Update and giving opportunity!

we hope everyone had a blessed Easter Sunday yesterday and that you had the chance to spend time with loved ones!

things are moving along quickly with our case…finally!!! after years of waiting it looks as though we will leave next week to pick up Noah and bring him home! (we’ll post more on that later)

As we did on our last trip, we will be taking over much needed items for the foster home, Acacia Village (the home where Noah is living right now).   We will be packing our personal items in carry on bags which will allow us to check in 4 bags full of donations.  If you would rather give a tax deductible gift that is possible by making checks out to  ” Radius Church ”  and in the memo put Boughner/Ethiopia and we will do the shopping .  Please let us know ASAP if you are able to help out.  thanks so much!

Here is a list of items needed:

Multivitamin drops

Spatulas

Cold & cough syrup

Cotton tips

Gauze ( sterilized)

Diaper rash cream  A+D ointment  + zinc oxide cream

Saline nasal drops

Anti fungal cream ( Clotrimazole)

Hydrocortisone anti-itch cream

Anti acid tablet

Normal bandage & elastic bandage

Gloves (rubber, latex and latex free)

Moisturizer shampoo

Bibs

Boy¹s & girl¹s clothes for older children and toddlers

Paracetamol suppository (125mg and 250mg)

Paracetamol syrup from 3 months and above

Wipers

Diaper

Hand sanitizer

Beads

Toys

 

 

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Visa approval and pics

Well, we got news today from the Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya that our petition for Noah’s Visa has been approved by the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services Office in Nairobi.  What this means is that we can now move forward in getting Noah his Visa so we can FINALLY bring him back to the U.S.  However, we have to wait for the embassy in Addis to send us an appointment date so we can book our travel.   Every time we have reached a milestone in this process, it seems like something else comes up that we have to wait on to move forward.  That being said, we are confident that we will be traveling to Addis in April as early as the week of the 16th to bring Noah home.

I can’t begin to tell just how excited we are.  Our 2 year journey is finally coming to an end with the real adventure beginning when we bring Noah home and join him with our family.

Thank you so, so, so very much for your continued support and prayers.  below are some recent pics of Noah.  He is starting to craw!

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An email from Ethiopia

Our friends the Baxter’s are in Ethiopia picking up their daughter Elliana as I type.  She sent us a sweet email this morning that totally made the day!!!

“I saw your baby today. He looks so good and has gained weight. I didnt recognize him at first :)   All the babies were sleeping when we were there but we did get to catch a glimpse of his eyes as he was stirring. We also got to touch his sweet face and tell him you are coming soon.

All the babies really seem at peace and are oblivious to the heartache their parents are going through right now.  So even though your heart aches for him right now, please know he looks so peaceful  and healthy. Praying you hear very soon that you will be traveling. Pack your bags so you can leave quickly.  Blessings my friend!”

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USCIS Nairobi

We found this information on the USCIS website.  It helps shed light on the steps our paperwork will be going through in Nairobi!  Good news is most cases are approved once they are received and then travel to pick up children is shortly after that.

If your case is transferred, please see the following general steps for what to expect and what may be expected of you:

Step 1 Embassy Addis Ababa will inform you if your case is transferred to USCIS Nairobi.
Step 2 USCIS Nairobi will confirm that your case has been received.
Step 3 USCIS Nairobi will review your case and all supporting documentation and evidence to identify any potential issues, discrepancies, or concerns with such documentation or evidence and then take appropriate action.
Step 4 If deemed necessary, USCIS Nairobi will send a Request for Evidence (RFE) or take other appropriate action.
Step 5 You will have an opportunity to respond to such RFE or other action by working with your adoption service providers and/or orphanage director to provide the requested documentation or evidence.
Step 6 USCIS Nairobi will review the information you provide, and ultimately, make a determination on your adoption petition.
Step 7 USCIS Nairobi will inform you of the decision, and if your petition is approved, will return it to Embassy Addis Ababa for visa processing.

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Encouragement and next step

We received an encouraging email from our agency today about the submission of our paperwork to Nairobi, which I will share below.  This email helped to put things into prespective so everything doesn’t feel like it’s caving in as much as it did earlier today.

“Unfortunately the Embassy doesn’t tell us exactly why they send cases to Nairobi other than its ‘not clearly approvable”.  What we have seen is that the cases clear rather quickly once reviewed in Nairobi (like in a matter of days once the actual files arrives in Nairobi).  We don’t know the order they will review the cases, but you will informed directly and we will be copied.  Thanks for copying me with their e-mail.

Recently the Embassy has most often been sending cases of abandonment to Nairobi.  It seems they first ask for the police officers phone number and then if they either can’t reach the officer or do not hear what they need to hear, they forward it to Nairobi.  I know of one case where the police officer simply refused to speak with the Embassy for reasons of his own. 

