I have emailed back and forth a few times with Toni (our case worker), so she just called me today and said that maybe a phone call was a good idea. We talked for more than 30 minutes, but I couldn't even recall everything we talked about. She basically answered questions and elaborated on the complexity of the situation in Ethiopia and with international adoptions in general. I really appreciated her call.
I also received an email update from our agency that included a short update including this paragraph:
"Today Joint Council sent out an email to adoption services providers in
Ethiopia announcing that the Co-Chairs of the Ethiopian Caucus will
conduct an advocacy and assessment trip the week of January 27, 2014.
The purpose of the trip will be to solidify our existing government, NGO
and Partner relationships, conduct fact-finding on the current
government positions and statements and lay the groundwork for an
affective convening sometime in the spring."
So, a whole lot of I don't know and wait and see. Such is international adoption I suppose. The statements reported the day after Christmas from Ethiopia's House Speaker and the head of WOWA (Ministry of Women, Children and Youth) were so unnerving. Toni did explain that something similar happened 2 years ago though and everyone internationally thought it was going to be the end of adoptions in Ethiopia. I remember following that at the time and being nervous what it would mean. Our situation now is not the same, but it does give me hope to think about that and wonder if maybe things will play out the same...with slowdowns, but the program staying open.
Toni also pointed out that they have not been able to confirm the validity of the source (which was a press release from a single source). See the release here. So, we still don't know for certain the accuracy of what was reported and even if it is 100% accurate what that means, or how things will play out.
All of this unnerving uncertainty definitely puts a damper on what should have been an exciting step for us. We just received a packet in the mail with our FDL (favorable determination letter) or our I-600A approval, which is the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's stamp of approval that we are able to "furnish proper care to an orphan"...and it gives them advance processing for immigration.
This document will expire June 20, 2015 before which time we will have to re-apply.
I pictured us celebrating when we received this letter in the mail, but all this uncertainty puts a real damper on things...