What do you know about the children you're adopting?
We don't know very much at all yet! Our letter to the board of the orphanage stated that we seek to adopt two children, one 0-6 months and the other 0-36 months. We don't have a strong preference about gender, so I'm predicting we'll be referred two boys (there is a strong bias for adopting girls in the adoption community). We don't know whether or not they'll be biological siblings.
Will you have to travel to Ethiopia?
We don't have to, but we are planning to do so. We want to be able to tell our kids about their first country, experience it for ourselves, and hopefully be able to make contact with their birth-families. Paul and I both enjoy traveling and we're very excited about having the chance to go to Ethiopia. I'm not too excited about the idea of traveling 20-30 hours to come home on an airplane with two young children who have just had their lives completely up-ended, but I guess it will give me my own "labor" story to tell in the future.Why are you adopting two children at once?
There are a variety of reasons why we've chosen to adopt two at once. Most importantly, we always said if we adopted one child we would want to adopt a second to avoid making the first child feel like the odd-man-out in our family. We know we'd like to have several children eventually and anticipate it will be harder for us to finance future adoptions once we have a child at home (especially if we end up choosing for me to work part-time or stay home full-time). Finally, we feel we have the support system in-place to make this a manageable feat. I've corresponded with several families who have adopted two at once and they've all said it worked out well for them in the end. Please remind me of this if neither of our kids ever sleep once they get home.
When will you be traveling to bring them home?
The million-dollar question! We don't know yet! Right now we're just waiting for our referral (which is when the orphanage matches with children who need a family). As I said yesterday, that could happen tomorrow or it might still be a few months away (I hope not!).
What happens after you receive your referral?
- We celebrate like mad! The orphanage will send us pictures along with any medical and family information they have about each child.
- There will be a court date in Ethiopia in which they are legally declared to be our children. This usually happens 4-6 weeks after a referral but is subject to the court's schedule. There are a couple of caveats here: A.) Birth parents could reclaim their kids before the court date. This very, very rarely happens (maybe 0.25% of the time) but it happened this week to a family on an adoption board I frequent. Ultimately, it's good news if a birth family decides they can parent after all and they absolutely should have that option. If it happens though, I reserve the right to be crushed. B.) Sometimes the courts run out of time and dates have to be rescheduled. This isn't the end of the world, but it can be very frustrating for adoptive parents who are longing to bring home their kids.
- An embassy date is scheduled and we are told to buy plane tickets for that week. Usually they seem to schedule embassy dates for 2-4 weeks after a successful court date.
- We fly to Ethiopia! We will be staying for about a week before bringing our kids home.