The adoption community is a close one. We’re part of Facebook groups for Ethiopia adoptions, for KC parents who have adopted from Ethiopia, and for families who have adopted through our agency. I get daily emails from various sources about adoption. Over the years we’ve learned a ton and have built quite a nice little network.
This week that network has been abuzz. My notification window is blowing up with responses to some news released from Ethiopia recently. You can read the details here, but to summarize, some important Ethiopian government figures recently told journalists that they were working to end foreign adoptions completely.
We’ve been in this crazy process for over three years now. It seems that every few months some type of news like this pops up. The details change but the uncertainty is the same.
When Ethiopia adoption really got popular a few years ago, things got bad for awhile. Really bad. Families were tricked to give up their children. People were lied to. Money exchanged hands it shouldn’t have. The last two years brought a lot of changes to the process designed to cut down these instances. From what I can tell, they’ve slowed down the process but have been successful. Still, no process change is going to result in a perfect process all the time.
It’s these small remaining pockets of corruption, along with pride (not wanting to admit your country can’t care for their children) that cause these rumors of a complete shut down from time to time. And they are real cause for concern. It’s happened before to other large adoption programs- Vietnam, Guatemala.
Our case has already been through the Ethiopian courts and is final in the Ethiopian government’s eyes, so we are really hoping that we will not be affected by this. I don’t think we will be, but as any adoptive parent will tell you, you never really feel good about things until your kids are home.
But as I process the news that came out, and as I read the responses in the various groups I’m in, I can’t help but think of the dozens of children we met while we were over there. Nearly all of them had already been matched with families, but their families had not been through court yet. If the government shuts down adoptions, what will happen to them? I’ve heard their stories. If they don’t get adopted, they will stay in orphanages until they are teenagers and then be on their own. What will happen to the 9-year-old girl I fell in love with? She painted my nails and excitedly showed me picture of her family waiting for her in California. What about the young baby whose mother committed suicide and has been in an orphanage her entire life? What about the little 4-year-old who was found wandering the streets, the one no one came to claim?
The best possible scenario is for Ethiopian children to stay in their birth families, and for those birth families to love them and to have the resources to provide for at least their basic needs. But that is not reality for millions of Ethiopian children. Reality is going hungry, or feeling sick from diseases that are easily preventable, or wasting life away in an orphanage with no hope for future opportunities. Until more Ethiopian families are able to provide for their kids, adoption is often the best option. Please pray that it remains an option for these beautiful kids- especially for our kids, who are SO close to coming home.*
*We received an email from the US Embassy today to let us know that part 1 (I-600 for those of you in the adoption world) of their work is done and that they are now working on part 2 (I-604). Part 2 is where things can progress really quickly or run into slow downs- obviously we’re hoping things are quick. I’m giving myself to the end of January to travel. If it takes longer than that, the husband is contemplating if he will travel alone or bring someone along.