As I think about what is next for our adoption, my mind starts to wander in a zillion different places. All of our paperwork is updated and we will get new fingerprints soon. Shortly after that, we’ll be back in the game. The problem is, I’m not sure what game I want to play.
I’ve started this post a hundred times, but I never make it all the way through because my thoughts are so scattered. There are a bazillion what-if scenarios that play through my mind and I’m not even sure what I want. So bear with me as I ramble through those thoughts.
First, the facts. Things have changed a lot with Ethiopian adoption in the last two years. Two years ago, there were plenty of kids to adopt and adoptions were processed relatively quickly. Too quickly. Due diligence was not done. Scandalous stories emerged about kids being sold to orphanages. About telling birth parents that their child was going to go to America, get an education, and then return home. About convincing birth parents to give up their younger child instead of their older one. Orphanages were closed. Oversight became more stringent and more research was done before a child was adopted. Adoptions slowed way down. Although frustrating for adoptive parents, this was a good thing.
I’ve written before about waiting children. While many adoptive parents are waiting on healthy babies, there are many orphans that are waiting on parents. These children may be a little bit older or may have some sort of disability. A disability can be something as minor as scarring or a treatable sickness, or can be as major as cerebral palsy or missing a limb. Through our process, our eyes and hearts were opened to these waiting children and we decided we wanted to adopt one (actually two). But that was over a year ago. Now, there just aren’t that many waiting children in Ethiopia. I’m not really sure why. The only ones waiting with our agency are deaf teenagers, and we’re not prepared to deal with that. I’ve been doing lots of browsing at sites like that have listings of waiting children from dozens of different agencies (Rainbow Kids is a great site), and there just aren’t that many there either. I’m not really sure what is going on with the waiting children, but my theory is that as adoptions have slowed down families have broadened the children they are willing to adopt. The family that may have wanted a child younger than 2 might now take a child younger than 4. In any case, a healthy baby is now sometimes available more quickly than an older child. Also, today there are very few siblings available. We started this process by wanting to adopt young siblings, then got matched with older siblings, and now neither one of those are very likely. It’s been a challenge for us to adjust how we think our family will look.
When we told the agency we were pregnant, our adoption was put on hold. We lost our referral but we did not lose our place in line. However, if a child becomes available and it was our turn, we would not get matched with that child while we were on hold. That child would go to the next person in line. We would not get matched with a child until we were off hold. We come off hold in October, when baby Mac is six months old.
It’s at that point that my mind starts to go crazy. More on that next time!