Saturday, February 11, 2012


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?


  1. One thought. I am sure you have put more research and thought into this than I have, but I had one friend who's daughter was stuck in ET for months. Their agency tried working through MOWA, the courts, everything. They finally got their own lawyer in ET because the agency was not making headway and in two weeks things moved forward. If no progress is made, I say would want to seek other avenues and get the boys the hell out of that orphanage. That is one thought from a supportive bystander. Hope things change soon dear.

  2. I'm so sorry. This is awful, just awful for everyone. Take care of yourselves.

  3. ((hugs))
    Hope that something moves soon!

  4. Scoop, that is a very good idea. We'll look into it if the MOWCYA meeting doesn't produce results. Can I get in touch with your friend to find out who she used?

  5. This is absolutely mind-boggling. I'm so, so sorry that your process is getting delayed yet again. It is really unbelievable. Hoping for resolution very, very soon.

  6. I am sorry that there is yet another bump is the road to bring your kiddos home.

  7. I am so sorry that your family has to go through this and I hope things get resolved asap for you and your boys.

  8. Thanks for the update, Kyra. It must be maddening. So close and yet (seemingly) so far. I truly hope things move forward quickly for you.

    Out of curiosity, have you heard if WHFC is rethinking working in the region or with the boys' orphanage as a result of your experiences? Maybe your experience will help some other family in the future?

    Good luck!

  9. I have a lot of confidence in the WHFC in-country staff, their established relationships and ethical reputation. These circumstances are so very unfortunate and I'm so sorry for your boys (and you and Tabb). I'm thinking of you. Thank you for keeping us posted during all of this. It's got to be so very hard.

  10. Thanks y'all. I really appreciate your support.

    Myleen, WHFC will likely not work with Burji anymore. Our group will probably be the first and last adoptions done there.

  11. Such a crazy story. This process is truly difficult and confusing in so many ways. Ill be thinking of you guys.

  12. I agree about Wide Horizons. I visited their office in Addis when we were there and their were changes made in the court requirements. They are very diligent and proactive and work in an organized timely way. They will do everything possible.

    I am sorry this is happening. You are right. I did hear some people say the children are better off in orphanages. Even if the orphanages were adequately equipped I would disagree, however the orphanages are under supplied and sometimes closed. Thousands of children live on the streets.

    I hope this is resolved as quickly as possible.


  13. Gah, this is such a mess! (I'm sure you're thinking, "You're telling me!") I just cannot believe you're going through yet another challenge. I'm glad to hear that WHFC is helping, and honestly, as a PAP with them, I'm glad to hear they will probably not be continuing to work in this region. I cannot imagine what you are going through. I am thinking about you, hoping for good news very soon.

  14. Thank you so much for keeping this blog and updating us. I'm a WHFC client, and I've been on the Ethiopia waiting list for quite a while (in fact, I'm getting ready to re-do most of my paperwork soon). I don't have much contact with other waiting parents, so these honest updates keep me informed of the situation. It's tough to wait - and patience I'm sure is wearing thin. I know WHFC is working hard to resolve this and bring your children home as soon as possible.

  15. Kyra, I just sent you a big ol' message on FB. Shoot me an email if you want more info. scoopingitup at gmail dot com or reply on FB