Thursday, March 23, 2006

A bump in the road

As I was, obsessively ZM would say, reading the big Ethiopian adoption group, I came across several disheartening posts. The gist of the discussion is that most of the adoption agencies, including our first choice, are not currently accepting applications for Ethiopian adoptions of children under the age of six. Merrily Ripley of Adoption Advocates International had this explanation.

"Processing time after referral has increased for our families. More documents are now being required, there is a limit to the number of cases we can submit to the court in a given time, and we are processing more files. The numbes of children referred to us for adoption is up slightly but not nearly as much as the numbers of families applying.

There are many many orphan children in Ethiopia but we are limited not only by what our staff in Ethiopia can process but what the systems there, courts, passport offices, Embassy and so forth can process as well. We don't like to have dossiers backed up in Ethiopia and applicants waiting for referrals for a long time. We believe it is better to have them wait before starting dossiers. We don't anticipate a long wait, possibly three or four months, but we don't know for sure.

Of course this only applies to babies. We will continue to have families who wish to adopt a child over six begin their dossiers and if they are requesting a sibling group with one child over six they may as well."

Also, a new Ethiopian law requires that all children spend 3 months in the care center before they are eligible for international adoption. This gives parents who want to find their children the ability to do so and also allows for the possibility of in-country adoption. So, in addition to the increasing popularity of the Ethiopian program, thank you Angelina Jolie, we have government regulation changes. I completely agree with their reasons and hope that the Ethiopian government continues to monitor and regulate the program with the best interests of the children, not the wealthy adopters, at heart. I also admire agencies that admit when they are overwhelmed and need to take a break and regroup. Yet, I still feel very frustrated and disappointed. This will just add time to an already lengthening wait and it also adds uncertainty; something I don't do well with at all. Of course, not all the agencies are stopping applications, and there are a couple of agencies with brand new Ethiopian programs that won't be overpopulated yet, so we do have other options. *Sigh* More research...

ZM says not to worry, there are a million orphans in Ethiopia who need loving homes and when the time comes, we will be ready and able to provide one. I really need to start working on my patience!


Rhonda said...

Hi Mandy! So glad to see you started a blog. I always love reading others' adoption stories.

I've also considered adopting from Ethiopia. I keep trying to convince Brian that after Russia, maybe we'll decide to adopt again, and I'd like to consider Ethiopia. I can't wait to read about what you find out.

Elle said...

Sorry to hear about a lengthening wait. It seems to be the case for everywhere these days.
I suppose it is best to know up front than get 1/2 way through and someone tell you, "oh you're going to have to wait another 6 months."

Like Rhonda, I look forward to reading about how your journey progresses

Brianna Heldt said...

Hi Mandy,
The waiting is SO hard. Ethiopian adoption has certainly gotten more "popular," which is a good thing, except like Merrily said the "system" has not yet caught up.

Hang in there; you guys will make it!