Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Party for Tegegn

I had never heard of this before, but what an amazing thing to do. My father and step mother live in Florida half of the year, and have made many wonderful friends, who know all about the struggles we have had to bring our son home. When my father and step mother arrived in Florida and told their friends that they had a new grandchild the ladies wanted to celebrate. So what did they do? Well they threw a shower in Tegegn's honour.

They had some drinks, good laughs, opened gifts, and then re-wrapped them so that they could be brought back to Canada for us. Celine had such a wonderful time opening them for her brother.

Throughout this process I have had a good support system from a lot of different people, but I have to say the most amazing support is when it is completely unexpected. Thank you for all the gifts, but most of all thank you for caring about our little man! I can't wait to bring him down south to meet you all.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Final Wait

Our final documents are in, so all of Tegegn’s paperwork is off to Nairobi to wait for his visa. This is the final step before we travel to Ethiopia to bring him home. I thought I would let you know about the steps it took to bring us to this point, and answer some questions that I have gotten throughout this process.

Nov 2007 – Decided to adopt – this is the day that I felt like I was a waiting parent

Dec 2007 – Initial consultation with adoption social worker and decision to go through imagine adoption.

April 2008 – Home study completed and sent to the Ministry of youth and children services

May 2008 – Approval to adopt. First major step down.

June 30, 2008 – Paperwork in Ethiopia (officially waiting parents). At this point we were told that the wait for a referral would be approx 3-4 months.

July 2008 – July 13, 2009 – Waiting, waiting, waiting. During this time, Ethiopia becomes the #1 country to adopt from internationally, timelines for a referral skyrocket to an estimate of 12+ months. (It is now 2+ years for families just starting the process, once you get off the waiting list).

July 9, 2009 – 10 year wedding anniversary. Never did I think I wouldn’t know who my son was by this day.

July 14, 2008 – D-day BANKRUPTCY – my whole world collapsed.

July 14 – September 20, 2009 – Fight, fight, fight to make Imagine adoption viable again and to meet and bring home my son. This was the hardest point in my life. I wouldn’t give up, I couldn’t. I wouldn’t go down without a fight even though a lot of people thought I was crazy. I am so thankful for the people I met in the adoption community going through this. They gave me strength when some people, even some within my family basically told me to give up (some not very nicely). This was also a time when I realized who was really important to me in my life, and who honestly understood me. For those of you reading this that were there for me, whether it be to listen while I cried, distract me even if it was with a car on fire (inside joke), write letters, post petitions on facebook and just support me, you will never understand what that meant to me. To the people, who never asked, who wouldn’t listen, who told me or implied I should give up you will never understand how much that hurt me. This was my child I was fighting for. Wouldn’t you do the same for yours?

September 21, 2009 – Creditors meeting to find out if Bankruptcy trustees will be able to re-structure Imagine. The vote was unanimous (which has never happened in North America before). To hear that creditors decided that their money was not as important as the families being able to adopt their children made me believe in the goodness of mankind again. Imagine can open their doors again while they come up with a plan to re-structure.

October 2009 – The new Imagine Adoption officially opens its doors. Re-structuring plan comes out – More $ must be paid by the majority of the 350+ families by November 30, 2009 to start up the company again. If this happens Imagine will continue operating. Referrals won’t start until approx April 2010, but they will start and families will be able to adopt children.

November 30, 2009 – The numbers are in. Imagine will be a company again. The skies looked beautiful again, l could breath. We were waiting parents again. It would still be a long time before I knew my son, but it didn’t matter, I would one day.

December 16, 2009 – The first referral, 4 months ahead of schedule – The adoption community celebrates like its New Years Eve 1999. This is the true day of VICTORY for us. We did it!!!!!

Jan 14, 2010 – THE PHONE CALL – I never thought it would happen so soon. I was speaking with my step mom that morning telling her that it would still be months before we knew who are son was. This was the day that my world felt right. My dream came true.

Feb 16, 2010 – Our first court date, MOWA (ministry of women’s affairs) didn’t get a letter to court in time so we didn’t pass.

Feb 23, 2010 – 2nd court date. We passed. Tegegn is our son legally.

March 19, 2010 – All documents are sent to Nairobi to obtain Tegegn’s visa.

????? – TRAVEL to pick up our son.

