Yesterday we went to an adoption symposium. It was good. Really good. There were people at the symposium who have adopted, were adopted, are adopting, gave up a child for adoption, have family members that are adopted, are thinking about adoption....and on and on. How cool to be there with so many like-hearted people. The Lord is faithful and had us right where we needed to be yesterday. We heard a panel of adoptees....two grown ups who have since adopted children of their own or are in the process and one teenager. We really enjoyed the honest questions and answers. In that room we met another couple adopting from Ethiopia that live not too far away from us. They shared some really important information with us about the type of visa we'll want to get for Noah.
There are two types of visas. The IR3 and IR4. The IR3 sounds like the way we want to go. It gives the child automatic citizenship and we would be mailed a certificate of citizenship. We could take Noah's stamped Ethiopian passport and adoption decree to the consulate or passport office and apply for his US passport. We would also be given 3 years to get back to the States to re-adopt him in our home state since we are overseas with the military. The requirement for the IR3 visa is that both parents see, in person, the child before the adoption is complete. So, after we get our referral, Marshall and I may be traveling to Ethiopia to meet Noah. This just seems to be the easiest option. We will not be there when the adoption is finalized in the Ethiopian court....an in country representative of the agency does that for us. It would be no big deal if we lived in the States, but since we are in Germany this looks like the best way to go. We are not sure about it yet, but will keep you posted.
If you are reading this and are interested in the adoption community here, check out this website: www.usadopteurope.com.