Jessica and I have actually wanted to adopt for years. It's been on our hearts since before we were married I think. We are adopting internationally from N. N. is sandwiched between China (North) and India (South). Our original intention was to adopt an infant, but we are now (most likely) getting a sibling group. Long story short: N. changed their rules. The older child cannot be over six and one of the children must be female.
In my tiny brain I break the process into three stages. The first is the paperwork stage. In this stage we collect and complete all of the necessary documents for our agency, the N. government, and whomever else wants to know all things Ryan and Jessica.
Next is the waiting stage. It is waiting for us, but in N. the paperwork is being translated into Korean for their attorneys to scour. Just kidding about the Korean thing; they speak N. Later we found out the dossier doesn't have to be translated. After we are approved by the powers that be ruling N., they begin the process of pairing us with children. This, of course, transitions us into the last phase - referral.
We will receive a packet (probably delivered by a stork) that contains all of the info on our potential children. Sometimes this information is not very extensive. But whatever medical history, current condition, photos and such they have they send to us. We at that point can choose to accept or reject. Reject seems like a harsh word. I would say it would be highly unlikely we would not accept the first referral. There would have to be something glaringly uncomfortable.
Each stage is usually somewhere in the neighborhood of 3-4 months. We are sort of at the end of the first stage. All God's Children International (our agency) is reviewing our paperwork to make sure all is in order before sending it to N. We finished this stage fairly quickly mostly due to my extraordinarily determined and extremely competent wife.
Thanks for reading.