D and I have a lot of webinars on our plate this week. We got invitations to a whole slew of webinars (by slew, I mean three) from our international agency, two regarding the South Africa program itself as well as another introducing their new financial coach. We are intrigued and hopeful about the latter webinar, as we are currently trying to figure out what questions we need to be asking while shopping around for life insurance (must have enough life insurance to cover a full year’s salary for the highest earner in the family, but we want a little more than that).
So, we’ve only attended one so far this week, with two more on Monday and Tuesday. They’re all in the evening, so we have to try to beat traffic and grab dinner to settle down to listen for an hour. The one this past Thursday was a more in-depth history of the program and the child welfare agency in Johannesburg. All it all, it reaffirmed our choice of working with this particular agency – although no child who has spent time in foster or welfare care comes away without some type of hurt or loss, the particular programs they have put in place, not only to help children in South Africa but families as well, is heartening.
We received a better estimate of our timeline as we get closer to our next paperwork phase (USCIS I-800A and the dossier). Currently, the wait time to get approval for international adoption from US Custom and Immigration Services is about two to three months. Considering that we’ll finalize our home in January, that means we’re looking at March or April for our approval. While we are waiting back on USCIS, we’ll be working on our paperwork and profile for the dossier sent to South Africa. Time and sanity willing, the dossier will only be waiting on that I-800A approval.
With the dossier done and sent to Johannesburg, our wait time will be somewhere between six to ten months. Six to ten months, folks. Because we have acknowledged that we believe we can care for a child with medical needs, it may be closer to that six-month range. One family was matched in five months.
What does that mean for us? That mean this time next year, we will hopefully have a referral. With the referral, we need with our agency, our social worker, and an adoption-specialized pediatrician to look over the child’s profile and determine that we are in fact able to handle their medical needs, etc. They give us about two weeks, and then we send our acceptance back to South Africa as well as USCIS again. Both governments have to approve the match and then we will be set a court date. Typically, this is anywhere from two to four months from the match.
During that smallest of all waits, we’ll be prepping the house and getting our travel documents together. So, tentatively, we may be a family of three in January 2016!
It’s all very exciting, and we’re constantly getting those first-time-parent jitters I mentioned before. I wish I could go on about it at length, but I have an autobiography to finish and a house to clean, not mention some final essays to work on. The next webinar is tomorrow night and it is in regards to social workers from the international agency taking a trip to Joburg themselves. They’ll talk about the trip, the people they met, the grannies, the kids, and share some photos and information that it hard to get when you’re an ocean and a hemisphere away. After this week is over, I’ll try to do another update with information.