A question I have been receiving lately is "how long will it take to get your little boy?" This is an excellent question that I don't have an answer for yet. International adoption is a walk of faith and takes a LONG time, and a LOT of money. Thankfully, the country our son is from is one of the quickest and least expensive eastern european countries to adopt from.
Our goal is to have our little guy home as soon as possible; it could be as soon as July, or as late as October.
Here is what has to happen for our son to come home:
We have to complete our homestudy. Our goal is to have the requirements finished by the end of January. Then our agency takes about 3 weeks to write the report after all requirements are met.
Next is immigration. We have to be pre-approved by the USCIS (US Immigration) to bring home a child from another country. This includes an application and fingerprinting. The process averages 2 months, but could take as little as a week or as long as 3 months. This is a BIG area where we will need prayers, that our application goes to someone that is quick! All other time frames are either pretty set, OR we have some control over and can work very quickly through. This one is the most variable and the one we have the least control over.
During the first two steps, Cody and I will be filling out mountains of paperwork for our dossier. A dossier is a set of documents that you send to your child's country petitioning to adopt them. Ours will include things like residency, income, application type forms, powers of attorney, our homestudy and USCIS approval. We can complete our dossier once we receive our USCIS approval form. All documents in our dossier must be notarized, then county certified, AND then apostilled. An apostille is a state-level verification that a notary is a legal notary.
Then we send the dossier to our son's country. In his country, it takes about 2 months to translate all of the documents and submit them to the government. Then we wait 4-6 weeks for a travel date. Our travel date is normally 2 weeks out from the day we receive it. So from sending our dossier to his country to arriving in country is about 4 months.
After we arrive in country, Cody and I have a total of 3 court dates that I know of. The first is in the capital city, where we formally accept our son's file. This is when, legally, we are considered "matched" with him, according to his country. Then we get to finally meet our son. After meeting, we have to accept him for adoption. We wait out the first 10 day waiting period (business days) with visits to his orphanage each day and then have another court date. After this second court date, Cody and I will come back to the US for another 10 day wait. After the final waiting period, I will fly back to our son's country (only one parent is required for the second trip) and have our final court date. This is when our son legally becomes a member of our family and gets a new birth certificate, YAY!!!
Once we have his new birth certificate, we have to do a LOT of paperwork in a very short amount of time. We have to get his a passport, visa, and medical appointment (for his visa). It can take a week(hopefully not two) to do this paperwork. Total time in our son's country is 5-6 weeks.
Finally, I will fly home with our little son!!! Once he lands on US soil, he will be a United States Citizen, and once we settle back at home, we will get him a US birth certificate!
And there you have it, international adoption (through our son's country) in a nutshell.