For those of you who are wondering where we're at in the adoption process and what our timeframe is, here's a little update...
We have been "paper chasing," or collecting the necessary documents to submit to the Ethiopian government as part of our dossier. We just scheduled our first home study visit for next Thursday and part of what the home study social worker does is guide us through the fingerprinting, background checks, and compiles a detailed report about our family and living conditions. They tell me this should take about three months. Once the homestudy is complete, we will send a copy (along with a few other documents) to the United States Citizenship Immigration Services with our I-600A application, which once approved will allow us to bring an international child to the US. That approval is the final piece to completing our dossier, so after everything is received, notarized and authenticated we will send it to our agency for final review and then it is off to Ethiopia. Apparently this entire process takes 4-6 months, but don't you know I'm doing everything I can to expedite it!
Once our dossier is sent to Ethiopia we can expect to wait 4-6 months for a referral (or "the call"). Our referral will include a child's picture and all the available medical and background information on that child. We will have one week to decide if we want to accept or reject that referral. After we accept a referral, we will be given a court date (probably scheduled for 3-6 weeks later...I think), for which we will have to appear in person (in Ethiopia). This trip will be approximately 5-7 days long and we will get to spend time with our child while there. After we pass court we return home and wait another 4-6 weeks for all of the paperwork to be finalized before we go back to Ethiopia (for about 4 days!) to pick up our child and bring him home!
So.....hopefully by this time next year we at least know what our child looks like, if not have even smootched his little cheeks!