If there is one word that does not belong in the same sentence as adoption, it is “stable.”
In infant adoptions, the birth mother can change her mind after giving birth.
In foster care adoptions, the court can rule that the children should go back to the biological family…even if it is clear to everyone with an ounce of common sense that they are unfit.
In international adoptions, laws can change and agreements can terminate.
We knew all of this when we started. We were expecting changes. Less than a year ago, Ethiopia started requiring two trips; previously they had only required one. The United States used to have a strong adoption agreement with Vietnam. Now there is none. It is common for things to change. It’s important to do your research up front, but once you’re in the thick of things you can really just sit back and wait to see how things progress.
The adoption community is a tight-knit one. A lot of the times, this is a good thing. When it comes to circulating rumors, it is not. It’s worse than an all girl high school in a small town.
And there has been some drama lately.
Maybe six weeks ago, there was a big meeting about Ethiopian adoptions. The US State Department, lots of agencies, etc, were involved in this meeting. There had been a few reports about a few orphanages operating unethically. Things like tricking parents into giving up their children, and then falsifying documents to finalize the adoption. Evil things.
Although those are very serious charges, I didn’t worry too much about this. It seemed like any potential problems were limited in scope and were being nipped in the bud. It sounded like all parties involved, including Ethiopia, wanted to find homes for orphans and that while some additional oversight needed to take place, the major players were all on the same page. I didn’t even find it worthy of a blog post.
Then late last week, things changed. The department in Ethiopia that processes adoptions is called the Ministry of Women’s, Children’s, and Youth Affairs, or MOWCYA. Your adoption will not be approved in Ethiopian court until they write a letter approving it. Last Friday, this article was published announcing that they would cut their caseload by 90%. As I noted in this post, Ethiopian adoptions have skyrocketed over the past couple of years and MOWA wants to make sure they are fully reviewing each one. This means the number of adoptions could drastically decrease, thus making our already long wait time even longer. Potentially years longer.
This is all so new that nobody really knows what the impacts are going to be. Is this temporary while some issues get resolved? Or is this new policy forever? If issues continue to occur, what is the future state of Ethiopian adoptions? There are way more questions than answers. Our agency has been sending out emails regularly to keep us updated, but they all pretty much say the same thing-
We don’t know how this is going to work out.
I don’t know if this is something to be very alarmed about or if this is just a little speed bump on the way to our kids. No one does. I pray that anyone exploiting this process
gets eaten by a lion feels guilty and stops, I pray for all the families that are so ready to bring these kids home, and mostly I pray that all these little African children find their forever homes soon. Can you please join me?
Also, please take a minute out of your day to visit this site. This will take you to the Joint Council’s site. They are a nonprofit, donor supported group that advocates on behalf of orphans. They have been working with all the involved parties, including the Ethiopian government, and have an emergency campaign for this issue. The link takes you to a petition that takes just a moment to sign. The petition is urging the Ethiopian government to accept resources that are available to them to ensure adoptions are ethical rather than just cutting back the resources they already have. I just signed it and it has just over 28,000 signatures. How many does it have now?
This could be the most important thing you do all day (especially if you share it on Facebook…hint, hint). So I say sign it and then call it a day and relax with some American Idol , Mizzou basketball, or if you read this on Friday just go ahead and go back to bed or head out for an early happy hour. But please, sign it. It means a lot to us. And to our future kids.