What is even better is we are unofficially #37!! There are three families that have gotten their referral and accepted but haven't completed all their paperwork for it to be reflected in the official number. That's almost half way and as of today, we have been on the waitlist for 5 months, 2 weeks and 4 days...but who's counting?! Can hardly believe it's almost been a year since we started this amazing journey. God has done some amazing things in us and transformed our hearts like I never even imagined... and He's no where near done!
We got an encouraging email from our agency. Looks like things are still a little up in the air but the slow down will probably not be as drastic as stated in the most recent policy. Here is an excerpt:
"As you know, over the past week AGCI has been working in collaboration with Joint Council, other licensed Adoption Service Providers in Ethiopia and the US Department of State to get clarity on the proposed changes instigated by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs that would have drastically reduced the number of adoptions processed by their office.
We have spent the entirety of this week and last connecting with our own Foreign Staff, participating in caucus calls led by Joint Council and the US Department of State, and independently collaborating with other Adoption Service Providers to get clear and accurate information concerning this matter. Your grace and patience has been so appreciated during this time! What we know as facts are:
-MOWA posted a notice indicating as of March 10th they would be reducing the number of adoptions processed through their office to 5 cases a day.
-Within days of this announcement, the director of MOWA and several other staff members from the ministry have been terminated.
Today we want to update you on the feedback we received yesterday from our foreign staff in Ethiopia, which was confirmed in a discussion with our adoption colleagues in a Joint Council caucus call later in the day.
At this time, all Foreign Staff on the ground in Ethiopia are reporting that MOWA has completed their staffing changes and are now currently working at full capacity to complete those adoption cases currently re-scheduled or assigned a court appointment through the courts of Addis Ababa. Our staff believe this to be around 800 cases they are working at full force to complete with no restrictions on the number of cases processed each day. This is great news! We are thrilled to hear these drastic changes do not seem to be going into full effect.
We are also pleased to report that for new cases moving forward; it appears the original changes proposed by MOWA will not be implemented to the degree of 5 cases a day. At this time it is unknown whether or not MOWA will issue a formal statement regarding how they will process cases in the future, but from all discussions it will not be a drastic decrease from before. Through the continued work, meetings, and advocacy of many Foreign Staff members in Ethiopia, it appears any future changes within the case processing for MOWA will avoid sweeping and disproportionate alterations to the number of cases processed each day. Rather, the hope is that MOWA, Joint Council, Adoption Service Providers, the US Department of State and other NGO organizations can come together to support the government of Ethiopia in strengthening the process for ethical adoptions to continue while also improving the general social structures to assist with family preservation in Ethiopia. This plan was acknowledged in the recent posting by the US State Department this morning at http://adoption.state.gov/news/ethiopia.html. We understand the US Department of State cannot issue a formal statement without MOWA issuing a retraction. Based on the information we are receiving, MOWA is concentrating on processing the current adoptions and the new staff is not focused on numbers, but doing their jobs.
AGCI and our trusted colleagues look forward to collaborating to ensure adoptions move forward with the highest level of transparency possible. It is our commitment to carefully, ethically, and mindfully complete the adoption process on every level for orphaned children. Our hope is that as we do this in collaboration with other licensed agencies, we can also help to eliminate future concerns by MOWA and continue to build trust between their office and the adoption community at large."
AGCI has been amazing to work with through all of the changes! They have been wonderful about communicating and being very transparent. The listserv is beyond supportive and a lot of times my therapy as I see God working through the people He has connected me with.
Through all of this, the most common question asked is if we will be changing countries. Right now we feel SO strongly led to Ethiopia that we will not be changing countries no matter how long the wait it (unless they would completely close everything). Mulling over the idea of waiting possibly years has brought to mind the positives of how this will affect our family - we will have no problem saving for our second trip (that's what we are working on right now - isn't that amazing?!), the girls will be able to really remember and possibly be even more affected by being older when brother comes home, both girls will be in school (unless I need to go to homeschooling), we have the possibility of changing our parameters to adopt an older child (through our agency we have to keep birth order and 10 months difference so the older Eden gets, the older he can be) and the idea of an older child has been pressing on my heart more and more lately. We will see where God leads us as we continue to wait and pray for His plan to be clear to us.