This week six different families from our agency found out on MONDAY that they were to leave for Ethiopia on SATURDAY - five days later!
When I found this out, I started feeling pretty anxious. I think you might even say that I was freaking out. I have a lot to do to get ready! So I have been corresponding with the travel planner at our agency, and I am feeling much better now. I understand much better what to expect, I am getting my lists ready, and I don't feel nearly so overwhelmed.
So, in a nutshell, here is how it works now (after the recent changes with how the Ethoipian government and the U.S. Embassy are handling things):
- Right now our post-court paperwork is being process. This includes a birth certificate and passport, etc. being issued for Benjamin. It will take 2-3 weeks.
- Then our case will be submitted to the U.S. Embassy. They should have all of our paperwork by the first of May.
- The U.S. Embassy now does an investigation to ensure the "orphan status" of every single child adopted in to the U.S. They had originally stated that these investigations would take about 8 weeks. However, the trend so far is that the investigations are taking between 2-6 weeks after they receive the paperwork.
- So that means that our investigation could be complete anytime between mid-May and mid-June. Our agency will not know how long it will take until they receive notice from teh Embassy that it is done. We won't find out anything until then.
- After our agency finds out that the investigation is complete, they will let us know that we can travel for the next available Embassy appointment. our travel will revolve around this appointment where we must finalize visa paperwork, etc., for Benjamin.
- Our agency has one day for appointments every other week. They can schedule up to ten families (well actually, ten children) in one day.
- If we cannot make it to the very next available appointment (like if we are given four days notice or something!) then we will go two weeks later for the next appointment date.
There are two possible Embassy appointment days in June, and it is our best guess that we will travel for one of these. However, it is actually possible that we would travel as early as May or as late as July if things take longer than expected.
But for now, I am kicking it up into high gear again. I've been making lists for what to pack, donations we want to take, gifts to buy for nannies, questions that I have, etc. I've been poring over the travel information documents that we got from our agency. The flurry of activity in the next few weeks will be fun. This is what we have been waiting for! It's about to happen - we are really going to make a trip to Ethiopia to go get our boy!