I’m an impatient person by nature. I want things done yesterday. Being at the mercy of a governmental organization to bring Jones home has brought out the worst in me. What should have been completed in 6-8 weeks is now hitting the 4 month mark with no end in sight. The only consolation is that I am surrounded by a community of friends and family who care…..care to take the time to ask what’s going on, care to cry with me, care to agree it’s ridiculous that it’s taking this long for our government to investigate his case, and most importantly, care to love him and us as a family.
It’s a complicated process, this adopting. My brother and sister in law are starting the process again to adopt a little boy in Haiti (over the moon excited about my new future nephew, by the way!) and already, I’m confused again with the terms of international adoption as they start their journey…..home study, dossier, referral, court date, embassy date, one trip, two trips, red ship, blue ship. So I can only imagine how confused friends and family get when they try to sort out what’s happening. I figured it was time to leave my pity party for a bit and blog about it for those who have asked good questions and whom I haven’t necessarily had cohesive answers for when they ask.
In a nutshell, we have completed every stage of international adoption short of receiving a visa for Jones from the US Embassy. Without this document, he does not pass go, he does not collect $200….he heads straight back to the orphanage from which he came. He is legally our son, yet until our government gives him the green light, he will stay in Ethiopia. So where’s the hold up, you ask? Because of some fraudulent cases that have weasled their way through the adoption system in Ethiopia, there is more investigation, more scrutiny, and more paper trails than ever before when you adopt a child from this country. This is a good thing overall, and I fully support their quest to make sure everything is on the up and up. My frustration is with the process and how this verification process should happen long before this stage in the game.
Jones’ parents are deceased, as far as what his documents and family claim. He was unable to be cared for by his uncle and so an adoption plan was made for him. That is what we believe to be fact. The US Embassy isn’t so sure this is the “real” story and so they are investigating further, sending an agent to his region to verify these claims. Because his parent’s death certificates were created for the purpose of relinquishing Jones, they don’t hold much weight in the eyes of the US Embassy. His uncle was interviewed by the embassy but his answers raised some concern as to the validity of his story. This investigation has yet to take place, and we have become increasingly frustrated with the embassy’s lack of communication with us. In their words, it is an inefficient use of taxpayer’s money to send an agent to a region this remote until they have multiple cases to investigate. Never mind the billions we have spent in Iraq, the overall inefficiency of governmental spending, and the fact that it is dirt cheap to travel in Ethiopia with US conversion rates, they will not head south until they have more cases. That could happen next week or next year–no guarantees. Oh, and let’s not forget the most important detail–the child who has been living in an orphanage for 3-1/2 years–no need to put a stat order on this, right?! Frustrated yet?
So what happens if they discover his parents are in fact alive? The obvious question is why they would they relinquish their child. As a parent, I know that to make an adoption plan for your child would be the worst agony you could face, no matter what the reason. In Ethiopia, the reasons are usually out of desperation. It won’t make me happy to know that someone lied along the way, even if it was out of fear and desperate circumstances. We will certainly want to know much, much more information about his family and their decisions. What will make me the least happy, however, is the fact that under US law, Jones will not be granted a visa to enter the US. The road stops right there. If both of his parents alive, all bets are off. He remains our legal son…..but only in Ethiopia.
The next logical question is what happens if one of his parents is dead but the other alive? We are still able to adopt him, but the paperwork trail starts over. It is as if he has just been relinquished and the paperwork starts over. Not the end of the world but more months of waiting, not to mention we will not feel comfortable with the situation until we know exactly what really unfolded in his life to cause his family to make an adoption plan for him.
Clearly, it’s a mind boggling mess. Our agency prides themselves on ethical adoptions and it’s why we chose them. They feel confident that everything will be okay and that at the end of the road, Jones will be on a flight home to the US. Until I have a visa in my hand, I will not be convinced. The most tragic part of this entire story, obviously, is that an innocent, young child is caught in the crossfire of beaurocratic bullshit and the overall imbalance of justice in this world. Ultimately, Jones suffers and has the most to lose.
And so the wait continues…..
|Our agency sent this photo to us this week. He has already changed so much since we were in Ethiopia (but still so incredibly cute, no?)|