We almost made it under the wire.
On March 10th, the Ethiopian Ministry of Women's Affairs (MOWA) announced they would be radically reducing the number of International adoption cases they processed from 50 per day to 5 per day -- a ninety percent reduction. I won't go into the rationale for why they are making this change, or my perception of the underlying issues -- suffice it to say all of us with adoptions in the pipeline are impacted.
You might be tempted to think with a court date of March 4th, a successful meeting with the judge, and the judge's successful meeting with the relinquishing family, we would have made it just under the wire -- before this massive slowdown by MOWA.
Alas, it has not proven to be the case.
After we exited the judge's chambers, I was informed she couldn't issue the adoption decree because our case was still awaiting the adoption recommendation from MOWA -- a recommendation which should have already been provided by that date. I was assured by our agency's attorney that MOWA had promised they would deliver the recommendation by Monday, March 7th. But it didn't happen, and as the 10th came and went, we realized that we were caught in a slowdown vortex.
The judge continued our case until April 16th -- a lifetime under these circumstances. And unfortunately, I really don't know if that will motivate MOWA to provide the recommendation by then. Now that we've met our new son, it is extremely difficult to wait the extra time. Even after MOWA provides the recommendation letter (and I'm assuming there will be no issues with this), we still are dependent on them to provide a birth certificate as a part of the package that goes on to the US Embassy for their investigation and approval.
The wheels turn slowly. We don't know how much longer it will take, but it's painful to be so close and yet so far.