It literally took several years of praying and thinking and reading about adoption to finally decide as a family to "let's do this!" We did look into domestic adoption in Canada (when we lived there) and the US, but God closed those doors for our family. So, international it will be. The next step was very daunting. It is the step of looking at countries to figure out which program is a good fit. Requirements for each country are different in such areas as age, income, number of children in the home, ages of adoptable children, length of stay in the country, etc.... When people ask, "How did you choose Ethiopia?" I like to say that Ethiopia chose us. Or God chose Ethiopia for us. I can't really tell you, other than that. The details surrounding an Ethiopian adoption fit our situation better than any other country available to us.
After deciding on Ethiopia, we had to find an agency that could facilitate our adoption. You can find much information to start with on the U.S. Department of State intercountry adoption website.
Next up, home study. We had four visits with a social worker in our home, answered countless questions, and filled out detailed paperwork about our backgrounds, family, beliefs, etc. We also had to have physicals and criminal checks done. Our first home study visit was on September 8th, and we had our completed home study in our hands by December 14th.
By the 18th, our home study and some other documents were on their way to USCIS (Citizenship & Immigration) along with our "Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition." They'll give us a fingerprinting appointment, then once we get USCIS approval, we can send all our documents (dossier) to Ethiopia. At that point, we will wait (don't know how long?) for a referral of a child. We are requesting a girl between the ages of 0-4 so that we don't mess with birth order.
This adoption will require 2 trips. On the first trip we will meet our little one and finalize the adoption with the Ethiopian court. Then, we will return home for several weeks (months?). When we return, we will get our child's exit visa, and bring her home!
God has provided little by little for this adoption through the generosity of friends & family, through our personal savings, people using our amazon link, sippy cups of change, Just Love coffee, and through little things like my etsy shop! Now that our home study is done, we can also apply to the many organizations that offer grants to adoptive families, such as AbbaFund. Each step of the way there is a new fee due, so we are updating our "fundraising thermometer" on the side bar to show an approximate round number that this adoption will cost, travel included. We're going to say $30,000 (although in reality, it's going to be a bit more).
Hope this post was helpful in understanding a bit of the journey we're on. We're still excited to see how God will lead, provide, rescue, and show His glory through this adoption!