MASON, Ohio - A decision made thousands of miles away is causing heartbreakhere in the Tri-State.
The Ethiopian government declared it will process only fiveadoptions a day, which is a 90 percent reduction. It leaves localfamilies, like the Ewing's of Mason, waiting longer to adopt thanexpected.
Brad and Chris Ewing had three children before they adoptedtheir youngest, Asher, from Ethiopia five years ago.
They have started the process to adopt a second child fromEthiopia and recently learned their wait will not be about one yearas expected. It could be several years because of Ethiopia's newadoption policy.
"As an adoptive mom, I was really heartbroken," said ChrisEwing.
Brad said, "I was just not prepared for that long of a wait butfor us, it's just an inconvenience. For the kids, it's their life.It really impacts every orphan that doesn't get adopted."
The Ewings said a slowed process will mean not as many childrenwill be adopted.
According to the U.S. State Department, the Ethiopian governmenthas cut international adoptions to work on quality and cut down onfraud.
All God's Children International is an adoption agency thathandles adoptions from several countries, including Ethiopia.Mariah Gray Kolpek, of West Chester, is on the agency's board. Shesaid this change will have a dramatic impact on families.
"Children who could have been adopted at the age of 6 to 9months, it will take five to seven years for those children to beadopted," said Gray Kolpek.
"Can you imagine those kids in orphanages for five, seven years?The developmental problems that happen from that kind of housingare monumental for a child," she said.
There are more than 5 million orphans in Ethiopia because ofHIV. Under the previous adoption policy about 4,000 were adoptedeach year. Approximately 2,500 of them were adopted by families inthe United States.
More than 100 families in the Tri-State have adopted childrenfrom Ethiopia. About 40,000 people have signed a petition to swaythe Ethiopian government on the issue.