We had our court hearing, and ultimately while the news is not positive, there were some good elements.
The tribunal is not able to rule against legislation, and so the decision to remove our names from the register and our file from China remains. It sucks. I don't know what else to say.
I mentioned there were some good elements. The tribunal was awesome. They believe we had a very strong case and said we are a very impressive couple whose passion and commitment were evident, however they are bound by law. They said if there was any way at all they could change the decision that the Dept had made that they would. They were incredibly empathetic towards us, and justifiably interrogative of the Dept. They drilled the Dept. on a number of issues trying to see if there was any way around this at all; sadly there wasn't/isn't.
All along the Dept kept saying, 'Don't worry, when your son turns 1 you can start the process again!' (like it was no big deal to just lose the past four years spent in the process). Now they have advised us that even if we reapply when he turns one (in eight weeks time), they are unlikely to progress our application at all in this financial year as they already have enough couples to deal with. They have also said that they wouldn't accept us for China BECAUSE THE WAIT IS TOO LONG so they are directing couples to other countries. Can anyone else see the irony in this? Sometimes I wish Queensland had private adoption agencies instead of an apparently anti-adoption government department managing these things.
The recommendation for us is to finish having any biological children and then when the youngest of those turns one year of age to apply again, and hopefully by that time they will be accepting couples for China again and able to move us through the process.
And that is that.
But trusting. Trusting that everything will work out eventually. We will have our blended family. It will not be in the time frame we hoped or planned for, and we have a thousand more boxes to check and hoops to jump, but we will not give up.
Thank you for sharing our journey.
Monday, October 11, 2010
We had our court hearing, and ultimately while the news is not positive, there were some good elements.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Ah, my lovely blog. So neglected... but for good reason.
Where do I start? For those who know me in person or on FB, this will come as no surprise. For those who have been following our blog for a few years, I have some news.
Early 2009 we looked at the wait times from China and concluded that we were many, many years away from a referral. Some website calculators using referral data predict our referral to be another ten years away. You may be aware that it has always been our intention to have a blended family of biological and adopted children. You know where this is headed right?
We made a decision to pursue pregnancy.
Our beautiful boy was born in December. He is now 8 and a half months old.
In February this year, when our son was two months old, new legislation came into effect in Australia. I guess they figured things weren't difficult enough already for Australian couples trying to adopt. Basically, if you have a child under 12 months of age in your care, you are deemed ineligible and your names must be removed from the register of 'suitable adoptive parents'. Once your child turns a year old, you can recommence the adoption process FROM THE BEGINNING. Yep, there is no allowance for putting a file on hold, you are pulled out completely and required to go through the process again, even though the period of ineligibility is temporary.
This seems ludicrous to us and defies logic. We have been told that it is because we need to be prepared to accept the allocation of a child at any given moment, and if we already have a baby we are not in a position to do so. Of course, the facts don't matter - it is irrelevant that China refers on a chronological basis and that we are never going to get an out-of-the-blue surprise phone call one day. This legislation is generic and covers all adoptions in Australia, including local adoptions and those from all participating countries. There is no allowance for individual country programs (eg. those with exorbitant wait times) or family circumstances.
Anyway, long (loooooong) story short, our file has not been pulled from China. We are in the process of pursuing administrative tribunal as we fight to stay logged-in. We are also working towards having the legislation amended, so we'll see what success we have with that.
So that's our news... hopefully it was worth waiting for!
Here's a pic of our joy:
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Grrr! I am saddened and angered to learn of a new website and adoption service - Adoption Australia. What a con. For $214 they can provide you with information that is otherwise freely available. They are preying on unsuspecting and vulnerable couples who are new to the process and probably not yet aware that the same information can be found at the Attorney General's website or obtained from their state authority. Likewise, support and advice is available from each state's support group (such as IAFQ in Qld). I hope they don't suck too many people in.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Last month it was a delight to meet Xinran. I have all her books and have been a fan for years. Her latest book, Messages from an Unknown Chinese Mother is a fascinating read. In it she documents stories from a range of Chinese birth mothers. The book is insightful and heart-wrenching. It is a must-read for the Chinese adoption community.
I took the opportunity to have Xinran sign a couple of her books.
Friday, February 26, 2010
Australians have the option of adopting internationally from 14 different countries. As I mentioned late last year, the Ethiopia program is currently suspended pending investigation and a decision by the Attorney General. Other programs are now dropping like flies. Philippines have placed a moratorium on adoption of children 24 months and younger. The Fiji program is on hold until a bilateral agreement can be reached.
