Andrew and I knew going into international adoption that there would most likely be some unexpected events, time extensions and heartache, we just didn't realize there would be such a huge change this soon into the process.
Yesterday through a conference call with our adoption agency, we learned that the government in Ethiopia is now requiring all adoptive parents to travel twice to Ethiopia instead of once. Apparently, one of AGCI agency workers went to the court and found a notice posted on the door that stated the change in travel requirements and that it was effective immediately. The government has also implemented more strict investigations on children to make certain they are truly an orphan. (this is a good thing).
We believe that part of the Ethiopian government's reasoning for these changes may have to do in part with some negative media in the U.S about unethical adoptions. A few weeks ago, CBS did a special report on Ethiopian adoptions. The reporters picked one situation from one specific agency out of thousands of adoptions and chose to focus on it. In doing so, they portrayed Ethiopian adoptions in a very negative light.
The other reason for the additional trip is because there have been cases where families have traveled to Ethiopia after receiving their child's referral, and then changed their minds about wanting the child once arriving to the country. This is a very sad truth but unfortunately it does happen.
This news about the additional travel was hard for us to swallow at first because of course our minds instantly thought "more travel= more money". However, we believe that God does have a perfect plan! He has been so faithful in the finances thus far and we are confident that He will continue to provide!
So what will this additional trip entail and what is the new time frame? Most likely, we will travel to Ethiopia 2-3 weeks after we receive our child's referral. We will spend 5-7 days getting to know our child and will go to the Ethiopian government to open our adoption case and present ourselves to the court. We will than have to leave Ethiopia while the court makes their decision and finalizes the adoption. AGCI is thinking that this process could take anywhere from 4-8 weeks, at which time we would travel back to Ethiopia and bring home our Child!!!
Overall, we feel that this change can be very positive for children and their adoptive parents. Yes, it will be hard to spend time with our child for a week and then have to leave him for 1-2 months. However, these children are getting great care in Hannah's Home and it will give Andrew and I time to adjust to the very real fact that we will soon be becoming instant parents :-)
Please continue pray for the children of Ethiopia, that these new changes will keep the children safer and that the government, as well as all the individuals involved, will refrain from unethical practices. Thank you!