Every tree limb overhead seems to sit and wait, while every step you take becomes a twist of fate.
Up on the watershed, standing at the fork in the road...

If you are new to our adoption blog please take a moment to scroll down to the archives at the bottom of this page and start with July 2009 post "Watershed."



We were submitted to court for Baby D as part of group E yesterday.
Wouldn't it have been so much more alliteral (my adjective creation out of the word alliteration) if she had been submitted in group D on the 4th??

When we were referred Baby D on the 1st of March we heard there was a group being submitted to court that week. I would have to go back and read the emails but I thought that we were told she would go with that group. I didn't hear otherwise so I've just assumed we would be in that group and hear our court date late this week or sometime next week.

Nope. We were just submitted yesterday. So now we begin the two week wait. (That's optimistic me talking. It could be a 3-4 week wait to hear a court date.)

For those of you not in the adoption obsession and therefore blissfully unaware of how the next steps work, here you have it:

1) Referral (check! March 1, 2010)

2) Baby's case submitted to court (check! March 15, 2010)

3) Baby is assigned court date (waiting to hear court date - usual wait is 2 weeks after submission)

4) Court is held in Ethiopia (on average 6 weeks following submission to court-April 26th?)

5) Baby's case either passes or fails

6) If case fails we get assigned another court date a few weeks later and they try again (on average 60% pass first try and 40% take more than one try)
Note - we are not worried that Baby D won't pass court at some point. We just know that anything can cause her to fail on the first try. Holiday in Ethiopia. Missing letter from Ministry of Women's Affairs. Sick lawyer. Endless possibilities.

7) If case passes we wait for court documents to be produced (court decree, birth certificate, etc)

8) Case is submitted, with court documents, to US State Department in Addis Ababa

9) Case is investigated by State Department (special new step as of last month)

10) State Department hopefully decides that Baby D is not being trafficked and is legally ours (which she is in Ethiopia as soon as she passes court)

11) US embassy in Addis Ababa issues embassy visa appointment (impossible to know when this will be - average is 6-10 weeks after passing court...so if all goes very very smoothly, June?)

12) We travel to pick up Baby D and attend her visa appointment at the US embassy in Addis Ababa (we are interviewed and issued visa)

13) We come home!

Some families slide right through this process in about 12-16 weeks. Other families get snagged at every step and it takes them 6 months. We have no way of knowing how it will work out for us until we make our first attempt at court. If we pass on the first try I think we can continue working on a more optimistic end of the timeline. So please pray that we will be assigned a court date soon and that every piece will fall into place on that date.

I would love it if you would leave your referral-homecoming timeline in the comments. It would satisfy a lot of over-anxious curiosity! Thanks!!



  1. thanks for the timeline! i've been wondering about the process after the referral and when you'll be able to bring her home. btw- i am going to order a pillow, i just can't decide on which fabric. they're all beautiful. :) Lyndi

  2. Here is our timeline:

    Referral: January 6, 2009

    Court Date: April 3, 2009 (passed 1st time)

    Travel: May 7, 2009

    We were exactly 4 months from referral acceptance to travel.

  3. We signed our referral in July, Court in Nov, travel in Jan. It is all in God's time, but you know that. I hope that it all goes smoothly and baby D is in your arms before summer.

  4. My time will not make you happy, but realize that I got caught in the TB test nightmare.
    Referral: February 18
    Court: June 13 (passed first time)
    Travel: September 18
    Home: October 1.

    Delay between referral and court was due to a state-based snafu.

  5. Ours is skewed because we saw our kids on the "waiting kids" site...

    official referral: 9/2/08
    first court date: 11/19/08-I think? (failed)
    second court date: 12/29/08 (passed)
    travel: 1/12/09

    So, even with having to await the courts re-opening and failing once, we still got them home within four months.

  6. I have no dates to share. Am simply jealous (in a very healthy and happy way) that you have dates. Really. I hope it'll be me someday....

  7. Referral July 29, 2009.
    Notified of Court Date Oct 23, 2009
    Court Date Nov 17, 2009
    Travel Dec 14, 2009
    Embassy Appt Dec 23, 2009

    Right now, with our agency, some families are traveling 8-9 weeks after referral! Incredible! But the average is 3 months.

    Can't wait to see the pics of your precious Baby D!!!!


About Me

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J and I have been married for almost 15 years. We have shared many adventures and a lot of watershed moments. In 2009 I began blogging and in 2010 we adopted our daughter from Ethiopia. In March of 2012 we began the process to adopt a little boy from Haiti. This blog follows the many twists and turns on the road to our two children and beyond.