Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Email Update (7) - 3/22/14

My friend Susan's son, Evan (when he was little) used to sing, "shippin' been a cowboy" with gusto.  He loved that song, but sang it wrong….always.  

As for me, I always thought Shakira sang, "It's Time for Africa"; but I learned today, as I googled the spelling for Shakira, that it's actually "This Time for Africa"….which really messes up this post that I'm writing to tell you…..


IT'S TIME FOR AFRICA !!!

And that's all I really need to say about that.  But for those of you who are into the details, we have a COURT DATE !!!  On Tuesday, April 8th, we will appear before a judge in Ethiopia as we LONG to hear those long-awaited words, "she is yours".  

Thank you for being faithful prayer warriors for the Williams family……all soon-to-be FIVE of us.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Email Update (6) - 02/13/14

I'm always so quick to send you an update filled with bad (or at least not-so-good) news.  So, today, when we received some positive news, I knew I just had to send an update.

So here goes…..

Earlier this morning we received word from our placing agency that a random opportunity had presented itself.  The Assistant Minister of MOWCYA (the governmental agency in Ethiopia that oversees adoptions) is in the US and our agency was given the opportunity to meet with her today.  I am so thankful for an agency who sees an opportunity and immediately puts someone on a plane to seize it.  We received a message just as she boarded the plane asking us to pray for her and assuring us that she would be asking specifically about our cases.

Later this afternoon, we did receive confirmation that they had discussed our case and that she (the MOWCYA rep) seems to think we will get some news in the next couple of days.

What has happened, it seems, is that the Federal level decided to implement some new procedures; work that is done at the Regional level.  And not only did they decide to change the process but they didn't just start with all new cases; they sent some cases (like ours) BACK.  And basically what we have now is a standoff.  Federal is saying "we want this done this way" and Regional is saying "we've already processed this case; we shouldn't have to do it again.  (That's a really simplified version of what's going on, but pretty accurate).  And just so you know, I'm siding with "Regional".  ; )

When the MOWCYA rep says we will hear something in a few days, what she's implying (I think) is that we will hear who won the Federal/Regional battle and will know more about our process from here.

So, there you have it.  Some not bad news.  

  • Please continue to pray for Yenenesh's heart.  Pray that she understands that these delays are out of our hands and they are in no way an indicator of how much we love her and want her home.  We are thankful that we don't have to worry about her physical care at this time; we know that she is being loved and cared for well at our agency's Transition Home.  We pray that she is SO loved and cared for there that she's having the time of her life.
  • Please pray for us; for our hearts and for our attitudes.  But, please, whatever you do….do NOT pray for our patience.  : )
  • Earlier this week, 4 individuals who worked for one agency were arrested.  Please pray for the families (past and present) who have been affected by their immoral and illegal practices.  Pray that the sins of this one agency does not adversely affect all Ethiopian adoptions.
  • Please pray for all parties involved at the Federal and Regional level; that hearts are softened and that they are able to come to an agreement that is in the best interest of the children.  And that they do so quickly.  : )
  • Don't forget about our friends, the Kopps, who are with our agency and in the same boat.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Email Update (5) - 02/07/14

Even though the blog is currently private and we are communicating with our "followers" via email, I wanted to post the updates that we send out here so that, in the end, we have everything in one spot.

Dear Friends,

I so want to write you a short and sweet email that simply says, "IT'S TIME FOR AFRICA!".  But, today, it wasn't meant to be.

We received some discouraging news regarding our case today.  Basically, the "grandfathering" of our case (that we were told happened several weeks ago) never happened.  The Ethiopian official who agreed to write the addendum allowing cases like ours to be grandfathered (and forego the new processes) has apparently backed down/changed his mind.  

Where this leaves us is back at the Regional level, waiting for the Director there to sign off on our case.  Our file has been there for many weeks….with zero movement.  After this step, we will then have to wait again for the letter that we need from the Federal MOWCYA (Ministry of Women, Children and Youth Affairs) office.

We are discouraged, puzzled, disappointed and sad.  To be honest, we are even a little angry.  However, we haven't lost faith; this is His journey and it always has been.  