As you can see, it’s been a long, long, long road. We were originally told that it would be approx 14-16 months. Here we are 27 months, and a bankruptcy later and not yet at the end. I have never really posted my feelings about this process or about all the questions I get about what about the $ and time it takes, isn’t it buying babies…..ect. Well here it goes.

Adoption has been something I knew I would do since I was a little girl. I mean it’s not normal for a 12 year old to wake up every Saturday and religiously watch World Vision and talk about my future adopted children right? I am so very lucky that I found a person in my husband that had the same beliefs as me. As for why? Look at my past post named “why adopt” for that answer.

When people ask about the $ it costs. My answer is how much did your car cost. Can you really measure a child’s worth in $. If you can, I don’t know what to say to you. We are definitely on different pages in life. At the end of my life I might not have a beautiful car or a huge house, but I will have beautiful children that I have cherished watching grow up, which is much better in my book. As for the time it takes. Some of the extended timelines I understand. Ethiopia went through a lot in the past few years with their adoption program. Most of the changes (which ultimately slowed down the process) were to make sure that everything is being done legally. That birth parents and children rights were considered and taken care of, so I agree with them whole heartedly. In saying that, it didn’t make the waiting any easier. The processes that they put into place were to stop (or deter) some things that have happened in other countries, such as child trafficking. The changes that I think should happen to speed up international adoption are right here in our own country. We can’t change the politics of Ethiopia, but we can in Canada. Why does it now take over 4 months after a home study is completed to get approval from the ministry of youth and children services is beyond me. Why is the Canadian Embassy in Nairobi the slowest embassy in the world? Probably because it services 19 countries (crazy). Americans wait approximately 1 week for a visa after court. We are lucky that adoptions get expedited through Nairobi, so it only takes 3-4 months. This is in comparison to refugee visas which take up to 42 months (not a typo). These are things that can and should be changed.

As for “buying babies”, people who adopt do NOT buy babies. We pay for services to be able to adopt. There are orphanages costs, social workers costs, lawyers bills, agency costs, salaries for government workers for visas, passports ect. Should they all work for free? If you say yes, then maybe you should start a petition and see how far it gets you. I would sign it!

Although I do believe that adoption is not the answer to solving the problem of the world’s orphans, until we as a global effort change our world, stop wars, stop famine, fight for the poor, make vaccines available to all, it is one way to help some of the 147 million of the world’s orphans have a future.

So now we wait for the phone call to travel. It is a random as the referral phone call. We have an estimated time line and that is all. One day my phone will ring and I will be told that Tegegn’s Visa is in Ethiopia and I can go pick up my son. I am told that it could come as soon as 8 weeks, but I have learned the hard way through this process not to expect any timeline to hold true, so we wait. I can’t believe that this day is coming. It was always something sometime in the distance that would happen and now it is going to. I will keep you posted.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

More adoption bad news

Although this news doesn't affect our adoption, it is horrible none the less. The last week has brought two changes to the Ethiopian adoption process. The first is that MOWA, the organization that has to approve all adoptions in Ethiopia has decided to temporarily not support adoptions of relinquished children from 3 of the 10 provinces in Ethiopia. The reasons for this are not clear and the "temporary" timeline has no clear end. What makes this even worse is that 3 out of the 4 orphanages that Imagine Adoption works with are in these provinces, which means that referrals will drastically slow down (there were only 2 in Feb compared with 14 in January, and none in March so far).

The second change came about yesterday. The Ethiopian Federal Court put up a notice to make a change in the travel of adoptive parents. The change was that all adoptive parents must now make 2 trips to Ethiopia. The first trip would be made on the first court date, and the 2nd to pick up your child. The reasons for this change are to make sure that the adoptive parents are sure that the referred child is the child that they want to make part of their families. I guess some people have actually gone through the entire process of adoption and at the last minute changed their minds in Ethiopia and left their children there(Crazy). As of this morning the notice has been taken down and the courts are negotiating with a representative of the 70 international adoption agencies licensed and working in Ethiopia. The hope is that they will change their minds or postpone the mandate untill later in 2010, so everyone hangs in limbo.

Like I said, these changes do not affect our adoption because we are through court and legally Tegegn is our son, but it sucks none the less. I have made a lot of friends in this process, and my heart is hurting for them. These changes mean more slow downs, more money and most of all more emotional heart ache. When will it stop, will it ever be a stable, firm process?