Wednesday, May 19, 2010

If you read my blog...PLEASE do me this favor.


For those of you who read my blog and are not familiar with the process of adopting from Ethiopia here is a bit of a background for my plea - After a family receives a referral, they will wait anywhere from 1-3 months for a court date. Only after a successful court hearing can the travel documents be prepared for children - and families are ONLY able to bring their children home once they have received confirmation that the travel documents are ready. In the past, these travel documents have fluctuated in processing time, anywhere from 2 weeks to over six months!! Currently, these travel documents are taking an EXTREMELY long time - in fact, NO families who have gotten their referral since the bankruptcy (the first referral occurred in mid December 2009) have received their travel documents for their children. That means no family has yet to travel to pick up their children and have been given no indication whatsoever of when this might happen. For our family, this would mean that IF we received our referral this month (HA), we would not be travelling until 2011!!!!!

This issue is completely unacceptable and, even more so, unnecessary and could easily be solved.

In comparison to other countries, like the USA, families receive these travel documents within as little as two weeks after their successful court hearing. Also, in comparison to other Canadian High Commission locations around world that process travel documents, the office in Nairobi (in which Ethiopian adoption travel documents are prepared) takes over double the amount of time as these other locations and has gotten significantly longer over time.

This issue does not only affect Ethiopian children being adopted by Canadian families, but on a much larger scale, it also affects refugees coming to Canada. The Canadian Council for Refugees’ wrote a report describing the current problems in Nairobi and called for better resourcing at the Canadian High Commission in Nairobi. You can read more background on this issue here and the full report here

Here are the steps to follow to help us take action on this issue:

1) Cut and paste the letter at the end of this post into an email.

2) Send the email to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Jason Kenney, at

3) Copy your own Member of Parliament on the email. Using your postal code, you can find her/his email address at the following website:

4) At this time, the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration is studying the issue of immigration application process wait times, specifically the long visa wait times of the High Commission in Nairobi. Telling this committee what we are asking for is a key step. We also want to let the Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Foreign Affairs critics know that we are doing this. Please copy the following Members of Parliament on the email to the Minister as well:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Here is the letter for copying and pasting:

Subject line: Application processing times at the Canadian High Commission in Nairobi

Dear Minister Kenney,

I have read of the Canadian Council for Refugee's report on the Canadian High Commission in Nairobi. I am distressed to learn of the High Commission's processing times for its most vulnerable applicants. I am embarrassed as a Canadian to read in the report some of the personal stories of refugees and their dependants who are enduring significant hardships, and in some cases tragedy, as they wait years for their applications to be reviewed by your clearly overburdened visa officers in Nairobi. Furthermore, this issue also affects children being adopted by Canadian families.

CIC-Nairobi' s processing times for refugees, refugee dependants, and internationally adopted children are approximately double the average for all of Canada's overseas missions. In fact, CIC-Nairobi' s processing times for almost all other immigration categories lag dramatically behind the global average for Canada's overseas missions. This situation is hardly fair or just, especially given that it impacts some of the most at-risk people Canada's overseas missions serve.

I want my voice heard and to encouraging the Government of Canada to stop the neglect of this overseas mission and the many very vulnerable individuals and families it serves. I would like to strongly encourage Citizenship and Immigration Canada to act on the following recommendations from the Canadian Council for Refugee's report:

- increase resources (both human and material) at Nairobi;
- increase processing targets allocated to Nairobi;
- reduce the number of countries served by Nairobi by using or creating other visa posts in the region to take on some of the burden of Nairobi; and
- review refugee and immigration programs to ensure that access is equitable and that Canadian anti-discrimination and anti-racism policies are fully respected.

Your spokesman's comments in November regarding the High Commission's processing times seemed to indicate that the Government of Canada feels no sense of urgency to address this situation. While acknowledging that this region is beset with many special obstacles, Canada is clearly failing to meet these unique challenges with unique solutions. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that those with the power in Ottawa to address this situation simply do not care to make resourcing decisions that would better support and protect vulnerable children and families.

I urge you to extend our Canadian values of fairness and compassion to vulnerable waiting families and to search for solutions to the issues currently facing the High Commission in Nairobi.

Your name
Your address

Please also complete the poll, so I know that our voice is being heard loud and clear!

UPDATED - 22 wonderful people helped by sending an email - THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU


elsie hiebert said...

I really hope you will be receiving your referal this month. I'm a little bummed out by the lack of referals.

Janice said...

Let the letter writing campaign begin and continue on until we see a change.

Love your blogging initiative.

And you know how badly I'm hoping that referral comes this month.

shannon said...

HI Laura ,
Love this set up, I must admit a few of those "hits" belong to me as I keep coming back to see if the numbers in the poll went up.
Bon courage in the next weekend and weekend , thinking of you
ps my Letter is done and next week I am going to start a heavy push going for all friends and family members.
I will use how you set this up as a model for my group emails,
Thanks so much

Ramona said...

My letter will get done at nap time... We waited with our paperwork in N for 4 months and that was too long (referral in May, travel in Feb)!!! Something needs to change!


Melissa said...

I sent this same letter off early this year and it took a very long time to hear anything back. And when I did, it was not from the minister (nearly six months later and still no response). It is wholy disheartening to be sure. I've
just resigned myself to moving to Ethiopia for an undefined amount of time following my referral and teaching Jonah myself while he is pulled out of school. It's not something that most probably have the option of doing. And it is ridiculous that these small fries who have families who love them and want to provide for them can't be with their families. And it sucks for referral families because with the transition home eventually packed with kids passed court, there are no beds for new referrals. At least that's how it went after court changed at the beginning of last year. Sigh. I'd like to think the issue will be resolved before I'm at that stage in a year and a half or so but we'll see how it goes.

Anonymous said...

Another letter sent!

"Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragement, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak” Thomas Carlyle