Sunday, December 14, 2014

Trent Update: A "Retroactive" MOWYCA ruling for old cases

So here is that blog post that I have been avoiding writing this week.. because then I'd have to.. ya know.. talk about it.

I received an update within a few days of my blog post back before Thanksgiving and more since then. A few days after Thanksgiving, MOWYCA did finally have our "comments" letter. Our agency had been going to the office bugging for our comments every day. The issue? We received a "negative" comment. This about sent me through the roof until I understood what they meant by "negative". A better description would really be "incomplete file with new regulations we just implemented and made retroactive to old cases".

So what does that mean?
The "regulation" MOWYCA rolled out which effects all children that were considered internationally adoptable before April 2014 (Trent hit that clearance in April 2013 before we even traveled for Sammy) is an additional letter to the Regional MOWYCA clearance from the village of his birth stating that there is no domestic way to parent this child in Ethiopia. This new regulation is now effecting a lot of people, especially those of us that are matched with children from "waiting child" lists that have been waiting for families to step up for awhile. I am not in this boat alone.

The day after our agency got that news, Trent's current orphanage, Miskaye in Addis Ababa where he has been in "holding" since becoming internationally adoptable in 2013 created the needed letter and this letter as well as a social worker flew to Benishangul Gumuz Region, on the border of Sudan, to his birth village of Assosa to file this request with the region of his birth to obtain the new piece of "file" that will satisfy the new regulation.

Of course, that week was a national holiday and the office never opened. Turns out the office wasn't open last week either. No one knows when it WILL open for us to file our request. Good times huh? Our agency is hopeful the office will be open again this week and we pray that his birth region will produce this for us so we can move forward. Once we produce what Federal MOWYCA wants (isn't it fun that federal MOWYCA and state level MOWYCA are the ones trying to appease each other?) we should then have "positive" comments on his adoption file and be able to have the interview that should have occurred back on 10/22. When that is done, we will be in business to fly.

So yeah.. quite the string of bummer news.. but these are the things that happen in international adoption. It's not done until you are on the plane home.. and we veterans know that is really just the beginning of "intense rehab" for a little person that has been through too much.

THIS IS HOW YOU CAN HELP ME: Do not be negative at me about this process!!! Complaining about the Ethiopian government and pity parties for my son are not helpful. This doesn't change anything and it really just brings down the person who is choosing joy in this process (me). Things will be much harder while we are engaging him in his grief and adjusting to our new normal when we are home. Right now, my kids go to bed every night and my husband and I can go on dates. As a family of 5 we are in a great place and we are determined to enjoy it. Maybe after a year of 5 different foster children in our home, maybe we NEED this peaceful Christmas with our children. Do I want Trent home?? Of course I do. Can I do anything to change the situation? Nope. My job is to be faithfully preparing to be his mother and that is what I am doing.

I would love an update from my agency to hear that the BG office is moving this week. Let's pray for that! In the meantime, this is what we are doing around here.

We picked up our giant tree after Thanksgiving and saw Santa too!

We went for an extra special trip to "Build a Bear" where we made some new Rudolphs!

I also survived "cooking decorating" night.

Moving forward, please pray for Trent's case. We shouldn't be held up too long waiting for the new document as long as everyone is reasonable to work together. We are praying for news, and of course we are always praying for his spirit and his development and health. Please join us in prayer for our son to be able to come home.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Trent's case still on hold: Waiting for MOWYCA's recommendation letter....

Shortly after I wrote the previous update last month, we got notice from our agency that the court had given MOWYCA a second deadline to have their comments written and ready for the courts. This was November 8th. Our staff went to MOWYCA to pick them up and they were still not done.

