17 Months on the Wait List


I never, ever thought I’d be writing a post with this title.

Today marks exactly 17 months that we have been on the Gladney list of families who await a referral for the child/children we will be matched to for adoption.

Given the date, it seems rather fitting that just this morning, a social worker from Gladney visited us in our home to perform the required update to our Home Study. Each 18 months the home study must be briefly updated to reflect any changes in the family/home. (Our changes by the way were rather boring overall: in the 18 months since our last home study, we have added two little rabbits to the household, and Jay and I have each turned 40.) I HOPE that our adoption process will not stretch out so much longer that we will need to have yet another update before our daughter is home, unless we, for some reason end up moving houses. But…I just don’t know.

When we began this process just a little over 2 years ago, the average wait time after all your paperwork was complete to referral was 9 months. The process has lengthened considerably now and there really is no “predictable” average wait time anymore. The best guess as to how much longer we will wait for our referral is, conservatively, a year from now. Even my 6 year-old can do the math on how many months of waiting that will be, but it is too sad to me to type that number out here. Perhaps (I HOPE!) it will be sooner than that, but realistically speaking, that’s what it looks like today.

Increased wait times are mostly due to increased scrutiny in Ethiopia into the adoption process. Much more information and paperwork are being required by the Ethiopian government to go along with each adoption case, particularly relating to investigation into each child’s background prior to them being cleared for adoption. All of this takes more time and manpower, and as a result, far fewer referrals can be given out each month.

After our referral, we wait for a court date, which is scheduled at about 3 months after referral. We make a first trip to Ethiopia for that court date, and that is when we will finally get to meet our daughter (we can’t wait!!). However, we are not cleared to bring her home till after waiting another couple of months for an Embassy date — basically, for her visa to be ready. Right now, the estimated time from referral till a family brings their new son or daughter home is about six months. It could be less, but it could be more.

If all this sounds incredibly long, well, that’s because it is incredibly long!! And yes, it is hard, hard, hard. But as hard as this wait is for us here, I know for certain that the increased wait times are much harder on the children and their caregivers in Ethiopia. And the sad fact is that the longer the wait times are overall, the fewer children who are in need of families will ultimately come home and be welcomed into a family, their family. That makes my heart hurt incredibly.

I have been horrible about updating this blog. Truly, life is full, things are busy, and the fact is that most of us find it simpler to type out a quick little status update on Facebook than to sit down and write a blog post that hardly anyone is going to read anyway. I hope to blog more in the future, if only because in the past, I have so appreciated the account here of our family’s growth and change. Perhaps in the coming months, I will have the joy of blogging about our newest family member, a little girl whom we do not yet know, but who is very real to each of us as we think of her and pray for her daily. She has a place in each of our hearts, and we feel so privileged to wait for her.

May God be with all of those who wait, the children and the families. May He comfort those who mourn, be close to those who are brokenhearted, and place the lonely in families.

6 Replies to “17 Months on the Wait List”

  1. I am praying for you, Missy and everyone else behind us on the list. I certainly hope things pick up speed VERY quickly!

  2. “May God be with all of those who wait, the children and the families. May He comfort those who mourn, be close to those who are brokenhearted, and place the lonely in families.”

    Amen to this.

  3. I pray your journey doesn’t last as long as you expect it to, and that your little one is home safe and sound with all her new brothers and lovely big sister very, very soon.

  4. So sorry things are moving so slowly. Our actual adoption process went very quickly, but the years leading up to it were very, very long. I think it’s impossible for long seasons of waiting not to change us. And I think as Christians, God often uses the waiting to change us into being more like Him. The pain we feel while we wait gradually leads us to more joy, more hope, and more rest, not because we got what we wanted, but because we know God better and can rest more fully in Him.

    I’m praying that God will bring your daughter to you very soon and that He will help you trust in Him while you wait.

    As Jamison would say,


  5. Thanks, All!! We love your notes of encouragement as we continue in this process!!

    I should reiterate that as hard as OUR part of the wait is in all this, the true heartache for us right now is that the longer these adoptions take, the fewer children ultimately come home. There are kids waiting and waiting in care, because paperwork takes forever to be processed. That breaks my heart, and it has nothing to do with me not getting what I want, and everything to do with hoping these little ones will be brought home to families. One of my biggest prayers is that the process will be streamlined and perhaps improved so that more children who are in need of families will have the ability to be adopted.

  6. Thanks for this post. This wait is so hard – but you’re right, as hard as it is for waiting families, it’s harder on the kiddos. I so hope things reach a new normal and we can all more or less know when our kids will be coming home. I’ll keep your family in our thoughts and prayers while we all wait!

    All the best,
    (S-DC family on FBI)

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