One family that I’m working with was submitted to the Embassy in January.  The Embassy tried to contact the police officer – we’re assuming without success – because on March 7th the case was sent to Nairobi.   USCIS in Nairobi cleared them on March 16th  and they traveled immediately. Another  family was submitted to the Embassy in December. The Embassy asked for the phone number of the officer first, and then later for an interview with the person who found the child.   It dragged on until the end of February when the US Embassy sent it to Nairobi.  Then the case was cleared on March 1st and the family traveled quickly.  They are home with their little one now.

One of the family’s I’ve talked to,  found an internet group of families adopting from Ethiopia who have had their cases sent to Nairobi.  Basically the families on the group said they wished the agencies could by-pass the US Embassy and simply forward the cases to Nairobi for approval because Nairobi works faster.  Unfortunately, we can’t do that but its nice to know that the families who’ve gone through this, have a lot of faith in USCIS Nairobi.”

Please pray for the families of those who are in the same situation as we are.  Pray for favor and the process to move quickly.

On a really positive note, four of the seven other families we traveled with to court have cleared embassy.  Three of them are in the country as I type with their children, the fourth family just found out today!  We are so excited for them and hopeful for when our time comes!

 

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Not “clearly approvable”???

So today started like many days over the past few weeks…in tears…crying out to God asking why?  But yet deep down feeling God’s peace and knowing he is in control.  WOW, that is hard for me…”Hello my name is Jeanne and I am a CONTROL FREAK!”  I have to chuckle at how God gently reminds me that I am not and that I need to put all my trust in him!  And so today that is in full effect!

So like I started to say, today started out with tears.  Lots and lots of tears.  The kind of tears that leave you breathless and your eyes buffy…these tears weren’t for lack of communication from the US Embassy!  We heard from them, we just didn’t hear what we wanted to.  Here is an excerpt of what we received:

“We regret to inform you that the consular section has determined that your Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative on behalf of Amanuel Boughner  is not “clearly approvable.”  Consular officers have limited, delegated authority from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) and may only approve Form I-600 petitions that are found to be “clearly approvable.”  “Clearly approvable” means that the petition and supporting documentation clearly establish that the child is eligible for classification as an orphan as defined by U.S. immigration law; all criteria identified on the Form I-600A approval regarding the child and any state pre-adoption requirements are satisfied; and there are no concerns of fraud, child buying or other inappropriate practices in the adoption process.  In a case where the consular officer finds that the evidence presented is insufficient to establish to his or her satisfaction that the child is eligible, the officer must forward the Form I-600 petition to the USCIS office in Nairobi, Kenya, which has jurisdiction over Form I-600 petitions filed in Addis Ababa, for final adjudication.

 

Please note that a consular officer’s finding that a case is not “clearly approvable” is not an unfavorable determination or a denial of a Form I-600 petition.  It simply means that the consular officer is unable to approve the case based on the documentation provided.”

My initial reaction was “are you serious???  Our case is not ‘clearly approvable’???”.  Hello, do you realize consular that we have traveled half way around the world, held OUR child in our arms, kissed him, prayed over him, went to a foreign court, stood before a judge and we are legally his parents.  He carries our last name on his birth certificate.  So please dear consular tell me why you have the power “in the name of USCIS law” to tell me I cannot have my child!?!?  Was not our I-600A approved to move forward with this process?  Now you are telling me the evidence of our child’s situation is not ‘clear’ to you.

Let me remind you dear consular that this child has been dealt a horrible hand in life right off the bat.  He is living in an institution, he never had a maternal bond that is much needed for any person who is born.  By the grace of God, we are his family and your decision is keeping him from his forever family!

This is the part that really makes me angry:  ”Consular officers have limited, delegated authority from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) and may only approve Form I-600 petitions that are found to be “clearly approvable.”   If you have such limited authority then maybe you need to revisit the process!  Maybe you shouldn’t be handling these cases where people’s emotions are high and children’s lives are in the balance.  You don’t have the power to clear it but you surely have the power to keep a child from his family where he needs to be.  Way to go USA, way to make the laws as clear as mud!!!

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Noah is crawling!

We got this update today from one of Noah’s caregivers:

He has started to crawl, only with his arms, he hasn’t quite gotten his legs to cooperate yet, but he is getting there. If you put a toy in front of him, he can get it rather fast with his little army crawl. He also has 4 teeth now and seems to be doing very well with playing with toys and sitting up. I know there was concern about his health and his legs when he first came and when the family was visiting so I wanted to pass along the news that seems to be doing great and moving around all over the place!

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Please God…PLEASE

Well it’s the start of another week and we are hoping that this will be the week we get the news we have been waiting for from the US Embassy in Addis.  Everyday I obsessively check my personal email account to see if there is news!

I see this picture every day and I think, PLEASE GOD…PLEASE!!!

As I was driving in my car today I was noticing the leaves blooming on the trees.  I heard God tell/remind me about how he cares for those trees and has a time for when they should bloom.  Much like this adoption, God has a time for when it is supposed to come to fruition and HE will supply the grace to wait!

