We thought we’d update everyone on how our adoption is going. Many of you have expressed interest for the sake of curiosity and others with the hope of doing this one day yourselves. Either way, for our own personal online-scrapbooking purposes, here’s a summary of where we are!
According to our agency, on a scale of 1-10, our progress is at a 2. Here is their scale:
- Celebrate Children International (CCI) application process complete.
- Adoption contract submitted to and accepted by CCI.
- Authenticated dossier along with four photocopies of the entire document on file with our agency.
- Dossier translated by agency and sent to Ethiopia for authentication.
- Case submitted to the Ethiopian court to begin legal proceedings to adopt our children in Ethiopia.
- Court date granted.
- Ethiopian passports, visas and new birth certificates obtained for children.
- Case submitted to American embassy in Ethiopia for appointment with adoptive family.
- Family travels to Ethiopia.
- Family returns Home!!!
Here’s a quick overview of what we’ve accomplished over the last few months:
- December 7 – Decided to pursue adoption and started looking into agencies.
- December 26 – Got certified copies of our marriage license while in Michigan for Christmas (very convenient!).
- December 29 – Both our adoption agency (Celebrate Children International) and home study agency (Adoption Assistance, Inc.) have our applications.
- December 30 – Shared a meal with Rocky and Suzanne Clark, another couple from our church adopting from Ethiopia.
- December 31 – By this date we had all three friend references in hand.
- First week of January – Got criminal record checks done and ordered Kristi’s Birth Certificates.
- January 2 – Drove to Columbus to pick up Trent’s Birth Certificates.
- January 9 – Met with our accountant to discuss the Adoption Tax Credit.
- January 10 – This was a busy day! We applied with USCIS for immigration approval and got fingerprinted, and then later that evening we had our first home study meeting. Our social worker is wonderful and spend three hours in our home asking us questions and taking notes!
- January 11 – We received our contracts from CCI.
- January 23 – We sent our completed contract in to CCI along with our agency fee.
- January 28 – Kristi applied for her passport renewal – still looking for Trent’s.
- January 31 – Our contract is received by CCI and we are able to access the “Client Page” on their website. This is where our dossier documents are listed, so we immediately began pulling those documents together.
- February 4 – Both of us had medical exams and bloodwork done.
- February 6 – We had our 2nd Home Study meeting and turned in all our home study paperwork. It took us only a few weeks to pull together what amounted to about twenty documents including birth and marriage certificates, references, letters from our bank, employer and doctor, etc. Basically, our social worker needs to have documentation to demonstrate that we are safe, our home is safe and that we meet certain government requirements.
- February 14 – For Valentines Day, we went on a date to Queen of Sheba, an Ethiopian restaurant here in Louisville and had a truly ethnic experience! We especially enjoyed the Chicken appetizer we had (I don’t remember the name of it, but it was delicious!).
- February 18 – We received our adoption toolbox in the mail! In the toolbox were many wonderful books on adoption and a cute little CCI teddy bear. We have homework assignments from these books and have to complete 10 hours of work within three months. Kristi has already devoured two of the books and is on her third. Three months is plenty of time to get these assignments done!February 18-22 – Some helpful hints were added to CCI’s website regarding how to prepare our dossier documents. This week we had a number of our documents redone to meet these standards. We’re glad to catch these things now, before we had advanced further along in the process!
- February 20 – We mailed our certified copies of vital records to various states to get the state seal attached to them.
- February 26 – Life insurance day! We called friends, did some research and made a decision about life insurance. On this day, Trent had a medical appointment for his life insurance, which is the last piece of the puzzle needed to complete our home study.
- February 29 – We scanned and emailed copies of each of our dossier documents for proofing by our agency, before we set out to have these documents verified at the county, state and federal levels.
In all, our dossier will include about thirty-two documents. Each of those documents will be notarized and taken to the county level for notary-verification. This is where they verify that the notary signature is the true signature of a notary with a valid commission. This verification process adds an additional piece of paper stapled to each of these thirty-two documents. Then, we take our stack of 64 pages to Frankfort, the state capital. There, they staple what is called “The Great Seal” to the top of every single stapled document. Add another 32 pages and this makes 96 pages. Of course there is a fee along way for every single document at both the county and the state levels of verification. But we’re not done yet.
Within the next two weeks, we will complete this process. Then we will send our nearly completed dossier to D.C. via courier, where each state seal will be authenticated by the U.S. Government and also sent to the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington for their approval. Our D.C. courier will then pick it up again and send it to our agency, where they will begin to translate our entire dossier into the Ethiopian language before it can be sent to the Ethiopian government. When it arrives on site with our agency, it will be well over 120 pages. This is why they refer to this process as a paper pregnancy.
This may sound like a lot of work, but the time has really flown by quickly. It’s only been about three months since we decided to adopt, and we are already almost done with the paperwork! And in reality, we’ve only had the list of requirements for our dossier for one month, so that is very encouraging!
Here are some prayer requests:
- Pray that we would be patient and not anxious as we enter the waiting period, trusting that our adoption is all in God’s control.
- Pray that we would use this time to prepare ourselves for parenthood.
- Pray that our babies would be born safe and be well cared for and protected in the months before we are able to bring them home.
- Pray for our babies’ birth mothers, for their safety and comfort as they make the difficult decision to place their children for adoption.
- Pray that both referrals would come relatively close together and that the babies would be close in age.