I am very excited to report that we just popped over 20% of our puzzle! Meaning, people have sponsored over 200 pieces of my 1,000 piece puzzle! We're 1/5 there! Check out my blog post “An Awkward Subject” if you'd like to read more about the puzzle fundraiser we are having, or use the “ChipIn” widget on this blog to be a part of it! It's exciting and humbling to see it all come together.
I wanted to take a moment and update y'all on our current phase of the adoption: waiting. We are waiting for a “referral”-- a match with a child. We have been waiting for our referral since September, and the average wait time will put us anytime between tomorrow and June. Very specific, I know.
A few weeks ago, we had a phone conference with our agency giving us more details on the process. A child does, of course, start out with a birth family. There may or may not be information on this family, depending on when and how he came to the orphanage. If the child has been relinquished by the birth family, the members of the birth family (or closest relative) must meet with the judge and consent to the adoption. The orphanage directors will remain in contact with the family until the child has been matched with his adoptive family (us).
Children remain in the regional orphanages until beds become available in the main orphanage in Addis. Children our son's age will move into the Gelan orphanage, located south of Addis in the town of Akaki. After we have accepted the referral, our Little Guy will be told of his new family, and his documents and our documents will be reviewed in court. Upon approval, legal custody will be transferred to our family, though physical custody will be retained by the orphanage until we sign for this in Ethiopia. Clear as mud?
What's in a referral?
When we get “the call” from our agency that says we have a match with a child, we'll be broadcasting it from the rooftops! We will receive his information via e-mail along with one or two photographs.
***Please understand: Because our son will still be a legal ward of a foreign country (Ethiopia), we cannot post any identifying information or pictures of him in any public places, including this blog, until he comes home.*** Yes, this kinda stinks, I'm sorry. But, hey, I'm letting you know now so you won't be surprised. Friends and family are welcome to see pictures and hear updates, just not via posts on this blog or Facebook.
When we receive our referral, we will have 14 days to review it, pray about it, and make a final decision. We have the option of having a pediatrician review the information. When we officially accept this referral, we will need to send in the remaining fees to our agency. Funds raised from our puzzle will go to cover these fees.
In the referral, we will learn his name, the meaning of his name, his date of arrival at the orphanage, his birth date (estimate), weight, results of his medical examination, vaccination report, previous medical history (results of HIV tests, hepatitis tests, etc), information on his growth and psychological development, and any police reports if the child was found abandoned.
We will receive height, weight, and head measurements for our Little Guy, as well as 2 pictures, every month we are waiting to complete the process after we accept the referral.
Some of the more specific information will need to be kept private, especially the medical and social history. If my son wants to share this information when he is older, that is his decision. You're welcome to ask questions, but please don't be too disappointed if they don't get satisfactorily answered!
We hope you have a wonderful New Year, and we will keep you as updated as possible on any new developments as we continue.... to.... wait.....