Monday, August 31, 2015

EthioStork Orphan Status Verification Reunites Twins

A family who experienced how important an orphan status verification can be shares their story:

In 2013 we began our second adoption partnering with Adoption Ministry of Ethiopia and Children’s House International.  Our son Miles who is also from Ethiopia had been home with us for over two years at that point, and we were excited to grow our family even more.  By the end of May, 2013 our homestudy was approved, on July 15th we received our I-171H.  At that point we were really starting to get excited at the idea of being matched with another child, so on July 29th, when our agency informed us of a  six and half month old baby boy, we were thrilled!  We accepted the referral for Maranatha on August 1st.  We were surprised and pleased that our case had been submitted to court on August 14, 2013. 

Then everything changed when we received a phone call on October 21st, 2013.  Through the process of our case moving forward, the details of Maranatha’s story came out.  EthioStork conducted a thorough investigation and an interview with the woman who had been involved in Maranatha’s first days of life, and the investigation and interview revealed he had a twin sister.  We were both shocked and anxious, because at this point we really didn’t know if we would be bringing Marantha and his twin sister home at all.  There were so many unknowns.  
It wasn’t until November 7th that we were informed we would be adopting both Maranatha and his twin sister, Amen.  Our homestudy indicated our desire for siblings, and our I-171H had approved us to bring home siblings, so that part had not been a problem.  We had actually hoped and prayed for twins from the very beginning of this adoption.  We could not have been happier, we were not only growing our family, but we were bringing home twins!  We flew to Ethiopia weeks later and appeared in court on November 21st, 2013; we passed.  On February 20th, we were interviewed at the US. Embassy in Ethiopia and flew home to the US with our twins on February 22nd, 2014. 

Our story is unique, I have never heard of anyone finding out about a twin sibling, part way through an adoption.  We are so grateful for the hard work done by the wonderful people we work with at Adoption Ministry, Children’s House International, and the investigations and interviews done by EthioStork.  If it weren’t for the diligent work of EthioStork, our twins could have been separated for life, never knowing one another, never knowing their story.  We are grateful, beyond words. Thank you.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

EthioStork Now Allows You to Finance Our Services!

Do you want our help, but need to pay over time?  You can now finance through PayPal.  Email us for details today to take advantage of our latest special of $0 down for birth parent and history tracing services!

Monday, May 4, 2015

An Orphan Status Verification that Saved Twins from Separating

I was in Ethiopia for my quarterly quality check visit when our local EthioStork employee called me. She was in Oromiya region, conducting Orphan Status Verifications on a number of children who were being adopted through an agency that has made it a requirement for a verification by EthioStork to be done before an adoption is finalized. 

"That two babies, A and M are actually twins" my employee said. I could hear the emotions in her being excitement. And I was feeling the same thing.  That what we do really matters, that this was a matter of life and death. A matter of siblings, minutes apart in birth order, being saved from being miles and hours apart, placed in different homes with different families.  A and M were referred to families in separate states. The agency had no idea they were twins as they had separate paperwork and the orphanage representative had told them they were brought by the police separately.   While there was relief this was discovered, much was left for the agency to resolve. They had to rush to get both cases out of court so they don't get approved separately and also make the hard decision of which family gets to take the twins.  It was heart breaking for one family, and double the joy for another.  But most importantly, twins were reunited.   I have come across such situations before, just not with good endings.  In the other situations (unfortunately I knew about them long after the adoptions were finalized and there wasn't much I could do). 

To be continued Monday May 11. Come back then and read the rest. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

How EthioStork helped a child come home...

"I do have to say many families caught up in the IAG mess were unable to bring their kids home. We hired EthioStork right away and were able to keep our case moving forward. EthioStork did our investigation, as well as our finder interview, and it was done professionally and promptly. I wholeheartedly believe that, because of EthioStork, we were able to complete our adoption and the embassy accepted all the information needed. I can't thank you enough!  EthioStork was a God send, and I'm so happy I hired EthioStork!!! "


Spring Special...

Get 30% off of birth parent searches if you sign up in March!  Email for more information.  Also, let us know what webinar topics interest you! 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

New Webinar to take place in March 2015.