Our specific prayer requests are as follows:

  • Please continue to pray for Yenenesh's heart.  Pray that she understands that these delays are out of our hands and they are in no way an indicator of how much we love her and want her home.  We are thankful that we don't have to worry about her physical care at this time; we know that she is being loved and cared for well at our agency's Transition Home.  We pray that she is SO loved and cared for there that she's having the time of her life.
  • Please pray for us; for our hearts and for our attitudes.  But, please, whatever you do.do NOT pray for our patience.  : )
  • Our in-country director (Woudneh) is traveling to the Regional offices on Monday to try and learn what he can about what's going on there and why these cases haven't been processed (there are possibly as many as 100 similar "stuck" cases); pray for him.  Pray that he's able to get good news on Monday.
  • Don't forget about our friends, the Kopps, who are with our agency and in the same boat.
  • Three families who received their referrals and had the same Preliminary Hearing date as we did, cleared Embassy this week.  They will be traveling to bring their children home in the next week or so.  I'm not going to lie, that stings a bit, but I am thrilled for them.  Pray for safe travels for them and all that bringing home a new family member means.
  • Lastly, we have been told that this news has all of the adoption agencies in Ethiopia in quite an uproar.  Pray that they rally together for the good of the children, that their voices are heard and that mountains are moved for all involved.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Email Update (4) - 01/29/14

Even though the blog is currently private and we are communicating with our "followers" via email, I wanted to post the updates that we send out here so that, in the end, we have everything in one spot.


We started this week with great hope that this was our week.  

It's not.

Yesterday we heard through the (adoption) grapevine that courts are closed in Ethiopia until February 24th (due to the fact that the Judge; yes, there's ONE judge) is on vacation.  Our agency is working to confirm this but it does seem to be the case.  The exact same thing happened this time last year.

Today we were notified that the agency (MOWCYA) that we need to issue our final letter is back in the office working but are not issuing letters yet.  They say that they will begin next week.  But we've received empty promises before.

I'm not going to lie; we are struggling.  It's hard to have a positive attitude this week.  We know that we know that we know that God is in control, that His plan and His timing are best; but we are human.  And we are weary.  And we aren't getting any younger.  : )

Please say a prayer for us today; that God would restore our hope and move mountains in our case (and the Kopps') and that MOWCYA would make issuing these letters a TOP priority.

Email Update (3) - 01/27/14

Even though the blog is currently private and we are communicating with our "followers" via email, I wanted to post the updates that we send out here so that, in the end, we have everything in one spot.

New week, new hope.

As I write this update, it is 7:30 pm in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  Their work day has drawn to a close as ours has begun.  This Monday brings a renewed hope that this could be our week.  Our agency typically hears each day whether or not any letters were issued (the one letter that we need to make us court date eligible).  We haven't heard (yet) today.

Our specific prayer requests are as follows:

  • Continue to pray for Yenenesh's heart.  Pray that she has peace that we are coming for her; that she is happy, healthy and knows how much she is loved.  
  • Pray that our MOWCYA letter is issued THIS week and that we are granted a QUICK court date (trust me, we can be ready to FLY at the drop of a hat).
  • As I have shared in previous updates, the next step after passing court is for our case to clear Embassy.  This can take up to 12 weeks following the court date.  Yenenesh's birthday is April 19th.  Our heartfelt prayer is that she will be home by her birthday.
  • As you pray for our family, please also pray for Matt & Brianne Kopp; a fellow Lifeline/WCS family who find themselves in the exact same predicament that we are in.  It has been a blessing to have them to share in the ups and downs of this journey; we are all hoping our letters are issued at the same time so that we will travel and meet our girls together as well.

Email Update (2) - 01/11/14

Even though the blog is currently private and we are communicating with our "followers" via email, I wanted to post the updates that we send out here so that, in the end, we have everything in one spot.

As I shared with you in my last update, some new policies have been implemented in Ethiopia that caused our file to begin to move backward instead of forward.  

We received some great news yesterday regarding these changes.  Apparently, a large group of in-country agency reps appealed to the Director of Federal MOWCYA (the authority on adoption in ET) on behalf of families like ours whose cases had, at one time, made it to the Federal level.  What they asked and what has been decided is that any and all cases that were filed prior to the end of October, could forego the new procedures and pick up where we left off, waiting for that one letter that we need at the Federal level.  We were told that this would require a new "adoption law" to be documented (grandfathering these families/cases in) and that that was being done ASAP (it was our in-country rep's impression that that official task would be done on Friday but we don't have word that that actually happened just yet).

