- Complete homestudy
- Obtain I-600A immigration approval: 1-3 months
- Submit dossier to Ethiopia and wait for a referral: 4-9 months
- Ethiopian court date: usually 1-3 months after referral. Paul and I will both be required to travel to Ethiopia for this. Depending upon our finances, we are hoping to take Atticus and Norah along with us and remain in Ethiopia until our U.S. embassy hearing.
- U.S. Embassy date: usually about 2 months after the Ethiopian court date. We will be able to come home with our new children after this.
We are feeling relatively calm about the wait right now. We already have an awesome family and don't mind having a longer wait. However, we are really, really, really, REALLY hoping the adoptions will make it through the Ethiopian courts before the end of 2011 which is when the adoption tax credit is scheduled to sunset. When we adopted Atticus and Norah, it took us ten months to get from the point where we are right now (awaiting homestudy approval) to getting through court in Ethiopia.
Many people who are considering adoption for the first time have asked us how invasive the process is. In short, it's kind of like going through pre-Cana marriage counseling, applying for private life insurance, and applying for a mortgage all at the same time. You get to answer questions about the strengths and weaknesses of your marriage, your families of origin, your parenting philosophies, finances, debts, health records, and mental health. There are some educational field trips to state records offices to obtain copies of birth certificates, marriage licenses, home deeds, employment records, bank records, and you get to know your favorite notary on a first-name basis. Yes, it's pretty invasive, but it doesn't really seem that bad if you've already gone through the other investigations that go along with buying a house or other rites of passage that go along with being an adult.
So...that's where we are right now. We will be applying to adopt two children 0-18 months-old at the time of referral. I'll let you know when we have more news.