Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter

After I overheard Littlebun jokingly tell Miss I that Passover celebrates Moses's Birthday, I thought I'd better ask, why do we celebrate Easter?
Miss I answered: "Because Jesus had died." And then what? "And then Mary and Mary went looking for him, but he wasn't there." What did they find instead? " . . . a baby?"

Thursday, April 09, 2009

On Not Taking My Daughter into the Fitting Room Anymore

Momma, those pants are not gonna fit you. Those are big, fat pants . . . OH! THEY FIT! Nice! They fit! You look pretty, Momma . . .

Friday, April 03, 2009

Happy Thought

Despite all my present whining (where are the pictures? why is it raining?) . . .
I'm very blessed.
In a couple of months, we'll be traveling to add another daughter to our family. In the fall, we'll be traveling to witness the adding of an "uncle" to our family (though he has already been an "uncle" for a long time).
How many people are lucky enough to have such a strange and unwieldy and challenging and multiracial and multinational family by biology/adoption/selection/extension? If only everyone could experience the joy in expanding the limits of the definition of "family" . . .

Thursday, April 02, 2009

I wrote a letter to Ethica

I'm very disappointed in the decision Ethica has made to attempt to raise money for Chifundo ("Mercy" in the press) James, the child who may or may not be adopted by Madonna, an attempt that smacks of publicity stunt more than humanitarian effort. I read the proposal, and I read the president's letter, and I have real concerns about a child becoming an "illustration" -- and about adoptive parents assuaging their own guilt by contributing to a fund to keep a single "illustrative" child with her extended family of origin.

I asked Ethica to consider instead appointing an independent legal advocate for the child and to petition the US and/or Britain (where does Madonna live now?!) to deny an application for an entry visa for the child should Malawi approve the adoption, requiring Madonna to either give up her efforts or remain in the country with the child. THIS must be illustrated: Receiving countries have to have high standards for receiving. If a child does not meet the criteria for immigration as an orphan, the child should remain in her country of origin.

So US/UK: Please consider issuing Madonna a Notice of Intent to Deny if this child does not meet the requirements for international adoption.

That's a campaign I could get behind. Receiving countries cannot assume that the practices of sending countries are ethical. The responsibility is on the receiving country and responsible agency to do their homework.

I simply received an email redirecting me to Ethica's president's letter, which presents a fine analogy (if someone with money goes to an impoverished neighborhood here, we don't expect to hand over the kids!) but it doesn't provide an adequate argument for raising funds for one particular "illustrative" child to be bought back into her extended family of origin.

The BBC reports that a judge has ruled against Madonna's petition:
"In the ruling, read out outside the court, the judge also voiced concerns about the potential ramifications a ruling in Madonna's favour might have on adopted children's human rights.
"By removing the very safeguard that is supposed to protect our children, the courts by their pronouncements could actually facilitate trafficking of children by some unscrupulous individuals," she said."

This is how a system should work, with consistency and transparency. An 18-24 month residency in country is the safeguard that they have put in place (which means, effectively, that Malawi lacks a system of international adoption). Circumvention rather than changing laws suggests a context where child trafficking is possible. I'm glad the petition was denied at this stage -- the next hope was that the receiving country's system would work (denying the emigration) and by then it would have been much harder on Madonna's other children (no matter how much I despise the material girl, these are real kids).

I hope Ethica follows through with their commitment to preserve this child's family -- and yet I fear they have used this little girl for publicity and set a terrible precedent for not allowing the system to work first, further commoditizing children by determining a specific USD amount to keep one child with her extended family.

Later: Please don't say "Slumdog Children" when you mean to insult Angelina Jolie -- and not the children.

Just the facts for now

I've probably lost all my readers in this extended silence.
If I haven't, here's a quick update on our process:

NOC received.
Case submitted to court.
Shots near-completed.
Visa applications in New York (an office titled "TravelVisa Outsourcing." Alas, India outsources too).

Miss I can't wait to tickle LittleOne's toes.

Heather asked what's left?

Before we go:
Her case needs to be approved in court (this could take awhile).
We receive verbal guardianship approval and make travel plans.
Our state requires ICPC, so we make sure that's in place.
We receive written guardianship approval and travel!

While there:
We arrive, spend time getting to know one another, and after a few days travel in-country together to the US Embassy.
We submit I-600 and I-864. Embassy takes their time, checking her documents and comparing her picture and information to missing child reports to be sure nothing is amiss. We take her to an embassy-approved doctor, come back to the embassy, and they give the okay and give LittleOne a visa. In Ethiopia, dh had an Embassy appointment and an Embassy Day. It's going to take a bit longer this time.

ETA: We are one of the last of the I-600s. Families who applied after March 2008 will be 800-process families, and theirs will be a little different.

We come home:
Miss I gets to tickle her toes, and six months after we are home with legal guardianship, we apply to finalize in our county. Hooray!

Friday, March 20, 2009

A few weeks ago, Littleone had a cold -- all the littleones did. But now our Littleone has a fever. As Miss I just got over pneumonia, and Littlebun had RSV pneumonia when HE was a Little one . . . I'm more than a little worried about the fever. And there's nothing I can do about it from here.

Monday, March 16, 2009


Hooray! Littleone has just been issued NOC.
Now we're waiting on family court to grant us guardianship. That will probably take two months, but could be expedited because ours is a special needs adoption.

Monday, March 09, 2009

When I hadn't heard anything about Littleone in over a month, I sent a panicked email to our specialist and I couldn't think about anything else (including work) all day. Our specialist replied that she will be preparing updates -- photos just came in! -- and sending them out to us shortly. So now I can't think about anything else (including work) because there are updates on the way.