So, remember my post from last Friday, that said I had nothing to report on the adoption front? That there was nothing to say, that we’re just waiting along?

I totally jinxed it.

Later that very same day, a news article became the hot topic on all of the Ethiopian adoption forums. The headline, Ethiopia to Cut Foreign Adoptions by Up to 90%, was enough to make most people involved in Ethiopian adoptions shudder and gasp. And I admit, Craig and I were among those with nervous, shocked, “Holy cow [okay, “cow” might not have been the exact word used], what the heck [again, may not be the exact word] is going on here?” reactions. I also admit that several glasses of wine were consumed by yours truly Friday night, as I wondered if our dream of having a family was ever going to come true.

Please click through on that link above and read the article, if you haven’t already. Read it with your own eyes instead of taking second- or third-hand accounts of it, please.

Essentially, the Ethiopian Ministry of Women’s, Children’s and Youth Affairs (MOWA) issued a statement that it would be cutting down on the number of inter-country adoptions it processes each day, limiting the number to five. MOWA provides a very important letter regarding the eligibility of the child for adoption that is necessary for the courts to proceed with an adoption case. Presently, MOWA handles up to 50 of these letters a day.

As far as I know, this is all that MOWA said, that they’re limiting their processing to five a day. However, the article goes on to state that this will effectively cut Ethiopian inter-country adoptions by 90%. As far as I know, MOWA did not say that they’re cutting inter-country adoptions by 90%; the author of the piece said that. There is also a quote from someone at the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, who speculates that this will cause significant decreases in the numbers of adoptions that are processed each year. This is a reasonable assumption, based on the fact that MOWA will be processing fewer cases each day. However, the numbers and the math in the article don’t seem to make total sense.

I didn’t put anything on the blog about this at first for a few reasons. First, I was in a bit of total freak out mode. Second, I didn’t want to cause others to worry unnecessarily. And third, we are having serious problems with our internet service at home, so I haven’t had a real chance to blog. But now I know that others are starting to hear about this, and I thought I had better say something already.

Our agency (WHFC) is cautioning us to not panic, and to stay tuned for more information. Its Director of African Programs is an Ethiopian who lives in Addis Ababa, and its Director of Programs is also in Ethiopia right now. As one of the longest-standing and most reputable agencies working in Ethiopia, WHFC has a seat at the table with MOWA and the courts when these types of changes are being discussed. They are already in discussions with MOWA and others about implementation and such. And I truly appreciate that. Our agency notes that these things take time to figure out, and that it might be a month or two until we really know what is going to happen.

I’ve said before that I’m a realist. I don’t like to sugarcoat things, and I also don’t like to envision the most dire possible outcome when I don’t have real reason to. In reading the article, and from hearing the response from our agency, I’m fairly convinced that a lot of what has been going around is based on speculation. All we know for sure is that MOWA is reducing their processing. We don’t know if this is a permanent thing or a temporary measure, and we don’t know if this is part of an overall intention to slow down adoptions across the board. We don’t know the how or the why.

It is quite possible that this directive has come from MOWA due to the significant concerns about the ethics of Ethiopian adoptions as of late. The fact of the matter is that some Ethiopian adoptions today are NOT ethical. Some families do not understand that their children are going away forever; some families are offered money in exchange for their children. Some adoption agencies are big players in this type of corruption. It absolutely must stop. If MOWA’s intent in slowing down their processing is to focus more on investigating each individual case, then I’m all for it. The scrutiny needs to be there. The bad actors need to be permanently removed. No question about it.

An ethical adoption is of the utmost concern to Craig and me. We are happy and relieved to be working with one of the most highly regarded agencies working in Ethiopia. Our agency does individual investigations on each child, including meeting with surviving birth family members, prior to referring children to adoptive parents. It facilitates and requires meetings between birth and adoptive families. It also helps adoptive families communicate and visit with birth families post-adoption. These types of things are in place to ensure, to the extent possible, ethical adoptions. But many – most, probably – agencies don’t do these things. While we can be reasonably assured that our adoption will be ethical [and that’s as far as I can go with that statement, because I don’t believe there’s ever a way that we’ll be 100% sure], the same cannot be said across the board. And instead of shutting down the entire program over ethical concerns, as has happened recently in other countries, I think additional scrutiny is necessary at this point.

At the end of the day (and at the beginning of the day, and in the middle of the day), the concern here has to be for the welfare of the children. There is no question in my mind that many children in Ethiopia have no hope other than international adoption. I remain hopeful that the Ethiopian government will make changes necessary to ensure ethical adoptions in a way that will not cause unnecessary delay for the children in true need of families and homes. It may well mean that we will have to wait even longer than we thought. And as much as that is sad and disappointing to me, because it delays our family coming together, I know that this is not all about me. It can’t be.

So, yes, we are worried. But we’re calm at this point. We’re riding out this storm, hanging in and holding on.


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22 Responses to jinxed

  1. Kelly says:

    Kelly, you and Craig are awesome. You’re looking at this the right way and as much as I’m sure it is breaking your heart to think this could cause more delay in your own process, the fact that you are thinking about the integrity of the system and the safety and well-being of all the children involved, just speaks to the type of people you are. I admire you so much. I am hoping and praying this all gets resolved. It sounds like your agency is on top of this. Keep us posted. Hugs, my friend.

  2. Aunt Holli says:

    I’m with you, Kelly. Well said. Well meant.


