US State Department announcements have changed our plans quite significantly in the last week twice. The first time is the changed reccomendation for travel safety in Mexico, so Patty will now go to Hawaii. While this is frustrating, it's still Hawaii.
The change that makes our hearts ache though is the US State Department changes for adoptions in Ethiopia. We may have shared with some of you about an additional 2-3 week review at the State Department level after the Ethiopian paperwork was approved. This started February 14th. This will continue to be the case, except a new statement is on the way.
That's why I am up at 5AM and why our hearts ache. This can be described as only an accountant can best describe, numbers:
- In the world, there are approximately 150,000,000 orphans; beautiful and wonderful children, without parents to care for them.
- In Ethiopia, there are approximately 5,000,000 orphans; beautiful and wonderful children, without parents to care for them.
- Each year approximately, 13,000 US Adoptions occur from Ethiopia giving these children loving families.
- That's 25% of all international adoptions in Ethiopia.
- Total international adoptions a year in Ethiopia ~52,000.
- Currently, 50 adoption cases pass through the Ethiopian Ministry on Women's Affairs (MOWA) a day.
- Each adoption takes a minimum of 2 court cases.
- MOWA has decided to change this from 50 to 5 cases a day effective March 10 or March 14th.
- This would effectively make the number of US Adoptions 1,300 a year and international adoptions 5,200 a year
- This also means that 46,800 Ethiopian children a year that would have homes in other countries will continue to wait for families. (That's 129 a day).
- This also means that a group of children who fall into the "more adoptable" age group will grow into an older age group and possibly not be adopted because they are older.
- This also means that other Ethiopian children who do not have places to live will continue to live on the streets or as potential victims.
- It's the domino effect.
The details of what happened have to do with an agency (NOT OUR AGENCY), who was working outside of the rules and regulations. In December, they were closed down in Ethiopia and shortly thereafter, the US stopped granting their petitions. Imagine the number of families who are now left in the lurch, they have met their children and wait for a court date, but what was supposed to take 6 weeks will now take 6 months. Or those working with that agency, which are now left to start over with a grain of salt and shattered dreams. I think these situations would be harder than what we face.
What we originally thought would be right about now bringing our kiddo home, then moved out to be before Christmas, may very well be significantly longer. No one can tell at this point.
150,000,000. 5,000,000. 13,000. 46,800. 25. 52,000. 2. 1,300. 5,200. 1.
Trying to describe what these numbers mean to me is so complicated . First, I see HUGE numbers 5,000,000, a number that seems so incredibly hard to imagine I have come in contact with that many people in my entire life, I probably haven't and I travel a lot. The sum of more than the number of people I have probably ever come in contact with and probably will, are without parents. That's a heavy burden on my heart.
Compared to the first two numbers, the rest of the numbers seem statistically insignificant. But that's the amazing thing about people. If a person smiles at one person who is having a bad day, or is in seemingly hopeless circumstances, it can have a domino effect. In return, they are nice to someone and someone else is nice to someone else. In general, people pay it forward. So one kind act, can lead to a revolution.
I thank MOWA for taking the extra time to review each case in depth, and I will not let my desire for our next family member to cause me to be selfish and impatient and to disrupt the number of children as has happened in Ethiopia over the last 90 days. I will be patient. I will trust that our child who was known and chosen by the Lord before the beginning of time will come home when the time is right.
But how will I explain this to Dane? Our little boy who prays each night for his brother or sister (okay now he's talking about a sister who doesn't like iCarly wonder if we need to change our paperwork to reflect the dislike of iCarly?), doesn't know yet. I haven't quite put this into a way that I can understand it, so explaining it to him is going to be hard. I imagine there will be more tears shed, and likely if you ask us about this, you will see more tears shed too (so don't be surprised).
I can't help but think that during this unexpected wait, we can be focusing on the solution for the 150,000,000, and looking forward to and praying for the 1.
But I also can't help but be sad.
Dane just woke up and walked out and very first thing asked me, "Now what we should do now?" Very poignant little man, very poignant. But while he was talking about what do we do today, I think that bring us to what WE will do in this situation.
As Philippians 4:6 says: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
We are praying for MOWA to be able to review cases more thoroughly and carefully, and for the process to continue to move quickly. Lives are at stake. People are at stake. Children are at stake.
I'm reminded of a song we sang in high school summer camp:
Let's start a revolution
We need a revolution
Let's start a revolution...
Let's start this revolution with prayer.