Duni will be conducting a webinar in March.  The cost is $60/person, with a minimum of five particpants.  Let us know what is on your mind and what topics interest you....Make a comment here or check us out on Facebook. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Who, When, Why to Have a Birth Family Search Conducted, Part II

When the “Deceased” Birth Mother Isn’t

I began to think about Aster’s birth mother long before the nanny handed her to me. It took many months for my daughter’s biological mother not to enter into my daily thoughts. I felt such a deep sadness for this child who, we were told, would never have the opportunity to know the woman who birthed her. She supposedly had no other blood relatives, so seeking out her birth family would never be an option for Aster.

I wrote the above for the epilogue of my book, and as that part of the story evolved, both solicited and unsolicited information began to arrive, clearly indicating that not only was Aster’s birth mother alive, but other blood relatives were too. Though we had come upon this surprising and comforting news in the summer of 2009, it wasn’t until the fall of 2012 that my husband and I committed to hiring EthioStork to conduct a birth family search.

* * *

With shaking hands, and tears already welling in my eyes, I pushed the DVD into the computer. Traditional music accompanied a panoramic view of Wukro, located in the north of the Tigray region, the birthplace of our daughter. We had not taken the time to travel north of Addis Ababa during our short stay back in December 2008, so this visual addition to what we thought would only be an interview felt like we had struck gold. Once the camera became still, a girl who looked to be pre-teen entered the frame (Aster’s sister, if you can imagine that!), then slowly the focus was the birth mother of our child, the woman who had allowed me to become a mother. By now, I could barely see the computer screen; tears marred my view. But the interview that was about to begin would make my initial emotions seem meaningless, for the questions and answers that were about to be revealed would bring solace as well as longing, two intense feelings that I would have to deeply experience before knowing what to do next.

*  *  *

You may ask why, after uncovering some of the facts of our daughter’s social history that we were not originally given, did it take us three years to move forward with a professional search? The reasons are many; so let me take them one at a time.

1. Back in 2009, in what now seems like the dark ages of international adoption, we did not know what a “professional birth family search” was. Without this awareness, we had to “be good” with knowing that someday we would be able to go to northern Ethiopia and find birth family on our own. Some day.

2. But … as the months, then years rolled on, my anxiety grew. What if she is ill? What if she becomes so ill, she dies before Aster has a chance to reunite with her? My worried mind would not rest; the negative thoughts accompanied my every waking and sleeping moment. And each time my three-, then four-year old daughter would mumble words about her “first mommy,” such as, “she’s probably dead anyway,” my heart shattered. I knew I could not live this way indefinitely.

3. With the publishing of my book in early 2011, my story slowly entered the ethers, with the book cover image of Aster and I tugging at others’ curiosity. I heard from a woman in Addis Ababa who wanted a copy of my book. Her daughter, by the way, just happened to be living in the USA, in Virginia. That daughter was Duni Zenaye.

4. When I made contact with Duni shortly after this communication with her mother, a glimmer of hope poked through soggy corners of my mind; perhaps my tears of frustration and grief could turn to tears of joy?

Still, another 18 months would pass before we chose to send in the deposit for a birth family search. Why? Because, What if it doesn’t work? We will be out a lot of money, and a whole lot of heartache. It was a gamble. Though we were lucky in that we did have a name for Aster’s birth mother, and we did have the city where she was born, that was it. Would the crew be able to get way up north and ask the right people and the right questions in order to help our wishes come true? And once we got the information, then what? Would this be the best thing for our daughter, to see her first mother’s image? To know that she is alive, and gave her to somebody else to raise? Would it be better if we didn’t know?

As a memoirist who has spent much of her adult life encouraging others to know thy past in order to better know thyself, there was no way in this world that I could deny our daughter the right to know from where she came.

Thus, in the fall of 2012, we made the most important financial decision of our lives: we hired EthioStork to find Aster’s birth mother.

Weeks later, the results were in. Two copies of the DVD arrived in the mail, and our lives absolutely changed for the better (such an inadequate word), forever. 

By, Dina McQueen, M.A. 

I hope our story will bring other adoptive parents, children, and first families an opportunity for answers and perhaps even reunification.