Step 1: Immigration
Our homestudy FINALLY got sent to USCIS (Immigration) to receive approval for an immigrant visa. The approval process can take up to 6 weeks, but they have already processed all of our other paperwork and were just waiting on our homestudy for the approval. So we are hoping to receive our approval letter from USCIS within the next week or two. This is the final document we need to complete our dossier.
Step 2: Certification
Most of the documents for the dossier require notarization. In order to verify that the person who notarized our documents is in fact a true notary, the dossier must be "certified" by the California Secretary of State. So when we receive our approval letter from immigration, we will take our dossier to Sacremento to get it certified.
Step 3: Dossier Review & Approval
We will then mail our dossier to America World (our adoption agency). They will review the documents and, if everything is in order, will ship it to Ethiopia in about a week after receiving it. That will be our DTE date (Dossier To Ethiopia).
Step 4: Waiting for Referral
For the age/gender child we have requested (30 months or younger boy) the wait time for a referral is quite short. Only 3-4 months. (FYI, the wait time in China right now is about 40 months!) That is when we will receive his name, picture, and any medical information they know about him.
Step 5: Waiting to Travel
From the time we accept the referral to the time we travel, several things must take place. We have to receive a court date (6-8 weeks), pass court (hopefully the first time), have the paperwork translated (2 weeks), and then receive an appointment to get our child's visa. The time between the referral and actually traveling to get our son will likely be 2.5 to 3.5 months.
If everything goes extremely smoothly with no delays or interruptions, we could possibly travel as soon as June to get our son! However, adoptive parents are taught to expect delays in the process so it's really hard to tell.
So here is my prayer request:
Please pray that God would Sovereignly allow us to travel to get our son sometime this summer. There are several reasons for this:
- I really want to get him home as soon as possible.
- Summer is naturally a more relaxed time for church life and Andy's job. The fall is probably the busiest/ most important time of the year in the life of our ministry. It would be best for Andy if we could get our son before August so that he doesn't have to take two weeks off of work during the busiest season of the year.
- The Ethiopian courts close every year during the fall. It's never exactly the same dates or length of time, but during that time adoptions cannot be processed. So if we don't pass court and travel this summer, we could end up waiting several extra months simply because the courts are closed. It would be very frustrating to have a picture of my son in my hand, but know there is nothing I can do to bring him home because the courts are closed.