"So you were adopting, right? How's that going?"
"Heard any adoption news lately?"
"What's your number?"
"Are you still waiting?"
"When will she be home?"
"Hasn't it been like a year?"
Yes, we ARE adopting.
We have no idea.
Actually, it's been 1 year, 7 months and 23 days since we submitted our application.
Shortly after we submitted our application, adoptions in Ethiopia slowed by 90%. That translates to 2-4 cases per day being processed through the court system for the entire country. That doesn't include the days that the judge has meetings elsewhere and can't review the cases; nor does it account for the rainy season in Ethiopia, during which the courts shut down from August until October. Meanwhile, our future daughters and sons wait, stuck in orphanages because their case wasn't chosen to be reviewed that day, or a piece of paperwork was missing or signed incorrectly. It's the ugliest form of bureaucracy - enacting laws, policies, and restrictions that hurt, rather than help, the children they're supposed to protect.
And so we wait. We wait for testimonies from family members that our daughter was freely relinquished for adoption without coercion or bribery. Or we wait for confirmation from the police officer who found her abandoned on the street that every effort was made to locate her family. We wait for relatives to travel 2 days by car or bus to Addis Ababa to appear in court and testify for the relinquishment of their child. We wait for papers to be signed, translated, authenticated, notarized, stamped, sealed, and approved by the U.S., Ethiopia, and sometimes (just for fun), Kenya. And that, friends, is why these kids are stuck. For months, for years...the current wait time for new families on our agency's wait list for a healthy baby girl is over 2 years. That's 2 years from being added to the waitlist until referral (matching of the child with a family). That doesn't include the months of paperwork that families completed just to get on the wait list. For perspective, we started the adoption process when Juliana was 8 months old. She is now 25 months old.
The purpose of this post is simple: every child deserves a family. It is a basic human right. No child, regardless of their age, ethnicity, or limitations should be denied a family. A documentary called "Stuck" explores why international adoptions are declining and follows several families who have waited and fought for years to bring their children home. It is excellent, intriguing, and heart-wrenching. If you have a spare hour during your week, please watch it. If you aren't interested in purchasing the movie, please contact me. I will provide the username and password.
http://buy.stuckdocumentary.com/ - to purchase the movie for $12.99 (All proceeds go toward Both Ends Burning, an organization that supports enacting changes in international adoptions to bring children home faster)
http://buy.stuckdocumentary.com/watch/stuck - to watch the movie (contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Facebook for the username and password)
Until the next number,