Acacia Village Update | October 2012

Date: 2012-10-01

Acacia Village Update | October 2012

As everyone involved with international adoption has probably heard many times, change is the one thing that is constant when it comes to adoption. Never has this been more true than in recent years, as we have witnessed an unprecedented decline in the number of adoptions completed by American families annually and major changes in long-established adoption programs.

The Ethiopia program has also undergone many changes in the years since CWA started working there. Though the program itself remains strong, the conditions under which CWA operates in Ethiopia are very different now. This is particularly true of the Acacia Village project. Initiated in 2008 at a time when a much larger number of children were being served by CWA, the facility was designed to house a maximum of 250 children and be expanded to include other services as well. As recently as 2011 there were more than 50 children in residence. In the realities of Ethiopia today, that is no longer feasible. Only a very small number of children presently live at Acacia Village, and this no longer justifies the cost of maintaining the facility and full staff, which has at times exceeded 40 employees. Keep in mind that running a foster home in Ethiopia requires nannies, registered nurses, cooks, cleaners, drivers and guards, in addition to management and counseling staff. CWA is simply no longer able to maintain this size of facility based on the number of children now in residence. It is important to remember that CWA operates on a fee-for-service basis. That means that all operating costs in Ethiopia come out of current adoption cases, which have been much fewer in number in recent years.

In view of this, the Acacia Village facility will suspend operations as of October 1. Staff are being given severance packages, and those children currently waiting at Acacia Village for their American parents will be transferred to our partner Tikuret. Tikuret currently has a children's home located only a few miles from Acacia Village and already is home to many CWA children in process.

It is our hope that Tikuret will be allowed to assume operation at the Acacia Village facility, which will remain under CWAE ownership. However, this process requires authorization by Ethiopian officials at various levels, so there is no final word on that at this time.

We are writing to you today to reassure you that the children now in process will be cared for with the same high standards as before by our trusted partner, and that we are weighing all our options for making the best use of Acacia Village in the future. We will make additional announcements when we know more. For now, we thank you for your support and ask for your prayers that the good work on behalf of Ethiopia's children can continue, in whatever form it may take. CWA has always adapted and continues to adapt to changing circumstances—but our mission is always the same.

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