Monday, May 25, 2009
I took this from some elses blog, but it gives you a little info about our agency and the process
All God’s Children (AGCI); our international agency has it’s own orphanage in Ethiopia called Hannah’s Hope. “Hannah” is the name of the founder’s daughter, adopted from Romania a decade and a half ago. It is directed by a woman named Almaz Asresahin, an Ethiopian who lived and studied in the US for 14 years. The orphanage houses 65 children ages 3 months to 15 years. At Hannah’s Hope, all children are screened for HIV/AIDS, syphilis, and Hepatitis B and C prior to being referred to families. Under Ethiopian intercountry adoption law, HIV/AIDS positive children are not eligible for international adoption. We have to wait because, although there are over 4 million orphans in Ethiopia, Hannah’s Hope has room for only 65 at a time. After making our way through the waiting list we will receive our “referral”. This is the moment families wait and hope for. These days a waiting family will receive a call and then an emailed picture and history (both personal and medical) of a child. The family has a set amount of time (usually 3 days) in which to except or not except this referral. AGCI requires that parents speak to an international physician about the child’s medical history to make sure they realize what they are signing up for or are comfortable with the unknowns. Our international pediatrician gave me his cell phone and wants me to contact him as soon as possible. He too has adopted internationally and is eager to help us accept our referral a.s.a.p. If the family excepts the referral the staff at Hannah’s Hope begins the court proceedings to adopt this child on their behalf. There is a request for a court date and then we wait for the Ethiopian courts to review our case and approve the adoption. Some...to many...don't pass court the first time for a variety of different reasons, almost always out of our control. After the adoption is official, parents usually travel within 6 weeks to pick up their child. The issue that we will encounter is the yearly summer break the Ethiopian federal courts take. They completely shut down in the months of August and September. This creates a huge backlog of cases waiting to be seen. AGCI estimates an average of 3-5 months from the referral date to travel, but clearly this annual shut down adds months to that time frame. Barring a speedy referral and a trouble free court date, it seems we will be effected by this delay. Each country is different- some require parents to come to the country and visit the child before excepting the referral, then leave again for 6 + months before returning to bring the child home. Ethiopia only requires one trip, and only one of the parents is required to travel. All of the legal proceedings are rapped up before the parents travel so it is a relatively efficient system. Our little guy will travel home on a IR-4 Visa and then be re-adopted here in the states. Even though he is officially ours without doing this, the re-adoption will make things much, much more easy in the future for him and for us.