Here's the news from our agency:
The Ethiopian courts have stated that any court cases after April 9th, 2010 require adoptive parents to attend. This is due to over 50 cases of families (no families from our agency) not accepting their children upon meeting them for their US Embassy appointment. This requires a great deal of additional work for the Ethiopia system to deal with in which families have not accepted their referred children, after the case has already legally been approved and finalized in court. In an effort to deal with this problem, the courts have stated that families must now attend court dates (and thus meet and "approve" their child before the adoption is finalized in court).
This will likely mean that families will be required to take two trips to Ethiopia. One trip to attend their child's court hearing and a second trip to attend their child's embassy appointment and take their child home. There is usually 1 to 2 months between each.
The way the process had gone before was something like this: You get a referral for a child, then if you say you want that child, there is a court date in Ethiopia where you will be declared the legal parents. . .You don't meet the child until several weeks later when you have your embassy appointment and bring the child home. I can't imagine refusing a child at the last minute, but it's happened. We have several questions, but our social worker is still trying to get further information herself from the staff in Ethiopia.
There are some good things that come with having to travel twice. We'd get to meet our child earlier, we'd have more time to take in the surroundings, learn about the country, and shop for souvenirs. So we wait.
The other news we have is that we got an email from our social worker yesterday explaining that we projected wait time for siblings (which is what we were hoping for) could be as long as two years. We really don't want to wait that long, so we are rethinking our plans. . .siblings or not, a toddler or an infant. Decisions.