I’m pretty surprised to see that our last post was dated 8/8. Besides getting on the “official” waitlist in October, there had been minimal info to share, until now. While we still wait for a child to be referred to us, we believe we are VERY close to the news. Our agency cannot give us a distinct indication as to our place in the queue, as there are various factors that change that position frequently. Instead, we rely on the statistic info in our weekly email updates from our adoption team as an indicator of how close we are, given the similarities between the referrals and our request for the child’s age and gender. Usually, the referral list is short, with maybe one or two new referrals, if any. On April 1st, this was the list we received:
3 month old boy to a family that waited 19 months (family recently switched from requesting siblings to one child)*
3.5 month old boy to a family that waited 11 months
4 month old boy to a family that waited 10 months
3.5 month old boy-family waited 8 months
4 month old boy –family waited 8 months
3 month old girl-family waited 7 months
3 month old girl-family waited 7 months
3 month old girl-family waited 6 months
5.5 month old girl- family waited 6 months
4.5 month old girl- family waited 5.5 months!
*(this is a good example of why position on the wait list can change)
Because we hit the wait list in mid-October, we’d been waiting 5 ½ months at the time of the update. Given the last 3 referrals in the list, it feels like we’re close. And, we’d be ecstatic, if it weren’t for this kicker….
The Ministry of Women, Children and Youth Affairs (MOWCYA) plays a crucial role in finalizing adoption by processing and reviewing all the necessary paperwork to make it a done deal. Last month, due to time and resource constraints, they ruled to reduce their processing averages from 25 cases a day down to 5. Their intent is to give each case the due diligence it deserves, and to protect the integrity of the adoption process while providing better safeguards for potential adoptive parents (PAPs) and children. USCIS (U.S. Central Immigration Services) continues to support the Ethiopian adoption program (thankfully!) and while they believe it boasts many positives, they also think there are areas where the program can vastly improve. The delay in case processing is in attempt to make such improvements. It all sounds great… but us PAPs have one huge question: How long do we have to wait now??
No one knows. Potentially, we could get our referral tomorrow, and subsequently wait months and months (a year?) to be able to travel for our court date (versus the average 3 months). All the while, our baby girl is growing up without us as we wait for our case to be processed. Weird. I anticipated returning to the states with Zinnia’s baby sister, not her toddler sister. Of course, this may not be the case at all – it’s just too soon to tell. It’s not the waiting that’s getting me, it’s the ambiguity. I’ve actually surprised myself at how little I’ve freaked out about any of this. I partially attribute it to the surreality of it all. I know it’s eventually going to happen, but it’s so hard to imagine.
Our agency is super positive and gives me a lot of confidence that everything will work out. They’ve been up front from day one that international adoption requires ultimate patience and the ability to accept the unexpected. Though, I can’t help but feel like, had we just gotten on that list a month earlier, we may have skirted this issue all together. Then I think back to the beginning of this journey, when one trip to Ethiopia was all that was required. The implementation of the two trip process happened right in the middle of our paperwork preparation. At that point, the thought of traveling across the world not once but twice was, understatedly, a lot to digest. Yet we were mentally invested in Acacia; we really didn’t skip so much as a beat.
This new speed bump is similar in the sense that, despite a massive change in process, we don’t see turning back as an option. Patrick and I barely even discussed it on that level – it’s almost like an unspoken understanding that for better or worse, we will see this through. We will ride out the path to Acacia, no matter how long, rocky, or indirect it may be.
As an aside – I have found it near impossible to keep up my etsy site with a very inquisitive, very precocious little 2 year old at my heels. And, as a working mom, I don’t see her enough as it is. I’m still selling direct, so contact me if you’re looking to update your floral accessory collection this spring. :)