- The slowdown in cases processed in Ethiopia is confirmed, but no one knows how long it will last.
- We have been told to expect "significant delays" in the wait between a referral and clearance by the Ethiopian courts. As of now the wait for a referral hasn't changed. No clue what a significant delay will be. Right now the wait between referral and court is 3-7 months. Whatever the increased time is, it means additional time that our child will be living in an orphanage.
- The official reason for the slowdown is still "increased scrutiny," which is good. However, cases from before the slowdown are being expedited to clear the backlog, so it seems the increased scrutiny is still to come. I'm eager to hear what additional procedures will be implemented.
- The U.S. embassy and USCIS are considering implementation of a pre-approval for issuing a visa. This would be good. Right now a case passes the Ethiopian court, the adoptive parents become the legal parents, and THEN the case goes to the U.S. embassy. This creates a lot of pressure on the embassy to approve the case - they know that if they don't, the parents will be stuck in limbo with a child that is legally theirs but cannot come to the United States. With pre-approval, or with cases being processed simultaneously by Ethiopia and the U.S., there would not be that pressure to approve a less-than-valid case.
- Our agency has stopped accepting applications for children under the age of 3. They say the waiting list is already long enough and they don't need more people waiting. This doesn't affect anyone already in the process.
Have a super evening!