Just a quick update. Acacia’s paperwork was not accepted by the US Embassy in Ethiopia today to process her visa. It was submitted and then returned because we were missing a report from the orphanage that would verify her official status. In the past the US embassy was rather straight forward with their disbursement of visas, but they have recently become pickier.
A quick primer about the process: at this point Ethiopia has already named Killeen and I as Acacia’s parents. Adoptions in Ethiopia are irreversible, and this was made clear by the judge when we first traveled. Bottom line, legally we are the only family that Acacia will ever have.
So, what is the purpose of the US embassy highly scrutinizing cases? My idealistic side says they are doing their part to assure that children are not being illegally trafficked through the system. However, if they did determine that a child was trafficked, the adoption cannot be reversed. So they would simply be assuring that this child would not be able to enter the US, and would be permanently separated from any family unless those adoptive parents became expatriates and moved to Ethiopia. My cynical side says that the US wants to appear tough on trafficking. I say this because a CNN story about three years ago exposed several adoption agencies in Ethiopia that were illegally trafficking children. Shortly after this, every government agency in Ethiopia tightened their process and added extra layers of bureaucracy (which is a separate gripe). The US embassy seems to be following the same process, so they aren’t the only person at the party, left to point the finger at if another trafficking scandal appears. In other words they want to be able to say, “We’ve cracked down on trafficking, just like Ethiopia.” The end result is a policy that hurts the intended population, and simply works to deflect blame. Acacia is our daughter, you are just stalling her homecoming.
My fellow human service and public health practitioners…please take a moment to reaffirm your practice…and make a promise to yourself that you will not support/make policy that hurts your population for the sole purpose of your agency’s PR. That is the most positive nugget I can pull out of this HIGHLY discouraging day. So we now wait longer.