News that ya'll have been waiting for…

our CIS approval came today! We are super excited and ready to move on to the next step. I will hopefully be going to the Secretary of State tomorrow to get all our notarized documents certified, and then I will send our dossier (our blood sweat and tears of the last few months, also known as a giant collection of papers) via Fedex to Children’s Hope’s office in Missouri. It will be proofed by our agency then sent of to Washington, D.C. It will then be authenticated by the U.S. Department of State and then by the Ethiopian Embassy. Once it is done being authenticated it will go back to our agency who will then forward it to Ethiopia. This whole process will take three to four weeks.

Adoption Update

We really don’t have much to update everyone, but wanted to keep everyone in the loop. CIS has had our home study for about two weeks now, so we should have our I-171H in the next month. This weekend we took our last required class, it was a first time parents class. Today we organized our documents for our dossier to insure we were ready for when our I-171H arrives and we can get our dossier off quickly. It was a good thing too, I realized our home study agency forgot to sign one page of a document, and we were missing another form that we should have done by now. We also learned last week that the popularity of adopting from Ethiopia is growing and wait times for referrals are now three to nine months from the date your dossier arrives in Ethiopia. We suspected that this might happen, as it was a new program when we started, and assumed it would grow in popularity. We hope to bring Tom and Jerry home by the end of the year.

Merry Christmas!

So some of you are thinking has Stephanie lost her mind? It is way past Christmas, plus she has already done a Merry Christmas post.

No, I have not lost my mind. Today, January 7, is the day they celebrate Christmas in Ethiopia. I hope to celebrate it next year with Tom and Jerry and a traditional Ethiopian feast of Injera and Dora Wat, and maybe with some fellow Ethiopian adopters.

Here is a little info on Christmas in Ethiopia and some more here.

Another Step Completed

We finished our dvd course this afternoon and past all of our tests! It was supposed to take a week to find out the results of our last tests, but we found out the same day we took it. Thank goodness too because I was fretting over my answers to some of the questions.

We Are Certified!!!

We are certified to adopt by Pinal County! I was starting to get a little frustrated as it had been almost a month since we submitted our home study for approval. They actually certified us on Christmas Eve, but didn’t notify us until today. I guess they didn’t understand how patiently I was waiting for this. The next step is for our certified home study to go to Citizenship and Immigration Services to get our I-171-H (we are basically asking for pre-approval for our children’s visas to come home – at least that is how I understand it). I heard from another couple that this part of the process should take about 4-6 weeks. We have a lot of paperwork to gather in that time and we need to finish our 10 hour dvd course. After all of our papers are gathered and we have received our I-171-H we will be getting them certified by the Secretary of State in Arizona. After that our dossier has to be authenticated by the U.S. Department of State and the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, D.C. Then our dossier is off to Ethiopia! I am just excited we got this step completed, it was weird being on hold for a month.

Adoption Process Explained (sort of)

I am going to try to explain the adoption process as best I can. It is the one thing we get the most questions about right now and every time we think we understand it we learn something new. So, this list is just my best understanding of the process right now.

Apply to Agency: Done, September 23, 2007

Apply to Home Study Agency: Done, October 3, 2007

Home Study Process, involves the gathering of paperwork, writing biographies, two in home visits, two days of classes, and then your social worker writes up the home study, which is then reviewed by our agency, and then the social worker sends to the courts (I am told the last one in Pinal County she did took a month, boo), if the courts certify us we can move on, completed everything on our end as of November 30, 2007, our social worker is writing the report now and it will get it to our agency at the beginning of next week

Citizen and Immigration Services approval to bring the adopted child(ren) home, our certified home study will then be sent to CIS and processed, sorry I don’t have an estimated time on that one

Certification, all of our notarized documents now have to be certified by the Secretary of State in the state where the documents were originated, basically they are stating that we used a real notary

Bundling, our agency double checks our dossier (dos-ee-ey: a collection or file of documents on the same subject, esp. a complete file containing detailed information about a person or topic), it then travels to Washington, D.C.

Authenticated at the U.S. Department of State

Second Authentication at the Ethiopian Embassy, both authentications take about 1-2 weeks, then it is returned to our agency’s main office

Dossier Sent to Ethiopia, in Ethiopia it is quickly translated into Amharic and the new translated copy is authenticated

Sometime after that we will receive our referral, we will get basic info on our children at this time, this step has been taking about 1-3 months but could increase due to more agencies being approved to work in Ethiopia

Once we accept the referral our dossier is then presented to the officials at the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, and to the court, after this we can expect to travel in approximately 2-3 months

Hopefully ya’ll find that helpful and not too boring! Please post any questions in the comment section or if you know something I don’t know inform me.


Matt and I decided to come up with nicknames to call our future children while referring to them on the blog (because future children just sounds so impersonal). The nicknames do not have to stick once we bring them home, because we might possibly come up with nicknames that are more fitting their personalities. We came up with Tom and Jerry (pretty sure Matt came up with it). We were thinking of favorite childhood characters when we came up with that one and Matt liked it the best, so it stuck.I came up with the idea for this from two other adoption related blogs Salty and Bonnie and Clyde.

