Thursday, June 20, 2013

Prayers and Good thoughts needed

I have some dear friends also adopting from DRC. They have gotten some hard news and need all the love and support they can get. If you're the praying type will you pray for them? If you're not the praying type will you think good thoughts? Knowing there are people out there pulling for them and their family would mean the world to them!


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Two PERFECT feet

We are not being taken for a ride folks.

Adoption is risky. All types of adoptions are risky; it seems lately that adoption from the DRC (which has always BEEN risky) is like standing on shifting sands of risk….

That does not mean that we are being taken for a ride.  Our agency African Adoption Services (formerly DRC Adoption Services) is run by phenomenal people who are ethical and working as hard as they can to ensure ethical adoptions. They are trying to keep our processing times down as short as they can within the requirements of both the US and DRC, but they have to work in the system.

I cannot discuss details –which I understand is very frustrating (it is frustrating to me too!!!) – because sharing those details could put our case and a multitude of other cases as risk.  So I can’t tell you about the little details that our agency knows that may help us in our process to adopt Z, or about the families in process right now ahead of us who are working through the morass of the changes to the DRC process.

I can tell you that DRC was and still is (at the moment) on of the fastest countries for international adoptions.  Adopting from Ethiopia would be a 2-3 year time frame, China likely longer than that.   We are still looking at 18 months-ish from start to finish. 

Last year our estimate was 6-9 months from referral to home, this year it is 9-12 months from referral to home.  Honestly it is looking like we should anticipate being at the longer end of our estimate and then we can just rejoice if it is any shorter. 

Yes, it SUCKS that Z will be cared for by others in one of the poorest countries of the world for 9-12 months after we said “Yes!” we want to adopt this child!  However we knew going in that things can change in the adoption process. We are not willing to try and push harder than the process right now allows- that is one of the things that leads to corruption and we will not be a part of adoption corruption.

So if you see on the blog that timelines have changed, if you speak to us and hear us complain about extended time frames or new procedures please know we are not being taken for a ride.  No one is cheating us out of a child and our money.  This is a messy process, a long process, and a changing process.

Things can still go wrong with Z’s case, and it would not be our Agency’s fault it would be that the court process or investigation process found that legally Z is not adoptable. Things can change more and it could take more than 12 months to get Z home.  None of that means we did anything wrong, our agency or agency’s in country staff did anything wrong.  It means that adoption is risky.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Waiting......... waiting......... waiting

There is a lot of waiting in adoption, a long lengths of time where there is nothing you can do.  When I was pregnant with Charlie there were periods where I was waiting as well, but with pregnancy at least your daily actions have a bearing on your baby.  When I was pregnant with Charlie I took my vitamins everyday, tried to exercise, stopped drinking coffee and alcohol.  I made everyday little efforts for my child.  In adoption there are points where there is NOTHING you can do.  We are at one of those points.

Right now we are waiting :-(

All the while Z is growing.  Everyday Z grows and grows, across the world our child is growing and developing without us.  We know one amazing lady is caring for Z right now.  We even know her name and have seen one picture of her.  From what other adoptive parents have said she is an amazing woman who cares for the child in her care just like her own.  I am so very grateful Z is with this woman and not languishing in an overcrowded orphanage with too little love and too little food.  It makes me hopefully that Z won’t be too far behind developmentally when Z finally comes home.  Did you know that for every 3 months a child is in institutional care they fall behind 1 month developmentally?  Hopefully the love and attention Z is getting right now will help stave that off even though Z isn’t with us, with family.

So around here we live our lives much the same as we always have.  We get up, go to work, drink my coffee and alcohol, and I don’t remember to take my vitamins more days than not.  It is too early, to fragile to tell C about his sibling, if something went wrong we couldn’t explain it to him so he doesn’t even know.  It is too early and to fragile to start decorating a room or buying clothes.  We can’t even begin to predict what size clothing Z will be in upon arrival! It is to early and to delicate to post pictures, even ones with blurred out faces.

