Last updated 9 April 2009
**Completed Stages in normal type/ Remaining stages in bold type.**
Stage I: Sign Up with Adoption Agency and Home Study Agency
A. Research all U.S. adoption agencies authorized by Ethiopian gov’t
B. Select Adoption Agency
C. Apply to Adoption Agency, pay application fee [July, 2006]
D. Received acceptance package and contract from Adoption Agency, submit contract and first installment of adoption fee [September, 2006]
E. Research licensed adoption agencies to do Home Study (must be a licensed agency in my home state – CA)
F. Select Adopt International, in San Francisco
G. Submit application to Adopt International, pay application and Home Study fees [December, 2006]
H. Ask four friends to write letters of recommendation
Stage II: Get Permission from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (CIS) to Adopt a Foreign Orphan
A. Fill out USCIS Form I-600A (Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition)
B. Submit the following to USCIS in San Francisco:
¨ Completed I-600A
¨ Completed Form DOJ-361 (Certification of Identity) (notarized)
¨ Check for I-600A Application fee
¨ Check for “Biometric fee” (for fingerprints)
¨ Copy of my passport (for proof of Citizenship)
¨ Health insurance verification (proving that the child will be covered by my health insurance as soon as he/she gets here)
¨ Completed Home Study
C. Receive letter from USCIS with appointment to have my fingerprints taken.
D. Have fingerprints taken for FBI for clearance.
E. Receive form I-171H from USCIS (Notice of Favorable Determination Concerning Application for Advance Processing of Petition of Orphan Petition) – this means I’m approved to adopt!
Stage III: Home Study (concurrent with Stage II) [February - May, 2007]
A. Receive intro package and instructions from Adopt International, my Home Study agency.
B. Get assigned to licensed Social Worker who will write the Home Study; call Social Worker to introduce myself.
C. Make appointment to get fingerprinted for California Department of Justice clearance.
D. Make appointment with doctor for medical.
E. Get full medical exam, TB test, HIV test, Typhoid, initial Hep A and B inoculations; get doctor’s signature notarized on four copies of health letter (for Ethiopian gov’t – to be part of my Dossier) and four copies of medical form (required for Home Study).
F. First meeting and interview with Social Worker (at her office in Sebastopol).
G. Gather and submit to Adopt Int’l (home study agency) the following documentation:
¨ Application Form for International Adoption Home Study
¨ Personal History Form
¨ Fee Agreement International Adoption Home Study
¨ Names/contact info for 4 people to recommend me – Adopt Int’l sends recommendation forms for them to fill out.
¨ Recent photo
¨ Release of Information forms (notarized)
¨ Criminal Record Clearance statement from City of residence
¨ Agreement for Int’l Home Study Services
¨ Certification of Pre-Adoption Preparation
¨ Employment Verification (letter from employer) (notarized)
¨ Medical Report (on form provided by Adopt Int’l) (notarized)
¨ TB Test results
¨ Copy of 2006 and 2005 tax returns
¨ Copy of recent bank statements
¨ Other financial documentation (net worth statement)
¨ Copy of Birth certificate (notarized)
H. Have fingerprints taken for DOJ clearance.
I. Confirm with Adopt Int’l that DOJ clearance was received.
J. Complete the following courses for fulfill Adoption Education requirement:
¨ Adoptive Parent Prep Seminar
¨ “Let’s Talk About Adoption”
¨ “With Eyes Wide Open” (focus on int’l adoptions)
¨ “Conspicuous Families” (focus on transracial adoptions)
¨ “True Colors” (full-day workshop on transracial adoption)
