So, things are moving along steadily. After our initial denial from our first agency (because I am on anti-anxiety meds to prevent panic attacks), we have found a wonderful agency, Adoption Associates Inc. in Michigan. It is a smaller agency with happy clients and a good reputation. Although we were very disappointed by the initial denial, I want to believe that everything happens for a reason-that maybe it is all supposed to happen this way-that this is the path we should take to find our baby/child. Our homestudy visits were finished last month and our social worker said the draft should be ready soon. We have been working on obtaining and compiling documents for our dossier, the humungous stack of very important documents that will be sent to Ethiopia. Basically it is our entire life on paper (e.g. birth certificates, financial statements, medical and criminal clearances, and several promises from us). It will all have to be notarized and then sealed by the state before it is sent over there. At this time, we are anticipating that our dossier will be sent to Ethiopia sometime in October. Our agency requires our homestudy to be finished before we apply to immigration. After we apply, we will wait for fingerprinting appts. Once that is approved we will wait for a special form that states the U.S govt. is giving us permission to adopt from another country. This document will be the last important piece of paper that we need to obtain in order to complete our dossier.
Once our dossier arrives in Ethiopia, we will be placed on a referral waiting list. After this happens, we basically just wait and wait. Wait times vary a bit and depend on each family's criteria. Our referral wait time will most likely be between 12-18 months. I have spoken with a couple of families in our agency and one who arrived home a couple of weeks ago waited just a year, but I am not sure what their criteria were. At this time, we are open to a boy or girl, 0-36 months. Our social worker has approved us for a child from 0-5 years, but is recommending 0-36 months based on her impressions, our ability to parent for the first time, etc. Luckily, we have a wonderful social worker who has been working with families in the field of adoption since I was just a year old (1982). She is a perfect fit for us and she definitely has our best interests in mind. She has been honest with us and has raised great points and questions. At this point in the game, we are just continuing to gather our important documents. We are also in the process of completing the 10 hours of pre-adoption training that is required. Luckily, the topics are interesting (e.g. attachment, medical issues in intl. adoption, conspicuous families) and the information has been very helpful!