If you have adopted from Ethiopia or are in the process you have probably heard about the post placement reports that you have to send annually after the initial three reports. These reports are sent to the Ethiopian government and I’m assuming that the Ministry of Woman gets them as they are the agency dealing with adoptions.
I have to say that when I learned of the annual report, I was impressed that Ethiopia wanted to keep tabs on my two kiddos until they were 18 years of age. I believe that this requirement shows how much Ethiopia cares about it’s children and it may even be a way for birth families to check on the kiddos. I have heard of cases where birth families have seen these reports and I hope they find the pictures and information helpful in their own grieving process.
I know that if I don’t mail these reports in that legally Ethiopia cannot do anything about it, but morally I believe it is important to fufill our promises to the country that allowed us our families. An annual report really isn’t so much to ask for when you think about it.
That said, as a busy mom I know that deadlines tend to creep up on you and you may find yourself scrambling to get your reports in. Here are a few tips I have learned in my experience and tips I have heard of others suggesting to make the annual report easier on all of us.
1. Write in the due dates on your calender and be sure to write the date you need to send it and a reminder about a month before.
2. At all birthday parties or special occations, remember to take a few up close and good shots of your child by himself/herself for the report. Print them and put them in an envelope labeled “Post-Placement Reports”. I keep this envelope in my family binder that is always in reach. Keeping extra sports photos and school pictures is a good idea.
3. Save your previous reports on your computer so you have an idea of reports past and to keep you from having to re-type a lot of the same information such as adoption dates, family names, etc. After you have updated the report save it under a different name and keep a record of all of your reports. Not only is this time-saving, but it can be a great thing to show your children in the future when you are helping them with possible adoption issues.
4. Be truthful and straight forward in your report. Remember that some American holidays are not celebrated in Ethiopia, so a long discription of your child’s Halloween costume may be confusing to Ethiopians, as well as disconcerning (think crazy costumes). It is great to mention how the children are doing in their individual greiving process and how your family is helping him/her. The Ethiopian officials know that adoption can be complicated and showing that your family is working through things is a posative step.
5. Remember that future Ethiopian adoptions may count on your reports. While it would be difficult for Ethiopia to inforce our annual report requirments, if we as parents do not provide what we promised, it could have an affect on future adoptions. It is like passing on a Thank You, in that other families fullfilled this pledge and so are we.
6. If you are stuck, ask your agency for a sample report or a check list of what should be included. In general after identifying information, you should mention: overall health including dental, vaccinations, progress in school/learning, social adjustment, ways you have integreted Ethiopia into your lives and what you like to do as a family.
I hope to get the hang of these reports, since I will be writing them for the next 11 years!