Big news, my friends! As of yesterday (December 6th), our dossier is on its way to Ethiopia and we are officially on the waiting list for a child! This is one of those things that might not seem like that big of a deal if you're not an adoptive parent yourself (after all, we're just being put on a waiting list!), but if you are an adoptive parent, you're probably giddy with excitement just like we are, maybe unable to sleep even - causing you to be up at 3am, writing a blog post when you really should be sleeping (true story).
Ever since we started this adoption process light-years ago (okay, back in June), we were hoping that we'd have the insummountable paperwork chase finished up and our dossier on its way to Ethiopia by Christmas - and we did! Not without a few obstacles along the way, of course, right down to the last few days - when the postal service failed to deliver the letter to our adoption agency that contained our large payment ... mailed by 2-day Priority Mail, mind you, and "guaranteed" to arrive on Wednesday! As a matter of fact, we're still not so sure where exactly that letter is, and when I finally (!) reached an actual person on the phone, I was informed that the 2-day time frame is really just an estimate, and anything within 5 business days is considered normal, and should the letter not be there in a week, could I please call back. Boy, am I glad I paid extra for this service! Good thing I had already received the incredible news that our dossier had been shipped, so I was feeling charitable and decided to let it go for the moment...
Back to our dossier, however: So we are now officially "DTE" - which is adoption-speak and stands for "Dossier To Ethiopia" ... and moves us into a whole new category in the adoption process. We had to say goodbye to our document preparation case manager (who was fabulous!) and were transferred to a new case manager who will be with us until Little Dude comes home. I already mentioned that we're now officially on the waiting list. We weren't given a number (although I might ask) - but the current wait time for a referral is somewhere around 5-6 months, which is VERY short as far as international adoptions are concerned :) So we're hoping for a referral some time in May or June maybe. After the referral, we will be waiting for a court date in Addis Ababa, and once we receive that, we will travel and meet our new son for the first time. The Ethiopian Court goes into recess for a couple of months in late summer/early fall, and that's our wild card - it's quite possible that our case will not receive a court date before the recess (depending on when we get our referral) .... and that would mean an extra 2 months of waiting to meet our new son :( So depending on how the time line falls, we might either travel in late July/early August (a little optimistic on my part, probably) or more likely after the recess, some time in October or November. Then we come home WITHOUT our son again (major UGH!), and wait for the American embassy to approve our case and issue us an embassy date. That will be about 4-8 weeks after our first visit to Ethiopia, at which point we get to go back and finally bring him home!
Regardless of how the timing plays out extra, barring some major hold-ups we're now about 1/3rd into the process ... and even though we still have a LONG way to go, we're excited! Like we're going somewhere! Of course ask me again in a couple of months when I've been waiting for weeks - but right now, it feels good!