Sunday, August 5, 2012

So what next?

A lot of folks have been asking about when the next steps are in bringing our little guy home so here goes nothing...

Once a family passes court our adoption agency begins obtaining our post court paperwork (court decree, birth certificate, and passport).  These items can take anywhere from 3 to 5 weeks to complete and can only be submitted to the embassy on Wednesdays.

After paperwork is submitted to the US embassy, the agency will send us a copy of our family’s court decree, birth certificate, passport, and all supporting documents submitted to the embassy.

Once the embassy receives the paperwork, they will email us and let us know they have received our paperwork.  The embassy will typically screen (review) a case within a week then let the agency know whether we are cleared, if they need to interview a birth relative, or they are contacting the police officer involved (in an abandonment case). This can sometimes take as little as a few days or the review and interview can take them a few weeks to complete.  If the embassy is not certain the child meets the US definition of an orphanage eligible for a visa, the case will be marked as “Not Clearly Approvable” and sent to the USCIS office in Nairobi, Kenya for further review. That office can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to review the case. To date, all of the cases that have been sent to Nairobi have been cleared without further question or information needed. Once a case is cleared in Nairobi, the file is mailed back to Ethiopia and they can schedule our visa interview.

As soon as the embassy has cleared us to travel, we will need to notify the embassy of our top 3 choices for embassy interview dates. Our agency will then request these dates and should hear from the embassy on the following business day regarding our request. Embassy interviews occur Monday-Thursday.   We will need to arrive in Ethiopia no later than the evening before the interview date. Visas are issued the second day after the interview (Monday interview=Wednesday visa pickup) with the exception of Thursday interviews for which visas are issued the following day (Friday). Families can leave Ethiopia any time after 7pm on the day the visa is issued.  

Ok, so yes that was a lot of information, BUT in a nutshell it looks like this
1). be submitted to embassy
2). Wait for embassy to clear us
3). Go pick up our son!!

Once again we have no real time frame for how long this will take.  We can tell you that the "average" wait is anywhere from 8-12 weeks, but we know that anything can happen and want to be prepared for that to happen.  Please pray that we will get to go get our son SOON!!!! Thank you for all of your prayers.  We cannot thank you enough!!!

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