Category: Ethiopian Adoption Story
Created on Tuesday, 15 December 2009 09:46
We received a receipt from USCIS regarding the CoC. Apparently we can expect to wait up to 5 months for this to arrive. And sometimes they ask for an interview for presentation of original documentation, etc. So...we'll see. Hopefully the Certificate will just arrive in the mail one day (soon).
The Passport is supposed to arrive in the mail in about 4-6 weeks.
Ethiopian Facts and Figures
Life expectancy: 42 years old
Population subsisting below $2/day - close to 80%
Average births per woman: 6.14
Deaths from pregnancy/abortion related: 1 in 7
Women dying from TB is 96 per 100,000
Children dying from AIDS: 1 in 16
Percentage of AIDS cases in the world: 7%
Female genital mutilation: >80%
Women experiencing rape: 25%
Newborns dying before age one - 1 in 10
Children dying before age 5 - 1 in 6
Orphans - 4 million
Children under 5 stunted from malnutrition - >50%
for women 26.4%
High school attendance for females 8.5%
1/3/08 - Homestudy Agency (Partners for Adoption) application sent.
1/10/08 - Officially establish relationship with HS agency
1/13/08 - First Contact with our Social Worker
1/17/08 - Application to Placement Agency (Adoption Avenues)
1/17/08 - I600A form mailed to USCIS
1/17/08 - Livescan fingerprinting for HS agency
1/23/08 - Livescan again for Department of Justice for State police clearance letter for our Dossier
1/23/08 - First homestudy visit
2/1/08 - Second homestudy visit
2/21/08 - Homestudy complete
2/29/08 - Police Clearance Letter arrived from DOJ
3/3/08 - Homestudy mailed to USCIS
3/4/08 - Received our USCIS FBI fingerprinting appointment
3/11/08 - Dossier is Complete
3/11/08 - FBI fingerprinting done for USCIS
4/2/08 - I600A approved
4/9/08 - Actual I171H (approval form) in our hands
4/14/08 - Authentication of documents completed
4/14/08 - The dossier has been sent to placement agency
4/16/08 - The dossier received by the placement agency
4/21/08 - The dossier has been sent to Washington DC.
4/28/08 - I171H being sent to Addis
5/6/08 - The dossier sent to Ethiopia
5/7/08 - I171H at the embassy; case number assigned.
5/22/08 - Registration of dossier in Ethiopia complete - Officially waiting for a referral!
7/7/08 - Referral
7/23/08 - Assigned a court date of Oct 7, 2008
8/6/08 - 9/30/08 - Court Closure
10/7/08 - Court Date #1 (postponed)
11/6/08 - Court Date #2 (successful)
12/12/08 - Travel date
12/15/08 - US Embassy Appt. in Addis Ababa
12/17/08 - Visa issued for baby by US Embassy
12/20/08 - Home from Ethiopia with Hana
03/2009 - 3 month post-placement report complete
07/2009 - 6 month post-placement report complete
07/20/09 - Readoption Complete!
12/2/2009 - Certificate of Citizenship application mailed
12/2/2009 - Social Security Number/Card applied for
12/7/2009 - Social Security Card Arrives.
12/7/2009 - Passport Application sent.
12/15/2009 - 1 year post-placement visit complete.
01/15/10 - Passport Arrived; Post-placement report complete.
3/4/2010 - Certificate of Citizenship obtained. Citizenship ceremony complete.
Final Documents needed in Addis Ababa
Information for Travel and Health
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LeToukoul Orphanage - the orphanage our placement agency uses
The Process Overview
-First you decide to adopt.
-International vs. domestic
-Decide on the country.
-Find homestudy (HS) agency - needs to be licensed in your state to conduct homestudies in your area.
-Find Placement Agency - there are no California placement agencies for Ethiopia. Actually, there are only a handful licensed in Ethiopia to conduct adoptions in America. So, you have to find one of those...and establish a relationship with them.
-Fill out out the I600A application for advance processing of orphan petition. Accompanying this application you'll need: birth/marriage certificates, proof of employment, proof of health insurance coverage for an adopted child, and of course a fee.
-Complete the homestudy - consisting of interviews, lots of papers, letters from friends, fingerprinting with child abuse index check, and an actual inspection of your home.
-Send completed homestudy to USCIS to complete the I600A application - and wait for FBI fingerprinting appointment.
-If the USCIS approves you, you get the I171H form (after the fingerprinting and review of the documents)
In the meantime...