Usually when this happens, the courts don't assign a 3rd deadline. They just wait for MOWYCA to catch up. So for now we are just hanging and waiting for this important piece of paper. Although there are very few cases being processed by my agency right now, it sounds like the other agencies in Ethiopia are experiencing the same delay. MOWYCA was in a lot of trainings and people just weren't in the office working so there is a big backlog. Luckily, they don't do Thanksgiving over there and Ethiopian Christmas isn't until January (different calendar again) so holiday season doesn't seem to be an issue moving forward.

So basically, we just wait. Until we have that letter, we can't get assigned a new "important interview" date for people from Trent's past, and until that interview happens we can't get our date to fly. As much as I would have loved to have him here with us at Christmas, and there may be some tears on that fact from me during the holidays, there is some peace that the current citizens of America Sibley boys can enjoy a holiday with Mom and Dad's full attention.

Lucas, Ben, and Sammy have had a year of 5 different homeless children up in their personal space for long periods of time. They have been brave and have literally shared everything they have, especially their Mom and Dad's energy.

Our most recent little man went home on November the 18th (sob). We miss him, we love him, and I found a little present he left me this morning jammed into our printer. He was a bit obsessed with our printer in a rather inconvenient way. This isn't the forum to talk openly about that case, but we loved him and his sister and we loved them and advocated for them well for 4 months. We did everything there was to do and now we release them to their biological families and Jackson county to move forward, hopefully toward a healthy and nurturing home life. Holy goodness, I miss them.


So for now we pray for those that have been part of our family only temporarily and we pray for those yet to get here.

We are hopeful for more news on our case in the next few weeks. Until then, we will enjoy this holiday season and continue to prayer to be the best parents possible for Trent.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Ethiopian courts re-open, interview assigned, and we hit a delay

Ethiopian courts re-opened on October 6th. We received a wonderful email a few days later that Trent's case was assigned an interview date on October 22nd. The interview is a repeat of the same investigation that was done with the embassy in July, except this time instead of the American embassy investigating, it is the Ethiopian court process due process.

We kept busy and began to really plan for our trip to Ethiopia, as it was always possible we would be traveling soon after this interview took place and we did not want to be caught surprised.

We waited or news of the interviews success on 10/23 but successful news we did not receive :-( The court was unwilling to hear our case or accept our agencies supplemental documents because the Ministry of Women's Youth, and Children's Affairs (henceforth called MOWYCA) had not prepared their letter of consent for the court. No need for shock and horror. This happens a LOT. It happened in Ben's case as well as about half of my friends cases. The difference, is that this past fall and spring while my friends were going through the process, the courts were allowing cases to be heard still, and they would give MOWYCA a deadline to turn in their stuff. Usually MOWCYA got it done about a week later as best I can tell from many of my friends timelines.

But they changed the rule.

Now MOWYCA must have their stuff there BEFORE our case can be heard. MOWYCA was on trainings through last week, so starting Monday my agency has promised to pester them, letting them know this child's case is sitting there until they write their letter that was due before 10/22. Even if we get the letter in the next few weeks, it is likely this will cost us about a month of processing time. We need to get the letter and then re-apply for our case be heard again, and those things tend to be scheduled a few weeks out. We are really hoping this can happen in November and that I can hopefully travel sometime in December.

This stinks for Trent, and it stinks because it is also pushing me into holiday airfare time and means I will likely miss out on holidays with the boys, but it does give us some really good time to prepare our home, hearts, and physical bodies for the task that lies ahead, and it is a big task.

So now... we wait. We just wait for the email that says we have our MOWYCA comments and a new court date to go with it.

This is what we have been doing while we wait, besides ordering a whole lot of stuff on amazon to prepare our home.

We did handstands

We sent people to school

We visited the Ozarks with some very special friends

We ran some races and hunted pumpkins too!!

It was even possible for me to sneak away for 2 days to the beach of Galveston, TX to collect myself before the tasks of the Fall really set in.

Please keep us in your prayers in the next few weeks as we wait for news on the letter from MOWYCA, and you will know as soon as we know that our case can move forward for little Trenton, holding steady at 30 lbs!