Well, we've gotten some action with our adoption since I last updated! About a week and a half ago we received an email with the referrals for our social worker's hosting program (and these referrals were also available to us for adoption) that I had mentioned in my last update.....these referrals were expected by all of us to be older children, but nonetheless there was a possibility that one or more would be within our age range. So, we received a file with 4 children available along with this note from our social worker (which I have edited to retain privacy) about the youngest of the children:
The youngest is age 5. I'm unsure if this is the boy P Gideon was referring to for your family..... I have responded with this inquiry & for the pics to be resent. This 5 yo has an older sibling as well, I would like to think the children would be kept together which makes me believe he must have another child in mind for you...??? Of course any child avail for adoption is avail to you--I'm simply concerned the ages are older then your preferences.
In a report to me yesterday from P Gideon there was word of a 4 year old child available for adoption, but gender is not indicated. As mentioned I have responded to the Pastors to please send the photos & address my concerns/question about the 4 year old (if the child is a 'he') that child might be better suited for your family.
Here is what the report reads:
1. _______ HOME
The Team visited the ______ Home located at _______. The place which doubled up as an orphanage and a School, used to benefit from the Catholic Relief Services of Tamale in the Northern Region of Ghana. The Catholic Relief Services provided the Orphanage cum School food and other supports until it stopped – the reason, the Team did not find out from the proprietress. The place has thirty-five orphans and fifteen needy children (needy because the children either lost a parent or has parents / guardians but no funds to support them to attend School). The youngest orphan in the home is four years old. The home has from Nursery to Junior High School 3 levels
After we received this email, Jake and I talked things over and agreed with our social worker that we would wait to see if this 4 year old would turn out to be a boy. Since the 5 year old boy in the report had an older brother our social worker stated that she would really like to see them placed together if at all possible. Jake and I had not considered taking on a sibling group, so we were all in agreement that the 4 year old would best suit our age preferences and current family dynamic if he is a boy.
So, we received word about this 4 year old almost two weeks ago, and have just kind of been waiting to find out gender. Then a few days ago we received this note from our social worker:
I spoke with P Gideon & he had advised me he does not yet have the data on the 4 year old child we have been waiting on. Seems so simple of a request-but I understand the child is in a different community & they don't have details (age/gender/data) only that the youngest child in this orphanage is 4. I know they can't just pick up a phone or E mail to get this info but he said he would work on trying to reach someone within the community via phone. (They are just making connections with this community/orphanage). Now, they did have this information from P Gideon's recent trip there but apparently it was all on the stolen computers/camera & he doesn't recall if the child is a boy/girl. First, he stated he would be traveling to the community where this child & many other orphans available for adoption are in mid- august & would get the details only then. I asked if there was an alternate way to find out w/out him traveling, ie. phone or Dep of Social Welfare. He agreed to try & phone the community in order to find out. I stressed to him I needed this information in one week.
One thing I have learned in this process is that when the pastors in Ghana say a few days...that translates into Ghana time of a few weeks! :) It seems like a long time to wait about a month to find out the gender of this child, but like our social worker noted later in her email, there is no great way of communication in general. Their internet access is hardly there, and when it is, it is very sporadic and unreliable. And, oh, did you catch that the pastors' office was robbed a few weeks ago, and their lap tops & cameras stolen which contained all the info/bios/photos of available children?! Yes, sometimes when I sit back and look at the experience that we have had with this program I think that we are crazy for even being part of a pilot program, but then again, it is exciting to help pave the way for a brand spankin new idea and process for this country. I also feel like this experience is maybe preparing me to someday have a lengthy stay in Ghana and be one of the contacts for AAC in processing adoptions. I could see myself getting a little mo-ped and trucking around to the different orphanages, taking photos, gathering info, and helping care for the prospective adoption children. I am sure it's not quite as easy as that, but I just feel like this process could go so much faster if they had a good communication system, and better way to commute to these villages. Jake told me that it takes approx 4 hours to travel 60 miles in Ghana, so I can see why the pastors have to carve out a big chunk of time and make appointments to visit these orphanages outside of Accra.
Wow, this update got really long and certainly qualifies for bad blogger ettiqute! However, it really helps me to sort through all of this by writing it out, and I also like to keep track of all the details which I will give to our lil guy someday...whoever he is! And, I'd like to think that someone somewhere who is looking into international adoption might read our blog and get a true and detailed glimpse into the process. I guess bottom line is that, things are progressing little by little and we will wait for answers. :)