Until then we wait on God.

To our little Noah, we love you, miss you and can’t wait to bring you home to your family!!!

WE LOVE YOU!!!

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Our journey thus far…going back in time…

3/14/2012 – No new updates from the US Embassy in Addis and we are starting to feel the anxiety set in.  Now we are really pressing into God!!!

3/6/2012 – US Embassy requested additional information on our case.  Police officer’s phone number who brought Noah to the orphanage.

2/28/2012 – Confirmation from US Embassy in Addis that they were reviewing our case.

2/21/2012 – Our agency turned in our court documents to the US Embassy in Addis for final processing of the adoption.

1/9/2012 – Final Ethiopian court approval that Noah is officially our child

1/2/2012 – Went before a judge in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to give our consent to adopt Noah.  Our case was delayed a week due to missing paperwork.

12/28/2011 – Met Noah for the very first time in person.  We are so in love with this little boy.

12/26/2011 - Departed for Ethiopia to meet our son Noah

12/2011 – Received notice from our agency that we have been scheduled for court in Ethiopia on January 2, 2012.  We must be in Ethiopia a few days prior to court to finally meet Noah!

9/13/2011 – We got our referral for Noah!!!  One of the happiest days…it’s like finding out your pregnant only you get to see pictures of that little munchkin!  The real wait begins!!!

6/27/2011 – Our first child we were matched with was terminated.  We are put back on the waiting list for another match!

4/2011 – We received our first referral for “Noah” – cutest little bugger!

3/2010 – 4/2011 – waiting to be matched with a child!!!  Lots going on with changes to the process.  Huge emotional rollercoaster!

3/2010 – Submit our dossier to Ethiopia!!!  Sign, sealed, delivered!!!  Waiting, waiting, waiting…according to our agency they were a year behind on matching children with families.

9/2009 – 3/2010 – prepared the dossier… this documents contains all sorts of goodies.  Birth certificates, Marriage certificates, police clearance, SLED clearance, doctors notes, etc…  Needless to say with both of of working full time and having another child this process took much longer than we anticipated!

8/2009 – We had our Home Study with an International Adoption Social Worker

8/5/2009 – Filled out our application to adopt a child from Ethiopia!!!

There were other events that took place during this time.  Fingerprints expiring with our government, petitions having to be renewed…it has been a long journey and we aren’t even finished yet.  We are hoping to hear some good news from the US Embassy in Addis soon!!!

Noah’s health is still poor!

Through it all God is good.  He is teaching us daily to put our faith in Him.  He gently reminds us that he loves Noah more than we ever could and he is in good hands.  The home where Noah lives is amazing.  He is surrounded by loving, caring, Godly people.

I personally have days of depression and outbursts of tears.  Again, God reminds me I (my family) am not alone in this.  There are other families anxiously waiting for their children.  Please continue to keep us all in prayer.  For favor with the US Embassy, the hearts of the expectant parents who eagerly wake every day looking for that “email” from Addis telling us to come be with our children.  For our children, whom have been through so much in their short lives, for their health and for them to be united with their FOREVER families!!!

 

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where we are at….

here is a note from our agency on where we are at in this process:

More recently, the embassy has begun asking for the phone number of the police officer involved when a child has been found abandoned.  The embassy then proceeds to contact the police officer to discuss the circumstances surrounding the child’s abandonment.  This process has not been as successful in satisfying the embassy as to the orphan status of the adopted child.   We have now had 3 cases for abandoned children that have been forwarded to the USCIS office in Nairobi for review.  The 3rd case was just sent this week, but in the first two cases USCIS has approved the orphan status of the children within days of receipt.  What we want you to be aware of is that having your case forwarded to Nairobi is not a denial for a visa.  Upon receipt of the case the USCIS office can do one of three things.  They can approve the case; they can make an RFE (request for more evidence); or they can deny the case outright.  We want to assure you that CWA’s partner orphanages take great care to provide all the documentation necessary to support the orphan status of each child we refer.   The fact that the U.S. Embassy does not automatically determine that they can determine the orphan status of a child does not mean that anything is particularly wrong.   It just means that they feel they have reached the limit of their authority to judge the validity of a case and prefer to have USCIS do an additional review.

Many of our recent abandonment cases have come from the Shashemene orphanage.  For those parents whose children originated in Shashemene, we have received a fresh request from the nurse there for certain donations.  If you carry donations for this orphanage, just be sure to tell the staff at Acacia Village where it needs to go and they will set it aside to send with someone traveling there.  These most recent requests include children’s clothes, blankets, socks, disposable diapers, diaper rash ointment, disposable gloves, baby bottles, and first aid medications.

Noah is abandoned and from Shashemene.  So both of these apply to him.  Hopefully, the embassy will be able to contact the police officer and be satisfied with the case.   If you would like to donate any money or items for the orphanage for our return trip, please let us know.

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