Just about the only think I can do and convince myself is for this paper pregnancy with Z is try to train for this run in October.  Even that has been stifled this week – all three of us have a pretty bad chest cold.

So for now we wait, and wait some more.   Nothing we can do can get Z home sooner.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Book review: “King Leopold’s Ghost” by Adam Hochschild: A good read for a historical perspective on the Congo.

Please note I am NOT a frequent book reviewer and have not written a paper on a book in over 5 years.  The following is only my opinion!

“King Leopold’s Ghost” is a overwhelming and exhausting look at Congolese history.  This is not a light quick read, nor does it address current issues.  I enjoyed Hochschild’s writing style immensely.  He wove the facts presented into a fascinating whole without becoming dry.  The subject matter is what made for heavy reading that sometimes required a few days break just to escape the horror.

Thus far “King Leopold’s Ghost” is best look at the foundation for the current issues in DRC I have read.  While it starts with early accounts of European discovery of the Congo and hits most of the big points I’ve read about in other books it does skim over that part of history pretty quickly.  This book focuses (surprise, surprise) on Leopold, King of the Belgians part in Congolese history.

Hochschild does a good job of looking at Leopold’s life and his fanatical pursuit of a colony. Leopold was a master manipulator and grasping his part in the scramble for Africa and how Leopold’s maneuvering for Congo really pushed Europe into carving the continent up.

The book delves into forced labor, porterage and how the ivory and rubber trades created a slave state.  This is where the reading became difficult for me.   While the atrocities of Leopold’s reign in Congo and immediately after are far in the past reading accounts of torture, death, hopelessness, and cruelty was not easy for me.

The Rubber Terror in particular set the stage for current African socio-economic conditions. The systematic brutalization of the African people to collect wild rubber left millions dead, a dismal birth rate and tribal cultures all but dismantled. 

The timeline is integrated so the accounts from the Congo are in the same chapters as the information about the fight to remove the country from Leopold’s rule.   The details of the human rights movement associated with this time period are interesting.  The story of E. D. Morel in particular is pretty amazing. Morel was a simple clerk that deduced there was slave labor being used in the Congo just from the import/exports through the shipping company he was working for.  Morel was a cornerstone of the movement in Europe for reform in the Congo.

The last sections of the book are the most telling for me.  Hochschild discusses the state of affairs in other rubber producing areas located in central Africa.  While there was a huge human rights movement associated with the atrocities in the Congo the same terror was being inflicted by other countries for the same purposes.   He also mentions atrocities, genocides and other human rights violations in other areas of the world. 

“King Leopold’s Ghost” definitely put a context to the history of the Congo for me.


Monday, June 10, 2013

A lot has happened!!

Well now, I just about fell of the face of the planet!!

Life got a wee bit busy and I became a bad bad blogger.  Well I'm back and I have a lot to share!!

We did get out completed home study early March and sent off our i600a later that week.  We let our Agency know we were ready for a referral!!  and early April we got THE CALL.

Amy called and asked if we wanted to accept a referral for Z.  It took us about 60 seconds of talking to say YES.  Unfortunately we cannot share any information for Z's safety. There are horrible people out there who steal and traffic children, especially if they proven to be adoptable.

I can tell you that Z is GORGEOUS and we are thrilled to be growing by two perfect feet!!

Once we pass court and are legally Z's parents in the eyes of the DRC government we will be able to share some information and maybe even post a picture!

So where does that leave us?  More waiting- that's where!!    While we would LOVE to be through court quickly I am not holding my breath.

After court we file our I600 which is the US process to declare Z a close relative.  After the I600 we have our 604 investigation and then after that we can get Z's visa and travel to pick Z up.

So we still have a loooong way to go.  Our estimated travel time is Jan-April 2014.  The changes in the process since we started has moved the estimated time from referral to travel from 6-9 month to the current estimate of 9-12 months.  We are hoping and praying there are no more changes that extend the time frame further.

In the meantime we are planning on having a awesome summer :-D  We have also started some fundraising and hope to have the Run for Baby Z details ironed out by July 1st.  If you want to come to New England and run with us get in touch and let me know!!