Some countries have placed small quotas on the number of files it will accept from Australia this year (for example, Lithuania will only accept TWO files from each central authority for adoption of children under age 6), and other countries have obscene waiting times (for example, China is nearly up to four years from the time they receive your file, and all indicators suggest it is going to get much worse before it gets better.)
Local adoption is so scarce it is almost non-existent.
None of this is great news for those hoping to build their family through adoption.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
I am numb. This news is so heartbreaking for my many friends currently in the Ethiopia program. The 'unknownness' of the future of the program is the hardest part. I've shed a lot of tears today. Hoping and praying that after the review there is a positive outcome for the program's viability. I've bolded the paragraph of most interest...
The Attorney-General, the Hon Robert McClelland MP, has decided that the Ethiopia–Australia program should be suspended because of concerns that Australia can no longer conduct intercountry adoptions in Ethiopia in a manner consistent with its obligations under the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in respect of Intercountry Adoption.
Australia is committed to ensuring that all our intercountry adoption programs comply with the principles of the Hague Convention. This is the case whether or not the partner country is a signatory to the Convention.
Adoptive families should note that the Attorney-General’s Department is not aware of any allegations of child trafficking in the Ethiopia–Australia program. There is no suggestion of illegal practices in relation to any adoptions previously finalised between Ethiopia and Australia.
The program will be suspended pending the finalisation of a formal review which is expected to be completed by the end of 2009. The review will assess the viability of the program and its compliance with the principles of the Hague Convention. A decision about the future of the program will then be made.
Activity during the interim suspension will be restricted to those children already referred to the Australia program. This will ensure that no children will be disadvantaged by the arrangements. The following cases will be progressed:
* cases where prospective adoptive parents have already been allocated a child from Ethiopia, and
* cases where a child has already been referred to the program and the child can be matched with a family approved to adopt from Ethiopia. Children who have already been referred to the program will be matched in the usual way with the most appropriate adoptive family in accordance with the Matching Guidelines. In these cases, it is likely to be a number of months before applicants are advised whether they are allocated such a child.
No new children will be accepted by the program during the suspension. Applicant files currently waiting in Ethiopia to be allocated will remain there until a decision about the future of the program is made.
A key reason for the suspension is a new requirement of the Ethiopian Government that the program enter into a formal agreement to provide community development assistance. The Australian program has previously been exempt from the requirement to provide financial/material assistance because of its unique Government-to-Government arrangement. We have recently been advised that this exemption can no longer continue. The review is considering whether implementation of the new arrangements is consistent with Australia’s obligations under the Hague Convention.
The Attorney-General considers it is not possible for the program to continue accepting new referrals of children into the program until a full review of the program is completed.
Australia values its bilateral relationship with Ethiopia and looks forward to working closely with the Ethiopian Government during the review to ensure that the best interests of children are met.
We understand that many families who are waiting to adopt a child from Ethiopia will be distressed by the decision to suspend the program. However, it is important that we have confidence that children are in need of an overseas family and that no improper financial gains arise from the process.
Further information and updates about the program will be made available in due course.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
I watched the report 'Ethiopia - Fly Away Children' last night on Foreign Correspondent. Again, it raised critical issues around child harvesting and trafficking for international adoption. I encourage you to take half an hour out to watch it (the video is online as well as the story).
I am disgusted at the footage of the worker from adoption agency Christian World Adoption going into villages and asking parents who among them might like to hand their children over to live in America.
I struggle with removing children from a country when they have a known parent there. There is a difference between relinquishment due to poverty and abandonment. The problem is, some agencies feed lies to adoptive parents, who truly believe they are adopting an orphan.
These are tough issues for many prospective adoptive parents to deal with, but they must be addressed. We cannot pretend these issues do not exist. We need ethics in all areas of adoption, and as horrible as the program was to watch last night, I commend the ABC for broadcasting it and raising awareness.
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
It's our first year LIDverasry today. Let's look how far we've come in the past year.
When we were logged in, there were 948 days worth of log-ins in front of us.
There are now 899 days.
That makes it a grand total of 49 days referred in the past twelve months.
The most recent referrals were logged in for over 41 months.
Working on an average of 3.1 days of referrals a month, we are due to receive our baby some time in January 2019. (See the calculations)
Even if things speed up 10x (what are the chances?) and CCAA starts referring month for month, it will still be 30 months more of waiting, or February 2012 before our referral.
I'm still optimistic that things will speed up after we get through the May 2007 files (when the rules changed). When people ask I tell them we expect it to be another three or four years wait. Surely it won't be ten.