Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Adoptions and Ethiopia

When different people have asked me about our adoption process and the changes going on, I've tried to explain some of the "why" behind all the seemingly "stand still" that we're seeing. Another mom from my agency spelled it out for in a great way.

With her permission, I thought I'd post most of her explanation here. It can help you all know how to pray more specifically for the changes that need to come and just understand it all a little better.

She was addressing, more specifically, why it's taking so much time for any child to become paperwork ready to refer and consequently, referrals are happening so slowly and our agency's home in Ethiopia is only half full (as they only bring in children paperwork ready).

"Actually, MOST of the extra paperwork that is going into each child is related to the embassy stage. I cannot begin to explain the VAST numbers of hours that the HH staff (our agency's staff in Ethiopia) is having to put into investigating ALL the cases that have already been submitted to embassy. And DOUBLE the number of hours related to all the files that are now in Nairobi. I just don't know how it is humanly possible to be spending that much time researching new referrals until these current cases have finally passed.

. . . Right now their resources
(our agency's) are stretched very thin dealing with all these cases.

It used to be that getting a child paper ready for court (
Ethiopia's court) was the headache, but what the DOS is requiring now at the embassy makes that look easy. MOWA (Ethiopia government) is truly not the problem right now. Almaz (head of our agency's home in Ethiopia) won't take in a child unless she can be sure that they will pass embassy, and right now that is extremely challenging because what it takes to pass the embassy level is changing.

There is currently a power struggle going on between the DOS
(Department of State) and the ET government. The DOS is trying to strong arm the ET govt into going Hague. Last year ET flatly said "no" and instituted the change with MOWA as their alternative solution. But even so, the DOS was not appeased and has not changed their position. The DOS is now trying to make things miserable with the ET people (being rude to birth parents, insulting the police officers, etc) to bully the ET government into changing. It is very complicated and difficult to properly convey the tense political dynamic here.

Also, there is a little struggle between the DOS and USCIS. The DOS has flatly refused to let the USCIS have an office at the USE
(United States Embassy) in Addis. Which I really don't understand. Anyway, the DOS uses the US criminal standard of proof- beyond a shadow of a doubt. They have the attitude that ALL orphans are probably NOT orphaned and we have to prove that they are. The USCIS uses the US civil court standard of proof- the preponderance of evidence, meaning, this child is, more likely than not, an orphan. Having these two conflicting standards also is causing problems.

As long as this situation is what it is, the number of referrals will be slow. Because right now Almaz is having to 1)focus on getting these current cases passed and 2)find children who will make it all the way through the embassy mess. Which would explain why she might feel like she just can't take in abandonment cases anymore- so far EVERY abandonment case has gone to Nairobi."

We want, in every way possible, to ensure that adoption happens in an ethical way. Families staying together is always our first prayer and I feel like we need to be doing as much as we can to enable families to stay together as much as we work to support and pursue adoption.
But the heart breaking part of this whole situation is that the most vulnerable are being hurt. The mother who can not let her family know she's had a child for fear of retribution or isolation, the parent who is overwhelmed by sickness or poverty and out of desperation, leaves her or his child at the door of an orphanage praying their child will find a family who can care for him/her and provide in the way he/she desires. I understand it's those same families that are probably also most vulnerable to bribery and corruption . . .but there has to be a better way than what is happening right now.

So keep praying - we're trusting God to continue to be the One who CAN move mountains.


Amy Cherise said...

i am so sorry...i wish i could snap my fingers and make this process move 100 percent faster!! Thankfully God has grander plan than us and will redeem this time for you. We are praying and loving you always. xoxo