Monday, June 15, 2009

She's Ours!!!

Court was ratified this morning, and she is now officially ours!!! We travel mid-July. Will post more specific dates when we get our flight schedule. Unfortunately, I just found out we can't post a picture (or other identifying info) until we sign for physical custody at the orphanage, so you'll have to wait until the end of July for those.

It's been 2 years, 8 months, 1 week, and 1 day since we started our adoption journey.

COULD NOT BE HAPPIER RIGHT NOW!!! :) (Yes, I'm shouting that!)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

No baby quite yet. :(

Well, Monday was our court date to make us Baby Sister's legal parents, but due to widespread power outages in Ethiopia, they were unable to get the paperwork they needed from the Ministry of Women's Affairs. Therefore, they were unable to ratify a court decision. Court is postponed for 18 days.

It stinks, but it could be worse. We weren't rejected... it's only 18 days (not a month or more as I thought it could be)... the baby isn't sick...

So, I'll just add a few more things to my To-Do-To-Keep-Myself-Busy List and keep visualizing the judge signing those papers.

Sending positive energy out into the universe...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Thursday night we got an email from our agency with this notice from the DoS. (The original notice can be found at )

Adoption Alert

Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children’s Issues

May 13, 2009

Adoptions of Abandoned Children Halted by Ethiopian Court:
The Ethiopian First Instance Court has temporarily stopped accepting cases involving abandoned children from orphanages in Addis Ababa, citing concern over a recent increase in the number of abandoned children being brought for adoption. The number of abandoned children from orphanages in Addis Ababa has grown dramatically in recent months and Ethiopian authorities have become aware of possible cases of unethical practices associated with some of them.

Currently neither MOWA nor the First Instance Court are accepting any abandonment case from any orphanages in Addis Ababa pending an inquiry.

Please continue to monitor for updated information on Ethiopia.

As you can imagine, this about stopped my heart. Then I read the additional information from our agency and it indicated that this does not affect our adoption because it applies only to children who were abandoned in Addis Ababa and taken directly to an orphanage there. Children abandoned in other areas and taken to orphanages in those outside areas, as our baby was, are not affected.

On Friday I talked to our agency. They have been in contact with their attorney in Addis Ababa many times in the last week, and he indicated that officials are very busy investigating this. It appears to be isolated to the capital, and there is no indication at this time that they will widen the range of the investigation.

As scary as this seems, it reassures us that we made a good decision in choosing to adopt from Ethiopia. I am impressed that the Ethiopian government, of their own accord, took action to investigate a possible problem. Many countries have looked the other way when discrepancies arose, thinking that the children will get a good home anyway, so it's for the greater good to just continue as usual. In reality, that usually ends up in adoptions being closed in those countries. In addition, the attorney has indicated that officials are very busy with the investigation, so they aren't wasting time or being casual about it. They are truly concerned with making sure the children of Ethiopia are safe.

That rational response is easy for me to have now that I know this does not affect us. Before I was sure of that, my fears far overshadowed my rational mind.

My heart goes out to those families and children who are caught up in this.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Gonder and Lalibela and Hanoi

We had to send in our reservation and fee for the orphanage guest house, and include our travel plans with it, so we finally decided where we want to travel within Ethiopia when we make the trip. We feel it is important to see more of the country than just the capitol city, and figure it may be a long, long time before we get another chance to go, so we should make the most of this trip. We are going to visit the historical cities of Gonder and Lalibela.

Gonder (also spelled Gondar) is a former capitol of Ethiopia. It is known as The Camelot of Africa because of the castles built by the emperors and kings who ruled here. Check out this video about the history of Gondar:

Lalibela is known for its amazing churches which were carved out of bedrock.

On another note, we received two more pictures of the baby. She looks happy and healthy. No medical update yet, but there are rolling blackouts happening in ET which make it hard to get administrative work done and emails out. The children's care is not affected, but office machines and computers are down quite a bit. Hopefully we'll get that info soon.

It's been awhile since we've had any news on this front, but we recently received an update from our agency. In late March the Joint Council on International Children's Services (JCICS) held their annual conference and hosted a delegation of 8 officials from Vietnam. The officials met with JCICS members, U.S. Department of State, and adoptive parents and their Vietnamese children in a series of 29 meetings in Indianapolis and Washington D.C. They said they had received over 9,000 letters from U.S. adoptive families, and were impressed. They expressed support for beginning dialogue on not only Hague convention compliance, which they expect to achieve by 2011, but also for an interim agreement to get adoptions to the U.S. started again. Our agency is hopeful that the interim agreement could be in place in the next 9 months. I am skeptical, especially since that will put us at 2010, and I can see the U.S. saying, let's just wait for Hague compliance in 2011. But either way we are advised to keep our USCIS approval in affect and up-to-date. So who knows what may be in store for VN in the next year?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

June 1st

We got our court date! It's June 1st, and if all goes well, that will be the day we are officially Baby Sister's family! We should get our travel dates within a few days of the court hearing -- travel usually happens 4-6 weeks after court.

Now if it would just stop raining so I can get her room painted before she comes...

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Good News and Bad News

I always like to get the bad news first, so here it is: turns out our wait to travel is longer than we thought. I talked to the program director at our agency today, and it seems like maybe we got an old set of papers or something, because the wait between referral acceptance and our day in court is more like 3 months. On average, people are traveling 4 months after referral acceptance to bring their children home. That means we would travel in July, not May. I don't know how I'm going to wait that long! (I mean, I know I'll do it; I have no choice. But MAN is it going to be hard!)

On to the good news: we got 2 updated pictures of the baby today! She's even smiling in one of them -- you know that open mouthed smile that babies do? :) I so wish I could share them with you. She's so adorable!

Well, I'm off to stare at my daughter some more.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I've been searching the internet for Amharic language courses, Ethiopian radio stations, videos, travelogues, etc. (Man, I love the World Wide Web!) Thought I'd share this music video I dig. The song is Dire Dawa by Adib Kadir. According to the info with the YouTube video, this is sung in the Harar language.