Yesterday afternoon we received yet another "adoption alert" from our agency. While I am extremely glad that our agency works hard to keep their adoptive parents in the loop regarding the new court procedures being implemented in Ethiopia, I still find myself needing to take a couple of deep breaths in order to calm my nerves! According to Dove adoptions, the implementation of the new court procedures regarding adopting parents needing to take two trips is being extended to April 30, 2010. This extension was granted because, and I quote our agency, "the extension is to allow the Federal First Instance Court and the Ministry of Women's Affairs additional time to develop guidelines and procedures for implementing this process. Both organizations are working to have all documentation in place when the court appointment is scheduled to decrease the possibility of additional postponements after prospective adoptive parents make their appearance at court." I think, if I read this correctly, this is a good thing! Ethiopian court proceedings are notorious for delay after delay after delay in granting an adoption decree and legal custody for a variety of reasons; one being rolling power outages in the capital city of Addis Ababa, and the other being that in order for a child to be elegible for adoption, he or she needs to be classified as a "true orphan". In Ethiopia, with its tribal and extended family based society, if a child's parents die, then any, and I mean ANY family member is traditionally expected to step up and care for the child. During the court proceedings, the child's next of kin is expected to make an appearance to state to the judge that they cannot care for the child in question thus classifying the child as a "true orphan", and the next of kin can range from an 18-year-old sibling to an 80-year-old grandmother! Court proceedings can only take place in Addis Ababa, and the feasibility of traveling to the capital city is difficult at best and nearly impossible for most Ethiopian people hence creating many court delays! If I read the above quote correctly, then I can safely guess that the new court procedures are hopefully going to eliminate the multiple court postponements by making sure that the proper "true orphan" status can be applied to our future children! Dove has also stated that in the past six months, 42 children have been abandoned in Ethiopia by their American adoptive parents! How insane is that? In court, Tony and I will be required by Ethiopian law to swear that we will not, under any circumstances, abandon our children after being granted legal custody. This is a statement that I will be more than happy to swear to! I still, to this day, do not understand what can possess some people to abandon a child who is legally theirs thus further victimizing an already victimized child. Your guess is as good as mine!!!!