Monday, December 30, 2013

Update on Ethiopia and Adoption

Yesterday, I posted on Facebook that there were some decisions being made in Ethiopia about international adoption. After posting for prayers, we waited to hear from our adoption agency. Today we final received word on what was happening. This is the information we received from our adoption agency.

Over the weekend in Ethiopia a multiday meeting was held by the House of Representatives along with MOWCYA (Ministry of Women Children and Youth Affairs) officials. Around 400 people were present.  A research paper prepared by MOWCYA in conjunction with Parliament was presented regarding issues of sexual harassment, drug abuse and adoption within Ethiopia.  After the presentation, those in attendance were divided into six groups to discuss and respond to 15 questions.  Seven of the 15 questions were directly related to adoption. Our adoption agency is in the process of translating the research paper and questions.  Each group had a mixed representation of parliament officials, MOWCYA officials, Court President and officials, NGOs, adoption agency representatives, teachers, and public attendees.  Our adoption agency's in-country director was at the meeting, and she was working with one of the groups.

The groups met for hours, and finally had one person from each group share what they discussed.  Regarding adoption issues, it was noted that many Parliament officials involved strongly lobbied for the closure of international adoption while many of the groups encouraged a greater focus on domestic adoption while continuing international adoption as a good option for children. The speaker of the House of Representatives stated that government officials were shown to have had conflicts of interest leading to corruption and did not speak positively regarding international adoption.  In closing he noted that a strategic plan would be provided after 10 business days.
  
Discussions of Ethiopia “shutting down to international adoption are not new.  Nevertheless, this is a crucial time in Ethiopia regarding the direction of international adoption.  Ethiopia is a country that values their children and has been historically very supportive of international adoption. While the prevention of corruption and safe guards on behalf of children are critically important and reform is needed, adoption is a very politically charged issue within Ethiopia. Several government officials continue to be greatly supportive of international adoption and recognize that numerous children are in great need of a permanent family.  

Our adoption agency is supposed to hold a conference call on Thursday to try to give us as much information that they have learned from now until then. I am very grateful that our agency is very much involved and doing everything they can. I have a feeling that we won't know much more until the plan from the Ethiopian government is shared. Yes, I am concerned that this could even slow the process down even more, but until we know for sure we will just wait and pray. Jeffrey and I refuse to be fearful and get sick over all of this. Many people in our current situation are freaking out and panicking, but we know that it won't change anything.

Please join us in praying for the Ethiopia officials and the children of Ethiopia.

Friday, December 27, 2013

1 year DTE

Tomorrow marks one year DTE. In adoption world, DTE stands for Dossier to Ethiopia. This means tomorrow marks that all our paperwork has been in a desk, in a file, in an office, somewhere in Ethiopia for a year.

When we started the program, we thought that today we would be much closer to our baby than where we actually are. When we started the program, we were told that people were waiting around 12-18 months to receive a referral for their baby; sadly, these wait times have changed drastically since we started.

Internationally adoption as a whole has really decreased in the last few years due to a number of different reasons. To give you an idea, in 2010 our adoption agency was able to match and bring home 80 infants and 52 toddlers in the Ethiopia program. This year 17 infants and 8 toddlers were matched. That is a huge difference in just a matter of three years. With these numbers, you can imagine that we are slowly moving up the list to receive a referral. To be honest and give you the real numbers, people who are currently receiving referrals for babies have been waiting for 24-30months since DTE. So yes, although Jeffrey and I have been waiting much longer than a year, in adoption world, your wait doesn't really matter until you are DTE. Unfortunately, we are being told that wait times are likely to increase even more. The adoption world is so unpredictable. We are currently working with two different governments which is never easy.

In this past year, I have experienced so many different emotions. I have been extremely excited as we received news our papers arrived in Ethiopia. I have felt extremely discouraged as more news about wait times kept coming. I have felt helpless as this process is so out of my control. I have felt loved as friends and family members have supported us in some many different ways. I have felt sad as I cried in bed at night longing to meet my baby. I have felt encouraged as I watched families bring their children home. I have been angry and confused when I don't understand why things are happening and why it is so difficult to bring a child who needs a family home. I have felt confident in knowing that we are doing what we are supposed to be doing. Basically this year has been an emotional roller coaster. There have been some ups, but to be honest there were more downs. My heart has ached, my eyes have burned, and faith has been tested.

Though this year has probably been one of the most challenging years of my life, I feel like I am finally at peace. Jeffrey and I know that we are doing what we are supposed to be doing. Though it may not be in what we would feel is ideal timing, we know that there is a baby that belongs with our family, and we will wait however long we need to wait to get our baby home. There is nothing I can do but pray and wait. Though this year has been challenging, I feel like we are stronger in our faith, closer to each other, and more in love with this baby than we could ever imagine. I would not trade this experience for anything else. 

Please continue to pray for us, our baby, and our adoption as we wait for the day to become a forever family.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

THE COUNT

This week, my dear husband posted a picture of me holding a sign with the time that we have been waiting. This count is from when we were accepted into the Ethiopian Program with our adoption agency. My heart has been ready for adoption for much longer, but this was when the true wait began.

I think sometimes people forget that I have been waiting for so long because I don't look physically uncomfortable, but I am so ready for this wait to be over. I am also a visual learner, so I appreciated his visual representation of our wait.

Thank you all for your sweet and encouraging comments and prayers. We love you.

This has been the most challenging, frustrating, emotional, beautiful, and exciting time of my life. I can't wait for the day- whenever it may be.