January 30, 2008

Why does our government love red tape?

Awhile ago I posted about the "exciting" news of Bill C-14 and how the government was pledging to speed up the immigration process to allow adoptive children to come home sooner (currently it takes around 6 months for a visa and 3 months for a court date). Well, since then things have become very confusing.

Recently, our agency (Kidslink) sent out an email encouraging families to choose the new route (Citizenship route). However, two other agencies that are well-respected have sent emails out to their clients saying don't go the new route! Thankfully, we don't have to decide quite yet. Now, I do NOT blame our agencies for the confusing and contradictory information at all. I only blame our government for creating a new law that doesn't really make anything easier and for having a very unattractive and confusing website.

Here are a few quotes from different agencies. If you read these, you will see just how confusing this whole thing really is:

"While the intent of the Bill C-14 was to help adopted children become citizens faster/easier- what in fact has resulted is no such thing....It is undoubtedly a "feel good" piece of legislation. While the hope was that this would implement a less complicated and automatic stream for adopted children to become CDN citizens - the reality is that the legislation has only brought into place a new application process with it's own time line, fees, and complications. ... as the ramifications of this new legislation have been coming back to CDN IMM officers, this new process has in fact created a few monsters of its own. One predictable and confirmed response by the countries children are adopted from is that they will not allow their children to depart on CDN passports."

Sunrise Adoption Agency (Vancouver):
"The two steps that may be eliminated under the new procedures are the application for a Visa and the child's foreign immigration medical, but that will only happen in some cases. The new citizenship law may not meet the high expectations adopting parents have for it. The law will not grant "automatic citizenship." Citizenship will be granted abroad if there is an adoption order in place before coming home and if the Immigration Officer is satisfied that certain requirements have been met." (*Note, there is no appeal process for the new route).

"Although you still have the choice of obtaining a Permanent Resident Visa or Citizenship for your child, the Canadian High Commission in Nairobi and the Canadian Embassy in Addis are preparing themselves for citizenship processing and are asking us to encourage families to apply for citizenship."

Now, I just wish someone could clearly tell us WHY the new route really is better and how EXACTLY it will bring our children home sooner. So far, it looks like we have to wait and see and parents are basically just being asked to choose the one that they feel the most comfortable with. I just don't understand why the government would create a law that doesn't have an appeal process and that doesn't take into account the fact that some countries don't allow children to go home on Canadian passports. Plus, shouldn't the government accept the decision that was made in court regarding the child's eligibility for adoption? It almost appears like the new method has to make this decision all over again. Maybe not, but the whole thing feels a little scary.

Okay, I'm done ranting.

January 16, 2008

The Primal Wound

I finished reading The Primal Wound by Nancy Newton Verrier over Christmas. I felt like posting something and since nothing seems to be going on right now (still waiting for homestudy to be signed and complete) I thought I would post a bit of a book review on it.

The Primal Wound really focuses on the psychological impact of a newborn being separated from one's birth mother. Reading this book was really good for getting rid of the notion that a baby "won't remember anything." Verrier spends a lot of time talking about the emotional effect on the child later on in his or her life. Although her own daughter who was adopted, cognitively knew that she was loved and wanted she still struggled with a feeling that told her otherwise (she was adopted from day 1). "It is the 14-year-old girl who understands the reasons for her relinquishment, but the feelings are those of a neborn baby who simply feels the loss of a mother who never came back. The baby does not care why she did it; the baby just feels abandoned. And that abandoned baby lives inside each and every adoptee all his or her life." This is such a powerful point and it has really made me think. If any adoptive parents out there have an opinion on this I would love to hear it.

We obviously plan to tell our son why he may have been placed for adoption but it is so important to realize that whatever the reasons are, the bottom line is it was a very sad and devestating day for both mother and child. We may be purely excited and happy to adopt, but on the other side of the world there is a mother who is hurting and a baby who is crying for his mom. We must acknowledge this.

"The feeling that life is unsafe and that he must be 'on guard' takes its toll.... The loss of the mother disallows the achievement of basic trust, the first milestone in the healthy development of a human being." This brings us to trust and attachment. Eventually, Mike and I are going to have to set some rules for when we come home from Ethiopia and we are going to try to encourage our child to attach to us and only us. Initially, the rules may sound extreme to many of you, but I hope that with the knowledge of what you have just read and the realization that our child will have gone through real trauma, you will be able to respect whatever decision we make.
Verrier doesn't paint a rosy picture of adoption, but it is so important to go into the process with all the knowledge you can get. Anyways, I highly reccomend this book and would love to loan it to any of you who are reading this and live near by.

January 7, 2008

Ye Ganna Baal!

Ganna means "birth of Christ" and according to the Ethiopian calendar we are in December (or Tehesas) and today is Christmas day! Merry Christmas everyone!

Traditional celebrations for Ganna include the setting up of manger scenes featuring the Three Wise Men. King Balthazar, is said to have been the wise man from Ethiopia who brought gifts of Frankincense. Frankincense is therefore infused in the celebrations as well and the aroma is widely used through oils or incense.

Church services are of course plentiful and last for 3 hours, with the singing of carols and carrying of candles included in the custom.

According to tradition, there are no Christmas trees or exchange of gifts, but modern influences see a few western decorations popping up in the capital of Addis Ababa. Children however sometimes get new outfits for the occasion.

Children follow another tradition of playing ganna or leddat, which is a type of field hockey where players use sticks and balls made from local trees. This is in line with ancient Ethiopian tradition that says the shepherds celebrated the birth of Jesus by playing such a game.

(source: http://www.yardflex.com/archives/002038.html)

January 1, 2008

in the womb

(7 months)

I've been thinking a lot lately about the fact that right now our baby is growing inside his mother. I wonder about how she is doing. What is her life like? Is she in love? Is she hungry? Is she tired? Does she have other children? Is she happy? What will lead her to have to make such a difficult decision as to place her child for adoption?

If our dossier gets to Ethiopia in the beginning of March (I'm using worst-case scenarios for all our estimates here) and we get a referral four months later (July) for a four month old (we're requesting under 6 months) then this would make our baby approximately seven months right now! He could be born end of February??? I know, I know, these are all just numbers and who knows how old he will be at the time of referral. BUT, the point is, he is growing inside of someone right now. How amazing. We're already praying for you baby! we love you.