Adoption FAQs

We adopted our daughters from Ethiopia in the summer of 2009, when “Sugar” and “Spice” were just under three years old. They are now eight, in grade three, and happily expecting new siblings from either the USA or from Ethiopia.

Just in case you were wondering, here are the basics of adoption, in our daughters’ eyes:

Adoption FAQ:

Is adoption expensive / time consuming / worth it? Yes.
Adoption, espcially international adoption, is not for the faint of heart. There are delays, disapointments, and un-ending waits. But at the end of it all, it’s a wonderful way to make a family.

OK, so how long does it take? Well, the truth is, there is no such thing as a regular timeline. We started the adoption process in July 2007 and had our filed in Ethiopia, waiting to be matched, by September of the same year. After waiting 13 months, we received a referral for our daughters in October 2008, but they weren’t legally ours until July 2009. Due to the extenuating circumstance of our adoption agency going bankrupt, we had them in our arms 10 days later, but spent 2 months in Ethiopia before bringing them back to Canada.

We have been in the process to adopt again since the summer of 2011. Keep ya posted on that one!

How do I find out more about adoption? You actually need to contact an agency in your home province/state, as adoption (even international adoption) has very local laws and options.

Adoption #2 Timeline

August 27, 2009 Arrived home in Canada with our two daughters from Ethiopia.

April 23, 2011 Decided to pursue an adoption from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

April 30, 2011 Sent in our application to Choices Adoptions, with the intent to do a homestudy update.

May 15, 2011 Moved over to focus on our application to Lesotho, and signed up for a subsequent homestudy through Sunrise.

June 6, 2011 Started subsequent homestudy and dossier assembly.

June 13, 2011 Citizenship Part 1 completed and sent off in the mail.

August 8, 2011 Dossier and homestudy both totally complete.

September 27, 2011 Dossier arrives in Lesotho. Matching meeting booked two days later is postponed.

October 20, 2011 Citizenship Part 1 arrives back approved.

Winter, 2012 The two Canadian adoption agencies licensed in Ethiopia start taking new clients. The enquiries and paperwork start again.

Early 2013 Switched countries! We pulled our dossier from Lesotho and concentrated (exclusively) on adopting again from Ethiopia.

October 2013 Dossier arrives in Ethiopia. Woo hoo!

June 2014 We update our Homestudy to adopt from the USA through fostercare. Our dossier is still active in Ethiopia as well.

Ethiopian Adoption #1 Timeline

January 2006 Arnica decides she wants kids and starts trying to convince Jrock (Jason). Old pseudonyms….

Mother’s Day 2006 Jrock says for the first time that he’d consider adopting.

Christmas Day 2006 Jason give Arnica Where are you going Manyoni? (a children’s book about a little African girl) and says he’s on board. Best Xmas present ever!

April 28 2007 First application forms sent in.

May 3, 2007 Retainer signed with Kidslink (now Imagine) – they are our federal agency.

May 30, 2007 First apointment with Social Worker and local agency.

July 9, 2007 Dossier sent off to Kidslink (now Imagine) Agency! Paperwork done!

July 16, 2007 Our 2nd anniversary, AND… Last visit with the social worker.

August 3, 2007 Homestudy signed off and sent to Kidslink (now Imagine).

August 7, 2007 Immigration paperwork sent off.

August 30, 2007 Our file is sent from Kidslink (now Imagine) to Ethiopia!

September 3, 2007 Our file arrives in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

December 18, 2007 Changed our request from “1 kid under 1 and 1 kid under 3″ to “1 under 1 and 1 under 4.”

January 11, 2008 Sent off Part 1 of the new citizenship application.

January 30, 2008 Received citizenship application Part 1 back in the mail.

March 1, 2008 Sent citizenship application Part 2 off to Kidslink (now Imagine Adoption), to be ready for referral.

August 25, 2007 Changed our request from “1 under 1 and 1 under 4″ to “2 kids under 4.”

October 23, 2008 Received referral for two beautiful little 2 year old-ish girls! Joy of joys! Signed acceptance papers the next day.

December 30, 2008 First Court Date. Paperwork not all there – not successful.

January 28, 2009 Second Court Date. The same letter was missing. Not successful.

March 19, 2009 Third Court Date. Not successful. The same letter was missing. AGAIN.

April 2, 2009 Fourth Court Date. Not successful. No stamp on the letter.

April 27, 2009 Fifth Court Date. Unsuccessful. More complications.

June 11, 2009 Sixth Court Date. Postponed.

July 2, 2009 Seventh Court Date. We passed!!!! FINALLY!!!!

July 13, 2009 Got word that adoption agency has gone bankrupt. Leave 7 hours later for Ethiopia.

July 16, 2009 Our fourth wedding anniversary. Girls are in Nicky’s arms. Jrock remains in Canada but will join us four weeks later.

August 27, 2009 Arrive home in Canada after seven weeks in Ethiopia.

11 thoughts on “Adoption FAQs

  1. I’m so happy to read about a family that has been through the ordeal. My husband and I started the process just a bit before you (with Imagine also) forward over six years and we still continue to wait…..we had a little girl of our own in between, but adoption was our first priority. I am really hoping that we finally get matched soon….we are waiting for a boy one year or under. To be honest, we’ve been waiting so long, that hope is beginning to fade, but then I read your blog and visit our kids at the school my husband and I built in Kenya, and I start to hope its not to much further away…:)

    • I hope it’s not much longer for you too, Amy! The process can be excruciating. And it’s so strange to as you start to detach and move along when you’ve been waiting too long!

  2. I heard you guys are planning to adopt an HIV positive child! That is so awesome. Hope you won’t be waiting much longer.

    • Hi! Thanks for the good wishes.

      We are open to a few different special needs… I suppose on a second adoption you know what you can and can’t take on, as a family and parents. We will see which child we are blessed with!

  3. Love your blog!

    My husband and I are in the “info gathering” stage of the adoption process.. We really wanted to adopt a child that was truly an orphan. Just knowing that our child has a parent out there missing them makes me sick 😦

    We are from BC Canada.. do they give you an option to select a child that is truly an orphan or do they just offer you a match and not tell you?



    • Hi Ainsley… First of all, welcome to the crazy world of adoption!

      Yes, when you adopt, you learn more or less the basics about your child’s history and family situation. Of course, there are cases of this story changing as time rolls by, but you usually get at least the basics.

      I will gently prod you on the “true orphan” part, though, if you will bear with me. Children come into care for many reasons… Sometimes they are orphans (which can mean one or both parents are deceased,) but more often, children come into care for other reasons. Their family might be too poor to be able to support their children. Or, sometimes there are health issues, or mental health issues that prevent people from parenting. And sometimes in international settings as well as domestic settings, mothers are very young and feel unprepared to parent. There really are plus Thora of reasons why children might come into care. And each of those children is equally deserving of a home.

      Like you, when I started out in the adoption process, I thought about the children in Ethiopia being orphans. Frankly, it appealed to me not be sharing my children with their birth family. But scroll forward several years, and I can tell you that our open adoption includes connections with their first family is one of the best things that has ever happened to us… Including the children.

      I hope that gives you a little food for thought… And I’d like to welcome you again to the challenging, and exciting world of adoption.

  4. Hello Arnica,
    We have had our dossier in Lesotho for 1 year. I would love to connect with you to discuss our adoption journeys by email if you are interested?

    • Hi Tania!

      Thanks so much for your comment. I’ll send you an email. But there really isn’t much for me to discuss on my end… We’ve really hit a big lull….


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