*I'm sorry, once again, for the lack of pictures in this post. All of the photos that I took on this day were deleted by a certain little mischievous boy.
Almaz came out this afternoon and said that she needed to talk to us. All 6 families gathered together, and she told us that she had some bad news. Several orphanages south of Addis Ababa have closed recently, and those with children from that region won't be able to move forward with their adoptions until more investigation can be done into their cases. This will cause delays, and even though Almaz said she would work her hardest to get the matter resolved, she really has no idea how long the process will take. This affects 4 of the families in our travel group, even though their children weren't from the orphanages that were closed. Hopefully, the Ethiopian government will listen to reason and process their cases quickly. Almaz then went on to say that those of us with dark chocolate kids (as she calls the children from the Gambela region), which includes us and 1 other family, won't be affected by the investigations taking place. However, she informed us that we have 1 week for MOWA to produce our letters. After that, the courts close down for their yearly recess. If our letter does not show up in our file in the next week, we will have to wait until the courts reopen in the middle of October before our cases can move forward. We all stood there, tears running down our cheeks, holding our children a little tighter. At this point, none of us know when we will be able to see them again. But I do know that Almaz and the other AGCI staff members are amazing, and will do their best to fight for all of us.
After their baths, I toweled "O" and "U" off, lotioned them, and then dressed them in their PJ's. Both boys did OK when we left them today, after one of the special mothers explained to them that we would be back again tomorrow. We ate dinner at the hotel with the other families in our group, and then headed back to our room. Tomorrow, we'll have to tell the boys goodbye, and we're dreading it. We bonded so well with them this week; I wonder how it will go when we don't see them for several more months? When we finally do get to come back, will they trust us not to leave them again? Ugh - this is so hard. But we do know that God is in control, and His timing will be perfect.
Tomorrow afternoon, we'll head south to Ziway to visit Gary and Peggy Ifft. I can't wait to see more of the Ethiopian countryside on the way!