  3. sarah says:

    Kelly, you are so mature and levelheaded about this! I know it must be hard to hear of possible additional delays and difficult not to dwell on your own long road to building a family. But you’ve got the right perspective on this, that the ethical concerns must be addressed. Your agency sounds fantastic, and that’s great to know you’ll be the first to hear of how this will be implemented. I hope more information comes soon. I’ve been thinking about you ever since I heard the news yesterday.

  4. Jenny says:

    man, this stinks. my heart has been hurting for all of those (you) still in the process… praying things are resolved soon.

  5. Emily B. says:

    Kelly – I really hope we get to meet in person someday because you are seriously amazing. I know you are hurting right now but your ability to remain calm and mature through all of this is so impressive. This post is so well written. I remain hopeful that something can be worked so that MOWA is able to give extra scrutiny to each case but without causing significant delays. I have been thinking of you like crazy through all of this and am sending many positive thoughts your way. I will drink some wine on your behalf tonight! šŸ™‚

  6. Liz says:

    I think you’ve got exactly the right attitude…I tried hard to keep the same attitude amidst all the swirling rumors about Ethiopia closing to singles…basicially, you have to just keep moving forward until someone says you absolutely must stop.

    Hang in there!

  7. sue says:

    kelly, you never cease to amaze me. thank you for linking the original article. i’m going to read it now. sending hugs to you and craig.

  8. kwatkinsinfl says:

    Great post. Sounds like you and I had similar reactions – curse words, bottle of wine, then some real soul searching.

  9. Leah says:

    I love your calmness amidst all of the latest news on the Ethiopia adoption front. I also love your attitude that if it’s best for the children. The way you see things is beautiful. You want it to be as ethical as possible, without unecessary delays in finding true orphans forever families. Gosh – this news has been buzzing, and it’s always interesting to me how different the message is agency to agency. It reminds me of the whole 2 trip rule that came about almost a year ago.

    I also wanted to thank you for taking the time to email me back the answer to the question I had regarding timelines. It made complete sense to me, and I really appreciate the time it took you. I really hope that your end is coming to a wait soon. I can’t wait to see who your child will be. šŸ™‚

  10. Elizabeth says:

    I saw the headline and immediately my thoughts turned to the two of you. News like this is always so hard to swallow, and it’s even more difficult to process as well as you have. As a waiting parent, it’s just so tough to deal with further delays in what is already a too-long process. But ultimately, you’re right – the welfare of the children is really what should be everyone’s top priority, and it’s very easy to forget that.
    Once again, you’ve handled a bump in the road with grace and wisdom.

  11. Meg B says:

    Great, great post. I wholeheartedly agree with everything. I am in a better place than I was a few days ago and until I hear from WHFC I will do my best not to get worked up by the speculation and rumors on the Big Boards. We chose the right agency and I take a lot of comfort in that. I really hope that whatever changes occur the less than ethical agencies are more closely monitored and held accountable.

  12. Laurie says:

    Thank you. I was beginning to feel like I was the crazy one. After a weekend of tears, I bucked up and am just riding it out to see what happens. And while I am exploring a back-up option, I feel like this will all work itself out.

  13. Sandra says:

    I immediately thought of you when I read about this on the day you posted your last post. You are one amazing woman to handle this as well as you are. Hats off.

  14. colleen says:

    Kelly, I too thought of you right away when I heard about this. You have such a wonderful attitude about the whole situation and I agree with Elizabeth’s sentiments 100%. You are in my thoughts!

  15. Janet says:

    Kelly, I’m SO very glad you wrote a post about this situation. I heard about it last week and immediately thought of you and others in the process of adopting from Ethiopia. Thank you for explaining the situation, as you know it. Your agency sounds wonderful and I think you are very wise to have stuck with them through all the changes in this program. I agree…there are other agencies not nearly as ethical, which is frightening. Like you said, it is all about the children and is what is best for them. That being said, as an adoptive parent any time there is a change, delay, or hiccup in the process it is scary. Hugs to you and kudos for reacting with such grace. You are amazing!

  16. Oona says:

    It is so difficult to be calm when you are on the road to parenthood, but you are on that road and you will get there. I won’t say how long we were on the road because the point is that road led us to our youngest son.

  17. Angela Hall-Richards says:

    Kelly you ARE awesome. This is tough but your strength in this post is amazing. HUGS!!

  18. Angela Hall-Richards says:

    This is tough but your strength is amazing. HUGS!!

  19. I will continue to pray for your family, Kelly, that the situation in Ethiopia will not have a negative impact on your adoption. Hugs to you!!

  20. Christine says:

    Kelly, you are one of the most amazing people I know. The grace that you and Craig have shown through this entire process is inspiring and beautiful. I’m honored to call you both my friends. Even in my overwhelmed state, I heard this news and had a similar reaction to you both (with the bad words in place) and a tacked on “how does this effect Kelly and Craig?!” I’m so glad you posted about this so that I don’t need to ask. (Not that it’s about me or anything) I’m constantly wondering how it’s going for you… and knowing how much I hated that question myself, I sit and wait.

    Blah blah blah.

    What I’m trying to say is… you amaze me. We left the Vietnam program because of some similar concerns… but we weren’t nearly as graceful about it. The grace and understanding didn’t come until much later. Seeing you both handle this with “grace under pressure” makes me want to be a better person. In short, you rock.

  21. Kelly, thank you for posting this as I, like the others, saw the news and immediately thought of you and of course, about the waiting children. You are taking a wonderful approach but I am sure you mind is swirling right now. Yes, wine does help (for a bit!) Please let us know what the agency tells you and you are in our thoughts. Stay strong girl!

  22. Pingback: Catching up « CHASING SAINTS

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