My DATE obsession:
Okay, so I'll readily admit that I've always been a tad obsessive about dates. Back in the good ole' days when my memory was an incredible, powerful force to be reckoned with, I remembered just about any date of significance that entered my brainwaves. Now, however, I've lost a lot of my incredibly long-lasting memory skills and find myself excited to remember what I had for lunch yesterday. Hee, hee... only partially kidding. ;-) Anyway, I've been getting increasingly distraught that I don't know the EXACT day Joe and I were considered "Officially Waiting" with our agency. I've emailed the director with that question a few times, and it never seems to get answered. I'm sure he doesn't care, and I KNOW it doesn't change a thing in the long run, but I NEED to know! I need to know in my head how many days, weeks, and eventually MONTHS we've been waiting. I just NEED to know. (Back to that topic of me being impatient maybe?!).
It's not even like I'm READY for the referral yet. I am mentally, but the reality is there's lots that needs to happen first. The wait is going to be a good thing. I am working on getting on another contract with my job, and settling into my new position will take a couple of months. We are still working on getting the funds together to pay our agency the final chunk we owe them when we get a referral (a cool $5,500 is the last bit we owe them!), and we also need to get all our money together to pay for the trip to Ethiopia to pick up our babies! We're estimating that to easily be another $4-5,000, so we've got some saving to do while we wait. So, even though the wait is still a good thing, I'm still itching to play with dates and referral wait time estimates so I can get a better idea as to when we might get a referral, and when we might be traveling.
Our agency tells us to expect about 3 months for a referral, but that's too optimistic for what I think reality will be. A few others I know personally and virtually (through the wonderful world of adoption forums!) using the same agency have taken longer than that to get referrals for infants boys... and those are much more common that our request! So, I expect we're in this for a longer haul than 3 months. However, IF we were waiting 3 months, I think that means we'd be expecting our referral sometime in March! Which doesn't seem too very far away considering we're already approaching the end of January! WOW!
IMPORTANT NOTE ON THE PROCESS:
From the time we accept our referral, a number of things take place. From my understanding, our case must first be approved by MOWA (Ministry of Women's Affairs), then submitted for a court date. Court dates seem to be happening about 2 months after referral acceptance, since there's been a large backlog in courts after reopening following the annual closure, and the increased number of Ethiopian adoptions happening. Also, there seems to be an increased number of cases that end up needing to have 2-3 court dates in order to be successful. The Ethiopian government is making sure all the "t's" are crossed and "i's" are dotted. That's a GOOD thing, despite the stress and turmoil the family may feel while waiting to be the official parents of the children there were referred.
Once you are the legal parents, you get a travel date from your agency. This travel date is normally another 3-4 weeks from when you passed court. So, all those time frames taken into consideration, we expect it'll be about 3 months after referral acceptance that we'd be getting to travel.
ESTIMATED TIMELINE (remember, it's not an exact science, just educated guesses!):
If we get a referral in 3 months, that'd be in March sometime. Then, assuming it's 3 more months before we travel, that'd put us traveling in June... what a way to celebrate our 3 year wedding anniversary! A trip to Ethiopia to pick up our children! WHOA! Talk about memorable and amazing! Nevertheless, I don't really anticipate getting a referral that quickly, so we should probably tack on 2-3 more months to start being realistic. Referral in May/June, travel in August/September??? I imagine by then I WILL be feeling the excitement, impatience, and anticipation much more strongly! Keep in mind, we waited from early July until DECEMBER to submit our dossier due to the job instability, so we've already been WAITING for 5 months in addition to our 1 month (or so) of being on the "Officially Waiting" list!
Well, I'd say that's more than enough ranting, estimating, dreaming, whatever for today. I need to get back to work looking for a contract, and returning calls and emails to people about our Fortune business. Which, by the way, is going quite well. Our decision to start our business has definitely been worthwhile, and I'd love to talk to anyone interested in learning more! I may just get to be a stay at home/work at home mom after all! ;-) Keep your fingers crossed for us!