July 15, 2008

A new direction

NOTE: I began writing this post on March 24, 2008.

The China process seems to be going nowhere fast. Over the past week I have been researching the options to see if there was any other country we could switch to in order to get a child sooner instead of waiting until we are both gray headed and on AARP. After hours and hours of research, we have decided to pursue an Ethiopian adoption.

A big portion of my research was in regards to what agency to use since Lifelink does not place children from Ethiopia. We finally decided on Children's Home Society and Family Services out of Minnesota. I have read a lot of reviews and found that they are a wonderful agency. They run a wonderful care center in Ethiopia for children. They also train women in their Primary Health Care Workers Training Center. They have created job opportunities to over 300 people. CHSFS is in the process of acquiring land in Addis Ababa to construct a multipurpose center that would house: a foster care center, birth mother's place, nursing college, pediatric emergency clinic, primary school, guest house, and offices.

One thing that really sold us on this agency is the lifebook and video that they create. This is the description from their web site:

Two documentaries are produced for each child. If they are siblings, only one documentary is produced for both of them as they have the same background. The two documentaries on two DVDs have been given their own titles. The documentary on the background of the child has the title “Your Child’s Birth History”, while the documentary that shows the activities of the child once he/she arrived at our care center in Addis Ababa is entitled “My Story”.

"Your Child's Birth History" contains essential information and scenes of the child's birthplace and birth family; if a child is an abandoned one, the documentary shows how the person/s who found the child have found him/her. "My Story" includes information regarding the child's personal, social and developmental behavior during his or her stay at CHSFS Ethiopia foster care center; the activities of CHSFS Ethiopia and an introduction to Ethiopia.

Once we decided on the agency, we started preparing the application. Below is our timeline so far.

March 14 -- begin looking at Ethiopia
March 20 -- narrow down agency to Adoption Associates or CHSFS
March 22 -- decide on CHSFS
March 23 -- sent application to CHSFS and ordered vital records from various courthouses

-- Update as of April 3 --

What we thought would be a quick and painless switch is no where near as quick or painless as we thought. I was under the impression that we would be able to just change a bit of the wording in our current homestudy to update it to Ethiopian standards and then prepare the dossier and that would be it. Ha! Of course, that was too simple. The process involves a bit more to it than that. I found out for Ethiopia you have to be foster care licensed, so that process is setting our timeframe of "fast" back to a timeframe of "snails pace!" Illinois has a lot of requirements that other states don't have, so this isn't our social worker's fault or the agency's. Our social worker is wonderful and is working as quickly as possible to get things rolling. Here is an update on the timeline:

March 25 -- contacted several friends to write recommendation letters
March 26 -- requested bank, employment, and police clearance letters
March 27 -- completed Cultural Awareness Parenting Plan
April 2 -- fingerprinted for DCFS clearance for foster license
April 4 -- mailed foster care application back to social worker
April 7 -- Garland and Julie have physicals
April 10 -- homestudy update meeting with social worker
May 2 -- homestudy finished and sent to CHSFS for approval
May 6 -- mailed part two of application to CHSFS
May 21 -- homestudy approved by CHSFS!!!! Now on to DCFS for approval.
May 31 -- foster care license received
June 26 -- contacted SW to check status of DCFS approval. No news yet.
July 2 -- DCFS endorsement received!!!
July 5 -- received copy of DCFS endorsement and homestudy
July 8 -- took everything to the bank to be notarized
July 10 -- Garland took documents to IL Secretary of State for certification
July 11 -- DOSSIER MAILED!!!!! (Crossing finger, toes, and everything else that is accepted quickly!)

And here it is. (portions have been blurred out for privacy)

July 15, 2008 -- DOSSIER APPROVED -- we are officially waiting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And now I can finally publish this post!


Shannon and Boyd Bringolf said...

OMG that is so wonderful!!!!!!

Gina (Caleeo) said...

Oh Julie, I am soooo happy for you!!!

Cindy said...

I know I told you over on the forums...but I waned to say it here as well. We are very excited for you both and hope that Ethiopia proves to be a smooth process for you. It is wonderful that you are waiting!!

Holly said...

YIPPEE I just checked this blog I kid you not just a little bit ago and all I saw was more deals. Knowing all this was brewing I was so hoping for some news and then to my surprise.......an email!!! So happy for you guys. Just think of it this way you just found out you are prego and this kid is going to be stubborn and maybe take a few extra months to bake!!! Can't wait to meet him/her and give the little one a squeeze! Oh I just can't wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

kangaj1 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kangaj1 said...

Julie, how exciting! Melissa Georgas sent me your URL. We are adopting from Ethiopia as well! We are expecting our referral any day now, with travel most likely in November due to court closures. It would be fun to get together and talk!

Melissa Juvinall

John and Heather said...

WOOHOO! So happy to get your e-mail and read your post! This is nothing but exciting; your Ethiopian prince or princess already has friends waiting at home for them:) I can't wait to follow your journey to referral and travel, too exciting! Our Ethiopian princes have been such a blessing to us, more than we could have ever imagined! So happy for you and praying for a quick, quick referral!


Robert & Jill said...

Julie, congratulations..... cant wait to hear about your referral!! Jill Biehl

Kim & Virgil said...

Praise God!!!! We are so happy for you guys!!! You're in the right place at the right time and we can't wait to follow the rest of your journey with you. We love you both and can't wait to see this new little blessing!!!

Easties & Co. said...

*gulp* that is a lot of paperwork. We have also decided to adopt from Ethiopia and are attending the CHSFS info meeting locally on Monday. We are feeling pretty good about this being the right agency for us. It has been a crazy ride trying to find the right agency. I would love to keep in touch and see your journey and learn more about CHSFS and allllllll the paperwork. :) I am filling out the CHSFS application tonight. Yeah! It feels good to do the first bit to get moving.

Laura LaLuzerne, Green Bay, WI said...


I am so happy that you are on the track for Ethiopia! It will be a lot sooner to get a beautiful baby/child in your arms. We went SN, cleft lip/palate and are with Lifelink. We live in Green Bay and you and I have corresponded quite a few times before. Happiness and best wishes to you both.

Jennifer said...

I hope that the wait from here on is speedier than you expect. You are going to be great parents! It is going to be fun following your journey!