NECESSARY FORMS, links AND STEPS AFTER REFERRAL:
Please contact your agency to be certain of exact steps.
Here's what we've learned so far:
After our child's official referral packet arrived, we had the necessary info necessary to fill out and submit the i-800 for the child. (Not to be confused with the i-800a which was done as part of our dossier to approve us as potential adoptive parents.) The i-800 is necessary for the USCIS to approve a specific child to be adopted by a US family.
Here is the link: i-800
I-864w: At the end of the i-800 form it requests that you fill out the i-864 or i-864w. We were instructed to fill out the i-864W. (We simply filled it out on behalf of the child we are adopting.)
Here is the link: i-864W
It is estimated to take about 6-8 weeks until the i800 is approved. The USCIS sent us a Request for Evidence (RFE). our agency then walked us through sending in exactly what the USCIS needed. Our total wait time including the RFE was 2 months until we had I800 approval for the child.
Once the i800 is approved, the National Visa Center will issue a case number that will come in the mail. This number is necessary to fill out the DS-260 form. The DS-260 is the beginning of getting visa approval for our soon to be adopted child.
Here is the link to the main page: DS-260
We had a lot of questions on this form. Our agency walked us easily through the questions. I will eventually post those questions and answers here...
Article 5 letter
Once the DS-260 is submitted, an investigation on the child's adoptability is conducted. Once both the USA and Lesotho agree the child's adoptability meets country and HAGUE standards, a letter is issued that is called the Article 5 letter. You will not see this letter, but your agency can tell you when this has been issued. This letter is necessary for the child to be adopted.
Wait time??? It took about a month until we heard that the Article 5 letter had been completed.
The Article 5 letter clears the child to be safely adopted in accordance with USA and Lesotho standards. Next signatures need to be obtained from several Lesotho officials to initiate the child's adoption in Lesotho.
It took about 2 months for the signatures to be acquired.
Once the signatures are acquired, the attorney creates an adoption petition that is emailed to our agency. We printed it out, signed it and overnighted it to our agency. The agency then mailed it to the attorney in Lesotho. He filed it with the court in Lesotho where a judge granted the adoption!!!
Wait time??? This step took 15 days from the day we FedExed the adoption petition to our agency until the day we received a phone call from our agency that the adoption had been finalized in court in Lesotho.
Our agency guesses that it will be 4 to 8 weeks until we can travel to our son. We are waiting on them to get his new birth certificate and passport. Then the agency will work with Lesotho and the US Embassy in Johannesburg to coordinate a date for us to pick up our son's visa. Essentially, we are waiting for a travel date!
On September 10, 2015 we finally received permission to make travel plans. We planned our travel and purchased airline tickets at the direction of our agency. However, we did not have an actual visa appointment date until AFTER we purchased our airline tickets. We only had three days in Johannesburge before our visa appointment and two days after. IT WAS TOO CLOSE. In the end, we got Mohale's visa by a miracle AFTER the USA Consulate in Johannesburg was closed on the night before our flight home.
MAKE YOUR TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS AFTER YOU GET YOUR CHILD'S USA CONSULATE VISA INTERVIEW DATE SCHEDULED BY THE CONSULATE IN JOHANNESBURG.