A. “So will you have him home by Christmas?”
B. “When will you bring him home?”
C. “Do you have to go to Ethiopia to get him?”
Mike and I have been asked these questions a lot lately and I don’t think I’ve ever properly addressed it here on my blog so I am finally going to!
First of all, question A is slightly annoying to hear because it brings up the ever-present pain of the fact that NO we won’t have him home for Christmas. If we were we would probably be telling you and be talking about booking flights and how excited we are, etc, etc. So no, we won’t have him home by Christmas. Please ask again in a more open-ended way.
Question B. Yeah! This is a much better way of asking!!!
From the time we received our referral for Samuel we were quoted 4-6 months (Feb-April) for travel. Of course, this is international adoption so we know that nothing is set in stone.
Let me break down what has to happen in order for us to travel in 4-6 months:
First, we must have a successful court date proving that the adoption is legal and ethical. This takes 2-3 months and we just found out that our first court date will be in January (3 months from referral…. already on the long side of things so we are praying it will go through on the first appointment and not require another one weeks later!). This is the most important step and the reason why it takes so long is because everyone in the world who is adopting from Ethiopia goes through the same courthouse in Addis and the same judge (that I know of). So yeah, it’s a slow process. But I respect it and the way Ethiopia desires to make sure each child is placed in a loving home and that each adoption is completely ethical in every way. If there is a grandma or relative for Samuel that decides she wants to raise him, then she will have the opportunity to come to court and claim him as her child. Although this will be extremely heart breaking for us, we know that it is in the best interest of the child: to be with family. Adoption is not about finding a baby for a waiting couple; it is about finding a family for a child.
During the wait for court we are also waiting for our “request for medical” to be issued (immigration medical exam), completed and sent to our agency. This should happen within the wait for court. If not, then we must continue to wait for this medical to be completed after court.
After court and medical, our documents will finally be sent to Nairobi, Kenya where the Canadian High Commission office will issue the visa. This begins the immigration process so that Samuel will be allowed into Canada. We are going to be bringing him into Canada through a process called PRV: the lovely Permanent Resident Visa. Part of this also means waiting for Samuel’s passport and birth certificate to be printed. As you can tell there is a lot of waiting involved. The estimated wait for this is anywhere from 6 to the dreaded 16 weeks. It’s really hard to say. We know families that have had their documents done in 3 weeks and their visa in 3 more. But there are also heart-breaking stories of families waiting 12 weeks for their visa. We are praying that we won’t be one of them but know that sometimes things just don’t go as you hope or pray. I have a wee bit less patience with this side of the wait (versus the wait for court) because it is the Canadian government that is taking their sweet time to let us bring our babe home! I seriously get so angry when I read on American blogs how families after court travel within 3 WEEKS!!!! It’s just not fair!!! But of course we know it will be worth it. And we’ve heard that once you pick up your child all of this waiting disappears…. I’ll let you know if that happens.
As for question C, yes we will go to Ethiopia to bring him home but we don’t see it as “have to” we see it as “get to”. We are beyond excited to travel to Ethiopia and consider it a great privilege and honour to spend time there.
And just so you know, we love your questions. I think it is just like a pregnant women who gets constantly asked about her due date. Sometimes it is great, and some days it is frustrating if you ask it in a way that looks like you think she is way too big or way too small for how far along she says she is. I know tons of pregnant women that become upset when people make “assumptions” and I think that is how I feel about our adoption too. Please don’t assume, just ask. And save your comments of “well I know a couple who waited 3 years to bring their child home and then the country shut down” or “I know someone whose adopted child ended up burning their house down” for when you are at home and not talking to an adoptive parent. We’ve heard the horror stories and we don’t care. I could tell you a million horror stories about giving birth but I wouldn’t do that to you.