Wow! We met our family coordinator who will be our contact helping us through the adoption process, she seems great and emailed us a very long email of things we need to do now.
They say this paper chasing process takes anywhere from 4-6 months to complete, now I can see why! The paperwork that we compile over the next few months is called the "dossier" and includes all kinds of vital records, financial information, personal information and our homestudy. As soon as the paperwork is complete and approved we then begin our wait. It's estimated that it will take between 30-36 months to receive a referral for a child, and that is AFTER we submit the dossier to the Ethiopian government. So we could be at the 4 year mark! But that's ok :) I love the intro page and what it says: Welcome to the "Paper Pregnancy!"
For now we are both ordering our passports and new copies of our birth certificates and beginning to read over all of the forms. We also registered for our first online class that we're required to take.
We knew there would be a lot of paperwork, but with everything being online these days, you really just don't understand how much until you print it out. This gave us such awareness at how quickly things can be done now with the internet. Imagining a million face-to-face visits and picking up documents and bringing them back, etc. sounds crazy!
Our binder is already full with over 200 pages of documents to sign and go over...also yes, that is a bear-skin rug coaster for my pitcher of orange juice :)
In other news... we were talking about how we really didn't know anyone who has adopted a child and specifically from Ethiopia. Later that day a friend messaged me introducing us to a close friend of hers that adopted a child from Ethiopia and is in the process again now, so that was wonderful timing on God's part! We have to attend an orientation at our agency and we'll hopefully meet other families in our area adopting at that time also.
We also received such kind words and encouragement from close friends (and also those who we don't stay in touch with that often) at just the right moments when we needed it. Including a note that said this:
I just finished reading 1 Peter and chapter 5 verse 2a says, "Be shepherds of God's flock that is under
your care, watching over them not because you must, but because you are willing."
Next step: awesome self-pics when we turn in each and every single piece of paperwork. One "selfie" per form, get ready friends!! On a more serious note, we'll be posting what we are required to read and watch in case any family or friends want to read or watch along with us and know what we are learning and discussing.