I've had LOTS of people asking where we go from here. I will do my best to give a rough rundown of the path that lies ahead from here to home with our sweet man. Keep in mind that we are bound by confidentiality and cannot share his name or face until we pass court - at that time we will shout praises from the rooftops and plaster pictures of his beautiful face from here to Timbuktoo! In the mean time, if you ask what his name is you will most likely get a pat answer - which is a shame because the story behind his name is one of the most magical pieces of this adoption - sorry you will have to wait a couple months!!
Alright, we have been busily filling out paperwork accepting and authorizing all the official documents that we need to accept our referral. I was so excited last night when I printed out my last couple documents to submit - then today we got our first travel email with a WHOLE list of documents that we need to complete for our travel side of things! I will tell you one thing - Adoption is FULL of paperwork and it is NEVER ending!!!!
Now that we have accepted our referral, our agency is in the process of compiling our paperwork and submitting it to the Ethiopian Affairs Committee. This committee (MOWCYA) will receive our papers and provide us with a court date to appear in country. The trend right now is roughly a month to find out when our court date will be....and then court dates have been running approximately a month after that. So - we are hopeful to find out our court date around the end of April and are hoping to meet our sweet little man in Ethiopia the end of May/beginning of June. Now - with every step along the adoption process - nothing is normal and hitches and glitches are very common. We understand that at any time trends can lengthen and change, but we are hopeful that we will fall around the 2 month time frame from referral to court date.
We made the decision a few months back to take our bio kids with us on our court trip. We got their passports and vaccinations over Christmas vacation and they are stoked to go! If I really stop and think about it, I am overwhelmed with the enormity of it all. We will be traveling to meet our new son, to a new country, new food, new culture, and we are taking our 3 kiddos with us!! I wouldn't have it any other way and I KNOW that I won't regret it - but my anal type A organized mind is getting a little stressed already just thinking about the packing!
On our trip, we will appear before MOWCYA and will hopefull "PASS" the first try. If all of our documentation is accounted for, and his documentations are accounted for, and MOWCYA is NOT behind in their paperwork (fingers crossed), then we should be good to go. If not - well, let's not think about that! Once we pass court, little man will be legally ours!!!!!! We sadly will not be able to stay in country between court and embassy and will have to leave a piece of our family and our hearts behind - for now!
At this time, our agency will begin compiling all of our documentation needed to submit to the US embassy to obtain his VISA to travel home. This process is taking 5-6 weeks for paperwork(his medicals, passports, birth certificate, etc) to be compiled and submitted to embassy. It will then most likely take a month or 2 for embassy to verify all of his paperwork, authenticate him as an orphan, which may include a birth relative interview, etc. Once embassy clears us, we will get the phone call and travel back to Ethiopia to pick up our son FOREVER (Gotcha Day!).
I have been warned by many adoptive mamas that the referral wait is NOTHING compared to the wait once you have a sweet face to look at and long for! As you can also imagine, the most EXCRUTIATING wait is once you have held you little one and promised to love them forever, and yet have to leave them behind, so very far away! We are overjoyed with our referral news and are soo incredibly excited for the path ahead of us....BUT....it is NOT going to be easy in any shape of the imagination! We plead with you all to continue lifting our family up in your prayers - that our hearts would be content, that the process would move quickly, that God will shape us into the family that little man will need us to be, that little man's heart will be comforted and prepared for what is to come. We have been blown away by your love and support - SO - please continue to walk this path with us - we need your prayers and support more now than ever before!
"I can only wonder what treasure awaits at the top of the path."
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie