International Adoption- The Pain of Waiting for a Court Date

If God is trying to teach me patience, I’m learning it very unwillingly.

The waiting is getting very hard.  Usually after a family accepts a referral, the next steps are:

  • Get a call with a court date about 8 weeks later
  • Travel for court about 4 weeks after that
  • Come back to the U.S. for about 6 weeks
  • Travel for Embassy appointment

This is week eight.  We “should” be getting a call this week, and we “should” be traveling for court in about four weeks.  But we do not expect a court date this week.

There are a couple reasons for that.  The orphanage we’re adopting from is 10 hours outside the capital city.  Unlike in the U.S., one can’t drop something in the mail on Monday and expect it to arrive 10 hours away by Tuesday or Wednesday.  Adoptions from this agency typically take a little longer just because the documents take longer to travel.  Also, our orphanage needs to get a certain document from our children’s biological mother before we can be submitted for court.  They have yet not gotten that document.

That is setback one.

In late summer the courts close down for several weeks because of the rainy season.  The roads in Ethiopia are not passable during heavy rains, so everything comes to a halt for 4-8 weeks.  The exact dates vary every year, but it typically happens sometime between August and October.  There is a little piece of me that is hanging on to the hope that we will get to go before the shut-down, but I know that each day that passes makes that more and more unlikely.

That is setback two.

Once we finally get to court, two things happen (from my understanding).   You agree to parent the children as your own children, and MOWYCA approves the adoption.  I thought that you had to have the approval letter before you could even get a court date.  However, this does not seem to be the case as several other families from our agency have gone to court before they have received the letter.  Apparently MOWCYA is about 15-20 days behind in writing their approval letters.  This will likely only get worse.

So even after we go for our first trip, our second trip could be delayed longer than the standard six weeks if we have to wait for the approval letter to come through.  Remember that this is after you have met your children- you leave them in the orphanage until you can come and get them from good.  I cannot imagine how hard that is going to be and how long each day will seem.

That is setback three.

We think about our kids every day.  We think about their lives here and what they are doing over there.  We talk about how we will parent and look forward to the changes they will bring to our lives.  We already love them as if they are our own, and this wait is hard.  It was easier before the referral, before we could see their pictures and know their names.  By nature I am an optimist, but I am finding myself more and more discouraged with the slow downs.  Right after the referral there were so many things to do- our garage sale, get their room ready, etc.   Now most of that stuff is done and we are just waiting. And waiting.  We are so ready for these kids to be home!  If you are the praying type, please pray that they are loved and well-cared for in Ethiopia and that this crazy process will hurry the heck up.  There are a lot of things I love about Ethiopia, but Ethiopian time is not one of them.


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Filed under Adoption Process, Preparing for Kids

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