I appreciate all the support we've been getting as we navigate the latest bump in the road. Here are the answers to some common questions.
Where are your boys?
The boys are still in Burji, in the same orphanage where they have been most of this time.
Why are they still there?
As we understand it, local officials have instructed the orphanage not to release them.
Why don't the local officials want the boys to be released?
There is no way that we can know the motives behind this, but it looks like some local officials are against the idea of international adoption in general. There is no specific problem with our case. Some people believe that it is better for children to grow up in an orphanage in their own country instead of with a family in a new country.
Do they have the right to hold the boys?
No, they do not. What they are doing is illegal.
How is the boys' family involved?
The boys' family has confirmed on at least four separate occasions that they want the boys to be adopted. They are not the ones preventing the boys' release.
What about the other families adopting from Burji?
The families we are in contact with are facing the same situation.
What is your agency doing to help you?
The agency requested the assistance of regional Ministry of Women, Children and Youth Affairs (MOWCYA) officials who have more experience with the adoption process. This week the regional officials summoned the local MOWCYA officials to a meeting and told them very clearly that the children must be released. If the local officials continue to hold the children, our agency will contact the federal court that issued the adoption decree. At this point there would be something like a contempt-of-court decree issued.
Why can't the agency social worker just show up with a police escort and take the children?
This does seem like the simplest solution. But as our case manager pointed out, which police? A local police officer in Burji, whose biggest case up until now probably involved a stolen cow, is unlikely to interpret and act on a federal court order. Our agency believes that the most efficient solution for now is to go through MOWCYA.
What are the children being told?
I hope nothing. Our (very limited) understanding of Ethiopian cultural norms is that adults generally don't discuss adult issues with children. I hope the children are just continuing their lives as before.
Why can't the boys stay in Burji until it is time for them to come to the United States?
Bringing the kids to Addis is one more transition for them, and I wish we didn't have to do it. But to get a visa, they must be seen by a U.S. Embassy physician, and the U.S. Embassy is in Addis. Our case cannot be submitted to the Embassy until the boys come to Addis.
When do you expect the boys to come to the U.S.?
The time frame our agency gives is 2-4 months after our case is submitted to the Embassy, so until they are released from Burji we can't estimate when they'll come to the U.S.
Is there anything you and Tabb can do to fix this?
We will rely on our agency to act on our behalf until we hear the result of the meeting between the regional and local MOWCYA officials. If the local officials continue to defy the law, we will contact the U.S. Embassy for help.
How are you holding up?