Well here they are! Our newly updated numbers for the month of June! So this means we have moved down 3 spots for each! We are so thankful and humbled for this movement. This movement means that there is much love and much loss. We continue to pray for those families that are put together by the Lord above, and continue to pray for the families that are being torn apart by disease, poverty, hunger, lack of resources, etc. As I posted last, the wait is just so hard. And the Lord has set my feet on high places people and I am so thankful for that. I am back on that trail to walk the wait! Below I am going to put some information on what things look like in Ethiopian Adoptions as I understand it best. I would never want to discourage anyone who has the adoption bug due to this wait. This is unique to Ethiopia and not every program out there. But just as things are moving the way they are now, tomorrow all things can change and pick up faster....or slow down for that matter. I just say that to say that there are no firm answers out there. Just as a birth mother has time to decide if she wants to give her baby up for adoption, there are no firm answers until the papers are signed, sealed, and delivered. This is just a tricky process. I am always willing to talk with anyone who might want to know more about adoption so please feel free to comment and ask. All my comments are private until I post them, so let me know that way!
Here is my best shot at it:
NOTE: This is only for Ethiopia. Other country programs vary. Ethiopia has orphanages and then the agency that you work with stateside own transition homes. Each agency has relationships with different orphanages around the country that they get child referrals. AGCI stands for our agency All God's Children International. Keep this in mind as you read....
*Family puts together a big ol pile of paperwork that is made up of a homestudy (done by a licensed social worker), FBI fingerprints, county fingerprints, medical history, financial history, criminal history, employment reports, pictures, reference letters, completed education hours, marriage license, birth certificates, even dog vaccination records, you get the idea....nothing gets hidden. All of that is notarized and state certified, then sent to your adoption agency. Once approved there you are placed on the Waitlist! Yahoo! Great first step! (If you are in dossier process then let me know....this is more daunting to think about then it is to do!)
*Once on the wait list you wait! While you are waiting......
*Paperwork is sent to Ethiopia and is placed in a file cabinet at Transition Home. Probably in some sort of waiting order or maybe parameter order....not sure how that works. Ours is currently in a file cabinet :)
*AGCI has an in country director named Almaz who I cannot wait to meet because I pray for her everyday and hear amazing things about her. Not sure who works harder then Almaz to advocate for those who need an advocate! Thankful for her!
*Because of child trafficking reports and scares (we need to be realistic....this is happening and we want our governments to be proactive on this issue!) The US Embassy is being VERY particular in children they allow out of the country.
*So, when an orphanage calls Almaz with a child they think would be good for placement with AGCI for international adoption, she would agree to look at his/her file. She will review that file with a FINE TOOTH comb. Maybe do some interviewing herself of birth parents or those who have relinquished the child. She is going to make sure that that child will make it through the Ethiopian courts AND the US Embassy.
*The first thing she will look at is the court report that was done initially to bring that child to the orphanage. (Relinquishment number 1 for family)
*Then if she agrees that this child would be a good fit for international adoption and she believes to her best knowledge the child will be approved through US Embassy process they will come into care with AGCI
*The child will undergo medical testing to make sure they know as much as they can about this child
*Once the medical is complete and they know as much as they can know, they will open that file cabinet and pull a family that has the parameters that fit that child.
---For instance, the child is a 12 month old boy and HIV positive, they would go down the list starting with the #1 waiting family and moving back to see who is next on the list that would be open to accepting this particular child.
*Then they would contact the family and share the news that "It's a Boy!!" Upon their acceptance they would then submit for a court date with the Ethiopian courts.
*Once a court date is set the family will fly to Addis Abbaba for their court date
*The morning of the court date whoever is relinquishing the child would appear in court once again (Relinquishment number 2 for family), and testify that they understand the meaning of adoption and believe that this is the best fit for their family.
*Then the adoptive family will have their court appearance in the afternoon
*If both parties agree, there is the opportunity to meet each other later in the day (Dave and I are praying for this to happen! We would love love love to meet our child's family)
*Then it would be official in the Ethiopia that that child is theirs!
*The family will stay for a few more days playing, loving, and bonding with their new baby!!
*Then the sad day will come when they have to fly home without their baby. (I am praying for my heart on this day....not sure how I will do this....only by God's grace and strength)
*Then they will wait for the US Embassy to release an appointment date for them
*In the interrum the US Embassy would be doing some investigating of their own. Making sure all of the stories align, going to the village where they are from, etc. They will probably request another meeting of the whoever is relinquishing this child (Relinquishment number 3 for family). I have heard of them requesting this multiple times.
*Once the US Embassy agrees that this child is best fit for International Adoption, the adoptive family is issued a court date
*The adoptive family returns for their second trip, appears for Embassy appointment, and officially adopts their baby!!!!!
*They return home and the baby is automatically a US CITIZEN!
Crazy right? Now let me say a few things.
1. Did you notice that whoever relinquishes that child as to do so AT LEAST 3 times?!? My heart aches at the idea of that. Knowing that I cannot care for my girls and knowing that adoption is the best fit for them.....and then knowing that in order to make that decision I must be prepared to travel to Addis at least twice in order to answer question after question that I am sure I want to let go of MY child! Wow! The courage and strength! I am already praying for whoever that is in our story. That God would provide whatever necessary funding they will need. The necessary travel. The necessary time. Food. Water. Strength. And the care of their tender hearts. Crying right now thinking of it!
2. Did you notice the amount of people FIGHTING for the orphan? The amount of people that are willing to stand in the gap to make the BEST placement for a child? Even though it might seem the Embassy is taking drastic measures I say go for it! No one wants a child out of deception, out of illegal activity. No one wants a child sold into slavery.
The process is beautiful! It is full of broken people....and can I just say that I belong in that group? I belong right alongside another broken person.
So we continue to wait. Continue to rejoice. Continue to be frustrated. Continue to cry. Yet knowing that God is orchestrating something unimaginable by my eyes! I am thankful for an adoption community that is filled with unbelievable prayer warriors! I am thankful for friends who keep me going with hugs and encouragement!
Tomorrow I am excited to weep in church for a very different reason this week....not out of sadness, but out of rejoicing!