Number crunching has been taken to a whole new level this week! We're hitting record levels of referrals over here folks (in fact, Kiersten told me on the phone that this might have been the busiest week of her career in that aspect - WOW! More on that later...)
If you're not my friend on FB, you might be wondering what kind of movement we're talking about here! Well...as you know, our official October number was 21. We are now UNofficially (only unofficial because it hasn't come out of the mouths of an AGCI staff member) number 13!!! And pretty much all of this has happened in the last two-ish weeks.
I know, cRaZy right?!?! =)
So just for you number crunchers (or my sanity, you'll never know!!)...the wait time for a baby girl has decressed from 10 months, to 9 1/2 months to 9 months (for the last couple families) with 5 referrals a month. If it continues at that rate we can expect to receive a referral by late January or early February. But for those of you still praying with me for my Christmas miracle...have hope! Our listkeeper herself (Traci, THANK YOU) just made the jump from #14 to #2 in about FIVE WEEKS! So...miracles DO happen and we will NOT stop praying. But that being said...I REALLY DO feel at peace with God's timing here. I would be THRILLED to get a referral before (or around ;) Christmas...but if we have to wait until January, I am really truly okay with that. God and I have had our talks...and He's got this folks! =)
Nearing the top ten has put me on a whole 'nother TIER of excitement over here - I don't think I can even describe it!
I've taken the first steps towards figuring out our International Pediatrician this week. I contacted a friend of ours who brought home their daughter in January to get the name of the pediatrician they used. We had talked about it before, and this doc comes highly recommended both from AGCI and our social worker as well...so I already knew that was who I wanted to go with. Janice was MORE than helpful with all her information (thank you SO much girlfriend!). So yesterday I sent an email to them asking for as much information as possible, making sure they are still taking referrals, and giving them a time estimate of when we can realistically expect a referral. I got a response today and it sounds like I have everything in order! At this point all I have to do is contact them when we DO get a referral and email them all the information we receive from AGCI (including pictures) for them to examine. Then they will do a 30-45 minute phone call consultation with us. Makes me giddy just thinking about it ;)
But after completing THAT, I started going a little stir-crazy thinking about what a WHIRLWIND it will be after we see Lil Miss' face for the first time! So I decided to call Kiersten (our caseworker). She, of course, was busy with other stuff (probably referrals because we just heard of a BUNCH MORE!!! =) so I left a message of when would be the best time to talk.
TODAY my mind was at the peak of excitement. I waited anxiously by my computer hoping for some more referral news, but not sure if I could take any more of it this week! (Who am I kidding, yes I can!!!) And then I realized that with my head in the clouds, seeing K's name on my caller ID might put me into a frenzy (and an unnecessary one at that)! So I tried her one more time. "Hello, AGCI, Kiersten speaking!" WOW, didn't expect that!
It was SO good to get to speak to her. She answered all our questions and assured us that we have everything in line right now for our referral, we just have to continue to wait. I, of course, informed K of Hub's time off in December and told her that it would be a GREAT time for a referral!! ;) She laughed and assured me she was the be-all, end-all in the decision and she would see what she could do to coordinate with the Ethiopian government (haha, SEE how helpful she is! =)!!
BUT since YOU all are following me along on this journey, I thought you might also be interested in what we get to look forward to! =) So here's a little explanation after what I talked about with K!
- After we officially accept the referral (sign all the documents, International Pediatrician consult, ect.)...the time frame between that and our first trip (the court date) will be anywhere from two - three months. K said they (the courts) have been actually been handing out court dates pretty quickly, they are just a little further out than they used to be, so that's what the wait is there.
- NOW...you MAY have been hearing rumors about ET switching to ONE court date, and it sounds like that is CORRECT! AGCI already has 3 families that are scheduled for one court date. Although they haven't had a family go through that yet, they assume THIS is how it will look like:
- In the morning: birth family goes to court and gives testimony and judge will review that
and all the other documents in place.
- In the afternoon: adoptive parents (that's US!) goes to court for testimony and final hearing.
- POSSIBLY at the end we will get the opportunity to MEET the birth family.
- K did say that, as always, there is a possibility we won't pass court on the first try. The judge has, in a way, a CHECKLIST that has to be complete before they can declare the child legally ours. If he or she can't check off one thing on the checklist, they need to reschedule us to do so. Don't worry...we won't have to travel again if that's the case...we will just be checked off the list =) Make sense?
*I* have noticed that court seems to be going a lot smoother since the two-trip policy has been in place. K says she has seen some multiple appointments, but that over all things are going very smoothly and efficiently.
- After court approval we go back home, and the wait until we return will most likely be 4-6 weeks (most families it has been right around 4 - YAY!!!). During this time the staff waits for the official court decree (which CAN take a while), get our child's passport, schedule the US Embassy medical appointment, and the Visa appointment... So you can see there is a LOT that takes place during that short time!
- The entire time frame between referral and the second trip is estimated to be 3-5 months! K did say that 5 months is currently what they are seeing...but I also know that what they are looking at currently, are families who received referrals during the court closure...so hopefully (and probably - according to some friends) we should be closer to the 3 month range. YAY!!!
So ANYWHO!!! There's an adoption update for you, if there ever WAS one! =) Please continue praying...we are getting excited as its actually starting to feel CLOSE and REAL!