I find myself saying the same things over and over to people because everyone has the same questions. When do you go get her? What comes next? Friends, I am here to answer your questions.
On Friday, we received our official referral packet via FedEx. There are a couple of documents to sign, and we need to send in a check. That second part necessitates drawing funds from a few places and getting them in to the proper account. As soon as that is done, we will get our certified check and send both that and the paperwork in. Once they have received that, our dossier will be translated and submitted to the courts in Ethiopia, and they will assign a court date to us. We are hoping and praying and crossing all our fingers, toes, and paws (the cats have been charged with good luck help, too) that we receive a court date before the courts close for the rainy season in August. If we do not receive a court date prior to court closures, we have to wait until they reopen in October. We will travel to Ethiopia for the court date. From that time, it is generally four to six weeks until an embassy date, which is when we receive Magnolia’s visa from the U.S., and she will be allowed to enter the United States as our daughter. If we get a court date before the rainy season, Jarod and I will both come home in between court date and embassy date. If it is after the court closures, I hope to take advantage of some offers we’ve had to learn about Ethiopia and stay in between dates. So on the short end, we hope to bring her home in early fall. On the long end, hopefully by Christmas. You can hope and pray with us for the former, if you please.
In the meantime, we have to update our home study paperwork to reflect the age change, and we will also do the same with immigration, just to be on the safe side. On the home study, approval is for a baby girl zero to twelve months, so that definitely has to be changed, and on the immigration form, we’re approved for a child up to three years of age, but we want to increase it to four years just to be sure. We’ll also take an additional course through Adoption Learning Partners which will address issues specific to bringing home an older child.
It’s been a whirlwind since we got her file and said yes. The nesting instinct has hit me hard. I want not only to get her room ready, but also to get a bunch of things done on the house that we thought we’d have more time to do. Mostly, it’s her room I’m driven to complete, but I also feel a pretty strong urge to get a dumpster rented so we can clear all the water damaged stuff from our basement and get the construction waste out of the garage. If you’ve got the hookup for that sort of thing, please do let me know. Otherwise, I’ll be doing some financial juggling to make it happen because heaven knows we won’t be hauling stuff up out of the basement once we’ve got some big brown eyes to look into.
We have already been so blessed by so many people. One of my dearest friends is planning a fundraiser for us while she is in town from Chicago (Saturday, June 26–let me know if you want the Evite and haven’t already received one). I’ve got a ton of hand-me-downs, plus some special dresses as gifts, not to mention all the clearance shopping I’ve done as we move through this process (okay, okay, and some shopping once we saw her gorgeous face), so we’re pretty well set for clothes. A gem of a woman offered her services to do all the boring things we need to do to get ready, and would believe she even brought up painting trim? And guess what needs to be done in the nursery! She gets to paint trim AND the ceiling, too, if she wants. I am just so grateful to everyone for all they are doing for us at this time, for the excitement they have for us as a family. We cannot wait to get this ball rolling and be on the way to meeting and bringing home our girl.
Soon I will write a little something about how we found our Magnolia and what that whole crazy process was like. We have especially enjoyed surprising people, hearing their excitement and joy for our family and seeing the looks on their faces when we tell them she’s not a baby, but a three-year-old. It will be hard moving through this time between knowing who she is and having her with us, but I anticipated that, and I’ve got waterproof mascara on my list for Target. We are just so thrilled to know who she is. We cannot wait to meet her.