Since we received our referral on Wednesday, we've had so many people ask us when we get to bring Aidan home. In short, we don't know.
One thing that we've learned about international adoption (and probably domestic as well) is that it's a 'hurry up and wait game'. So, the day that we got our referral and verbally accepted it (as if we would refuse!), we were sent the formal acceptance paperwork. Because we left right after school to go to my sister's, parent's and grandmother's (not to mention, we fit church in there as well) to show off the newest member of our family, we didn't get the paperwork until Thursday. Compared to all the paperwork that preceded it, this was not very much, but it still required a notary. We were only able to get to the bank on Friday. So, after school yesterday we hurried to our bank to get the paperwork notarized and withdraw the money for the final adoption fees. We then raced across town to the UPS store (the post office was already closed) to mail the most important package of our lives (I must have checked it 1000 times, I think the clerk thought I was insane).
Now we wait.
We wait for Holt to tell us that they received the paperwork (should be Monday), we wait for them to tell us that it's been forwarded to Ethiopia, and we wait to be contacted (in 1-3 months) to say that we've been submitted to court. About a month later, they should contact us with a court date. Then, we'll have a month to a month and a half to prepare for our first trip to Ethiopia. Sometime during this time, Aidan will be transfered from the Durame Care Center (where he is now) to the capital city of Addis Ababa and the Holt Care Center there.
Good news is that our dossier has been in Ethiopia since June, so it should already be translated into Amharic (the language of Ethiopia) and we received our 171H paperwork (US immigration approval to adopt- mental note to self: I have to check if Ethiopia has received this), so there should be nothing to hold up the process. From the Holt forum on Yahoo, it appears that most families who received referrals in late August and September are being assigned court dates in December. Based on this, I'm SPECULATING that our court date will be sometime in January.
On this first trip, we'll attend an orientation and meetings, do a bit of touring and shopping (with the group), attend our court hearing where we are praying to hear the words "HE IS YOURS", and absolute best of all, meet our son for the first time. We're told that we should get to see him for about 2 hours. All in all, we'll be in Ethiopia for only two days this first time.
Then we will return around 8-12 weeks later (Holt is always conservative with their timeframes, so we're thinking March) after all the paperwork has been drawn up. On this trip, we will FINALLY take custody of Aidan. We'll be in country, I believe, about 3-4 days and then get on the plane that will bring us all home. Aidan will finally and forever be ours.
Adoption is a test of patience, but looking at our son's (so awesome to be able to say that) face, we know that everything from beginning- 4+ years ago- to end, has all been worth it. You are well worth the wait, little A.
Some specific prayer requests:
-please pray for God's continued guidance throughout this process.
-pray that nothing will occur to slow the process and that all of our paperwork will clear quickly and easily.
-pray for the Holt caregivers that are taking fantastic care of our son and countless others.
-Most of all, please pray for Aidan that he will remain healthy and that he's happy and that this transition will be as close to stress-free as possible for him.
I'm sure I'll have other prayer requests as we get closer to our court date. Thanks for continuing to follow along on this journey. I can't wait to introduce Aidan to all the amazing people in his life.