While we didn't get our November numbers until the end of last month - I just never got around to taking a picture and posting it. For our November numbers, we knew from the little movement that had happened that we wouldn't see much movement that month. I'll try to describe a little how the "list" works.
The list you'll see us post numbers for is slightly inflated at this point. For ahead of us are all the people who completed their paperwork before us. Say, for instance, a family is open to bringing home a child between the ages of 0 - 5 of either gender. So they will be put on the list for both boys and girls. If they receive the referral of a 3 yr old boy, they come off of both the boy and girl list and we would move a spot forward on each list. So while we're at the back of the list, we often move places forward for children that wouldn't be referred to us.
For instance, we currently are only approved for a child between 0 and 12 months. So once we're at the top of the list (say, #3), most likely, the people in front of us are waiting for the same parameter of child we are and our number wouldn't change with the referral of a 3 yr old boy (as it would be someone with larger parameters behind us). I'm not sure if that makes sense at all . . .but hopefully it helps a little to make sense of it all.
So right now, there are "bubbles" in the list in front of us as families are on multiple lists (like us!). As referrals go out, those "bubbles" begin to disappear and movement usually will happen slower.
However, over the past couple of months, referrals have slowed down for a number of reasons.
The first is the most obvious: that Ethiopia has slowed down dramatically the number of cases they are processing a day. But there's been other factors.
Court shuts down in Ethiopia for an entire month each fall. So during that month, cases can not continue to be processed. We usually anticipate a couple slower months as the court reopens and starts to catch up on cases that have been on pause.
In addition, there were several cases within our agency that went through several months of upheaval and our agency, appropriately so, invested much of their time to making sure those 6 children who were already referred were able to move forward and be united with their families. Praise God, the last of those families are in Ethiopia right now bringing their children home for Christmas.
All of these details impact our agency's ability to prepare the necessary paperwork for new referrals (which involves a lot of due diligence and time on their part). Again, all appropriately so!
But there are other instances that affect our numbers as well.
There obviously are families ahead of us on each list with their own set of parameters. While in the waiting stage, families can choose to modify their parameters.
So say a couple previously was only on boys list, and after much prayer, decide they no longer want to specify gender and want to be open to bringing home a girl as well. When this change has been made to their home study, they will be added to the girls list according to the date they first completed their dossier. If this was before we completed our dossier, it will bump us back a spot. This is happening every month and usually there are enough referrals that we still only know forward progress.
The last reason we might move back a spot happens very rarely: if a family loses a referral for any reason. Again, this is a rare occurrence and always heart breaking when it does happen. However, there was a family from our agency that experienced this last month.
So to try and make a VERY long story shorter? All those factors occurring in one month made for a disappointing month for many. Our girl number didn't change at all and our boy number actually moved back a spot.
However, I loved how our case worker encouraged us in her email last month with these words:
"It is my hope that even when these numbers do not change as you might hope, you are able to see that you are still progressing, moving one day closer to your child. "
There's a lot of truth to her words.
The numbers really don't change how fast our child is joining our family. They're a helpful way of knowing where we are in our journey and anticipating (but not predicting) how much longer we have to wait.
It sure is fun when we know big steps forward as I'd be lying if I didn't say that the reality of our waiting and how long we still have has really been hitting home lately.
But the step backwards doesn't change God's plan for our family.
The step backwards doesn't change the fact that it is He that has brought us here and who will continue to bring our child to us at just the right time.
So without further ado . . .here were our November numbers (with hopes that I'll be posting our December numbers VERY soon):