Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sad News...

As you have (obviously) noticed, we did decide to go private with the blog. We got some disappointing news this weekend and I thought it was just not worth it to open myself up to problems that might jeopardize our adoption.

On Sunday, we received an email from our agency's director. The gist of the email is that anti-adoption sentiment is growing in Ethiopia and the Ethiopian government is taking steps to keep adoptive families out of the public eye while in Ethiopia. Our agency was informed that Ethiopian government has instituted a new rule that adopted children must remain in their orphanage until they are ready to leave Ethiopia. Any agency failing to enforce this rule leaves itself open to closure by the Ethiopian government.

There is speculation that the root of the problem stems from some adoptive families (allegedly from European countries, but quite possibly from the US too) have not been culturally respectful while in Ethiopia with their adopted child(ren). But some Ethiopians (like many Americans and otherwise) aren't supportive of international adoption in general (see this relevant article). The lack of respect from adoptive parents is just another slap in the face.

On one hand, I am grateful and in support of the Ethiopian government for the new rule - the alternative is likely to halt all international adoptions, period. That helps no one and would certainly be devastating to our family.

On the other hand, this was horrible news! We were SO looking forward to spending time in Ethiopia bonding with *S*! When we were there in March with 3 kids six and under, we just didn't get "out" nearly as much as we had hoped. A little shopping, but no museums, no hiking, no big road trips (save one). With an 11 year old, we had hoped she'd have fun poking around some shops, seeing Lucy, heading out of town for a day... Now we are faced with the possibility of only getting to visit *S* at the orphanage until the final day when we can take her to the airport with us. Which means our real "bonding" time would begin on a 30 hour return trip! Yikes!

We've considered escorting as an option (i.e. someone would actually "escort" *S* from Ethiopia to the U.S. and we'd bring her home from that point - likely Washington D.C.). The pros of this option are: (1) financially more manageable and (2) if we can't spend time with her in Ethiopia, does it make sense to leave the other 4 kids at home? However, the con is pretty huge - how are we supposed to explain to *S* that we came all the way to Ethiopia for Hana, but we are only "sending" for her? We know this adjustment is likely to be very hard for her even under the best of circumstances and we want so badly to not start out on the wrong foot. Another con to the escorting option is that it could easily add several months processing time to our adoption - which no one wants. =(

Sorry to just ramble. We were just so disappointed to hear the new directive. I'm so very sad that the actions of a few disrespectful parents has, at worst, jeopardized the future of Ethiopian adoptions when there is still so much need, and at minimum has severely disrupted our initial attachment with our oldest daughter. And I'm fearful that no matter what we choose, *S* may feel (even if she *knows* better) that she is somehow less than her sister due to the fact we can not conduct our adoption in the same manner.

I hope that the next few months may provide some insight as to how this rule will be enforced and what our practical options are.


Denise said...

That new rule is a huge bummer, especially for you guys that are adopting an older child. I'm sorry that it came around at the time you are in the process of adopting "S"...

Wendy said...

How awful! I know that Shelly/David ran into some interesting cultural/political issues when they were going through their adoption as well. But it just doesn't get any easier, does it? Chin up, you guys are going to make the right decision and hopefully will have your family all together soon.

Holly said...

How in the heck did I miss that you were in process again? Congrats! When we were in ET a few weeks ago, Bereket had to stay at the transition house until after our embassy appt... at first I was pretty bummed, but with all the attachment issues we had, it was a blessing in some ways.