Ok, I've calmed down only just enough to try to explain myself a bit. :-) For those of you that have either never heard of a First Decree or are still trying to figure out what it is, here's my Cliff's Notes review of the Taiwan adoption process:
Once a family is matched with a child (this took over 6 months from dossier completion for us but is running closer to 12 months these days I've heard), the family's dossier is translated into Mandarin and shipped off to Taiwan. Shortly after the dossier is received in Taiwan, the case is logged into the courts. That's right, the court process doesn't begin until the family is matched and the documents are translated and received in Taiwan (in our case another month passed between referral and LID)!
We've been told the average court time is four months. During these four months, a judge may or may not call for a hearing. If a hearing is called, the waiting family may or may not receive notice of the hearing. Regardless of whether a hearing is called, the first formal ruling in the case is called the FIRST DECREE. The First Decree is when all interested parties are notified that the judge has made a decision in the case and the adoption is about to become final. This is a very big deal and this is the call we received today!!
After First Decree, a minimum of ten days must pass before a Final Decree is issued. Once the Final Decree is issued, the family is legally a family!! However, the baby cannot come home until he receives a Visa which requires an appointment which apparently cannot be set until the Final Decree is issued. Bottom line is that we should expect to bring our Island Boy home in roughly six weeks.
News of a First Decree (or any Decree or any news at all for that matter) is what we've been waiting for for months, so what do you think we did when the agency called? We sent them to voicemail. Nice, huh? Luckily, hubby recovered quickly enough to call them back straight away (while I glared at him wondering what could be so important that he had to return a call just then). Here's a tip for those of you that are waiting: even if it's been months since the agency has called you (other than to remind you of an upcoming class), remind yourself daily of the agency's phone number just in case you see it appear on your caller ID and if you see it, ANSWER THE PHONE!! Waiting Dads, that includes you. :-)
Oh, and did I mention that we received news of our First Decree today?!?!?!? :-D