Another friend we've met during this process received devastating news. Their baby girl died in Ethiopia. It breaks my heart and tears fill my eyes, even writing that. There have been a few precious babies who have met Jesus in the last several months. It's hard to understand, hard to understand how God is working. Jon and I are going through a study together on 1st and 2nd Peter and wow.. those trials? hope? It's all coming together, but not quite in the easiest of ways.
Most days, I have a deep seated peace that fills my heart, knowing that it will happen... our baby will come home, in God's perfect timing. But of course, our humanness gets in the way some days and we want things to move in what we feel is our perfect timing.
This is the general run down of the adoption process:
- Dossier (paperwork) gets sent to Ethiopia & you get on the waiting list; then
- Referral- they call you with the baby that will be yours. You get pictures, medical/family history, etc.; then
- Court- a worker from our agency represents us in court. Hopefully you pass the 1st time. This means you are now the legal parents of your baby; then
- Travel- once you pass court, you travel 4-6 weeks later to bring your baby home.
The director of our agency took a last minute trip to Ethiopia to check things out, make improvements, and see what is going on with court being so slow. (Court is what needs to move in order for all these babies to get home to their families). Even though we were told possibly the beginning of March for a referral (when we find out who our baby is), we are leaning our minds towards April (which seems to be more in line with other families timelines). So anyway, here's the message we received from our director who just returned from her trip to Ethiopia. The colored text has been added by me to explain things).
The trip was very productive. I'll summarize here and give more info later:
Baby Care: Many improvements were already underway and it has been very helpful to have volunteers available to watch and make suggestions. (As of last weekend, there are currently 70 babies at the orphanage). Charts are being kept for each baby with feeding monitored. Diapers are being changed more frequently. We are in the process of hiring two new nurses and will have a nurse on duty around the clock. Twenty two laundry and baby workers have been added since the first of the year and their training is being monitored. We have had advice and suggestions from a number of professionals, both local and adoptive parents and are very grateful for their help.
Toddler Care: I think I mentioned that our toddler population has grown and we realized that they needed more space and more stimulation. We have identified a large compound with a large old house and a huge outdoor area. We are thinking of moving the Opportunity House and the older toddlers to this compound. There is space to separate the children but they can participate in some activities, such as music, together and it would be a nice environment for all of them.
Legal (This is what I will be referring to as "court" once we receive our referral):
I met with Samson yesterday (Samson is AAI's legal representative and works with every case that is heard in court. We signed over power of attorney to him in our dossier). He said that the Ministry of Woman's Affiars (MOWA) is getting clearer as to what they want for each case. (Recently, several families haven't been passing court the first time due to a missing document from MOWA). They held a training about 10 days ago that Samson and two other staff attended. The hope is that there will be more consistency so cases presented will have everything needed to pass court the first time. Samson said that the Network of adoption program managers met with the Ministry of Justice recently and they have promised an additional judge. Samson believes the new judge will be in place within a month which should mean a shorter wait for court dates. (This will hopefully make the wait time from referral to court date about 2 and a half months instead of 4 months).
Guest House: The current Ritmo Guest House has not met the needs of many families, especially those with older children who stayed their with their adopting parents. Gail has identified a new and lovely home with a yard and landscaping, that is actually closer to Layla House than the Ritmo. It has five large bedrooms, a huge living room and is bright and airy. There are several large rooms behind the house where the older babies will be cared for. This should be available for families in March. The old Ritmo will be closed and the new Ritmo will be used for Computer Lab, sponsorship office, and will have two small rooms which can be used for volunteers or overflow families if needed.
These were the major issues that needed attention and I think we are moving in good directions in all of them. We have a wonderful group of volunteers and Ivy and the teachers are doing an outstanding job. We appreciate the support of the adoptive parents as we continue to provide in the best way that we can for the children and the adoptive parents.
I leave for home tonight. I arrive very late Thursday night and don't expect to spend much time in the office on Friday. I am sorry I have been unable to answer email the last couple of days, but I'll get to you as soon as I can.
So that's the current news on our adoption. Sorry if it's very confusing. We are still trying to nail down exactly what happens at each stage. Again, please continue to pray for the babies. That God heals those who are sick, and keeps the healthy from getting sick. Pray that another judge comes and court moves quicker so babies come home quicker! But until then, we wait...