Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A US agency announced today that the courts will be closed from August 21st to October 6th. There are now 4 US agencies who have heard a date of August 21/22nd for the closing, and this is the first (that I know of) to give an exact date for reopening.

*Note: I've heard of a new court date given recently for October 6th, which seems to confirm the information above that the court is indeed closing.
edited to add: Another case with a US agency has a court date of October 7th.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

In case it's of interest to anyone, a couple abandonment cases did not pass court today due to no MOWA letter. (On a happier note, at least 5 cases did pass!)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Edited: Several abandonment cases with no prior MOWA letters (from at least 2 different agencies) have passed court today... congratulations to these families!

Friday, July 24, 2009

At least 2 US agencies with court dates for Thurs and Fri (23rd and 24th) told their clients that court was canceled these days due to no MOWA letters, and their court dates have been postponed. One agency said it was because MOWA decided to open today, July 24th, instead of yesterday as planned.
If anyone has any information on whether or not MOWA is reopen (numerous agencies believed it would be by now), please post it here. I'll be out today an unable to update the blog.

Monday, July 20, 2009

A US agency that previously said the courts had cancelled their annual closure is reporting that they have decided to close on Aug. 21st, and will reopen sometime the first week of October. They decided to delay their closure because of MOWA's current closing. I've updated my summary below.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Since there really isn't much news lately and the majority of agencies have their new court dates or are expecting some soon, here is another summary:

Courts staying open:
-all summer: 1 US agency
-open, but not saying for how long: 2 US agencies, 1 European agency
-at least through second week of August: 1 US agency
-1 week later: 1 European agency
-till August 21st/22nd: 2 US agencies
-through August: 1 US agency
-court will close beginning of Aug: 1 US agency

MOWA will reopen:
-22nd of July- 1 US agency, 1 European agency
-24th of July: 1 US agency
-28th July: 1 US agency

(I certainly may have missed some, but this is the minimum)

*Note: The latest court date I've been told about is for 8/19. This seems to be a decent indication that the court will be open at least till then!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Today, a US agency confirmed that the courts would remain open at least through the end of August.

Another large US agency reports that since MOWA will be closed until the 23rd, the Federal court has decided to remain open for an additional 2 weeks, until the 21st of August. The courts will be closed from August 22 to sometime around September 25th. According to this agency, MOWA reports that they will be available to review files beginning on July 23rd, and will have letters for the court ready starting on the 24th.

This agency also confirms that the investigation into abandonment cases is over and that the ban is lifted.

*4 US agencies and 1 European saying the courts won't close (it's unknown if they meant they won't close at all, or won't close at the usual time), 1 European agency saying they will close a week late, 1 US agency saying they will be open at least through most of August, and 1 US agency saying courts will close on August 22nd.
A European agency confirmed to their clients:

1. The court will not close during the rainy season
2. MOWA will re-open on July 22nd

*I will add this to my summary post; that makes 2 US agencies and 1 European saying the courts will definitely be remaining open.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The agency that announced today that the courts will remain open says that this decision was announced on Friday, and that the process of referrals and court dates will continue on as normal from August through October. They said that all agencies are rescheduling court dates for after MOWA reopens. There is some contradiction as to when they’ll reopen, but they were scheduled to be out for 2 weeks, so this agency thinks they will reopen sometime mid-to-late next week.
A US agency has given more information concerning the reorganization of MOWA. From what they understand, abandoned children who are reported to the police will then have their cases sent to MOWA for oversight. The children will now be initially placed into the government-run orphanages before being sent to the various private orphanages. It’s not known how their distribution to the private orphanages will be determined or how long a child will have to remain in the government orphanages before being moved.

This agency is almost certain this reorganization will not affect those who had court dates during the ban or for those who were referred before the ban. They are not sure whether children already in the private orphanages but not referred will be affected by the reorganization or not.

Go here to see where this has been discussed before.
The US agency that had court dates scheduled for next Monday has had them re-scheduled for after MOWA reopens. (This is the agency that was told the judge would ask MOWA to have staff available to write the letters.) They believe they received some of the first rescheduled appointments for abandonment cases since they were one of the first to petition the court to hear their cases.

This agency also reported that on Friday an official announcement was made that the courts will stay open through the rainy season.

*That makes 2 US agencies who have announced that there will definitely be no closure.

