Sunday, October 14, 2007

Adoption-How Long Is Too Long?

It takes nine months to carry a baby to term and it can take that much time or longer to complete the adoption process. Depending on your agency and how long it takes for you to prepare paperwork the process could take 5-18 months.

I look at the process as four distinct phases. A lot of the documentation that is needed for each phase is the same and the phases can overlap. I'm actually adding a fifth step to the front of the process -- selecting an agency.

Once you have decided to adopt you quickly learn that their are a list of agencies approved or licensed in Ethiopia. A few short months ago when I started I believe that there were only 8 agencies and now that list has grown to about 15. With that many agencies it may take you awhile to sort through them and find out what you want.

AGENCY SELECTION PART 1 - PLACEMENT: You need to select a placement agency. Identify the agencies and select the agency that fits your needs. You will find that no only are the prices different but the have different rules, and requirements as well. This could take you 1-2 months of careful analysis. Is the agency in your home state? If not make sure that you get a list of approved agencies that the placement agency will work with.

AGENCY SELECTION PART 2 - HOMESTUDY: If you choose an agency that is not in your home state you will also have to select a homestudy agency that is licensed in your state. The homestudy agency has to meet the placement agencies requirements. This could take another 4-6 weeks. I think that a good strategy is to look at placement and homestudy agencies at the same time.

There is a process that is conducted by your home state called the homestudy. The process requires you to go through a screening, home visitation by a social worker, and the collection of documents and a written approved report.
This can take about 1-3 months.

PLACEMENT AGENCY: The placement agency is actually the Ethiopia contact agency, the identify the children, initiate the adoption, and make the placement. This takes approximately 2-4 months of gathering paper work that has to be completed and approved and waiting for the approved homestudy report.

US IMMIGRATION: After you have documented everything that you think is possible about your life you get to collect more documentation and submit it to the US Department of Immigration. You need to have an I600 (Orphan Petition) approved by immigration before you are considered paper ready and are eligible to receive a referral or bring a child into the country. This process can take 3-4 months.

ETHIOPIA ADOPTION & TRAVEL: All paperwork goes to Ethiopia and they begin the adoption process in the Ethiopian courts. There is a representative in Ethiopia handling that process on your behalf. Once the adoption is final you receive a US Embassy court date. Once you have the date, you plan your travel to be at the Embassy on that date. At the embassy you take more documents, get final approval to bring the children into the country, you complete their paperwork, and then fly back home. You may wait 2-3 months after referral to be notified about the court date. The court date may be 2 -12 weeks away. You make your travel plans go to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, pick up the children, and return home.

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Original Court Date: April 18, 2009
Final Court Date: May 18, 2009
[607 total days & 165 days w/IAN]