Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Why the low number of referrals right now

The wait time for a referral of a single infant from our agency is still estimated at 12-18 months. That said, May has been disappointingly slow when it comes to the number of referrals. Those at the top of the list have been waiting approximately 14 months. Our agency provided this explanation for the long wait. It doesn't make the wait any easier, but it is especially encouraging to hear about the increase in assistance to keep families together.

Referrals have been a little slower this month. Ethiopia is a popular country to adopt from. With many country programs closing, on hold or with extended wait times, many families have migrated to the Ethiopia program. We had a large amount of families submit dossiers in July-October, so this has impacted the wait. Last summer we expected to receive referrals but got only a handful of them. So that held up the waiting list a bit.

The processing of the children’s paperwork prior to referral is taking longer. Also, there has been an increased number of agencies working in Ethiopia in comparison to a couple years ago when we were one of the few. There are newer agencies working in the southern region of Ethiopia as well, which is where our orphanages are located.

A couple years ago, there was a huge gap in international child welfare assistance. Now, there are more ongoing programs to help families stay in tact. To read about CHSFS humanitarian aid, please visit here: Families in process cannot financially support our programs, but I thought you would be interested to know what different programs we have.

We did sign a working agreement with another orphanage. However, currently they are undergoing a change in authority from MOLSA to MOWA. So this is causing delays in adoptions from that orphanage. I’m hoping once this change in authority happens, things will pick up and we’ll receive more referrals.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

CHSFS Ethiopia - Helping Families

Our adoption agency, Children's Home Society and Family Services (CHSFS), is based in Minnesota and facilitates both domestic and international adoptions. One of the many reasons we chose this agency is because of the incredible support its Ethiopian program provides to the Ethiopian people. The Program is much bigger than just matching orphaned children to families. They are committed to helping the Ethiopian people and only look at adoption as a last resort. I don't believe there is an "adoption" agency that begins to compare to what CHSFS is doing in Ethiopia. For example, they are involved with a number of humanitarian activities such as opening schools, opening a mother and child health center, and helping poor families start their own business. Here is some more information showing what CHSFS Ethiopia is all about. Children's Home Society and Family Services (CHSFS) Ethiopia is a US-based, non- governmental organization (NGO) dedicated to empowering individuals, families and communities in their efforts to create favorable conditions for children. In Ethiopia, there are nearly 4.5 million orphans that need help. CHSFS-Ethiopia believes that adoption in general and inter-country adoption in particular, is the last resort. We believe that it is only when children cannot be able to survive and grow well if they stay with their birth parents or relatives that they should be adopted. Our vision is to see an Ethiopia where poverty is alleviated and socio-economic well being of its citizens ensured. Our services: Adoption, Child Care, Family development program, Primary Health Care Training Center, Primary School in Ottoro, Primary school in Addis Ababa, and Maternal & Child Health (MCH) center Future plans: Pediatrics Emergency Clinic (in Addis Ababa & Hosanna), High Risk Birth Mother's Place (in Hosanna), Primary School (in Mudula and Hosanna), and provision of family planning service (in Hadiya and Kambata Tembaro Zones), building complex. Our Staff: CHSFS Ethiopia launched its work with only nine employees. It currently has created job opportunities to over 300 Ethiopians. The different sections of the organization are run by professionals. Currently, the organization has over 100 professional staff.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Allegations of Corruption in Addis

There's been concerning developments that have caused the Ethiopian government to temporarily stop hearing cases of children who were abandoned in orphanages in Addis Ababa. The allegations are that children were stolen from their homes in Addis and a local police officer forged the necessary paperwork for them to be considered orphaned. These are children that had been matched with their families and there is now a big question mark of corruption hovering over them. The government is investigating. Our agency, CHSFS, is not impacted because the children CHSFS families are matched with come from orphanages in Hosanna and Nazret. In addition, the majority of children that come through these orphanages are relinquished by a sole-surviving parent who is unable to care for their child. I feel badly for those families who had been matched with their child only to find out that child may have been kidnapped from his/her birth family. I am so glad the Ethiopian government is being diligent to prevent corruption from having a place in Ethiopian adoptions. Hearing about this, as well as some questionable practices by some agencies in Ethiopia, has really been eye-opening to me. I did not know the extent of the dark side of adoption before beginning this process. It is horrible to think a child was stolen from a family, or that a birth parent was lied into thinking their child was just going to go get an education or live somewhere temporarily and then come home. Call me naive. I am just thankful we are with an agency where I don't have a question-mark as to their ethical practices. It is well-established and highly ethical. I know this not only because of what they stand for, but from listening to many other families who have used them. Some have used them and other agencies as well so you have a comparative. In addition, there are forums that rate the various agencies. CHSFS is consistently at the top. The only complaint I've ever heard is the wait times being slightly longer than smaller, less established agencies. I'm okay with this since I have confidence that our child's birth mother or father made a clear and independent decision to give their child a chance at a better life. Or, that our child was abandoned as a result of no living parents. I will sleep better at night knowing that.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Waiting for a Baby Sister

How do you explain to a 4 year-old how long he has to wait for his baby sister? Spencer keeps asking when we can go get his baby sister from Africa. When I say it's going to be a long wait, what does that mean? So I try explain it by going through the seasons and he says "You mean like 30 minutes?" He sure is excited. He keeps asking questions with her in that the bassinet my baby sister will sleep in? Are those shoes for my baby sister? He wants to go meet her "tonight." Since he just had his 4th Birthday, I think it helped to put it in terms of his next Birthday. So he would need to wait another year until his 5th Birthday party and then soon after that we would be matched with his baby sister. It's incredibly long for parents, let alone kids. I still don't think Blake really gets it other than his brother often bringing up his baby sister. As anxious as we all are, I am glad he gets more time to be the baby of the family.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Obama "Scolds" Ethiopian Dictator Zenawi

The Ethopian Review - April 3, 2009 U.S. President Barack Obama scolded Ethiopia's dictator Meles Zenawi during a brief one-to-one encounter at the G20 meeting in London on April 2. Obama reportedly told Meles that the human rights condition in Ethiopia is deplorable and unacceptable. Following a meeting with Obama, Meles Zenawi, who was invited to represent New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) at the G20 meeting, abruptly canceled a press conference he was about to give. "His people gave no reasons for this. But insiders in the press center said Zenawi was worried about the kind of questions that were going to be put to him concerning human rights violations within Ethiopia and his dealing with his opponents and Ethiopia’s neighbors," Henry Gombya of BSN reported.