Sunday, September 2, 2012

International Adoption Lingo/The Process

Dossier (pronounced “doss-e-A”): a collection of documents containing very detailed information about the adoptive parents. Compiling a dossier involves gathering documents (everything from medical clearance from our doctors to letters from our local police station and certified copies of our birth and marriage certificates, etc.), having these documents notarized, and then authenticated, which means adding various seals from our county, our state, and the U.S. government.  Once we have all of the documents needed for our dossier we will send it to West Sands (our agency), and they will have it authenticated and sent to the Ethiopian government.  When our dossier is in the hands of the Ethiopian government we will officially be on the waiting list.

Home Study:  our home study is part of our dossier, and it's basically a social worker's assesment of our home and, in her opinion, our parenting abilities.  Also included in the home study is an autobiography for both Jon and myself (which was both fun and tough to write), letters of recommendation from three people, and several other documents (including our pets' vet records!).

Referral: once our dossier is in Ethiopia and we are on the waiting list to receive our referral.  Our adoption agency knows our requests/preferences--we are requesting siblings under the age of two--and once we are at the top of the waiting list and the kids who are meant to be ours become available we will receive a phone call and then be sent an e-mail with the children's pictures, history, and medical info. 

Once we have formally accepted our referral we will travel to Ethiopia for court (usually about 6-8 weeks later), where we will officially be declared the children's parents.  We then travel back home--without the kids--and wait to be cleared by the US embassy in Ethiopia.  When we have received the green light from the embassy we will travel back to Ethiopia for our embassy appointment, and then we get to bring our babies home!