I need to remember that I have a diverse group of readers, ranging from those who know exactly what I mean about home studies, dossiers, and USCIS approval to those who are learning their first information about international adoption through me. So, if you want to know what’s next, here you go!
1. Review the home study this weekend and provide any necessary corrections to the Barker Foundation (home study agency – the one that evaluates us as to our fitness to parent) on Monday. The home study is a written report about us. I haven’t read ours yet but I did see that it’s 17 pages long, so I imagine it is quite thorough!
2. Wide Horizons for Children (placement agency – the one who handles the Ethiopia portion of the process and actually refers us a child down the road) reviews the home study and provides any comments back to Barker. It is possible that they might suggest some minor revisions that will be necessary specific to Ethiopia. I just got an email from our social worker at WHFC who said that her comments will be done by Monday as well.
3. Barker finalizes the home study.
4. The home study goes to USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) to be considered as part of our I-600A, our application for what is essentially pre-approval for us to bring home an internationally-adopted child. We submitted our I-600A back in July and were fingerprinted then. It looks like the Baltimore USCIS office is taking at least 6 weeks to process the form from the time of receipt of the home study, based on another local family’s experience (they’re still waiting from a mid-August submission). So, we’ll have to sit back and wait.
5. USCIS approves our I-600A. At this point, I’m going to hope that this happens by December.
6. The approval of the I-600A goes to WHFC as the final component of our dossier. Once WHFC has that, we are officially on the list to receive a referral of a child.
7. We wait approximately 12-18 months for a referral.
8. At various times some of our paperwork and our fingerprinting may expire and we may have to repeat some steps. (But I’m not thinking about that right now!)
9. Sometime in early to mid-2011, we will receive the referral of a child. We will examine the information about the child and possibly consult with a physician who can interpret the child’s medical records.
10. After accepting a referral, WHFC works on our behalf to get us through the Ethiopian court system to make the adoption legal, and to obtain the child’s passport and such.
11. A few months after accepting the referral, we travel to Ethiopia to bring our child home.
This is a simplified list and I’m skipping some things, but I will continue to discuss the various steps along the way as we go through them. There’s a long road ahead of us – possibly another two years long – but what is happening now is the culmination of the past six months of inspections, fingerprints, and paperwork out the you-know-what. It feels really good!