Monday, January 30, 2012

In Jen's words...

We would definitely not have survived this adoption journey without our amazing friends, Jen and Loren. Jen and Loren recently returned home from China with their son, Jonah. I encourage you to read Jen's blog post about seeing an adoptive child's experience through his/her perspective. It is beautifully written! And to Jen and Loren, we thank you for being there for us through every step of this journey!


Today we are filled with gratitude! Our dear friends, Jeff and Cheryl, hosted a Welcome Celebration for our family last night. We received so many wonderful gifts from our family and friends to help welcome Nen and Achole to our family. We also received MANY donations to take to the orphanage in Ethiopia when we return. I think Cheryl, Renee, and Michelle cooked and baked for days to get ready for the celebration. What a feast of deliciousness we had! Is 'deliciousness' a word? haha! Jen also shared her rock-star creative side to create amazing picture collages and announcement cards!

We are overwhelmed with all of the prayers, words of encouragement, gifts, donations, love, and on and on and on....our friends and family have shared with us throughout this entire journey. We are so grateful!! Thank you!

The Embassy Wait...

So...a lot has happened since I updated the last time! We received our adoption decree on Jan. 10th (exactly 3 weeks after passing court). It was so exciting to see our names listed as their adoptive parents. Such an unnerving feeling to know we are legally their parents, but we are not allowed to bring them home yet.
We received Nen and Achole's birth certificates just a little over a week later on Jan. 19th! The birth certificates came with a small wrinkle. The spelling of Nen's name went from Neni to Nen. From what we could tell when we were in Ethiopia, this is what he prefers to be called anyway, so it was a positive change. The court also reverted back to his original paperwork and (on paper) he is 5.5 years old. Our adoption agency has always told us he was 8.5 based on a medical exam he received just before we accepted our referral. After meeting him, he is definitely not 5.5!! We will be visiting the doctor at the International Clinic at Children's Mercy to help us sort this out. He can estimate a child's age within 6-12 months accuracy with an x-ray of the wrist. All of Achole's information remained the same! She will turn 3 in March just after we bring her home (hopefully!!).
Next on the list of required documents for embassy submission is Ethiopian passports. These were done last Tuesday (Jan. 24th). Once the passports were completed, the kiddos (will be or have been) taken for a medical exam specifically for the US Embassy. We assume this has taken place, but aren't sure yet. Our coordinator is anticipating we can be submitted to the embassy this Wed, Feb. 1st!!!! We won't know for sure until that day...can you guess what we are praying for?? Our agency is only allowed to submit on Wednesdays, so if we miss this week, we'll have to wait another entire week. The waiting process is emotionally draining for all of us!
As I mentioned in my last post -- The embassy will then either approve our case immediately, request an additional birth family interview prior to approval, or request additional documentation. While we believe our case is fairly straightforward and should clear easily, a birth family interview is highly possible. Requesting birth family interviews seems to have become standard procedure for the embassy in the past several months. Families receive clearance rather quickly following the interview as long as there are no inconsistencies between the court interview and the embassy interview. We are still very hopeful we will be able bring our kiddos home by the end of February!!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Next Steps...

As you all know, we had to leave our kiddos behind in Addis Ababa while all of the final paperwork is processed for the US Embassy. Under Ethiopian law, we are officially Neni and Achole's family. However, we have to wait for clearance from the US government to bring them home. We must first receive the adoption decree from the Ethiopian court, then their new birth certificates, then Ethiopian passports, and finally the medical clearance report. After our agency receives all of these items, we can be submitted to the US Embassy. The embassy will then either approve our case immediately, request an additional birth family interview prior to approval, or issue an RFE (request for evidence). While we don't expect an RFE with our case, a birth family interview is highly possible...and we expect clearance following that interview. This entire process takes approximately 6-8 weeks (on average), although some families with our agency have received clearance within 4 weeks. We are very hopeful we will be able bring our kiddos home by the end of February!!