We’re so excited to finally post our biggest news! We have been waiting for everything to be finalized and now the countdown has finally begun. Every last bit of the paperwork has been turned in and we are officially waiting for our baby from Ethiopia! Yes, we are adopting internationally! It has been a huge process, and we’ve only just begun to learn all that we will need to know, but here is a “brief” summary of the past few months.
It took us three months to complete all the paperwork, which is apparently considered to be fast. Some of the “highlights” were: background checks from every county in which we’ve lived (that would be 5 for us – HUGE thank you to Meghan Boots for helping us in San Francisco), a frustrating form on which to wait from immigration (took two months), lots of blood tests and an extensive physical, 10 hours of DVD training and four tests (one of which was essay), training regarding transracial families, and an extensive home study performed by an agency here in Indianapolis. That’s just a small sample.
Every piece of paper first had to be notarized and then taken to the secretary of state to be authenticated. By the end we had a huge stack of papers covered in state cover letters and shiny gold seals. It looked so pretty; I had to take a picture!
Now that the paperwork is done everyone wants to know what is next. We are working with a wonderful agency in St. Louis, Children’s Hope International. While their referrals (that’s when the adopting family finds out they have been assigned a child) aren’t as fast as some agencies, they have a reputation for having perfect paperwork and a great relationship with the embassy in Ethiopia. This is certainly a process where you want everything done perfectly! They also have a strong Christian perspective, which was very appealing to us, and amazing one-on-one attention. We LOVE our consultant, Toni, and the woman in charge of the Ethiopia program, Sharon.
So far this year the wait for a single infant, which is what we requested, seems to be around 9-11 months. Once you receive the information on your child most of the adoption process takes place in Ethiopia before you travel. That means you are subject to the scheduling of the courts. Generally, it is 2-4 mos. before you travel to Ethiopia to pick up your child. During this time, our wonderful agency takes your child out of the orphanage and moves him/her to the agency’s House of Hope. At the House of Hope the child will receive more one-on-one care and medical treatment, so you know your child is getting the best care possible while you wait to travel.
We fully recognize that the optimal situation would be for all of these children to stay with their biological families in their home country. Sadly, many of them have been orphaned, abandoned or relinquished and are in dire sitautions. We can only hope to give our child the best home we can provide while incorporating a lot of Ethiopian tradition and culture. We’re very excited to absorb as much of the culture as possible! Over the next year we’ll be learning Amharic, cooking Ethiopian food, incorporating Ethiopian holidays and traditions and preparing to become a transcultural family!
So, all of this means that we are definitely expecting a child and most likely will be traveling next summer! We’re excited to be able to update you all via the blog. I imagine that next year we will have some pretty exciting and interesting posts. In the mean time, I have thirty-something pictures to post showing the fun of the last month, or so. More to come soon!
We’ve made friends with two area families who have recently adopted from Ethiopia. (There are quite a few families in the Indianapolis area who have done this! We’re looking forward to getting to know more of them.) Here are some pictures of our get-togethers and their adorable, happy, sweet sons, Tegegn and Hudson. There is also a fabulous video of Tegegn taking some of his first steps!
Tegegn Ponsler and Brad while at the Bells' for dinner
Hudson hiding against his dad, Chris Bell
Becky and Chris Ponsler had us over for lunch. Tegegn was sporting his Colts track suit!
All our paperwork ready to go!