Dear friends and family,
It has been awhile since we last posted. Terefe remains in Ethiopia, and we continue to Skype with him every Saturday morning for the allotted 5 minutes. He is so full of smiles, and he is getting so big! Terefe is pulling himself up in his crib and cruising around. We continue to receive updated pictures of him and are happy to share these pictures with friends/family privately.
Our final fundraiser was November 9 and was very successful. We had a dinner, silent auction, children's activities, and a band. Our church, Belmont Mennonite, and our friends and family put in a lot of work to help us pull this altogether. Also, thank you to the band, Matt & Jason. We appreciate everyone's support and prayers. This fundraiser brought us close enough to our goal. :-)
But we are STUCK...
As many of you have noticed on Facebook, we have been talking a lot about CHIFF. This is our main focus right now, as this act, The Children in Families First Act of 2013, can bring great reform to international adoption and get many children, including our Terefe, into permanent, loving families.
This is what CHIFF is about:
http://childreninfamiliesfirst.org/support-chiff-get-involved/ where you will be able to search for your state representatives and senators contact information. A sample phone script can be found there, and we encourage everyone to call.
Chris was able to share our story with President Jimmy Carter. He wrote a letter and shared pictures of Terefe, and this was delivered and handed to him personally by a mutual friend. The letter shared our concerns with the possibility of Ethiopia shutting down, UNICEF's influence over the government and our hope to bring our son home soon. This was President Carter's response:
We Pray that Ethiopia remains open...
As Ethiopia considers closing its doors to international adoption, our hearts go out to the orphans and families who have been hoping to bring them home.
Where the Problem stems from...
We understand why the numerous background checks, references, and paperwork must be completed. It is time consuming, but it is to protect the child and make sure they're being placed in a safe environment. We also understand that once a family is matched with a child, extensive research is done on the child. Whether the parents died, they could not afford to care for their child, or whatever the case may be. We appreciate this. We would never want to take someone's child from them and we understand why all of these processes are in place.
However, it is getting to the point where the amount of red tape that the US Embassy is placing on adoption agencies is making it more and more difficult, if not impossible is some situations, for children needing loving families to be placed with them. In Ethiopia it costs money to get a birth certificate. Often children are placed for adoption because of the poverty -- Not every parent can afford to purchase a birth certificate for their child.
Similarly, all countries are being encouraged to go "Hague." Hague is even more stringent and more "impossible." Ethiopia is not yet under Hague, but is moving that way. Hague makes it especially difficult to adopt from a third world country -- adoption agencies cannot simply "create" the birth certificate or birth record. If one does not exist, a loving family cannot adopt the child...period. In the case of Haiti, many birth records were destroyed in the hurricane. Parents' permission is required to adopt their child. What does this mean for orphans?
We have learned that an organization known for helping children, believe it or not has been encouraging governments for years that it is better for children to remain in their own country rather than to be adopted abroad. Ethiopia, being such a poor country, cannot take care of its orphans, yet this well-known organization is known to bribe orphanages with large sums of money. In return, the orphanage does not complete or turn over the needed paperwork for the adoption to be completed. We all wonder why this occurs (especially from an organization that is known to care so much for children), but it has been observed far too often.
But CHIFF can change this.
Please, friends, Support CHIFF. Share this blog. Let's get it going Viral. The kids need us.
Stay tuned for our upcoming "Stuck" party where we will show the documentary and discuss CHIFF.