Friday, July 10, 2009

This is an email from someone hoping to find someone in a similar situation:

Our case is unique and wondering if anyone else is in the same position.

-Referral in early March for RELINQUISHED infant.
-Court date may 14 didn't pass
-Court date June 2 & 8 didn't pass
-Judge requested a paper Wk error be fixed on BM paperwk. It is now corrected BUTTT, our daughters case has been lumped into the abandonment cases now??!

No new court date :( and scared we won't make it thru before court closure

Anyone else with a relinquished child that had failed court dates caught in the delay?
Several abandonment cases with new court dates scheduled for early next week have been rescheduled till the end of the July due to MOWA being closed.

Please note that there are now at least 6 agencies with new court dates scheduled and at least 8 more that have indicated they expect to get new dates soon.
Today some clients from a European agency received new court dates for the end of July. (Their dates are for after MOWA reopens.)

edited: Other clients of the same agency received court dates of August 9th.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

An agency update:

[US Agency] has learned that there is an unexpected closure of the Ethiopian Ministry of Women's Affairs (MOWA) until July 28th. As you are probably aware, MOWA is involved in preparing letters for the court hearings. We are not yet sure what impact the Ministry closure will have on court cases that have been scheduled during this time. It is possible that they may be postponed and rescheduled before the court closure.
A US agency received court dates for all the families that were in this abandonment delay. The court date that was given was for the week after next. The families originally had a court date on May 8th. They agency reported to the families that they do not have MOWA letters, but the judge requested to the MOWA to complete the letters prior to the court date given the families. The agency stated the judge feels that this can take place for the MOWA to get the letters written prior to the court date.
An email:

My European agency informed me that the MOWA will close for two weeks because of trainings. This closure does not affect cases having already the MOWA approval. New court dates for old cases will proceed in 1,5 weeks.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A US agency has heard that all 'new' abandonment cases from here on out will be sent to one orphanage, and it is unknown if they will be available for adoption. If they aren't available for adoption, this could potentially be bad news for those who received referrals during the ban.

(If you have any more information about this, please contact me!)
An email:

One family passed today. They had an original court date of May 4 (the first day of the ban, I believe). Five other families were issued court dates for this Friday (of course, we don't know whether a MOWA approval letter will be in place by then). The other six families from our agency (including us) still haven't heard any concrete news, except that our files are at the courts now.

Our agency also reports the MOWA "closing for training purposes."

Our agency also said the courts will continue processing cases through the second week of August, at least. They have not heard anything about court remaining open.
An email:

"Two families from our agency passed today. Both were abandonment cases, with all the paperwork done and the MOWA approval from before the ban."
A US agency (with no cases affected by the hold) reports that the court will be closing in 3 weeks. They did not hear how long they will close for.
(**Updated with more agencies)

With so much information coming in, I thought I’d summarize:

Saying the Investigation is over:
-7 US agencies
-9 European agencies from 4 different countries

Saying the ban is lifted:
-7 US agencies
-6 European agencies from 4 different countries

Told by the court to expect new court dates soon:
-2 US agencies
-4 European agencies from 2 different countries

Already received their new court dates:
-8 US agencies
-2 European agencies

Passed court:
-4 cases from 2 US agencies

Didn't pass court
-2 cases from US agencies (no MOWA letter)

I may have missed some, but these are the minimum that I know of.

Reporting MOWA is closed:
-At least 10 US agencies
-At least 2 European agencies

Reporting the courts are staying open:
-4 US agencies
-1 European agency
*saying open for 1 week later: 1 European agency
**saying open till end of August: 2 US agencies
Another US agency reports that the court told them they will receive their new court dates tomorrow. Unfortunately, it is unknown how the MOWA closure will affect this. MOWA writes a summary to the court that is not presented until the day the case is heard in court. Because of the abandonment hold no MOWA letters were submitted for existing cases. The agency is unsure how this will be handled now that MOWA is closed.
An email:

People from my agency have gotten their new court dates already. It's disappointing because they know they won't pass due to MOWA being closed, but everyone hopes when they are assigned another date it will be before the summer closure.
Another US agency confirms that MOWA is closed (that's 3 US and one European).