K. Second (final) meeting and interview with Social Worker (at my home).
L. Review draft Home Study provided by Social Worker, make comments/corrections, send back to Social Worker.
M. Social worker finalizes Home Study, sends to Adopt Int’l.
N. Adopt International informs me that Home study is officially complete!!
O. Get five copies of Home Study (one for USCIS, four for dossier)
Stage IV: Dossier Preparation
A. Prepare my Dossier. The dossier must include three copies of each of the following, with the appropriate authentication:
¨ Letter to Ethiopian Government (introducing myself, explaining why I want to adopt from Ethiopia, and committing to providing my child with awareness or his/her cultural heritage) (notarized)
¨ Letter to the Board of Directors of Toukoul Orphanage in Addis Ababa (notarized)
¨ Family Registration Form (notarized)
¨ Financial Information (net worth statement) (notarized)
¨ Letter from my Bank (notarized)
¨ Criminal Clearance Letter from City of San Rafael (notarized)
¨ Three Letters of Reference (different from the forms submitted for my Home Study) (notarized)
¨ Employer Letter (notarized)
¨ Medical Letter (with TB and HIV test results) (notarized)
¨ Birth Certificate (state-certified)
¨ Completed Home Study (notarized)
¨ Copy of Adopt Int’l Agency License (with “true copy” statement) (notarized)
¨ “Obligation of Home Study Agency” form signed by Adopt International (notarized)
¨ Copy of the deed to my house (with “true copy” statement) (notarized)
¨ Power of Attorney – for attorney to represent me in court in Addis Ababa (notarized and apostilled by the State of Calif.)
¨ Form I-171-H (this form is sent to me from the USCIS) (with “true copy” statement, notarized and apostilled by the State of Calif.)
¨ Passport Photos
¨ Family Pictures
B. Submit my Dossier, along with Dossier fee, to Adoption Agency. [August 1, 2007]
Stage V: Dossier Processing And Submission
A. Adoption Agency sends Dossier to Ethiopian embassy in Washington DC to be authenticated and translated into Amharic (a few weeks)
B. Ethiopian embassy sends Dossier back to Adoption Agency
C. Adoption Agency sends Dossier to Ethiopia [Arrived there on August 13, 2007]
D. Dossier submitted to Ethiopian Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MOWA)
D. MOWA approves Dossier
E. Dossier submitted to Orphanage in Addis Ababa
Stage VI: A Child Is “Referred” To Me
A. The board of the Orphanage meets and identifies a child for me, based on the information in my dossier
B. Child’s “Referral” papers (including photo and medical information) are sent to Adoption Agency
C. Adoption Agency contacts me with referral information [December 27, 2007]
D. Consult with Pediatrician experienced in international adoption.
E. Officially accept the referral; submit referral fee to Adoption Agency.
Stage VII: Adoption Is Formalized In Ethiopia
A. Attorney in Addis Ababa prepares documents for court on my behalf
B. Paperwork filed in court
C. Court date assigned [February 22, 2007]
D. On court date, attorney in Addis Ababa appears on my behalf
E. If successful, Court issues adoption decree – (adoption is now final under Ethiopian law.)
F. MOWA issues permission for me to travel to Ethiopia
G. Embassy appointment date is set [March 20th]
H. Adoption decree translated into English
I. New birth certificate is issued for child (with the Ethiopian first name retained, my first name as her middle name, and my last name as her last name)
Stage VIII: I Go To Ethiopia To Get My Child!!
A. Fly to Addis Ababa [March 8, 2008]
B. Stay in guesthouse or hotel in Addis.
C. Meet child! Try not to have a heart attack from joy [March 10, 2008]
D. Travel to child’s place of birth (near Awassa), travel to other cities in Ethiopia (plan is to see Bahir Dar, Axum, Lalibela, & Gondar)
E. While in Addis, apply for Ethiopian passport for child
F. Get medical and 2nd HIV test (required by US)
G. Check child out of orphanage into my custody [March 23, 2008]
H. Go to US Embassy (with child); apply for Visa for child to leave the country (she is an Ethiopian citizen). My agency’s standing Visa appointment day is Thursday.
I. Visa is issued (probably the following Monday)
J. Fly home! [March 25, 2008]
Stage IX: Home Sweet Home
A. At IAD airport – provide child’s passport, Visa, and sealed documentation (given to me by U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa) to USCIS agent. [March 25, 2008]
B. Get child’s passport stamped – she is now a legal U.S. resident!! [March 25, 2008]
C. File for re-adoption in California to change her name and so she can become a U.S. citizen
D. Appear in court for re-adoption to be granted by California court – she is now a U.S. Citizen!! [Feb 9, 2009]
F. Apply for SSN and Certificate of Citizenship
E. Meanwhile, engage Adopt Int’l to create “post-placement” reports
F. File post-placement reports with Ethiopian government – four (4) total [last one submitted March 20, 2009]