I started this blog in August 2010 with my first post announcing that we were in the process of adopting again from Ethiopia. Well, today, I am happy to announce that after nearly a year of officially waiting, we have accepted the referral of a four-year old boy! Since he is not yet legally our son, I am not able to give any details. Let’s just say he is quite handsome. As with Semira, we won’t be changing his name. He already has a nice name and I am sure he knows it well! For now, let’s call him “K.”
Lily and Semira are excited to finally get a brother. G-d knows we have been talking about it for a long time in the Prager household. They are very excited that he is younger than them. Lily, especially, likes to be a mother hen so she is looking forward to helping K learn the ropes. Semira is also excited to have someone with whom to share her Ethiopian heritage. And Steve will finally get a testosterone boost from having another male in our household.
A lot has changed with Ethiopian adoptions since 2008. When we adopted Semira, we received a referral and, less than two months later, we were in Ethiopia picking her up. The process is not so quick anymore. From here, we will wait until mid-October when the Ethiopian courts re-open following the rainy summer season. Then our case will be submitted to the court and when all the paperwork is adequate, we will be assigned a court date. Our best guess is that it will be in/around January sometime. This time, both parents must appear in court in Addis Ababa on the assigned date. During this trip, we will meet K, but we will leave him and return to the U.S.
After the Ethiopian courts issue a final court decree, K will legally be our son. Then our case is submitted to the U.S. Embassy. The embassy then completes its own investigation. When it is satisfied that K meets the legal definition of an orphan and all the proper paperwork is in place, they will invite us to return to Addis Ababa for a visa interview. So yes, we must go to Ethiopia twice this time. Generally, the time between the two trips is 2 to 4 months (if we don’t encounter any bumps in the road along the way).
We are planning to take Lily and Semira with us on the first trip. The adoption related business will take about a week and we intend to travel around Ethiopia for another week or so. We have promised Semira for a long time now that we would take her back to Ethiopia. She misses it a lot. Plus, the girls will get to meet K for the first time with us! Lily was very instrumental in helping Semira become part of our family; we're sure that Lily and Semira will do the same for K. For many reasons, it just wouldn’t be right to leave them at home. We will most likely leave them here for the second trip (which will be all - well, mostly - business and shorter). I am hopeful that maybe two awesome grandmothers will volunteer to come watch the kids for a week. (Hopefully they are both reading this)!
Needless to say, we are excited! We are also nervous at the same time. We know from experience that you just don’t walk off a plane with a new child and go back to family life as normal. There is a fairly serious adjustment period with a lot of laughter and tears along the way. For now though, I want to savor this movement of excitement. Getting the call for the second time was just as good as the first!