|Aimee and Dan on the gondola|
I just got back from an incredible weekend in cowboy country – Jackson Hole, WY, visiting my sister and brother. If you have never been – you need to go. The landscape is breathtaking and the skiing is even better. In fact, the best of my life, and I've been skiing since I was a tiny kid between my parents legs at Sunapee and Cannon.
It was a 4-day weekend getaway that was much needed after a week of grappling over what our next move will be in this adoption journey. As I said in last entry – there's a lot going on in Ethiopia right now, which could significantly slow down the approval of adoption cases. And while Ken and I are completely committed to adopting from Ethiopia (it’s all consuming) ... we are at the same time... realizing that we may need to look at other options. So here they are.
After speaking to the deputy director of programs at our agency WHFC – she strongly encouraged us to submit a dual application. This means we can apply to another country in addition to our current application to Ethiopia. Right now, there are pilot programs in Burundi, which is a tiny country described by our agency as "one of the poorest countries in the world," and is located in Central Africa, bordered by Rwanda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In an information packet WHFC went on to say...
"In Burundi, about half the population is under 28 years of age. Children are at risk for rape, prostitution, child labor, internal displacement, kidnapping and military recruitment - child soldiering being one of the country’s most urgent issues. The Government of Burundi is attempting to lower this risk through educational initiatives. There are 6 years of compulsory education, with a relatively high attendance rate. President Nkurunziza instituted a government policy supporting free primary education for all children.
Like other aspects of life in Burundi, health care has suffered due to years of political crisis. There is a great need to improve all health services. Infant mortality rates are one of the highest in the world due to a high incidence of HIV/AIDS, malaria, diarrhea, tuberculosis and other serious medical conditions. Moreover, although about 200,000 children have been orphaned because of HIV/AIDS, even more have been orphaned because of other diseases, poverty and abandonment."
After reading that – Burundi immediately went to the top of my list. But like I said – it’s a pilot program – meaning there are so many unknowns. I asked the deputy director of programs if there have been any successful adoptions yet from Burundi – and she said while there is paperwork in place, so far no one has brought home a child.
There's also a pilot program in the Congo (DRC) right now as well, and the Korea program just re-opened to new applicants after it was temporarily closed due to an announcement in 2008 that the government intended to end international adoptions in the coming years (which means pretty soon). In the beginning of all this, we met with an internationally-renowned orphan doctor to get some information, and she told us the Korea program is excellent and the kids are incredibly healthy and well taken care of.
So now the question is – where do we turn next?
I know where my heart is pulling me... but there is so much to consider. I will let you know what we decide in the next few weeks. Until then, there's nothing like spending time with family, skiing in two feet of fresh powder, and enjoying a little après ski to take your mind off of things.
|Base of Thunder Quad Lift|