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DOS Notice posted February 11th, 2014

3. March, 2014UncategorizedNo comments

Our website was under construction when this notice came out. Still we want to make you aware of any notices or statements issued by the Department of State. The following was posted on adoption.state.gov on February 11, 2014.

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Notice: Indictments of Employees of International Adoption Guides, Inc.

The U.S. Department of State is aware of the indictment of employees of International Adoption Guides, Inc.  We understand many current and former clients of the agency, which currently has an active program only in Ethiopia, may have questions and concerns about how this affects the processing of their adoptions.  We ask that families send their questions to the Office of Children’s Issues through the email address:IAGadoptioncases@state.gov.

The Office of Children’s Issues will post any additional information that we receive on adoption.state.gov, and will arrange periodic calls with affected families.  At this time, we have no indication that this issue will affect adoptions facilitated by any other U.S. adoption service provider operating in Ethiopia.  Any questions related to adoptions from Ethiopia in general should be directed to AskCI@state.gov.

Borrowed from: http://adoption.state.gov/country_information/country_specific_alerts_notices.php?alert_notice_type=alerts&alert_notice_file=ethiopia_3

2013 Ethiopia Program Recap

3. March, 2014UncategorizedNo comments

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January 31, 2014

Dear Families,

It is so hard to believe that another year has passed, and 2014 is here.  January is the month for reflection of the past, and preparation for the New Year.  Do you have a New Year’s Resolution?  As we close out the year 2013 we are reminded of all the “great” that was done, and so much that we have to be thankful for.  Much of the focus during the adoption process tends to be on the stress, delays, setbacks, and obstacles.  As we look onto a new year we want to reflect back on the miracles that were requested and granted during the year 2013.

West Sands started 2013 by hosting three high ranking government officials from Ethiopia.  These three Ethiopian Delegates, toured our Agency, reviewed our files, questioned our policies, and visited a few homes of children who were recently placed from Ethiopia. Though these Delegates arrived in the U.S. with varying opinions of international adoption we feel their outlook was much brighter after leaving West Sands Adoptions. Our staff and adoptive families left a lasting impression on our visitors.  This wasn’t the only evaluation West Sands had to undertake in 2013. It was also the year that West Sands needed to be reaccredited by the COA.  Re-accreditation is required every 4 years, and the process to receive accreditation is designed to intimidate the brightest minds in adoption.  The mountains of paperwork, rules, policies, and requirements to ultimately receive accreditation are something we can be proud of; but in the end we thank The Lord for guiding our path.  On February 28th, 2013 West Sands Adoptions received our renewed Ethiopia license, AND Hague Accreditation.

Besides licensing and accreditation West Sands Adoptions’ made several improvements to the Ethiopia Program in 2013.  We had 2 successful trips to Ethiopia.  We were able to meet with Orphanage Directors to strengthen relationships, and support.  Although MOWCYA required us to stop allowing traveling families to stay at our Guest House/ Transition Home, we found a great new Guest House which provides wonderful accommodations to our traveling adoptive parents.  Additionally, the U.S. State Department announced the implementation of PAIR processing in Ethiopia. This new process is yet another improvement to the overall adoption process in Ethiopia, and helps to ensure a child’s orphan status prior to the finalization of the adoption.

During the summer of 2013 the number of families joining West Sands’ Ethiopia program grew, and we found that we had well over a hundred families here in the U.S. waiting in line for a healthy infant, while there are hundreds of older children in Ethiopia waiting in an orphanage for a family.  We took this conundrum to The Lord, and asked for His direction.  How can we do more to serve so many children that are waiting? With help, encouragement, and support from Lifeline Children’s Services & Children of All Nations, we launched a new focus on the children currently waiting in an orphanage.  We asked the orphanages that we partner with to complete the documents for any waiting child that is eligible for adoption, and we promised these orphanages that we would advocate for these children until we found their forever family.  Additionally, Lifeline Children’s Services & Children of All Nations pledged to advocate with us on behalf of the children who are older, HIV+, with special needs, or in a sibling groups.  We understand that the placement of these children can be more challenging, they may have more medical needs, or social needs, and these children may not be the best match for the majority of adoptive families.  However, because they don’t meet the needs of the majority, we cannot turn our backs on them.  To assist in the placement of these precious children West Sands launched a Dual-Process Program. This Dual-Process Program now allows families to pursue a waiting child as they wait for a healthy infant or younger child referral. The response, support, and requests for this program have been astonishing, and have already assisted with the placement of 4 waiting children.  Through our monthly updates to waiting families, Facebook postings, our website, and with the help of Project Hopeful, we have advocated for and matched 22 waiting children in 2013.

Although international adoption is inherently unpredictable, West Sands’ Ethiopia Adoption program has proven to be a viable program.  We know that entering into an adoption program is more than a big commitment; it is a testament of faith.  This process will grow you in ways you never thought possible.  We appreciate your faith and trust in us, and vow to continue to represent adoptions with the highest standards.  At the end of the day (or year in this case) we all want to know, how many children received a family?  We are pleased to report that despite any setbacks, delays, or slowdowns that we experienced, 64 children were matched, and 80 children came home to their forever family in 2013.

In the recent days we have seen and heard concerning reports that adoption in Ethiopia might stop, or change.  The stress and concern resulting from these reports worried us all.  Again this week the Adoption Network in Ethiopia met with the Minister of Federal MOWCYA, and confirmed that the Ethiopian Federal Government has NO intention of stopping international adoption.  More changes are underway to improve the adoption process, and ensure greater ethical practices within the local levels of the Ethiopian Government.  

The changes we have seen in 2013 only prove that the longevity and ethical standards of the program are of highest priority.  It brings us great pleasure to see the many improvements made to an already outstanding program.  Ultimately all that we are doing to serve orphaned children, and preserve families is against the adversary’s plan.  He wants to discouraged us, and knock us off our path.  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)

From all of our staff, Directors and Board Members at West Sands Adoptions we want to thank you for your continued faith and support in this Sacred Mission. 

Sincerely,

West Sands Adoptions

Rumors of Ethiopia Adoption Program Closure

30. December, 2013UncategorizedNo comments

This post is a follow up on the recent rumor circulating which indicates that adoption from Ethiopia will close in 10 days.  We have verified with several sources in Ethiopia and have found no indication of plans to stop international adoption.  We understand that a committee did meet on Friday to discuss several issues and topics involving improving human rights in Ethiopia.  We have been told that several topics were discussed including; teen pregnancy, poverty, orphaned children, awareness of local adoption, and improvements needed with international adoption.  The possibility of stopping international adoption was also discussed during this meeting, which may be the excerpt quoted in AllAfrica’s recent article. The committee discussed ways to promote local adoption as a means to assist the orphaned children of Ethiopia.  This committee plans to provide an action plan to Parliament in 10 days. This action plan will propose ways to improve human rights in these areas. West Sands supports Ethiopia’s efforts to improve human rights and promote local adoption. At this time we have no reason to believe that these improvements would result in the closure of international adoptions. We have also verified with Federal MOWCYA that they have no intention to stop approving cases, and were unaware of the rumor circulating about a closure to international adoption.

 

We want to extend our thanks to all those who offered prayers and support over the weekend. It is so amazing to see the adoption community come together with love and support in tough times. We encourage those of you who are on Facebook to join West Sands’ Facebook group: West Sands Adoptions Ethiopia Adoption Group for updates, information, and support on similar topics.