So I looked back tonight to see when I had last updated. Little has changed, but there are plenty of details that I should go ahead and record.
On the Retroactive Regional adoption clearance that they want "updated"
We are basically sitting in the same spot. Since my last update, the Regional office did open at some point. There is now a new regional director, a different person than the head person who decided Trent was internationally adoptable in early 2013. A slight positive, is that this person didn't outright say "No, I'm not writing you a new one" but instead said "I'm not signing off on something I haven't already reviewed myself". They wanted time to re-review his life in a file. It's not good for Trent, but it's good for his process, that he actually looks worse on paper now than he did then. His medical file is not fun to read, and it will be clear that he is definitely not reaching "normal" milestones of any sort. This is not the kid who will grow up to be able to push a plow and haul water and provide for a family and be a contributor to society there without major medical interventions on the dime of the Ethiopian government as he is an orphaned child on all accounts.
That was weeks ago. Please know, dear reader, that this little office on the border of a war zone of Sudan that is surrounded by refugee villages (A shout out now to the move "The Good Lie" that you need to see)is a two day journey from Addis Ababa where Trent has been since being adoptable in 2013. Someone from Addis has to travel out there to do this work for us. That person is the social worker of the orphanage (Miskaye) where Trent currently lives. Last Monday was Timket (Epiphany on the Orthodox calendar) so things were closed. Monday is apparently "the day" when you are most likely to have the right people in that office to help you so that is the day of choice. The worker is on there way there in just a few hours actually, as it is about 5am Monday morning in Ethiopia right now.
I decided to write an update tonight in order to distract myself from the hope that his case could actually move forward after 3 months of being stuck. I love a good, healthy distraction don't you?
and now, another possible avenue needs to be discussed about how Trent may get "unstuck".
The "Ethiopian Adoption Network": Who are they? What do they do? Why do we care?
Those are great questions that I had as well!! During our stuckness this last month, we were informed that this Ethiopian child welfare organization (beyond that, I actually don't know much)are lobbyists for HIV+, mentally disabled and physically disabled children who get "stuck". They actually reached out to my agency, as almost all children released for adoption prior to April 2014 are stuck just like Trent is, ESPECIALLY the disabled kids who were waiting to be assigned a family for a long time just like Trent. They said in paraphrase "Give us copies of your files for all of your disabled/HIV+ children. We are taking these cases directly to his Excellency Ato Almaw, who is the very head of MOWYCA in hopes that he will pardon these cases from the new regional requirement." The deadline to submit cases was 1/16 and we don't know when this group is meeting with him. They are basically harassing him with a "Hey, bro, remember that retroactive thing you did to slow down normal healthy little kids from leaving the country?? Here are all the handicapped kids that got screwed over when you did that. Wanna fix that hm?? Or will you be picking up the tab for these disabled children for the next 10 years?? Just checking". This would be another way that Trent could get unstuck at any time, if this plan works.
Us being annoying advocates because we have too much time on our hands and Trent's trip to the neurologist
So since this advocacy group was working on our case, I asked our agency if we could be annoying and get some of our professional people to write letters from a clinical standpoint based on evaluating the video footage we were given in October. I mean.. if we are writing letters and annoying people, why not get in on that action? It's what I do. We have a few letters/evaluations in the works that I will be getting authenticated like a dossier and sending directly to Ethiopia that can be tossed around for fun at key moments.
IF YOU ARE A PHYSICAL THERAPIST/OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST/MEDICAL DOCTOR (Sorry, Ethiopia isn't a fan of DO's, chiropractors, etc, we have learned) AND WANT TO WRITE AN EVALUATION FOR MY USE IN ADVOCACY, I WILL SEND YOU THE VIDEO FOOTAGE AND DIRECTIONS! It will be good times.
Trent was seen by an Ethiopian neurologist on Jan 13th and again on the 14th. Why this took 2 years to do, seriously, don't ask me... I'm not mad about it.. but he has been disabled a long time.. like.. I didn't realize that this was an option.. and now all of the sudden it's an option? That would have been some sweet info to have in his file back when no one wanted to be his mother ya know?? We still don't have the report yet. The report isn't actually even for us. It's ammo from someone who does not beneift from this child being adopted. An Ethiopian neurologist stating to an Ethiopian court confirming "This kid is messed up" will be a help to us. This is someone from their culture speaking to their culture about a kid in their culture and what would be best for him. We welcome it and we are thankful for it, just surprised this didn't happen in 2012?? Waiting for details on that.
So in the meantime....
We're just here.. hangin' out. Since we are stuck, we took in an emergency Safe Families placement the week of Christmas (ya know, for fun) of a sweet sweet SWEET 3 yr old little boy "D" and baby girl "I". They have been here a little over a month now and things are going very well. We are happy to be serving there mother who has recently gotten a job!! We will be taking care of these kiddos until we travel for Trent or likely in March, whatever comes first.
I mean look at them. You wanted this for Christmas too right?
I'm still training for the half marathon :-) I'm a beast now, in case you wondered. It suits me.
Here is some other stuff we did.
Jesus had a birthday....
Sam started working on new skills such as the toilet (at our house)and talking a bit better/chewing food without choking on it through therapy at Marian Hope Center.
Ben is dominating swim lessons due to his magical forehead powers.
Lucas received the Kindergarten citizenship award for the month of November. We were pretty proud. These are pictures from the assembly where he received it in December.
People got Mohawks
So someday this will all be in the past and we are choosing joy in our circumstance. We want to look back on this season and feel that we waited "well and did not lose our junk" as it says on my kitchen white board to remind me. God is near to the Fatherless and to the lonely and to the broken hearted and to the disabled children without voice. He will get Trenton Eskedar home in His good time or provide an alternative path for his welfare. I am sure of this. Our job is to sit here and eat chocolate until then :-)
Peace out and prayers for the staff worker enterring the regional office in Benishangul Gumuz in just a few hours in Ethiopia!!