Edited to add: A 4th US agency confirms that MOWA is closed and they state they expect them to reopen at the beginning of August.
A European agency that was expecting news today says that it's still not clear whether we will be given new court dates (this agency's rep believes we will) or whether we will be passed without court as some are rumoring.

They also confirmed that the Department of Adoptions within MOWA has no staff available for passports, birth certificates, etc. until July 23rd. If they choose to pass our cases directly, that can probably still be done between today and 23. If they assign new court dates it would be after the 23rd.
A US agency (who has not yet been mentioned as one told to come to court with their cases today) reports that the court has completed their investigation and has stated that they will now hear pending cases. Families who had court dates and weren't heard will be receiving new ones very soon. Families who were waiting for 1st court dates will also now be able to receive them, and they will resume the referral of abandoned children. A time frame is unknown.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

One US agency (wishes to remain anonymous) submitted their cases to the court Tuesday July 7th, and was told that all their cases were accepted and to expect new court dates in the near future. This agency thought it could even be possible that they would begin to hear cases by the end of this week.

*Note: Obviously this is not one of the 2 agencies that reported the MOWA closing.
Two US agencies announced today that MOWA will be closing for training, effective tomorrow and lasting until July 24th. One agency reminded their clients that MOWA handles both pre- and post-court paperwork; the closing not only affects abandonment cases waiting for new court dates, but it affects all cases waiting for court dates, cases scheduled for that time, as well as people who have already passed court and are waiting for travel clearance.
An email:

FYI. A friend from a different agency had their (first) court date today. It's an abandoned in Addis case. They didn't pass due to a paperwork issue, but as far as they know their case WAS heard.
An email:

I have just come home to find a message on my answering machine from my [European] agency: they (in turn) got a phone call from their chairman, who seems to be in addis abbaba right now, that the ban is finally lifted. the in-country rep was asked to come to court tomorrow (wednesday) to hand in our papers (and those of the other applicants) in order to apply for a new court date. the agency reckons that it might take some time until we get news about our new court date but the application process is going to start tomorrow.

*Note: This is now 4 European agencies (from 3 different countries) and 4 US agencies who were told to come on Wednesday with their paperwork.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The US agency that had the in-country rep at court late this afternoon/evening has stated that the rep was told to return to court this Wednesday. The agency has not received details on what was discussed in court but will let the families know as soon as they hear anything.
One of the US agencies originally reporting to hear news on July 2nd is reporting that after some internet problems, they finally got through to their rep who told them that the investigation is indeed over and that the court should have their decision by this Thursday.

Also, today another European agency announced that the investigation is over and the ban is lifted.
An email:

My agency, who is very careful about passing along information, has just informed me that the court asked agencies to come on Wednesday to the court with their files. They are not sure what will happen on that day but this is HUGE progress.
A US agency told families waiting to hear news today that their in-country rep has been at court all day and is still at court even though it is late afternoon/early evening in Ethiopia The agency will let the families know as soon as they hear anything.

Friday, July 3, 2009

An email:

My agency from [European country] just called me at 14:45pm and he said that the process is OVER, and between Monday and Wednesday they give new courts dates.

He told me that he spoke with two more agencies here in [European country] and they said the same.

The lawyer that is working for our agency ( for more than 7 years) thinks that it is possible that the court date is in before summer time.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

An email:

This was posted on the EthopiaAdopt yahoo group this am, by one PAP:

"Our agency, which generally only discusses facts, not rumors, said that abandonment cases could start petitioning for a new court date today (July 2), but there were hundreds of cases. They said it might be a little while before they heard on when the dates will be. Also, there are families in our agency with abandoned children that will have court early next week."

*Note: If this is the agency I think it is, the families mentioned with court dates are new cases, not ones who already had court during the ban.
From one of the two agencies who were told there would be news on July 2nd:

Hello –

I know you are anxiously waiting to hear something today about the decision. I have been dialing our in-country rep every 15 minutes since 7AM this morning. I get messages like:

All circuits are busy
The Network is not working
The user’s phone is busy
The user is out of the area

I will keep trying and hopefully have something for you by the end of the day.

Thanks for your patience.
An email:

My director just told me that they are expecting some kind of news or announcement tomorrow concerning this. I feel like we're just being strung along, and I know all our hopes have been dashed again and again, but I thought I'd pass it along anyway. My agency thinks we will hear something tomorrow.