Thursday, January 27, 2011

Update on Referral Process and Court and Embassy Procedure

Good afternoon IAN families! After so many changes in the last few months, we want to provide you with an update on the referral process at IAN as well as what to expect after a referral in regards to your court and embassy appointments.
What is the Referral Process at IAN?
It can take some time to gather all documents required to refer a child to a family. We want to walk you through this process.

· IAN receives information on a child from our Ethiopian staff (we typically receive a photo, name and age).
· As soon as the child is referred to IAN from the orphanage, they are taken into our care. 
· Our staff will take them to their medical appointment for their blood tests, developmental test and exams. If the child requires a PCR test, this takes approximately 9 days.
· The social worker prepares the social background.
· Once all required information is sent to the IAN office in the US, we will contact our Ethiopian director for clearance.
· Once we have clearance that the child’s file is ready to be opened, we will give the referral!

What documents are required for a referral to be given?
1. 1-2 Pictures
2. Social background
3. Medical report
4. Laboratory report
5. Developmental report
6. PCR results (if child is under 18 months)

Is the birth certificate required for a referral to be given to a family?
· No, the regional birth certificate is not required until the scheduled court date. The case can be opened and a family can receive a court date without the regional birth certificate.
· The birth date seen on the regional birth certificate is irrelevant. The most accurate age of the child is on the medical report.
· Depending on the child’s age and situation, it can take a few weeks to months to gather the birth certificate.
· Families have the right to request the birth certificate at time of referral but must let their coordinator know.
· If a family requests to wait for the birth certificate, the referral will be held for the family.
· Holding a referral while waiting for the birth certificate will delay the wait time for the adoptive parents and the child.
What happens after matching?
· Our Ethiopian staff is alerted of the match as soon as the referral acceptance letter is sent to IAN.
· It takes our staff about one month to prepare all documents to open the case for a court date.
· The court will alert our staff when the families have been assigned a court date.
· The approximate wait time to hear of a court date after being matched is 4-8 weeks and the court date will be approximately 1-3 months out.
· The adoptive family will have approximately 1-3 months to prepare before their court date.
· The total estimated wait time from referral to court date is 2-5 months.
What is required at court?
1. The adoptive parents must appear before the judge.
2. The birth family or guardian (if child is relinquished) must appear before the judge.
3. MOWA must give a positive approval and provide a letter for the courts.

What happens after a family passes court?
· The courts will prepare a court decree. This will be sent to our office and to the family.
· A new birth certificate will be prepared with adoptive parents names included. This will be sent to our office and to the family.
· Our staff will use the adoption decree and birth certificate to apply for a passport for the child.
· Our Ethiopian staff will take the child to the Embassy medical appointment.
· These documents will be submitted to the Embassy (Wednesdays)
· The approximate wait time between court and embassy is 5-8 weeks.

What happens after the documents are submitted to the Embassy?
· The Embassy will review the documents within 72 hours.
· They will inform our Ethiopian staff if they will require more documentation.
· When the family has been cleared for travel, the Embassy will send confirmation to our staff with available embassy appointment dates.
· Please keep in mind, this is a new procedure and the timelines are unknown at this time.

We hope this helps clarify the most current process at IAN! As always, please feel free to contact our staff with any questions you may have or join us for our chat on Wednesdays at 1pm MST!


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