IAN staff members steer clear of the message boards- that is your space as families to meet, discuss, vent and learn. Occasionally, however, something comes up on the message boards and makes its way to our office via phone calls and emails from concerned clients who saw something on the boards that raised a question. That has been happening for the last week or so with embassy dates and we decided at this point that it would best to address this to all of you at once and hopefully alleviate your worries.
Since IAN started working in Ethiopia we have had a 4-6 week period between court and travel. To be overly cautious, we did tell some families that it might be 4-8 weeks until travel because so many things have slowed down in Ethiopia. We now can see that the slow downs will not affect our embassy dates and 4-6 weeks is an appropriate time frame. Some families from other agencies have been apparently traveling in three and a half weeks (which is not that much different than four) and many of you are asking us why they can get their dates so quickly and ours takes so long.
From what we have heard, the three and a half weeks are the exceptions, not the rule. We have also been told that four weeks is a common wait- but that many of the people who said four weeks were coming from 2 or 3 specific agencies. Essentially, what we are hearing is that there are a few large agencies that are able to get their clients to Ethiopia in 3-4 weeks, but most of the agencies working in Ethiopia are not seeing these times. It is important to realize that we are not in a situation where families from every other agency are traveling quickly and IAN families are left behind. Our wait time from court to embassy is very competitive with most agencies. Some of these agencies with quick travel times had very very long referral waits. When you compare IAN to other agencies from start to finish, we complete adoptions at a very quick pace. Comparing only certain parts of our time frame with other agencies does not give you an accurate picture.
Secondly, our facilitator will not schedule an embassy date until he has received the final adoption decree and birth certificate. As with most things bureaucratic, this can take a bit of time. Not every agency takes the precaution of getting everything in hand before scheduling an embassy appointment. This may seem overly cautious, but we want to ensure that there no hang ups when you travel. If that means waiting a week or two for final paperwork, IAN believes it is well worth it.
It is possible that this will be a moot point after next week. On February 10 our facilitator will be attending a meeting at the US Embassy in Addis Ababa. One main topic of that meeting will be the embassy appointment process. We cannot say exactly what the changes will be at this time, but when we find out how, or if, they will affect IAN’s process we will make sure and update you.
We appreciate your patience and encourage your continued questions. We do not have control over many parts of this process, especially the Ethiopia side. Please know that as your Ethiopia Team we work hard to minimize any delays in your process and to ensure that your process is smooth and enjoyable.