Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Ethiopia Have I Loved, Part 2

So, what I said about having always known about corruption in Ethiopia wasn't exactly true.We didn't really know until May of  2011, when we were getting ready to send in our Dossier. At that point we would be 3 months from having everything ready to send in and everything came to a screeching halt. Apparently, a lot of children were being referred who didn't have all the background checks in place to make sure there were no other family members who could take them, that they were actually orphans whose parents were not under the guise that they would be going to school in America and come back and take care of them in a few years, that they hadn't been bought or kidnapped, etc. It was found to be happening at such an alarming rate that many orphanages and adoption agencies were forced to completely close their doors. And referrals all but stopped. 
When we started, the expected wait time for a baby girl was 7-11 months. Right now, it is 30-36 months. But like I said previously, there have been only four referrals within our agency since February 2013 and we are unofficially #30. So, my guess is that it will increase again very soon.
So we have been praying like crazy, asking our friends to pray, and researching our other options. We found out today that we are "good candidates" for the China Waiting Child Program, so I will explain that a little bit.

In China, there are thousands of Waiting Children. These are kids with minor, repaired, or repairable medical needs like cleft lip, cleft palate, missing fingers or toes, heart problems, minor hearing loss, strabismus (crossed eyes) limb differences, birthmarks ( so strange that birthmarks are considered a special need there) albinism, club feet, and a whole lot of other things. There are kids with other medical needs too, like cerebral palsy, down syndrome,spina bifida, major heart defects, etc.
These kids have ALL their paperwork ready and waiting to go. They are just waiting for someone to pick them. Contrast that with Ethiopia, where none of the waiting children, or referrals, are paper ready- there are so many redundant steps to make sure they are who they are supposed to be. And China doesn't have the PAIR process, which is adding months to the wait in ET.

So, in China, in the Waiting Child Program, it is possible to get a referral OR to choose a child while you are still getting your dossier together. It blows my mind that this actually happens. It took us a year to get our ET dossier together, and we've been waiting 29 months on top of that. (Apparently a second dossier is much quicker to put together than the first. )
But, we don't know what to do. The easy thing would be to switch over to China, and if we did that right now, we have a good chance of at least getting a referral in 9 months or less. We might even be able to have her home by Christmas.
For the last 3 years+ I have loved Ethiopia. I know probably more than the average person should know about poverty and orphans there. I almost feel like deviating from this plan would be like losing out somehow. I have dreamed of a dark skinned little girl for so long that anyone else seems almost not Zoey.

We want to do the right thing, we just don't know what that is yet. Despite the above attachment to Ethiopia, we are both strangely peaceful about transferring to China. Sorry, its hard to explain. I think for awhile at least, it would be hard for me to mentally switch over, picturing a different kind of Zoey. But if that is where the Lord is leading, then that is where we have to go.
As for the other details- China is a 1-trip country ( which would be GREAT. I've been really dreading 2 trips to ET.) And the cost difference with what will transfer if we were to switch, is only about $1000. Travel fees are a little less, and there is a post adoptive report payment that is more than ET but it is refundable so we will get it all back at the end. The trip to China lasts a few days longer than 1 trip in Ethiopia though.

The meeting that was supposed to take place yesterday to give all the families in our agency The Big Update now won't happen until Thursday, so stay tuned...

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