if you aren't familiar with how this works, i'll give a brief explanation. according to ethiopia, our children are legally ours. an irrevocable adoption decree declares that we are their parents. however, the united states government essentially re-investigates each child's case to ensure that the child is truly an orphan. the US will not issue a visa (and thus approve immigration) for a child who it does not deem an orphan. this can obviously get sticky because the US can deny a visa to a child who is already the legal child of an american citizen. when i explain this to people who know nothing about the adoption process except for what they've heard from us, they immediately ask why the US doesn't review the cases prior to the irrevocable adoption decree being issued. i always reply, "yes, exactly. i've been asking myself the same question for the past several months." it doesn't really take a rocket scientist to figure out that the process as it stands now is inefficient and a little ridiculous.
if the US embassy does not feel it can, with reasonable certainty, declare your child to be an orphan, they forward the case to the US citizenship and immigration office in nairobi. the trend right now is that most cases forwarded to nairobi have been cleared immediately on arrival simply because USCIS has more authority than the embassy to decide the status of a particular case. being forwarded to nairobi does not mean that the child isn't an orphan or came into an adoption situation unethically.
so we will wait just awhile longer. the interview regarding ruthie's case will still take place on wednesday, and her case will most likely be cleared. our agency has been seeing cases cleared in nairobi a week after they arrive there, so we are hoping to hear late next week that ephraim's case is cleared. we can then schedule an embassy appointment.
adoption is a really hard process. i have struggled lately with how long we have been waiting to be done with this. i kind of tricked myself into thinking that because we waited 19 months for a referral, everything after that would be smooth sailing. unfortunately, that hasn't been the case. when you continue to face delay after delay, it's easy to miss all the little miracles along the way. our case manager says it's a miracle when one child comes home from ethiopia (or any country for that matter) because of how arduous the process is and how many hoops it seems you have to jump through.
if you are thinking about adoption, please don't be discouraged. and if you have declared that you'll never adopt because it's just too hard, please reconsider. my perspective is always righted when i remember that my kids have faced the loss of family, community, language, etc. they have gone through difficult transitions and multiple caregivers. they have been alone in the world. and they are just children. so whatever we're going through on this side of things doesn't really compare to what they've endured, and it helps me to remember why this is all worth it.