We had our intake meeting this morning, and it went well. We started off on the wrong foot by being 25 minutes late due to horrendous traffic from a rain storm. (I swear, it’s like the sky was falling or something – why can’t people drive when it’s wet?) But that was okay and everyone understood (and we had called to let them know we were running late). It took two hours to make a trip that shouldn’t have taken more than an hour. Oh well.
We first met with a social worker for about an hour. She asked us about how we had arrived at the adoption decision, and we also discussed our infertility and losses, our families, our jobs, and things like that. I guess the point was to give a little introduction about ourselves. When we get to the home study, we will have four meetings with a social worker – one together at the office, one each separately at the office, and one at our home. Our home study social worker may or may not be this woman, but we liked her a lot, so I’ll hope that we continue to work with her.
We then met with one of the program assistants. She went over the exhaustive list of documents and information that we have to pull together before we can even start the home study. I am tired already just thinking about it, but I’m also energized. This type of project is just my cup of tea. I already have plans to spread it all out on the dining room table this weekend to prioritize and make a plan of attack. Many of the items require us to schedule appointments somewhere, so obviously we should call to make those appointments (and get fit into busy schedules) soon. We also learned that we need to apply to the placement agency ASAP – I just registered us online and we’ll get their application paperwork soon – to get things rolling there, since many things we need for this agency we might also need to provide for the placement agency as well (i.e. two copies of medical forms signed by our doctors, two original birth certificates, two sets of fingerprints, etc.).
Our home study will be done by the Barker Foundation in Bethesda, Maryland. Our placement agency is Wide Horizons in Waltham, Massachusetts. Essentially, Barker will do the work to evaluate us and determine that we are fit to be parents, and then Wide Horizons will do the communicating with Ethiopia and handle the placement of the child. A limited number of agencies are certified to handle Ethiopian adoptions, and that’s why we need to use two agencies. We had heard good things about Wide Horizons and we attended an online/conference call information session with them a couple of months ago.
Finally, we met with the coordinator of international programs and she went over the general program and of course the contract and fees. She confirmed much of what we had already known. We can expect the home study and preparation of the dossier (to be sent to Ethiopia) to take about six months. After that, we will have a wait of 12-15 months for a referral of a child. After we accept a referral, it will probably be 2-3 months until we can travel to bring him or her home. So, all in all, it’s probably going to be a two-year process.
At this point we are looking for a baby under 18 months of age. We are open to twins and possibly sibling groups (an infant and a toddler), and we don’t have any gender preference. We would prefer a healthy baby but are open to considering some health problems. These types of things will be firmed up as we work through the home study.