You won't believe what we got in the mail last Saturday.
Miracle of miracles, in under two weeks we received our I-171h approval!
That's the favorable determination for advance processing of orphan petition.
I know it's an annoyingly long name that provides very little information. In plain speak, our I-171h is the prep paperwork for A*'s visa, and it's THE paper we needed to get all our ducks in a row so we could ship off our dossier and file for a court date in Ethiopia.
In a normal situation we'd be able to send off our dossier, but we're STILL waiting on the AZ court to send back our police clearance letters. Once those are in hand it should be a matter of weeks until our court date is scheduled.
Now, notice I said scheduled. It should take about 4-12 weeks for our case to actually be heard in Ethiopia.
For now we are planning that the rule changes will apply to us and that we will now need to be present in court for the hearing. Because of the added expense of a second trip I have decided that I cannot go to the orphan summit in Minneapolis. I'm very disappointed, to say the least, but it's just not the right timing for me to go.
I am still very unsure what the waiver process will look like with the new rule changes or how long we will need to stay in Addis Ababa when it's time to bring A* home. I'll have to wait and see how things play out.
All in all we're beginning to feel excited. We're holding back the last sigh of relief until we can hold those clearance letters in our hands. Then, we're going to have a major party!
I told our Family Coordinator that I was praying to have our dossier in her hands before the end of this month.