Today we received USCIS approval in the mail... This isn't any kind of major hurdle, but a very necessary one. Having all the correct legal paperwork in place to allow us back into the USA after our second trip to Ethiopia is sure handy! ;)
Probably the most exciting thing is that my best friend from childhood is expecting her first child this March! (It's been a hard secret to keep too!) I know that she & her husband will be amazing parents and I can't help but wonder.... Will we have children about the same age? Isn't that every girls dream- to raise a child at the same time as her best friend? We have been told repeatedly that we should expect 12 month wait for our referral- and realistically it could take longer than that- but every time we get a new approval of something, an e-mail from our agency, or even just read news from Ethiopia (or stalk Addis Ababa on Google Maps, right honey?) we just grow in excitement. Although my second child may not be exactly the same age- I'm still very excited to see our families growing at the same time!
Because someone asked earlier and I hadn't gotten around to posting again (let alone answering questions)- the agency in Texas we are using is called "Children of All Nations". It's all a bit complicated when you cross international borders, but essentially there are only so many approved agencies that are allowed to facilitate adoptions from Ethiopia- So CAN handles the end of things in America but they work with another agency called West Sands. West Sands is responsible for the Ethiopian end of things- and the bottom line is that West Sands is the official agency that is helping us to adopt. Clear as mud, right?
We have also been asked quite a bit "Why Ethiopia?" and although I've touched on it a bit before in previous posts, it comes down to a few basic things. First, we knew we felt called to adopt from Africa. Of all the African countries that allow married couples under the age of 30 with biological children (yes- you can be too young to adopt by some countries standards!)- we did some serious research on each program left. The end point is that Ethiopia has a very stable adoption framework and they have a genuine concern for their infants/children in the system. It also helped that we KNOW people who have adopted from Ethiopia. Having the ability to e-mail and chat with other families and friends of families really helped seal the deal, so to speak.
The last question I've been asked recently is in regards to our timing in sharing our news- Did we share our adoption news early? Yup! Have you ever asked a 4 year old to keep a secret? :) When our social worker had to interview Madigan for the home study, we knew she needed to be clued in. The social worker asked completely age appropriate questions- but Madigan was prepared to answer when she was asked about adoption, how she felt about being a big sister, and how prepared she was to wait longer than most sisters have to wait. (PS- to Gwen, the social worker who was tasked with "interviewing" our daughter--or did she interview you? I'm still not sure--... God bless you. That is all I have to say!!)
Have I missed anything in this synopsis? :) Feel free to ask!