The Countdown Begins

It’s official. With our meeting with our fantastic adoption case worker at the agency on Friday, we are officially counting down to travel to go and meet Mystery Baby Girl. It’s still going to be a long-ish wait, but not as long as we had planned for when all this started. And even more important, we have an end in sight, a goal to focus on, a glittering prize. So that makes it — for the time being, anyways — a bit easier to tolerate the wait.

I know everyone has been saying, “Oh, it’s SUCH a long time!” when we tell them how long we have to wait to travel. Well, when you’ve come this far, it’s not that bad, really. Sure, we are anxious to go, but we know that at this point, it’s all bureaucracy, and you cannot rush bureaucracy. There’s no use fretting when there is nothing you can do. So, you wait and plan and prepare.

On the other hand, people say, “Oh, you must be SO excited!” And you know what? NOW we are. In a process that has taken 18 months, with a dead zone of information of 8 of those months, we were not excited for a long time. In fact, in recent months, we were the opposite of excited. But now, looking at the picture of Mystery Baby Girl, it’s very easy to be excited.

So our meeting on Friday went well. We got a lot of questions answered, which left us feeling informed and also relieved on a lot of counts. And most importantly, we have an idea what happens next, and a general timeframe as well.

  • A court date will be sought for our adoption in Ethiopia. This will be, if we get through it with no hitches, when Mystery Baby Girl becomes our daughter. This is the process, just like here in Canada, where an adoption is finalized. It’s expected this will take 1-2 months — this is happening much, much quicker these days than what we had originally planned for.
  • At the same time, another medical will be done on poor little Mystery Baby Girl, who just got done the poking and the prodding and the blood tests from her first medical! Poor little peanut. But, it’s required, and so even though my heart goes out to her little self — I can picture her wails of protest — the quicker it’s done, the better. It’s expected that this should take no time at all.
  • Once our court date has passed, and she is officially ours, we can send her a package. So we are already planning what we will send. Pictures, a lovey blankie, maybe a teddy bear… this is on the agenda for the next meeting of the Mystery Baby Welcoming Committee, to decide who will be part of the Special Advance Travelling Welcoming Sub-Committee (Pooh Bear Picture Frame, Chairman).
  • Once our court date is past, we can also get our paperwork to travel. A visa and some “citizenship” documents (it’s not citizenship, I forget what it is) are obtained for Mystery Baby Girl, and I think as well a visa for us to travel to Ethiopia. This is all started right now, of course, so it’s just a matter of getting it done once we officially have a daughter. This is expected to take an indeterminate amount of time — as quickly as a month, or as long as 3 months.

So the grand total wait for us is expected to be as short as 2 months, or as long as 5 months. Our caseworker said to plan for around 3.5 months. So, this is much, much sooner than we had originally planned for all those months ago when we started this. That’s the way it goes with adoption: sometimes the waits are shorter, other times they are longer. But it was nice to hear that, right now anyway, things are going fairly quickly. Of course, you have no guarantees in this process, so we plan to hear news when we hear news and not a moment before.

The meeting was good for other reasons as well. We were able to ask a lot of questions and get a lot of useful information that we’ve been craving for as long as we’ve been involved in this journey.

  • We know that we will have people to drive us and take us places during our time in Addis. And one of those places, on the first day there, will be shopping for bottles and diapers and formula and stuff. This means we can pack a lot differently than we had planned. Of course, we will still pack some of these things, because we will need some for the trip home and because the quality is different than we will have here, but now we know that right up front, we can get these items, and so that frees up a bit of space for other things in our luggage.
  • Many of the people we will be dealing with will have a good grasp of English, which is nice because our learning of Amharic is slow indeed.
  • Our agency offers classes in basic Amharic, as well as classes in hair and skin care for our child. We’ll be signing up for each, which will be a great way to keep engaged as we wait for our date to travel.
  • We were concerned about the prevalence of parasites and such, and having to deal with them. There will be some that may appear of course, but there’s been no outbreaks of scabies among the children at this particular agency, and there’s been only one case of another of the parasites we asked about. (Giardia, maybe? I forget now, and my notes are upstairs.) Because our agency has a central home, visited regularly by a pediatrician, these things are not as common as with other agencies or homes in Ethiopia.
  • We will, however, almost certainly suffer some intestinal distress. Plan for pepto bismol each day, and whatever other meds will help with this problem.
  • There is no diet pop readily available, if at all, to our resident diabetic BDH. So we will have to plan for other beverage options for him.
  • Our case worker has stayed at one of the hotels we are considering. She will be a great resource when deciding.
  • Although we have a driver to assist us, and they will plan things for us to visit and see, we can do as much or as little as we wish while we are there. This was good to hear because we have heard of many families planning outings and sightseeing and whatnot. But we were planning on doing very little sightseeing when we are there, and we didn’t want to offend anyone by declining these outings. Our first priority, as brand new parents, will just be settling into a new routine and getting to know our daughter. We don’t want to sightsee very much on this trip; rather, we’re planning on returning to Ethiopia when our daughter is older and doing our sightseeing then. On the remote chance that Mystery Baby Girl settles in with us really easily, we will perhaps visit a few places.
  • We found out about practical concerns, like currency and lack of electricity and the like. This will make it much easier to prepare all the practical things. One great thing to learn was that our agency director is en route to Addis to arrange for a generator for the orphanage, so they’ll be well taken care of during the current electrical shortages there.

There was a lot more, but that’s all I can remember right now. It was just so wonderful to sit with someone for an hour and ask all the questions we’ve been wondering about for so long. Although we’ve done our research and talked with other adoptive parents, it’s nice to get information right from the source.

So, yeah — we’re feeling pretty excited now. It’s amazing what a little information can do.

Of course, seeing those pictures of that little face each day helps a lot, too.

4 thoughts on “The Countdown Begins

  1. I love hearing about you making plans and preparations to pick up “un”Mystery Baby! It makes me feel very happy and excited for you!!

  2. I’m thrilled for you guys. It’s great your agency is taking down a generator for the orphanage. Here’s to speeding your way through the upcoming steps and traveling sooner rather than later.

  3. Thanks! There’s so much to do, but I hope it makes time pass more quickly. Plus it’s easier to stay motivated with someone to do all this stuff for.

    I hope we’ll be travelling soon, but part of me is a little nervous. A pair of newbie parents in a foreign country — sounds like a recipe for disaster!

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