Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Thank you so much for passing this valuable information on. Many of you may have read this already since it was originally posted several days ago. This is from someone at AAA who has had direct contact with their agency's director, who has been in Ethiopia during this mess. The direct link is here:

I am co-moderator for my adoption agency’s yahoo group online. This is a group of potential and current AP’s using Adoption Avenues Agency and Toukoul orphanage (in ETH.) No one affiliated or employed by AAA or Toukoul is allowed on the board, rather, it’s an informational and emotional resource for parents.

As co-moderator I feel it is my duty to give parents the FACTS regarding any and all situations/questions/queries/fears that come up. Obviously, the recent High Court’s decision to postpone, indefinitely, the adoption hearings for children declared “abandoned” in the city of Addis, has been at the forefront of many parents minds. As such, I have sought out factual information to pass along. Our agency director, Radu, is in ETH this week, and this morning, sent me a PM with more information to send out on the board.

Radu has been investigating the situation and has been informed, directly by the High Court, the following information:

The “questionable” cases involved just ONE POLICEMAN AND ONE SOCIAL WORKER IN THE CITY OF ADDIS. There were 17 cases over the last year (2009) in which they “found” children, and then filled out paperwork indicating they had been abandoned. Those children were then sent to an orphanage (NOT TOUKOUL) and were referred to parents via an agency (NOT AAA.) The name of the orphanage and agency have not been released publicly, but individual agencies have been reassured they are not affected.

Because the High Court has the best interest of all Ethiopian orphans at mind, they have postponed the adoption hearings of ALL children listed as “abandoned” in Addis, pending further investigation. This is to ensure that Addis adoptions, and in fact, all Ethiopian adoptions are completed with the utmost ethical standards.

I KNEW our agency had nothing to do with this, but was so thrilled our director found out information first hand so very quickly, and reported the same.

My heart is aching for the children and families affected. The families who received referrals for the “found” children did no wrong. The children did no wrong. And, of course, the plethora of children and families whose adoption hearings are postponed because of these 17 cases, did nothing wrong. We can only keep these families and children in our hearts, minds, and prayers and be thankful the High Court wants all adoptions to be “above board” and ethical.

In addition, she said:
Per Radu, there was ONE US agency involved, and that agency lost it's license. That agency was required to tell all it's clients immediately; however the name of that agency has not been publically released.

And here is more, about the embassy appointments, found

I talked with our agency director, Radu, several times today. YEAH! I am blown over each time I communicate with this wonderful man, who is fast becoming a friend, in addition to our adoption agency director. He is so kind, loving, and knowledgeable. All he wants to do in life is unite children with families. How great is that??!!!

Anyway, Radu had meetings with Court representatives, US Consulate, and MOWA representatives yesterday. In addition to the court investigating any “questionable” cases of abandoned children in Addis, the representatives are working on ways to standardize Embassy procedures for all children/families. The following changes are being made/implemented:

GOOD NEWS: Families will now know, in advance, their precise Embassy date.

GOOD NEWS: the courts, MOWA, and the US Embassyare crossing every “t” and dotting every “i” twice and three times to ensure the most ethical adoptions possible.

BAD NEWS: this means that court passage to Embassy will take 6 weeks, instead of 3-4 weeks.

The breakdown is as follows AFTER you pass COURT

Week 1: Court documentation to be copied, signed and forwarded to the various offices.

Weeks 2-3: Birth Certificate to be issued (this used to be issued same day as court, now take 14 days)

Weeks 4-5: 3 days for MOWA letter, 2 days for Medical exam/clearance, 3 days for 2nd MOWA letter.

Week 5: US Embassy to receive/review file 1 week PRIOR to Embassy appt.

Week 6: Embassy appointment.

Also, each agency is now being given just 2 days/month for Embassy dates.

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