We were accepted into America World Adoption Association's Ethiopia program on February 19th, 2010.  We completed the "paperchase" portion of the process in August.  That means, we've collected everything we needed for our dossier, including our homestudy, background checks, fingerprinting, passports, letters of reference (thank you Tonia, Bart and Martha), and about a thousand other notarized documents (thank you Darla). 

Our dossier was sent to Ethiopia on August 27th, 2010 and this is the date our wait officially begins.  Our dossier arrived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia labor day weekend.  (Addis Ababa is the capitol of Ethiopia- see the map.)
AWAA says that the expected wait time for a referral for an infant female is 7 - 11 months, but recently families have recieved their referrals as quickly as five months.  (A referral is the name, picture, medical history and any known family information for the child you've been matched with for adoption.  We can accept or decline the referral.  But since the agency does everything they can to provide us with a match to our request - a healthy infant female 0-9 months - there should be no reason to decline.)

After we accept our referral, we will travel to Ethiopia to meet our child and appear in court to testify that we are willing to adopt her.  Then we fly back home without her.  We'll have to wait 5 - 12 weeks for her adoption paperwork to be completed.  Then, we finally get to go back to Ethiopia to pick her up and bring her home!  And you can expect your invitation in the mail for a huge welcome home party!

I want to clarify that it doesn't take 7 - 11 months for our agency to find an infant female for us to adopt, there are more orphan infants than will ever be adopted.  The wait is due to the fact that the adoption agencies are small and can only handle so many familes at a time and there are only so many people working in the Ethiopian government passing the adoption paperwork through the system.

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