-Completion of the dossier - papers that are required to go to the Ethiopian Government for referral of an orphan. (including the I171H form).
-Notarize the papers you've collected for the dossier. These papers include a positive homestudy report and a state police clearance letter.
-Then take/send the notarized papers to Sacramento for Authentication (where they verify the authenticity of the notary stamp and signatures, and in doing so places the Great State Seal on the documents).
-Then send Dossier with a notarized copy of the I171H (the I600A approval) to the Placement agency.
-Be sure the I171H form goes to the US Embassy in Addis so you can get a case number.
-The Placement agency overnight sends the papers to Washington DC for Federal Authentication - this is where our federal government authenticates the Great State Seal....by placing the Great Seal of the United States on the documents. This is hand carried by an Agency representative in Washington DC.
-Then, the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington DC, recognizing the US Seal, accepts the documents. They are sent back to the Placement Agency, who then sends them to Ethiopia.
-Once Ethiopia has our documents they will be legalized, registered, translated - then we will then be eligible to get a referral.
-A referral - where they send you pictures and information about a child that you've been matched with based on the criteria you specified in your homestudy.
*Get travel ready during this time:
Decide whether or not you want to travel
Get Passports if necessary (the passport must be valid for at least 6 months post planned return date). Also get your children passports - both parents must be present.
Vaccinations and consultation with travel clinic.
Of course gather needed supplies and people.
Plan travel details: Hotel, flight, etc.
-Get a Ethiopian Court date where your placement agency has a lawyer with power of attorney go and represent your family.
-Get an US Embassy (in Addis Ababa) appointment date.
-Travel to go get child.
For the Placement Agency - Dossier
*all most of the documents need to be notarized: see here
Contracts and fees
Introduction letter to Ethiopina Government
Family registration form
Letter to the orphanage Toukoul
Letter to the Ethiopian Government
Financial information form
Letter from Bank
Letters of reference x2
Letters from Employer
Birth certificates for parents
Deed to home
Power of attorney
Passport photos (2 of each parent)
Ethiopian Program List
Homestudy agency license
Obligation of homestudy agency to do post-placement reports
State Criminal Clearance Letter
USCIS approval I171H form
Things to gather for Homestudy Agency
Contracts and fees signed
Establish Fedex account
Autobiographies - before first homestudy visit
Authorization to release information form
Authorization for release of information form
Medical reports for each parent
Medical reports for each member of household, including kids
Reference letters (4)
Copy of financial statement to be used in dossier
Federal income tax 1040 form last 3 years
Personal information sheet
Family photo and family of parents
Copy of birth certificates
Copy of passports
Copy of marriage certificate
HIPPA Authorization forms (ability to transfer medical info)
School performance report for each kid
Completion of education courses - book, test, online courses
Deed to our home
Criminal record statement
Explanation of incident
Certifed Court documents of the incident
Information needed to send with I600A form to USCIS
Obtaining the State Police Clearance Letter In California
Refer to this website - Office of the Attorney General DOJ. Take note of the far right hand column about half-way down - the information about "Visa/Immigration and Foreign Adoptions".
Download this form, as instructed.
Fill it out using this guideline.
Find a Livescan facility to get your fingerprints done (this is a separate livescan from the one you do for your homestudy agency; and they cannot 'save' fingerprints on the computer, so you have to do it twice, and pay twice).
They will mail you a printout to your home - no criminal record may take 1 day. Yes criminal record? Took 35 days for us.
Once the printout arrived, looking very unofficial, I called DOJ. Of course I got the run around as most of the automated pre-recorded messages are not very helpful - so I left a message. But there is one person who was tremendously helpful: (916) 227-3807, her name is Lena. She said she'd mail us a letter, on letterhead with a seal.
Two days later, a letter arrived - on letterhead with a Seal impression and signature. Attached to the letter is a printout (the same printout they initially mailed to us san the letter).
So, after getting the print-out, we had to call Lena and have her subsequently mail us the 'letter.'
See this post for more details.
Dossier - a legal set of documents
Apostille - legalization of a document for international use under the terms of the 1961 Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents
Authentication - authentication of public official signatures on documents to be used outside the United States of America. The country of destination determines whether the authentication is an Apostille or Certification (basically legalization of a document for international use in a country *not* apart of the Hague Convention).
I600A - Application for advance processing of orphan petition
I171H - Approval of the I600A
Placement agency - Agency licensed to operate adoption procedures in a foreign country
Homestudy agency - Agency licensed in your state to do homestudies for your area.