Participated in another conference call for Rwanda adoption families last Thursday...as eager as we are to get further in this process (which for us means receiving a letter of non-objection from the Ministry), there are several families who are waiting to receive referral information on the children who will be joining their families...that's got to be exciting but tough at the same time, especially since the 2-month deadline originally given to them has passed.
Summary of info from the call:
1.) Whereas we'd previously been told to expect a wait of 3-6 months between the time our dossier arrived in Rwanda (DTR = Dossier to Rwanda) and receipt of non-objection (ie., approval) letter, it now looks like at least 5 months. Also, the Rwanda program coordinator repeatedly emphasized that timelines/deadlines are treated much differently in Africa than in America...whereas we tend to look at them as set in stone, in African culture they're viewed in a much "looser" manner...reminds me of the following exchange in "Pirates of the Caribbean":
ELIZABETH: Wait! You must return me to shore! According to the rules of the Order of the Brethen --BARBOSSA: First. Your return to shore was not part of our negotiations nor our agreement, and so I 'must' do nothing. Secondly: you must be a pirate for the pirate's code to apply. And you're not. And thirdly ... the code is more what you'd call guidelines than actual rules. Welcome aboard the Black Pearl, Miss Turner.
Yes, that was a bit random, but hopefully you see the connection...in international adoption, "deadlines" are "more what you'd call guidelines than actual rules."
2.) It's likely the adoption process will continue to slow down before it speeds up again. The increased delays are mostly a result of:
a.) Lack of manpower (only 1 individual in the Ministry currently tasked with most international adoption matters)
b.) Technical issues (sending/receiving a fax and scanning documents not as commonplace as in America)
c.) Rwandan Ministry's recent (within the last few months) decision to take a greater role in the referral process
d.) Increased number of families wishing to adopt from Rwanda...our agency is actually limiting the number of dossiers it sends to Rwanda in order to avoid overloading a system which is not yet ready to handle a large number of adoptions.
3.) In spite of the fact that this Rwanda adoption process is slowing down, adoption from Rwanda is still quicker than most other countries.
So, whereas we were originally hoping (back when we started in October 2008) to receive our children by Christmas 2009, and during the past few months we were hoping to travel to Rwanda in February-ish, it now seems more likely we will travel late spring/early summer 2010.