We've hit another stomach-churning drop on the adoption roller-coaster. We were expecting today to be full of rejoicing and frantic preparations to leave for Ethiopia by the end of this week. Instead, we received some bad news this morning. S's birth mother refused to come to Addis for her hearing with the US Embassy. She had agreed to make the trip, and she had even purchased her bus ticket, but at the last minute, she said that she would not go with the social worker who had come to get her. She said that she "is done" with this, that she has already testified in court, that the relinquishment has been very difficult, and that she has been through enough already. I couldn't agree with her more. In fact, she has presented her case in two different court systems in Ethiopia....once in December in her own region, and once in March when she finalized the relinquishment in Addis Ababa. I don't blame her one bit for not wanting to go through the pain of it all again in front of an official from a foreign country.
It all leaves our case in an uncomfortable position, though. This is the first time that AGCI has had a birth parent refuse to interview with the Embassy, and our case worker isn't sure what the next step will be. Almaz e-mailed the Embassy on Saturday explaining the situation and asking for direction. There's a small chance that they could decide to clear our case anyway, but it is much more likely that they will try to set up an interview with one of the witnesses to the original relinquishment case in December. That would mean more weeks of waiting while they schedule an interview, find the witness, and bring them to Addis for the hearing. The Gambella region, where S is from, is 2-3 days journey by bus from Addis. A witness would probably have to miss an entire week of work in order to testify. In the meantime, our little S spends more time without a family, waiting for good medical care, and we miss more weeks of his life.
I know that there is a reason that this is happening. I know that God is in control, and I know that His timing is perfect. In all honesty, the Embassy probably needs to see this happening a few times in order to get their act together. The system is SO backwards currently. S is legally our kiddo, his name has been changed to ours, but we can't bring him to the US yet, because our own Embassy is still trying to prove that he's really an orphan. I feel like we're being held hostage by our own government, and I feel so helpless. It's one thing to want to interview the birth family...but for crying out loud, please do that when they come for court! There is simply no reason that these families should be put through this more than once!
Please pray for us while we're thrust back into the waiting game again. Pray for S's heart, pray that God's greater purpose will be accomplished, and pray that while we grieve this setback, we won't miss the opportunity to seek everyday joy in the precious extra time that we'll have as a family of three.
"Be merciful unto me, O Lord: For I cry unto thee daily. Rejoice the soul of thy servant: For unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee. Give ear, O Lord, unto my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications. In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee, for thou wilt answer me. Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works. All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worhsip before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name. For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: Thou art God alone....O turn unto me, and have mercy upon me; Give thy strength unto thy servant, and save the son of thine handmaid." Psalm 86: 3-10, 16