There is so much I want to say about this, it's hard to know where to start. Adoption has been on my mind for many years, before I was married or had kids of my own. I have always thought a lot about kids in need, and felt my heart pulled toward wanting to help them. When I was really little, like probably 5 or 6, I wanted to be a missionary to Africa after seeing something on t.v. about the starving children there. And my first "real" baby doll was the black bitty baby doll from the American Girls collection. Since then, other than giving financially and praying (though not as faithfully as I should), I haven't done a whole lot with these desires of mine. Until about 4 months ago. Four months ago, Aaron and I started the adoption process for a baby girl from Ethiopia. We had talked about it off and on a few times, and he knew my heart about it, but it was so neat to see how God worked out the timing in his heart. He had the opportunity to travel to Zambia twice with our church, and work directly with some orphans there, and when he returned he was as ready as I was. Which can I just say is a huge blessing. This process has been hard and frustrating, and we have needed to be able to lean on and count on each other. I'm sure that the individual feelings we have about it are different, but the desire we both have is the same, if that makes sense. So, we started praying and researching, and decided to go with an agency based in Texas called Gladney. I have been reading different adoption blogs for about two years now, and a lot of them used Gladney, and had really good experiences. Gladney does a great job of taking care of both the families wanting to adopt and the children waiting to be adopted.
There was the initial request for more information which included a short application, then the application to receive the acual application, and then finally the big application. We learned that we would be doing paperwork for 4 different areas: Gladney, our homestudy agency (since Gladney didn't have representatives here we had to choose a different agency to conduct our homestudy), immigration, and our dossier. It has been interesting to see how Aaron and I process information. He wanted to lay everything out, and we ended up buying a HUGE whiteboard, which has been super helpful. I, on the other hand, wanted to do each section a little at a time, just what we needed. It was overwhelming to me to think about everything at once, but overwhelming to him to not be able to see the whole picture. We actually fit together pretty well and provide a good balance for each other. There were probably around 40 different letters, certificates, reports, etc. that we needed to gather, sign, and notarize. And several that we had to do over more than once due to not really knowing what we were doing, and little mistakes we made.
Currently, we have finished all the paperwork on our end, unless we hear differently that is, and are waiting for our last fingerprint appoinment for immigration. It was supposed to be today, but we had a major snowstorm last night, and the office is closed. After that, it takes about 2 1/2 months to get those processed, and then we will officially be on the waiting list. The wait right now is about 8 months for a referral, but things change all the time, so could be longer or possibly shorter. After that there is a court date in Ethiopia, and after that Aaron and I will travel there to pick up our daughter!