For those of you have never adopted, I thought I'd give you a brief run-down of the process and where we are at so far ... and of course, as we are adopting internationally, I have no idea how it differs for a domestic adoption.
When you apply and are accepted by an agency, the paperwork pregnancy begins. There are 3 stages, and they can be worked on simultaneously. The first is the home study. This involves proving your financial stability, getting reference letters, letters from your employers, official copies of birth certificates, marriage certificate, police reports that say you don't have a criminal record or if you do, a letter explaining what happened, being interviewed by the social worker ... and since our kids are older, each of them had to be interviewed as well, as well as several other documents. Lots of details and all of them have to be done just right.
At the same time, you can be working on the dossier ... even more documents and almost all of these have to be notarized. So if you're thinking of adopting, I'd suggest making friends with a notary. (Thanks, Kevin!) Once the home study is complete, you can enter the 3rd stage which is Immigration. You have to send your home study, and application, $$, and eventually we will get fingerprinted and have the documents that we will need to enter the country legally with our child.
Once we get our documents back from Immigration, then we will combine that with the Dossier, and send all of that to our agency. They will work on it for a couple of weeks, and then it will be sent to Ethiopia for translation and submission to the government there. There are more details .. and I will probably laugh when we are done with how brief I made this, and how much I left out. There is still much to learn.
At some point once our dossier is complete and sent to the agency, we will receive our referral ... which is the picture and brief history of a child that we can choose to accept or not. Our age range is pretty broad, so I don't expect that we will not accept our first referral. Plus, we have a pretty strong faith that God has a child planned for us, so why would we turn one down that was recommended.
As to where we are at in the process right now? The answer is ... our home study is done. We will pick it up this week ... after we pay more $$. (Did I mention that international adoption is not cheap?) We will then send it off to immigration ... and then wait .... I'll keep you posted. And I'm planning on learning how to post pictures to this at some point. That might make this blog a bit more interesting.