If we would not pass our first hearing they could postpone the court hearing we are traveling for. We will still travel, however. If they postpone our hearing, we will give consent while we are there, sign something else, and then we would not have to appear for the 2nd hearing. (The reason parents appear for the 2nd hearing is to say that they've met their prospective child(ren) and agree that they want to adopt them). We are praying that we pass this first hearing and our second one, of course.
Then, it ain't over yet! After we pass court (which may take a few tries, but hopefully not), it is an estimated wait time of 2 - 4 months until we return :(
Here's the breakdown of what happens after we go over:
- An approval letter has to be received from MoWCY. (we need a positive recommendation) and hopefully this has already been received by our first court hearing.
- The courts must give their consent
- We must give our consent (which we will do while we are there).
- After we have 1, 2 and 3, they can submit to get our court decrees and birth certificate. (This typically takes several weeks).
- Then, after we have 1, 2, 3 and 4, we can request a Passport.
- Next is the Embassy Physical. Physical results must be back before we can proceed.
- After 1 - 6 is all done, with no errors and no requests for additional information, etc., we can be submitted to the Embassy!
- The Embassy may take a few weeks to review our documents. They may request more information, or they could approve the case right away. (if they request more information, we could be delayed significantly).
- If we are approved right way, the Embassy will contact us for an appointment, in which we will travel back over to Ethiopia. I hear that sometimes we would only get a one week notice!!
- Once we travel back over to Ethiopia, we will have our Embassy appointment and then it will take them 2 days (I think) to process E's Visa, then we are free to leave the country.
Sounds simple, right? Those 10 steps take about 2 months+ to complete. Where the 4 months or longer comes in is if any of those steps require corrections, more information or if additional delays are encountered. So, you can see how quickly things can derail and pile up. I have no idea if we are kept abreast of what step we are in. I'm thinking not.
Please continue to pray for a clear path to bring E home. If additional information is requested, please pray that we can get it quickly. Please pray for the wisdom of those reviewing Elliana's case. Please pray that Elliana knows we are coming back as soon as we can to bring her home. Please also pray for our health, our safe travels and protection over our family at home!
We made it this far, and God's timing has always been perfect. Four months is a long time, but considering how long we've waited, and considering how much we've been stretched, molded and shown God's perfect plan, we can do it! It's going to really hard though, especially after we meet her, touch her and hold her.
Thank you to everyone for your continued support, prayers, emails, donations and love. I can't wait to post pictures of Elliana (once we pass court). You won't believe how beautiful she is!