Tag Archives: Adoption

What Happens When We Get a Referral?

I haven’t talked about our adoption in a while, mainly because things haven’t changed. We’re still waiting for a referral. Though it occurs to me that a lot of people don’t know what that means. A referral is basically when our agency matches us with a child to adopt from Ethiopia. The entire rest of our adoption process is waiting for that referral. Here’s what the referral process looks like:

  • Our agency receives a profile of a child by e-mail.
  • They review the information and look to the next family on the waiting list open to that child’s age, gender, background and medical condition (we’re open to a child or siblings under 12 months old of either gender).
  • Our social worker will contact us by phone with the referral information (which is why we’re a little jumpy when the phone rings).
  • Referral information is forwarded by e-mail (this includes the name, photo, age, gender, background and medical history).
  • Families are strongly encouraged to have the referral information reviewed by an international adoption clinic or pediatrician with experience reviewing child referrals from Ethiopia. A review by at least a pediatrician is actually required before we can accept the referral.
  • We need to report back to our agency regarding acceptance within one week of receiving the referral; this timeframe is flexible if there are pending medical questions.
  • Family notifies their specialist of acceptance and completes acceptance paperwork.
  • Specialist notifies Ethiopia of acceptance.
  • Ethiopia pairs the family’s translated dossier with the child’s referral information and submits to court.

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Adoption is Closer Than We Think

Nine months is a long time to wait for a baby. But at least you know how long the wait will be. With adoption it’s a bit trickier. In December we were told six to nine months. Of course things are complicated in Ethiopia by the rainy season in late summer that shuts down the government. Adoptions aren’t processed for a month or two.

So if you do the math it means we could be hearing any time now, but it also means if we don’t hear soon then we won’t be getting our kid until after the rainy season, sometime in the fall. To complicate matters, my wife is active on our agency’s online message board. Some enterprising folks put together a user-generated waiting list using volunteered info, and based on this less than reliable info, we can determine where we are on the list (my wife gives more details). We started somewhere in the 80s, I think, though honestly I wasn’t paying much attention—it seemed too early, too vague and I didn’t want to celebrate non-milestones like moving into the 60s.

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