So… we have been terrible about updating our blog and keeping everyone informed. We apologize. And since it has been over FOUR months since our last blog post we have A LOT to share. A LOT has happened in the last months and there are A LOT of changes up ahead…
All of our adoption paperwork for Ethiopia (called dossier) was completed and formally approved by the adoption agency in early December. Starting at that point our family was on the adoption agency’s wait list and we were in the “waiting stage”. We had done all that we could do and we were literally just waiting. Our agency had very clear in the early stages of our paperwork that wait times in Ethiopia were averaging 2-3 years or more but they could make no guarantees.
At the end of December and the months that followed, we received some difficult news from our adoption agency. Every e-mail they sent out seemed to be filled with more hard news. “…at the end of December The House of Peoples Representatives and the Ministry of Women, Children and Youth urged sakeholders and the public to undertake integrated work to totally stop adoption of Ethiopian children by foreign families. In a press conference, House Speaker Abadula Gameda and the Minister Zenebu Tadesse told journalist that stakeholders should work closely to end foreign adoption.” Our adoption agency, other families and we were caught off guard. Adoption wait times in Ethiopia had been increasing the last several years, but I don’t think any of us perceived the possibility of a total shut down. So we did the only thing you can do in a situation such as this; pray. And we want to say thank you for everyone who joined us in praying for the orphans in Ethiopia. In February we received an email from our adoption agency that stated international adoption remains open in Ethiopia, although the current climate of adoption in Ethiopia remains unstable. Our agency went on to explain that corruption is rampant throughout the country without control to monitor agency practices, orphanage relationships and funding systems. The corruption within the system has adoptions increasingly rare and challenging to complete in an ethical way. (This has changed forecasted wait times to closer to 4-6 years.) Again we did the only thing you can do in a situation such as this: pray. We continue to pray and urge you to pray for us. Please pray that the Ethiopian government will find new ways to manage their adoption system. It is of the upmost importance that the adoptions are done in an ethical manner. It is difficult to make the large changes need in the adoption system without increasing wait times, but please it will not result in longer wait times for the children. Their best interest need to be the focus of the changes.
In light of all the information, our adoption agency was encouraging each family to consider their options. Again we did the only thing you can do in a situation such as this: pray. Our adoption agency had given all families a deadline of March 31st to have a formal decision made. There were several weeks where we (especially Jessica) were anxious and filled with unrest not knowing what we should do. Again there was much prayer involved and on March 26th we filled a contract with our adoption agency to switch programs and start our adoption from BULGARIA! We are excited and happy, but most importantly we are at peace with our decision. We know that this is what we are supposed to do and feel that we are being obedient in our program switch.
Let’s talk logistics; what does this mean? Because we switched programs before March 31st our agency fees were switched over the Bulgaria program and we are extremely grateful for it! Our adoption paperwork (the dossier) and our home study were are written following Ethiopia’s guidelines and addressed to Ethiopia… Which means we are going to have to redo ALL of our paperwork. On one hand this is frustrating however, third time is a charm? And we are hoping the paper work process will go faster now that we know what to expect. We have six months to complete all of our paper work and then we will send it off to Bulgaria for translation and to be registered with the authorities in county and then we are back to the waiting stage again. We are expecting around a 2 year wait time… Although we know very well that everything could change tomorrow.LONG story short: Please pray for the orphans in Ethiopia. Pray that the government will protect the children while pursuing what is best for them. And we are now adopting from Bulgaria! Pray we will be obedient and patient as we travel down this new road.