Our first set of documents has officially arrived and taken over our kitchen table and I have to admit that the amount of signatures and notarizations required is quite daunting. These documents make up our “orientation packet” the first step in the whole sha-bang of paperwork. We read through the documents quite extensively and came up with a list of questions and concerns we had. We also received program specific information about the Ethiopia program. While I had shared that Ethiopia had one of the world’s largest populations of orphans, I was still shocked to learn that nearly one in six Ethiopian children die before their fifth birthday! We are sure more than ever that Ethiopia is the country that God is calling us to adopt from!
The packet also contained a glimpse into the next process, the dreaded home study. For those that don’t know what a home study is, it is basically the biggest and hardest interview of an adoptive parents life. A social worker, assigned to our case, comes over for a minimum of six hours and examines every detail of our life, marriage, family, and home. This study also appears to be a crash course for parenting an adopted child. While most first time parents never get the chance to have solid training and education for becoming a first time parent, Jay and I will! We have some education to complete and throughout our child’s life, we will have resources available along the way. Along side the home study preparation, we also begin the second set of staggeringly large documents entitled “The Dossier”, basically our application to Ethiopia. The documents contained within the dossier will be used not only for application, but also to match us to our baby. These documents take around 2-4 months to track down and obtain. I figure a separate blog detailing that adventure will take place when that hurdle is reached.
We also had our FIRST conference call. That’s right, apparently we have to get used to these, because we should have them twice monthly during our “paperwork stage”. During the hour-long call all those questions Jay and I had were answered, and some of the worries we were carrying around the last 2 weeks have for the most part passed. I have been doing a lot of research on Ethiopia, and have found that they have drastically reduced the number of applications they process a day due to questionable unethical practices on behalf of the Ethiopian government. While Jay and I would love the opportunity to welcome a little Ethiopian tyke into our home, we certainly didn’t want our new family to be plagued with questions of whether this baby was even an orphan to begin with! Fortunately, the delays are due to the fact that the American embassy is striving to make sure that orphans are truly orphans and the agency we are working with is not solely concerned with adoptions but also helping to care for families who would only relinquish their children because they could not afford to care for them. They in fact, help financially support families and are concerned with other humanitarian works in Ethiopia as well.
This process sounds like it is going to be a long one! They are estimating 4-6 months before our paperwork is completed, and then 18months before we get matched with our little one, then an additional 4-6 months before we can bring him home. However, we are learning a lot about our family, our friends, and ourselves. I am thrilled that we have so much support backing us with this decision. Thanks again and please continue to keep the Reichert’s in your prayers, even the one that isn’t here yet ;)