The 12 Month Wait…

19 Feb

In March it will be 1 year since Josh and I started the adoption process.  When we started, the timeline for a Ug*ndan adoption was 12-18 months.  We knew this was subject to change because international adoption is so unpredictable.  Sure enough, a LOT has changed since March.  Actually, most of the changes have happened in the last 6 months.  Our case worker and the international adoption diretor from our agency took a trip to Ug*nda in mid-January.  They were able to meet with US Embassy officials, the Ug*ndan court registar and other court officials, visit the orphanages the agency is currently working with, as well as other orphanages they hope to partner with in the near future.  It was a very sucessful trip and they will be taking more trips in the near future.  When they returned, our case worker shared this update in an email to all the families in their Ug*nda program:

The Ug*ndan courts are wrestling with the idea of legal guardianship as a way to adopt a child. We met with the registrar for the courts and had many face to face meetings with officials within the country concerning this issue. Though the judges concerns are based on a small number of questionable cases, the path to resolving these conflicts is not easy nor is it a quick process.

The good news is that legal guardianships are still taking place in Ug*nda and in fact have increased over the past year. This is due to an increase demand of families seeking to adopt from Ug*nda, which is significantly higher as a result of adoption struggles in many other African countries.
Some abuses have taken place within the adoption community that have intensified the judges concerns and concerns within our own U.S. Embassy which have resulted in increased timelines of adoptions. We are currently changing the estimated referral waiting time from 6 months to 12 months to allow for the additional time it will take to meet these new regulations we are seeing within the country. Please keep in mind that these time frames are subject to change, but this estimate is based on most recent and projected patterns.

The Ug*ndan court system and government is not super pro-international adoption in the first place. They see it as an absolute last resort (which I agree with), only to be allowed after efforts to reunite the child with birth parents, birth relatives, and a Ug*ndan adoptive family have all failed. That is why it is so hard to adopt a baby under 2 yrs old from Ug*nda. The orphan investigation and all the effort they put into finding that child a family in Ug*nda takes a lot of time. When we started the process in March, it was much easier to adopt a young baby, and even possible to adopt two unrelated children at the same time. Now it is nearly impossible to adopt two unrelated children at once unless one has severe special needs and has been waiting for a family for a long time. From everything I’ve seen other families experience and say (those adopting independently and those working with various agencies), it is getting harder and harder to adopt a young baby from Ug*nda. So when our case worker emailed and said the wait time was extended to 12 months, I was disappointed but not surprised.

We’re doing fine with the extended wait time, I guess. We have been on the waiting list for about two months. It is looking more and more like we will only be able to adopt one child because of the way the Ug*ndan government and court system is getting more strict about international adoption, but we are still praying that God allows us to adopt two children right now if that is His will. Waiting is so hard, but I know God is in control and I really trust our agency and believe they are being sensitive to the adoption climate in Ug*nda right now and are trying to make wise choices that will ensure successful and ethical adoptions. Sometimes that means waiting longer.

The hardest part of the extended wait time is the decision I have to make about work. I’m a Kindergarten teacher, so each year I have to commit to teaching an additional full school year. We started the adoption process in March (2011), thinking it would take about 18 months because at the time, that was the timeline for a Ug*nda adoption from start to finish. Our plan was that I would finish out the 2010-2011 school year and still teach an additional school year before bringing our baby home. (Once we bring the baby home I won’t be working anymore.) Now that the wait time is extended, I don’t know what to do about teaching next year. My boss is really understanding, but I don’t want to sign a contract knowing there is a very good chance I won’t be able to finish out the school year. It’s not the end of the world to have to replace a teacher mid-year, but at the same time it’s not ideal either. But, i don’t want to be out of work, either, cause we are trying to save as much money as possible right now for the adoption and other expenses related to starting a family (*cough* mini-van *cough).

This whole adoption process has been a potent lesson in God’s sovereignty for me. Every time I get comfortable and think “alright, things are going great, I got this down!” there is some kind of change that is completely out of my control. I love being in control but oddly enough, it has been a great comfort to know that I cannot control this adoption process and God has every single step planned out.

Sorry for the long post, folks!  There’s your update :o)

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One Response to “The 12 Month Wait…”

  1. Wende February 29, 2012 at 11:22 am #

    oh anna and josh..will keep praying for you and your little ones. i am sure the Lord has mighty plans in all of this..but when we don’t see the why behind the waiting..its soooo hard. may the Lord bless your waiting season with rich times together and my prayer is that you will see his fingerprints in each step of this journey. these truly are the labor pains of having a child and your commitment to your children is a beautiful thing to behold. blessings and more blessings upon you as you wait. so excitedi to see the precious ones that God brings into your home. hugs

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