all the more ready to become a family of 6! 🙂 Thanks for sticking with us on this journey – we can’t do this alone!
Also …. we are having our 2nd annual garage sale this Friday and Saturday, June 7th and 8th. It will be at our sister and brother’s house 5018 N 19th St in Tacoma – join us for some excellent shopping!