Here's a quick summary of what is going on: We had to do the home study and be approved, and then we have to send the completed home study, an application, and a fee to USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services). They send us an appointment for fingerprinting, and then we wait 2-12 weeks for the approval. (Some people get theirs in two weeks; the website says 90 days. It seems that the average is 5 weeks.) During this time, we'll be working on the rest of the dossier (which we've been doing all along).
When we get that approval, called the I-171H, hopefully everything else in the dossier will be done, and we'll send the whole thing in to our agency for approval. They send it to the embassy, and then it goes on to Rwanda!
When it gets to Rwanda, we have our longest wait: 3-6 months is the estimate at this point. Then we receive from Rwanda an approval that we can adopt. Two months after that comes the Big Day: the referral! That's when we find out who our precious girl is and get to put a face to the love we already have for her. Then (I think) about 1-2 months after that, we get to go pick her up. That's the real Big Day. So we're looking at May-October of next year before we get to bring our baby home. We're hoping for May. :)
So here's where we are:
We sent in the I-600A application on September 21, with the fee, but without the home study. We thought the home study would be right behind it, but due to several delays that tried my patience and tested my Christian virtue it was late. Yesterday it arrived! Jeremy and I immediately checked it out for any errors. The ones we found were mostly grammatical (yes, we're snobs), but there was one that gave us pause.
Although we're requesting a little girl age 0-12 months, we worded the home study to read 0-2 years (we'll still get a younger child; this is just to avoid legal issues). But the last paragraph of the home study said in one sentence 0-18 months, and in the one following it 0-2 years. After a call to our social worker and then one to our wonderful family coordinator from AWAA (our agency), and then two more calls to our social worker, we got it taken care of. The problem: it was 5:20pm. Other adopting parents will feel our pain here: how could we lose another day? I had to get it mailed today! So Jeremy graciously fed the boys dinner while I rushed to the only post office near us that is open until 6:00. Whew! I made it with minutes to spare and our home study should have arrived today or will arrive at USCIS tomorrow! Blessed day!
Are you still reading? Then you are committed!
Our fingerprint appointment is for Friday, which is wonderful. Then everything will be at USCIS and we'll be waiting for them to process our documents while we finish up the dossier. Hurray!
Tomorrow, check back for our adoption fund-raisers update.