25 May 2010

What Now?

Now that we have accepted our referral, what do we do now? We wanted to give everyone a snapshot about what we're busy doing before our court date - both for our friends and families and also for the Ethiopian adoptive families who may be following our adventure. I guess I could simply summarize everything by saying we're getting ready for a baby like any soon-to-be parents. Since our son will be about two and a half, we're skipping a few things like baby formula and heading right to baby-proofing the house - think of the movie Baby Momma but not so crazy.

I spent most of an evening Googling baby sizes because neither one of us have no idea what size clothes fit our son. My research has shown that he's probably a 2T (we found out the "T" is for toddler......yes, we're starting from square one), but we expect he'll grow into a 3T when he gets home. The Ethiopia children typically put on weight at a pretty good rate when they come home with their forever family because of the better nutrition.

We are also preparing for our trip to Ethiopia in a couple of ways.
- IMMUNIZATIONS. Thanks to Navy medicine, I am immunized against nearly everything. Hepatitis B was the only thing I was missing. HERE'S A WARNING FOR PROSPECTIVE ADOPTIVE FAMILIES - Hep B is a three-shot series that takes 7 months because of required time between each shot. Start early so you can finish before traveling for the Court Date! Alicia has to get a number of shots, and most of them are out in town, as the Navy medicine won't cover these types of shots for spouses.
- CARE PACKAGES and PHOTOS. We have asked a family traveling next week to take pictures of our son. The referral included two pictures, and we want as many as we can get. We are also putting together a care package for him that we'll send with another family traveling for their Court Date, probably in late June.

A family in Ethiopia sent us an e-mail and said our son appeared very happy in the Transition Home. He is in the same area as their son so they even had a chance to play with him. We are anxious to meet him and make him a part of the family.

13 May 2010


Today is a life changing day! 7 months 2 weeks and 4 days since beginning this journey, we have a referral for a wonderful boy. I am so desparate to share his name, picture, and information with everyone, but we are legally bound to keep his personal information confidential until he is legally ours. Even though we can't share that information, we can't keep this a secret!!!!!!!!

Alicia will be busy over the next few days running quite a few errands.
-- Finding a pediatrician who specializes in international adoptions to review his medical reports. There are quite a few of those around. We're lucky to have one or two in San Diego. To Alicia and me, he looks great, but we'll trust a professional's opinion over our own.
-- Getting a handfull of immunization shots that the CDC recommends when traveling to Ethiopia. Thanks to Navy medicine, I just need one more shot and I'm all done.
-- Taking our updated Home Study to the local Immigration Office. The udpate was completed just this week, and Alicia should get it in the mail in a few days. We need to get it to the Immigration Office so they can update us in their system and forward that update to the American embassy in Ethiopia.
-- Looking a baby clothes at Khol's!!!!!!!

I am still in Newport, RI, attending a Navy school, and I will finish the end of June. I've got about six weeks to go in this four-month separation from Alicia. We call this a "mini-deployment." We had a feeling there was a chance we would get a referral before I finish this school, but we didn't expect it so soon! I'm flying home for Memorial Day weekend so we can celebrate together!

Ok....so what's next? Here is what we think will happen:

-- We have one week to accept or decline the referral. At this point, we see no reason to decline!
-- We are put in the rotation for a court date in Ethiopia. This is where we appear before the Ethiopian judge and swear we will adopt this child. Upon passing court, the boy is legally ours ------- FOREVER!!!!!!!
-- Based on families who have gone before us, the court date could be as early as 6-8weeks from now. I think there's a pretty good chance our court date could be later because a significant number of referrals were recently issued - much more than usual. This may cause a small backlog in the system and push our court date a little later.
-- After the court date, the American embassy conducts is own investigation to validate all of the paperwork - to include another triple-check that the child is a legitimate orphan. This usually takes around 6-10 weeks.
-- After the embassy's investigation, we are issued an appointment with the embassy. Once we get that appointment date, we travel to Ethiopia to get our child and bring him home. Adoptive parents call this date the "Gotcha Day."

This is a life changing day!