an update

I talked with our agency (WHFC) this morning, and thought I’d share what I learned. Consider this an update as to where things stand with our adoption process.

Referrals from our agency have only trickled out recently. It’s been painful to watch our weekly updates and see little to no referral activity. It’s one thing to be anxiously awaiting your own referral, but to know that almost nobody is getting referrals is pretty darn discouraging. However,ย I know that some agencies haven’t had ANY referrals go out in months, so I suppose it’s good to see any referrals at all.

The slowdown is due to a couple of reasons. First, up until the past several months, about 80% of children adopted from Ethiopia came from just one part of the country – the Sidama region. Adoptions from that region have essentially come to a standstill, due to some changes at the local government level. And, when 80% of something becomes pretty much 0%? Well, that causes some problems. Add to this the government’s closure of over a dozen orphanages (our agency didn’t work with any of the closed orphanages) in recent months due to a variety of concerns, and you end up with a systematic slowdown in terms of referrals.

The in-country program director from our agency has been working on establishing relationships and connections with orphanages in other parts of Ethiopia. We have seen a handful of children referred from Afar and Burji, for example. Apparently it takes a long time to build relationships and then set up a system from scratch.

Another factor is the increased level of scrutiny both at the Ethiopian courts and at the U.S. Embassy. This scrutiny is good, because it helps to ensure that children being adopted are really and truly available for adoption and that there has not been any unethical or corrupt activity. Our agency is doing more legwork and investigation at the front-end of the process, before it matches children with adoptive families. It is great that this is done upfront, but it just means that it takes longer to get to the referral stage.

We know we are essentially at the top of the list and that we will receive one of the next referrals for a child in in our age range (0-18 months). However, when there aren’t many referrals coming, that just leaves us in a place of limbo. I was at least somewhat glad to hear our caseworker acknowledge that to reach the top of the list and experience a simultaneous slowdown in referrals is probably “torturous.” Yeah, I’d say that’s the right word.

So, we continue to wait. We continue on in any-day-now mode and know that the phone could ring tomorrow or it could be a few more months. I am trying to wrap my head around the very likely possibility that we will not have a referral by Christmas or by the end of the year. I was absolutely positive that we would at least know who he or she is by now – that we would have a face and a name and the knowledge of a son or daughter halfway around the world.ย It is at times overwhelmingly sad to be in the midst of yet another holiday season without at least knowing who our child is. So, please forgive me as I skip some blog posts and don’t comment on every cute photo posted on FB. As selfish as it sounds, there’s only so much I can take right now of other people’s kids meeting Santa, decorating Christmas trees, baking cookies, and doing other cute things. The holidays are a tough time to be childless if it’s not by choice.

*****

Also, on another note, our agency received our completed dossier do-over yesterday. At least that paperwork is behind us.

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28 Responses to an update

  1. Sue says:

    “The holidays are a tough time to be childless if itโ€™s not by choice.” Oh Kelly–that sentence says it all to me. I am so effin sorry.

  2. Kelly – I so understand about the lack of wanting to read all the blogs, etc. No worries. I know this must be so tough for you both but I think that the communication you have with your agency is absolutely wonderful and such a positive sign. Hang in there sister!

  3. Jennifer says:

    I agree the communication with the agency seems positive. To know you are going to get one of the next referrals in that age range is great.

    I didn’t realize that about Sidama, but it did seem like a lot of children came from that region. I think the only thing worse to me would be waiting after a referral like some in Burji. I cannot imagine anticipating a court date and having it pulled out from under you. ugh.

  4. sarah says:

    Thanks for the update. I think of you often and have been waiting along with you. And I totally get the blog/fb thing. I sometimes think parents of young kids must be an annoying bunch to anyone who isn’t a parent of young kids, what with all the pictures and endless updates – not that I won’t be hanging on every word when it happens for you ๐Ÿ™‚ …I hope something changes for you soon.

  5. Kyra says:

    I completely understand. It makes me feel selfish, but I’m finding it hard to celebrate other people’s good news as it deserves to be celebrated when we have no news.

  6. Jenny says:

    SKIP AWAY! holidays are the hardest time to be childless for sure. i fully remember. you are so close now and i know it feels so far. hoping your referral is right around the corner. praying for a Christmas miracle! i will be jumping up and down screaming when i read about your referral! i cannot wait! come on, BABY!

  7. Janet says:

    Torturous for sure! I’m so sorry for yet another slow-down. The holidays are the hardest time to be childless when it is most definitely not by choice. I recall not even wanting to go visit family one year for sure…and others when I just sucked it up and faked it. Nice. (And…I apologize as I just posted another “Santa” photo on FB this morning…great timing for that and then to read this.) I really hope there is some good news for you right around the corner. You certainly deserve it.

    Your agency does sound great…doing so much to open the doors elsewhere…I cannot even imagine how much work that is and can see why it takes so long.

  8. Brandi says:

    This is NOT the news I wanted to hear. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I keep hoping that every day you will get that call. Maybe we still need to have that 3rd person to have the dream so it will come true! ((HUGS)) Love ya!!

  9. Kelly,
    We’re keeping our fingers crossed for good news for you guys, and soon! Your adoption community is here for you…
    A&L

  10. erin says:

    All the waiting has to be so frustrating!! I am hoping that you get The Call very, very soon. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I can’t wait.

  11. christine says:

    Oh Kelly. I just don’t even know what to say. I really thought you would have a holiday present we could all celebrate. I’m just so sorry. I hate that this is taking so long, especially this part of the wait. (Torturous is a nicer word than what came to my mind) You and Craig are on my mind and in my heart, and I’ve become obsessed with tracking your FB posts, wondering if a day where you are “radio silent” could be *the* day. Hang in there. Be good to yourselves. And know that I am here if you need me.

