We have received information that MOWA (The Ministry of Women's and Children's Affairs in Ethiopia) is saying that they will be writing significantly less recommendation letters to the courts in Ethiopia for families to "pass court" for adoption. As you know, we are traveling to Ethiopia in a few weeks for court, and we hope to pass. Our court date is April 5th in Ethiopia, which will happen while you are sleeping on the night of April 4th. Keep MOWA in your prayers this week as they are meeting with the courts to discuss these issues. Here is a little more information from our adoption agency regarding MOWA and how it may affect our kiddos in Ethiopia:
"MOWA is the central authority on all children's issues. On paper, they are the approving party for both dossier and children's documents (whether a child should get a passport, birth certificate, adoption, visa, etc). Thus, they are the authority on anything relating to a child in Ethiopia.
Regarding MOWA and the recommendation letters: These letters are not sent to court until the actual day of a family's court case. However, these letters are a necessity for a family to pass court. If MOWA does decide to significantly decrease the amount of recommendation letters signed and sent per day, this means more families will not be passing court on the first attempt (which could slow down the overall process). Currently, about 60% of families pass court on the first date.
This letter is not sent until the day of court and "not sending" the letter does not necessarily mean your family is rejected. It may mean your family's case needs to be re-submitted to court until they do submit one. Before this change, MOWA neglected to send recommendation letters for families often, which resulted in families not passing court multiple times.
We are unsure how long this decrease will be in place, in addition to how significant of an impact it will have (depending on the amount of cases they actually decrease per day). We do know that the judges and the Ethiopian courts are major advocates for adoption and are presently pushing MOWA to continue to process many cases per day.
Right now families will still travel for court dates, but may not pass if MOWA does not send a recommendation letter. The family would then give their consent to adopt the child at court, and our Power of Attorney would go to court for the family on the subsequent dates.
This all being said, we are unaware of timelines at this point. We will need to watch and see the effect over coming weeks/months in order to see if it will impinge on timelines. At present, meetings are taking place between MOWA and the Ethiopian courts. Once we have confirmed information, we will relay this to families."
We will return from Ethiopia a few days after court whether we pass or not. Once we "pass court", it will be approximately 5 weeks until we return to pick up our kids FOREVER - wooooohhooooo! :)