Several of you have been asking us where we are in the process. We are currently gathering paperwork and completing requirements for our home study and dossier, a collection of documents to submit to Ethiopia. It is a rather tedious process, but I'm sure it will be well worth it in the end. We met with our social worker for the first time last week and will meet with her two more times before completing the home study. Next week, Tim and I will meet with her individually to reveal our deepest, darkest secrets. Not really, but it does feel like we have to share our life stories. I keep reminding myself that it is a good thing the adoption process must be so thorough to ensure precious children are placed in good homes.
We just submitted a document that will take 6-8 weeks to be approved and returned to our agency. We've had our fingerprints made and our background checks are being run. I'm taking the boys tomorrow to their doctor to have TB skin tests done as a part of their physical exams. (Pray for us if you think about it. I'm dreading that for the boys.) We've requested birth certificates and our marriage license and are collecting documents that will need to be notarized. We are completing an adoption course on line and have begun reading the books on the required reading list.
We are hoping to complete the dossier and home study over the next 2 to 3 months. After our home study is complete and the dossier has been sent to Ethiopia, the waiting begins. We are told we will wait about 9 to 12 months to receive a referral. The referral is a picture and information about the child that has been matched to our family. It sounds rather random, but we believe there's nothing random about it. God has picked out the child for our family and will orchestrate the details to bring us together.
We've heard that some families look back on the paperwork time with fondness because they felt like they were accomplishing something rather than just waiting. Right now, I look forward to having completed this paperwork, but I'm sure the wait will get long and difficult.
Once we have the referral, we hope to travel to Ethiopia in a month or two and bring our daughter home. Tim and I will travel together and the boys will stay at home. We will be gone for about a week.