Friday, August 5, 2011

Africa oh Africa... you consume our thoughts!

For those who haven't seen the video that my hubs put together of his life changing trip to Uganda... here you have it! My man has officially been home for one week now and it's still the buzz of conversation that consumes us! Unknowingly, we manage to bring almost anything and everything back around to Africa, which to outsiders probably gets super annoying- but thankfully we're both equally (dorky) and passionate about how God is stirring our hearts- so we loose ourselves in chat about how the desire to go continues to weigh heavy on us!  I pray it always consumes our conversations and even more so, our lives! We continue to pray over what it really looks like to "risk the ocean, it's only grace"... more and more, I'm convinced it looks far different then what the world says it should look like.  We are confident that God is equipping us, and growing us, and stretching us, for MORE. Funny how almost a year and half ago we were certain that saying yes to adoption was the biggest leap of faith ever... little did we know the snowball affect it would have on our souls! I love that our journey to Isa is far bigger then we could have ever imagined! I can't wait to tell Isa one day of all the ways God transformed our hearts as we began this adoption adventure! I love how one cautious, and even skeptical "YES" to God's call, can leave you begging for more of His will in your life! A sweet friend of mine, Gwen, once said- "I suck at being God, He does the job so much better!"... and it's true! When we say "YES" to His story and let go of our own.... watch out, A-MAZ-ING things are about to happen!

At this point, obviously our main focus is to get our sweet boy Isa home! This is still going to take some time, so we're doing our best to be patient. That being said, I'll unashamedly admit how my "request" to God continues to be that hopefully, just maybe, with my fingers crossed, a whole heckava lot of wishful thinking, and maybe some extra prayers from sweet friends like yourselves (wink, wink), that perhaps we'll have a referral around Christmas time or shortly thereafter (and yes, I'm holding loosely to this desire....kinda, sorta!) It's not until after Isa is home and we're well adjusted as a family, confident that he is well attached to us as his mom and dad, that we'll be able to act on this burden to move to Africa. I don't know what that timeframe looks like- I'm giving it to God and trusting that we'll know when the time is right for our family. For today however, we trust that God is planting seeds and opening our eyes to places He is so evidently at work. We trust that He will lead the way. Joshua knows for certain he fell in love with the amazing ministry, Amazima while he was there in Uganda. He loves what they're all about, he sees God moving there, and he feels in his gut that it's a ministry we could potentially be involved in one day.... now whether we actually ever are or not, I have no idea! For all I know, by the time we're in a place that we can actually go- there may not be a need at Amazima for us. All I know is that Joshua experienced a little slice of what heaven is like while he was there, his heart beat fast, and he was drawn to ways this ministry was so obviously the hands and feet of Christ to hundreds of children! So... we are choosing to make mental note of that at this point and are committed to earnestly pray blessings on this incredible ministry! Who knows how it'll unfold?!

Going back to my previously mentioned point of how it's going to take some time to get Isa home, I wanted to keep you in the loop with the latest happenings that contribute to the wait. Today actually marked the beginning of the "rainy season" in Ethiopia and the courts actually close and will stay closed for about 2 months. To better explain, here is the court closure Q&A that our agency sent out just in case this intrigues you (which unless you're interested adopting from Ethiopia, I'm guessing not, but here you have it anyway)...

Court Closure Q&A

Q: When do the Courts close?
A: The Court closure occurs each year for approximately 2 months in August and September. The actual dates of closure and reopening vary from year to year.
Q: When do we find out when the Courts close?
A: The dates for this year’s closure have not been released. Typically, we do not receive advance notification of when the closure is to begin and end, but our staff at Hannah’s Hope do notify our office as soon as possible after they hear word.
Q: Why do the Courts close?
A: Many refer to this time of year in Ethiopia as “rainy season.” It is definitely true that Ethiopia experiences a good amount of rain during this time of the year and it can make getting to work a bit tricky at times. However, we can also look at the Courts closing for a recess period as the staff’s opportunity for a vacation.
Q: Do the Courts still accept new cases and issue court appointments during the closure?
A: Every year is different in exactly how the Courts operate during the closure/recess period. In some years, they have been completely shut down. In other years, the Courts accepted new cases into their “cue” then once they reopened, court appointments were issued. Even last year, we were able to submit new cases and received a few court appointment notices, but the appointments were not set to occur until October. Unfortunately, it is not clear how the Courts will operate or not operate during this year’s closure, but our staff will continue to submit new cases until the Courts no longer accept them.
Q: Is MOWA also closed during the period of time the Courts are closed?
A: The Federal Courts of Addis Ababa and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MOWA) are separate government offices, though they must work in partnership to complete adoption cases. MOWA does not typically close while the Courts are closed. We are hoping that given that MOWA is supposedly processing around 10 cases a day, they will continue to review cases and issue opinion letters to the Courts during this court closure period. Historically, though, we have seen that the motivation of MOWA to process cases and issue letters during the court closure has been low, since the Courts were not open to process the cases.
Q: Will the Courts process MOWA opinion letters that are issued during the closure?
A: It is not clear at this time if, during this court closure, the Courts will process the letters from MOWA for cases that have already completed court appointments. It is our hope that these letters will continue to be processed so pending cases can be approved, but again, right now there is no clarity on this.
Q: Can families still travel for the second trip and complete a visa appointment with the US Embassy to bring their child(ren) home during the closure?
A: _You bet! The visa appointment is conducted at the US Embassy, which is part of the US government. The Embassy has historically been open and processing cases and visas during the time the Courts are closed. We have seen times in the past where the Embassy processes fewer cases during the closure time, but the US Embassy holds complete jurisdiction over its processing of cases.
Q: Can children still be assigned and admitted into Hannah’s Hope then referred to their forever families during the Court closure?
A: Yes, children can still come into Hannah’s Hope through government-licensed orphanages and referred to adoptive families while the Courts are on recess. One thing to keep in mind is that a great deal of investigation and follow up work must go into each child’s history before a child can be referred, and this can slow things down a bit at the front end of a child’s process. Overall, there is never a set or average number of children who will come into Hannah’s Hope and/or referred to their forever families in any given month, and August and September are no exception.

So.... that about does it! As always, we're grateful for your prayers and love!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.