The rain is pouring outside right now and I feel like the sky is weeping with me right now. I feel so sad at the news I heard over the phone today. First, let me say that my papers and payment were all received by our agency as expected. I got a phonecall this morning (as anticipated) verifying that all was in order as far as that goes...and then she continued on to give me news that I did NOT want to hear. First though, a tiny bit of background...
We are on track to have our dossier finished and in the mail this October or November. Our official "wait time" (how agencies report it) begins at that point - even though we will have started the paper chase one year prior to that. So, when an agency says that their average wait time is 12 months they are referring to the period of time between when your dossier is submitted and when you get a referral. In our case we can add a year prior to that to our "wait time" as well as how ever many months it takes for us to get her home once we receive our referral for our little girl. This is usually a few months (including two separate trips to Ethiopia).
So! We knew that the agency we chose had slightly longer wait times than most out there, but we were impressed enough with their thoroughness and attention to detail and ethics - as well as with the conditions for the children in their transition home - that we were fine with that. Our quoted wait time for the age of child that we submitted papers for was 24 months. So, again, 24 months from dossier to referral. Add the year prior to that and likely 4 months after that to bring her home and we're looking at a total of nearly 3 1/2 year actively pursuing the adoption to bring our baby girl home. This contrasts dramatically to 2 years ago when the wait time was just 6 months. Necessary government overhauls seriously slowed down adoptions back in 2011 just after I had begun seriously looking into adoptions in Ethiopia.
So, that's where we're at. We knew things could fluctuate a bit one way or the other, as is the nature of international adoptions, but I wasn't ready for this (back to the phone call)...
I was informed that the agency had been monitoring wait times over the last few months and wanted to be sure that it was actually a trend and not a fluke, but that wait times are dramatically increasing. After calculating things she said that her best estimate of our wait time now (instead of 24 months) would likely be around 42 months. Almost double. Whaaaa???
So, like I said before, once you add on the paper chase before dossier submission and the wait and two trips to bring her home...we're looking at a total of almost 5 years. And that's assuming that their projections are right, that there are no further delays, that there are no complications with our referral that slow things down, or that Ethiopia doesn't temporarily shut down adoptions to pursue Hague accreditation or something.
That puts us not bringing baby girl home until fall of 2017. That. is. so. far. away.
As I grapple with how long that wait is, I worry even more about what the future holds...first the agency closed off infant adoptions to Ethiopia (just after we applied), now they have almost doubled their projected wait time, what is next?...What if we get years into this and $16,000 later the program closes? Then what?
We were told that in light of how recently we submitted our payment and official documents - that if we choose to that they will refund us our money. I'm actually surprised by that, but appreciate the option. I think. I wouldn't know where to start with researching agencies again. Who is ethical? Who accepts applicants for infants? Who is financially sound (lots of agencies have gone under over the last year) Etc, etc. I would likely be trading one set of problems for another to switch agencies. Even though I'm saddened about this longer wait, if I could be guaranteed that things would work out at the end of the 5 years I would stick it out. But that's just the thing with adoptions. There never are guarantees.
And, saddest of all - in the meantime of all this slowdown - children need homes. Children are being raised in institutions because of either government red tape or because of the greed of a few people/agencies (and so now everything takes longer). The whole things is just so sad.
This is exactly the type of thing that has kept me from being open and public about us pursuing the adoption. Yet at the same time, I wish I had someone I could talk to about this that understood.
And the rain just keeps falling.