CHANGES TO THE PROCESS
Why are they changing the process? Is this your adoption agency who is doing this?
First of all, this process change is for anyone who is adopting from Ethiopia. They are making these changes due to the request of the US government. I believe it was in 2011 that the US informed Ethiopia that they would like to implement something called the PAIR process.
Why does the US want this change?
Right now, families go to court through the Ethiopian government and that child is then claimed as theirs. The issue with the US government is that people would pass court in the Ethiopian Courts, but would then not be cleared through the US Embassy which was the next step in the process. The US Embassy was finding typos, errors, big mistakes, and reasons why they could not claim some of these children as orphans under US law. This caused a huge issues because now the children are legally the adoptive parents, but do not have the rights to enter the US. They would then have to travel to Nairobi, Kenya where the USCIS office is located, and try to get things cleared up there. More and more of these cases were taking place, and the US was not happy.
Sadly, the reason this was happening was because like in any institution, there was some corruption. Some agencies, not ours, were being very careless with paperwork and not truly checking all information about the child. Some agencies were being very shady and were more money hungry than wanting to help children and families. I always tell my students how one person can ruin it for a whole group, and this is basically the case here. Our agency isn't really changing anything because they were doing everything right, but now we have to have an extra step implemented into the process because others were not doing what they should be.
So what will change?
Now, before the families can go through the Ethiopian courts, they must be somewhat pre-approved through the US Embassy here in the USA. They will then give Ethiopia the okay that they believe this child will meet requirements as an orphan under US law, and then Ethiopia will proceed with the court hearings. After the family goes through court in Ethiopia, they will then go through Embassy, but this process is expected to be much quicker since they have already been pre-approved.
When does this process start?
Ethiopian courts are shutting down in July this year, and then the process will start when they reopen in September.
Does this impact our wait?
It could due to the fact that it is taking longer for children to get adopted. We are praying this won't impact how long it takes to be matched with a child, but like everything else we will just have to wait and see. This will most likely impact our wait after we are matched with a child because now our papers have to go through an extra process here in the US.
Is this new process a good thing?
I believe that at the heart of this process, it is a good thing. It is protecting the children and making sure that they are truly orphans and not being sold. Human trafficking is a huge issue all around the world. This process gives the US more opportunities to communicate with the Ethiopian government and get things resolved before a family goes to court. It is not a good thing as a mommy to hear that this may increase the time till I see my baby,
Please pray that this will be a smooth transition and that workers will be efficient. Please pray for us as once again things are out of our control. Please pray for the children who are waiting.
We will try to keep you posted on any other news we hear. Love you all!