(Disclaimer – added December 1, 2007. We no longer recommend CWA. If you have questions regarding this, please email me. I hope to post something about this in the future.)
After doing our research we made the decision to use the same agency our friends, the Barrs had chosen, Christian World Adoption. We chose them because we wanted to work with a Christian agency who shared our beliefs and values. We also chose them because their Ethiopia program is new which is resulting in shorter wait times for children and lower fees.
In addition to choosing an adoption agency, we had to choose a Home Study agency that is licensed in the state of Idaho. We are using CASI Foundation for Children.
Once those two decisions were made the paperwork began to roll in. CWA has an excellent iplanner for parents who are in their program which has pages upon pages of information about how to prepare the dossier that is sent to Ethiopia. My all time favorite part of this iplanner is the checklist! It feels great to check off a document once I have it in my hands. It is getting to be an impressive stack of documents including letters from our bank, letters from the local Police Department, tax documents, birth and marriage certificates, and more.
In addition, CWA provides a webgroup for parents adopting from Ethiopia and the people there have been a great source of information for answers to questions such as, “To whom should our letters of reference be addressed?”, or “How many copies of my marriage certificate do I need to order?”, or “What gifts should I take to Ethiopia for the staff at the orphanage?” The best posts are the ones from people who are getting ready to travel to pick up their children or have just returned. I almost feel that it is all going to come true when I read these posts.
Progress on our dossier is going well. We still need to write a letter to the Ethiopian government explaining why we want to adopt children from their country. I have to prepare a set of five family photos taped to sheets of paper with identifying captions. Then I need to attach a cover sheet with the statement, “These are true pictures of our family” and have it notarized. We sort of chuckle over that one.
At present we have completed 100% of our paperwork for our home study, including taking an online adoption training course. Our home visit went very well and our social worker is great. The children enjoyed talking to her about the adoption and we felt very comfortable throughout the evening. She hopes to have a rough draft to us within two weeks – which is quite impressive. I told her I have complete faith in her ability to do it.
The next big step will be applying to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, so I’ll be sure to keep you all posted. As soon as we have our completed home study in our hands, we hope to be off to Yakima (three hours) to submit our application and be fingerprinted.
Thank you for reading!