Ethiopia Page

I created a page on Ethiopia as a part of our blog. It is a work in progress and contains basic facts and some pictures I borrowed from other web users, since we have not yet been. It also has a few links to relevant info on Ethiopia and adoption.

If you have any questions about Ethiopia, please ask and if I don’t know the answer I will try my hardest to find out.

We want to share our children’s culture and heritage with you and are excited about learning more about it ourselves.

Home Study – Part Two

The home study went fine today. I was actually much more relaxed than I thought I would be, I did start to get nervous an hour or so before, but not overly nervous. I had everything done that I had wanted to get done and was happy with how the house looked. We even let her see the samples of green paint on the bathroom wall that we have yet to paint over with the one we chose, she agreed with us on the color, we will make sure we paint it before her next visit. She asked us questions from how we met to how we plan to raise our children. She is coming back for our second visit November 30 and after that will write up a report to submit to the court here in Pinal County.

For those of you wondering how Tank did, he was an angel for Tank standards, seriously I prayed all day long for that boy to be good and he was. He did his happy bark for her not his scared bark. We have been working with him a lot lately and he is doing a lot better, but still a little neurotic.

We also got word that our second letter of introduction was good, so we are done with that too. Thanks honey for doing such an awesome job on it. We have our classes this weekend and we have a booklet we have to finish before our next home visit, plus the 10 hours of dvds, so we are busy for a while.

Home Study (EEK!)

We got the word last night that our first home study appointment is this Friday afternoon. Now I was fully expecting this to happen after Thanksgiving, and let’s just say there was some stuff I planned to get done around the house next weekend. I know I have enough time to make my house presentable, but there is that part of me that wants it to be perfect, I clearly do not have time to make that happen. I think I am okay with that, I have to be. We didn’t have time to do anything last night after we got the call, because we already had plans, and we have plans again tonight. Seriously, we never have plans two nights in a row except for the one week we have our home study. We have our appointments at the doctor this morning, hopefully that doesn’t suck two hours out of our day like usual.

By the way unusual happening this morning. It is raining!

Adoption Paperwork Update

We have been working diligently, albeit slowly, on our all our paperwork and have sent the bulk of what is needed to our home study agency, and we received confirmation yesterday that they had received it. We see the doctor Thursday to get letters from her stating she found us to be in “good mental and physical health,” and we also are still waiting on our police clearance letters from Pinal County. After we get those to our agency we will officially start the home study process.

This weekend we have International Adoption Preparation Classes from 8 am to 4 pm both days. It looks like we will be learning a lot of helpful information. We also get to meet other people adopting internationally, some of which I have already been talking to online.

Matt wrote our letter of introduction (I was told the most important document in our dossier to Ethiopia) last night and I thought sent it to our agency coordinator to get her opinion, but just got an email from her that I sent the wrong attachment, so I just sent it off. I had already written one, but it was no quite up to par. So, I turned it over to Matt since he is a much better writer in the creative aspect of it, and after rereading this blog post like five times and still finding mistakes I am beginning to wonder if he is also better at the grammar aspect.

Next week we plan on starting our 10 hour dvd course. I think that is it for now.

More Time Part 2

Thank you for the comments and ideas on getting things done. I should have been more specific about our issue. We technically have enough time, we just don’t think we were making the wisest use of our time, yes we are time wasters. That is why we chose a tv fast. Have you ever noticed how you can just turn into a zombie when the tv is on? I promise myself I can clean and watch football, but usually just the watching football happens. We are also fully aware that once we have small children we won’t be watching much tv so we decided to work on our addiction now, yep we were addicted to our tv.

I will use the stay up late method only if I absolutely need to get something done by the next day and I have no other time to complete the task. I believe strongly in at least attempting to get enough sleep every night (Anyone think I am in for a big shock when we have kids?). I know some people can get by on 4-5 hours of sleep, but trust me you won’t want to be around me.

Bill thanks for bringing up Getting Things Done. We totally own that book and I have never even looked at it. I guess I should read it.

On a positive note, we both finally finished our autobiographies last night. I am proof reading them today and hopefully we can get our packet in the mail tomorrow. We are still waiting to see the doctor next week to get all our paperwork done for the home study, but we have our part done for now. We also started our series of shots that we need to have for travel purposes yesterday.

Wanting More Time

Matt and I have recently finding ourselves wanting more time to get stuff done, and have been unable to find time to do everything we want to get done. We have a bunch of stuff we want to get done around the house (plus plenty of reading to do) before the social worker comes over for our home study (seriously our guest bedroom has turned into piles of stuff). Thanks to a friend’s recent blog post I had a wake up call about getting stuff done now instead of at the last minute. What would I do if I only had a day to get ready? Pretty much freak out and think it was the end of the world.

What are we doing to get more time in our days? We are going on a modified TV fast. I say modified because it is football season and there are games I want to watch (Go Cowboys!) and we will still watch the ten o’clock news since we don’t get the paper and like to know what’s going on in our local area. So, for November we are going to give this our all and we will let you know how it is going.

What are things you have done in your life to find more time in your day?