Sunday, January 18, 2009

Made it through Home Visit

Well, we made it through the home visit today (barely!). Ryan woke up feeling sick. He wasn't sure if it was something he ate at the restaurant last night or the flu bug the boys had earlier in the week, but he was not feeling too hot. Our social worker canceled last week's session because she was sick....we decided to just keep our appointment and Ryan stayed a comfortable distance away from her. While Ryan was on the verge of getting sick, it was past naptime for the boys so they were just a tad "needy" of our attention. I served lunch and Blake kept spitting out his food....on me. It was lovely. It was a gorgeous day outside and Spencer probably said "I want to go outside" 20 times. That was while he was cleaning the floor with his body (he was so tired he just laid on the ground and scooted himself around the kitchen). Overall, it went fine and all I can say is that it could have been worse!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Adoption statistics

Here is the breakdown of the # of all adoptions from Ethiopia to the U.S. in recent years: 2008: 1,724 2007: 1,254 2006: 731 2005: 442 Profile of children adopted in 2006: 50% female 29% under age 1 34% ages 1-4

Monday, January 5, 2009

How long are the children in the Care Center?

There are drop-off centers throughout the country. Once a child is brought to one of these sites, they are there for 2-3 weeks during which they given medical treatment and testing is conducted. They are then brought to the main Care Center in Addis Abbaba, the capital of Ethiopia. Once they arrive at the Care Center, they are immediately referred to the next family on the list from our agency that fits within the criteria defined upfront (e.g. age of child, medical history, whether willing to take on any special needs, etc.). You have one week to accept the referral of the child and then you are typically looking at a 3-4 month timeframe until you travel to meet your child. This is the typical timeframe for an infant and toddler. Older children are often in the orphanage longer until a family is willing to adopt them. We can feel good in knowing they are given wonderful care during their time at the orphanage. They are also taught english so that when they are adopted, the transition may be easier.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

What is the process to adopt?

Here is a broad overview of the steps involved: 1. Home Study (where we are currently in the process) - will be complete the end of January 2. Dossier (a boatload of legal documents/homestudy report/references) - estimate completion the end of February 2a. CIS process - application submitted to US government for approval/processing (can be done prior to Dossier or simultaneously) 3. Once our agency approves the Dossier, it gets submitted to the Ethiopian Embassy and State Department for authentication - your wait time for referral of child then begins - the current wait time for this agency in Ethiopia is about 1 year (which puts us about February, 2010 if all goes well) 4. Receive child referral 5. Dossier and child information is submitted to Ethiopian court to review - 4+ weeks 6. Travel to Ethiopia to receive daughter - approximately 3 months after court approval (you are in Ethiopia for one week) So if all goes well, we would bring home our daughter in May/June 2010 timeframe. The current referral wait time of one year may change (it may go down), but that is the estimate at this point.

The current state in Ethiopia

There are an estimated 5 million orphans in Ethiopia. Most children are orphaned due to poverty, drought or famine, or their parents may have died from disease. Ethiopia is facing a famine as bad as that of 1984, which killed nearly 1 million people. Unicef estimates approximately 6 million children under the age of 5 are at risk. For more information about the famine or to contribute to the cause, please visit http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/ethiopia.html

Why Ethiopia?

Many have asked how we arrived at Ethiopia. There were two main reasons. First, we narrowed our choice based on the type and level of care given in the orphanage. We had heard wonderful things about the Ethiopia program and the more we looked into it, the more we were inspired by the Care Center in Addis Abbaba run by Children's Home Society and Family Services of Minnesota. I've spoken to numerous families who have adopted from this agency in Ethiopia and the response is the same. When you meet your child, you will know they were loved and nurtured. There are so many wonderful things about this Care Center, including the care-giver to child ratio, the fact that they hold the children when giving a bottle, when they cry, etc. All around, it's a loving and happy environment for the children. The second reason we chose Ethiopia was because of its people. They are a very loving people and children are the center of their culture. This is reflective in the nannies' care of the children at the orphanage. It also is reflected in the fact it is uncommon for parents to abandon their children. Typically, one or both parents have died due to disease or famine, or they are unable to care for their child. They are also a very proud culture. This is due to many reasons, the main one being they are the only country in Africa never to be colonized. We know our daughter will grow up proud of her heritage and the Ethiopian culture will become part of our whole family's culture.

Spencer's reaction

When we told the boys about our plans to adopt we told them there were kids without mommies and daddies and we were going to bring home a child without a mommy and daddy to live with us. Spencer looked concerned and said "No Mommy! I want to bring home all the kids without mommies and daddies to live with us." Obviously the boys are too young to really understand what this will mean to their world. We think they will be at great ages when their little sister comes home.