I spoke with Therese at Lutheran Social Services today and learned a little more about their program and the updates from Caroline, their in-country facilitator, who just returned from Vietnam. The bad news is that although LSS-MN is definitely licensed to do adoptions in Vietnam, it is not "super official" until this one piece of paper gets signed and processed. Unfortuantely the one governement official who needs to sign off on this very important piece of paper is out because his father is dying. Therese assures me that the VN Ministry of Justice and others are very confident that this will be resolved soon. She also thinks it will not slow down our process, although they have families who are ready and can't get their referrals until this is clearned up. They will be LSS-MN's first group of families to travel, and we will be watching them closely. So let's all pray that this man's father recovers, or maybe that they hire someone else who can sign the darn piece of paper!
In other news, she shared that most of their early referrals will be coming from two area in Vietnam: Tu Duc (I think this might be the orphanage name, not the province), which is just outside HCMC and where there are so many infants avialable that some are having to stay in the hospital because the orphanage is full; and Kien Giang, which is southwest almost to the Cambodian border and where Catalyst has a big humanitarian project, which also has many children of varying ages available.
For those of you interested in the timeline, LSS-MN still estimates between 1-3 months for our referral and another 1-3 to travel after that. Of course, this is all after your paperwork if complete, which we have barely started. We're hoping our paperwork process will only take about a month or so. We'll keep you posted.