I've been writing email updates to family and friends every week to get them up to date (clearly why I've been absent here). I have one more to write and then will return to regular blog updates. For my children reading this: I share this with your family and friends and you, so that you are ever so slightly aware of the efforts that are made on your behalf, to protect you, protect your family, protect your first country, and bring you home to me. This is only a beginning of the picture my love, the full picture will show itself when you bring your own children home years from now.
3rd Family & Friends Update
We all know about the shear mass of children needing homes, not only in Ethiopia, but in the US and all over the world. It's a number so large it is impossible to actually comprehend. Lets not confuse the fact that my "wait" has any correlation to "waiting for a child to need a home".
Ethiopia & my placing agency, have very strict policys in place that take time to verify. Call this bureaucracy. Call it red tape. Call it what ever floats your boat. But please understand, most of it is there for all very good reasons.
These policies make sure that the child is truly in need. Make certain the parents or family can truly no longer care for the children. They make sure that the parents and families understand with certainty, that adoption is permanent.
Translation can be a tricky thing.
You may have heard some international horror story about "birth families being tricked", "child trafficking" etc. The steps and policies that Ethiopia & CHSFS require of themselves and of CHSFS families make brave attempts to ensure that everything is on the "up n' up".
As you read last week, there is a "perfect storm" occurring. With many other countries experiencing problems in adoption at the same time the popularity (not the right word... but fitting) of African Adoptions surged... suddenly Ethiopia became overwhelmed with adoptive families.
Remember that Ethiopia, is not a financially rich country. None of my adoption fees go to pay the Ethiopian Gov't (yes, this is unusual in int'l adoption). And yet adoption requires Judges, clerks, court time etc etc etc. Going from processing 300 total in one year to having thousands piling up only a year and a half later... is going to cause delay.
This is usually where the corruption comes into play: when policies are not followed and the corrupt work outside the system, to avoid the wait.
I have such respect for the steps that my agency takes. They go a step beyond what is required by the Ethiopian government. Admittedly completely controversial statement; I will say that I respect the steps the Ethiopian government require. Any individual family going through these steps will tell you how it could be made easier. But as a WHOLE, they've established a process that protects children, families and culture.
At one particularly trying time, I was tempted to switch agencies and leave CHSFS. At the same time, one of their specialists came to visit the area and showed me a video I hadn't seen before.
This short movie spoke directly to my soul. Only about a third of the video focused on the children. Odd, you're thinking, as it is an adoption agency. But this agency is far more than an adoption agency (at least in the states it is).
CHSFS Ethiopia is an NGO, proving much needed services; actively providing education, medical care, job opportunities and economic development. They not only care for children: this group has built a medical center, a women & children's center, a public arena. They train the care center nannies to be primary caregivers to the children while in care. They train nurses and provide medical equipment and employ doctors. They support childrens care centers all over the country, in outlying areas that have sprouted up in villages & homes, simply because of need.
Next week I hope to have commentary from Lee Witting from Union Street Brick Church in Bangor. He and a group of Seminary students have just returned from Ethiopia. They traveled during Timkat, the Holiest time of the year.