  12. Holli says:

    This breaks my heart into a thousand pieces. And I can so relate to your last line about not wanting to smile about every photo of other people’s kids meeting Santa, baking cookies, etc. I’m right there with you. This blows!

  13. Kelly, my heart aches when I read this. For you. I’m so sorry. And I loathe that the holidays complicate your feelings, that is awful. I will hold you in my thoughts, you know that.

  14. My heart hurts reading this. I’m so sorry. So, so sorry.

  15. Kelly says:

    Torturous is an understatement, I’d say. Oh Kelly, I’m the same as Christine. I also read into any time you’re not active on FB. I keep hoping it’s the day. Your wait gives new meaning to the word patient. I know you probably don’t feel patient, but I’m in awe of you and Craig as you just keep on “keepin’ on”. I know, what else can you do, right? But still. Living your lives takes incredible strength sometimes. Just getting out of bed. When you’re waiting and waiting and waiting.

    Kelly, I so understand your feelings about seeing all this holiday-with-kids stuff on FB and blogs. I remember that being painful, too, and my wait wasn’t half as bad as yours. But I remember. It hurt. And it’s not just Christmas, it’s the pumpkin patch too. You’ve endured so many of those blog posts and photos and been so damn supportive of the rest of us. I hope you know how much we hope and pray (and hurt) for you guys, too. Don’t give up hope, OK? But if you need to go into a temporary hole of depression, everyone will CERTAINLY understand.

    In the meantime, all I can say is there’s only 18 days until a new year begins. One that WILL be a good one for you guys. Come on 2012!

  16. Liz says:

    Take all the time away that you need. At one point when I was waiting, I turned down invitations to baby showers and had to step outside for some air at family events like weddings because I just couldn’t deal with all the normal happy families.

    I hope you find a way to have a joyous holiday season no matter what happens on the adoption front.

  17. Sandra says:

    I don’t even know what to say. I am so sorry. This stinks.

  18. Theresa says:

    I know what you mean about the holidays. I think the whole Halloween to Christmas time of year is the most difficult to go through without the child you so desperately want. I’m trying to force myself to decorate and be festive, but my heart isn’t in it. I too thought that by now I would at least have seen a picture of my child. As a friend of mine says “such is life” even if it isn’t the life I ever envisioned myself having.
    Thanks for sharing the information about the reduction in referrals from the SIdama region. It makes sense now why all agencies are experiencing a virtual standstill. I have a call scheduled for tomorrow with my caseworker and I will ask her some more questions about this.
    Praying that you receive a referral soon. You have more than done your time waiting.

  19. kristine says:

    I think of you and Craig often. Isn’t that funny, never having met. I’m so very sorry. We waited 5 years for Belaye. it was different because we had Quinn. Do what you need to for yourself but please never ever feel alone, we are all here for you.

  20. dana says:

    Oh Kelly, I totally understand the frustrations, the sadness and the emotional toll it takes to wait for a referral. To put it bluntly, it sucks. It is very hard to wait and to have no idea on when that call will come in. To feel like your life is put on hold just waiting for your referral. To look at each passing holiday and counting the months that you’ve waited. Ugh…it’s no fun at all. I totally believe your call will come in when you are least expecting it though. The most exciting thing is that you are at the top of the list which means you guys are next!! That is something to celebrate even if you feel like it won’t be this year. I so hope it’s soon though, if it’s not a Christmas present then maybe the most wonderful gift for the new year!! I’m so glad you explained some things about Ethiopia. I haven’t had any friends or family members go through this program before so it’s always nice to learn about how other countries work. It’s nice to have your social worker acknowledge that this process of waiting is not easy in the least!! Even if it only helps a smidge. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Hang in there, it’s coming…you guys are so very close!!

  21. Michele says:

    Hi–we’re another family with WHFC (waiting 18.5 months, so behind you a ways on the list). I am so sorry about your situation–being “next” and seeing those weekly updates and NOT hearing the phone ring must be just plain awful.

    Thank you for sharing the information, it does at least help me to think logically about the slowdown (emotionally I hate it)

  22. Karlie says:

    Kelly – I am so sorry you have to go through another holiday not knowing who your child is. I feel your pain and all I can say is it sucks. It really does. So have a glass of vino (or 2 or 3) and try to forget about life for awhile. I am thinking of you.

  23. Emily B. says:

    Kelly, you are far from selfish! Do what you need to do. This time of year is so hard. I am glad to see so much support posted here. You are in my thoughts.

  24. colleen says:

    oh kelly, my heart just hurts for you. you are in my thoughts.

  25. Krista says:

    Oh Kelly – I can’t imagine. Thinking of you and Craig.

  26. mkwewer says:

    I’m so sorry that the news wasn’t better. I hope every day that you will post that you’ve been notified. I am so guilty of posting a ton of pics of Z and I haven’t forgotten how badly that hurts when you are waiting and hoping. It’s not selfish not to want to see those images…I’m sending you love and lots of hope…

  27. kwatkinsinfl says:

    So sorry you’re going through all this. I think that being at the top of the list is even worse than being farther down. We waited at the top of the list for seven months, so I totally speak from experience when I say that it SUCKS. Hang in there. It WILL happen. You won’t forget the tortuous times, but you will have something celebrate. I’m looking forward to seeing your Santa photos next Christmas!

  28. sue says:

    thinking of you my friend and desperately hoping that you hear good news soon. you are never far from my mind. . .

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