What this means for us is that we do not have to wait for the new form at the local level or the new signature at the regional level. Instead, our file will be delivered back to the Federal authorities who will add their approval letter; the letter which FINALLY makes us eligible for a court date.  Our file then goes to the court where they assign our court date.  Once that court date is established, we will be contacted regarding our travel.  We are hopeful that, because of the many delays that we have experienced (as well as approximately 40-50 other families from various agencies who got caught up in this mess) and because of the pressure that the in-country reps have placed on the powers that be there, that these letters will be processed swiftly and a court date is just around the corner.

Our specific prayers/praises are as follows:

  • So very thankful for our agency who has communicated beautifully with us throughout this delay; thankful for their transparency and, mostly, for their hard work and steadfast prayers for our girl and for our family.  Thankful for an in-country rep who is passionate about the children of Ethiopia, about the process and about the families.
  • We sent letters to Yenenesh on Monday.  Woudneh (the in-country rep) will be reading those to her for us.  We continue to pray for her heart; that she has peace that we are coming for her; that she is happy, healthy and knows how much she is loved.
  • Pray that our file makes it's way safely and intact back to Addis and that it is made COMPLETE with a letter from MOWCYA this week   and a court date next week.
  • As I shared in our last update, the next step after passing court is for our case to clear Embassy.  This can take up to 12 weeks following the court date.  Yenenesh's birthday is April 19th.  Our heartfelt prayer is that she will be home by her birthday. 
  • Pray that the next time you hear from me it's to tell you we are Africa bound!  

Email Update (1) - 01/07/14

Even though the blog is currently private and we are communicating with our "followers" via email, I wanted to post the updates that we send out here so that, in the end, we have everything in one spot.

Hi Friends,

Thank you for your interest in journeying with us to bring Halle Yenenesh home.  I wanted to send an initial email to those who have asked me to add you to our group distribution, just to catch you up on things.  

My hope was to password protect the blog so that I could continue to update there and simply give you a password to use when visiting the blog; however, I really should have investigated further because though that seems like a great idea, Blogger doesn't give me the option of password protection.  I may need to change my blog host and I'll check into that but, in the meantime, I will send all updates via email.

As most of you know, we accepted the referral for Yenenesh in July of 2013.  At that time, we could/should have been given a court date relatively quickly, except that we were caught up in the rainy season court closure.  Because of this, our Preliminary Hearing (PH) was delayed until October 22nd.  Once again, following the PH, we could/should have been given a court date relatively quickly (4 other families with the same PH were given court dates that very next week) as, following the PH, we needed only one letter from the Federal MOWCYA (Ministry of Women's, Children & Youth Affairs) office to make us court date eligible.  As our file sat at the Federal level waiting for that letter, officials conducted an investigation that resulted in a new process.  What was determined was that cases coming through Regional MOWCYA had to be signed off on by the director of that office only (our case had cleared Regional MOWCYA but needed to go BACK there for this new signature).  So....our paperwork traveled from the Federal level back to the Regional level.  And sat.  What we learned next is that, in order for the Regional MOWCYA Director to sign off on our case, she needs information that was previously provided on a NEW FORM....from the LOCAL level.  So now our paperwork has gone BACK to the local level.  Confusing, I know but, basically, this is where we are:

To get a court date, we need a letter from Federal MOWCYA
To get the letter from Federal MOWCYA, we need a signature from Regional MOWCYA
To get the signature from Regional MOWCYA, we need a new form completed by the Local authorities.

Thankfully, we did learn that the new form is just that....a new form.  It's not a new form for a new or different investigation; it's simply previously discovered information placed on a newly adopted form. 

Our specific prayer requests at this time are:

  • For Yenenesh's heart.  She knows about us and knows that we are supposed to be coming.  This wait is hard for us; I can't imagine how it feels to be her.  We are sending her letters through our agency this week and have confirmed that our in-country agency representative is doing his best to keep her informed.
  • Swift processing of the items above.
  • I (Kelley) have the flu; started Tamiflu yesterday.  Just want to get well quickly, before we get the call to travel.
  • Our next step after court is to clear Embassy which we have been told will take approximately 3 months (this is when we will bring her home).  Yenenesh's birthday is April 19th and even though none of this is predictable (obviously), we are praying at this point that we pass court on or before January 19th so that we have a better chance of getting her home by her 7th birthday.