In less than a year, a teenage boy in an Olentangy Braves T-shirt could be roaming the streets of Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia, on his own.
A home awaits that boy just outside the city of Delaware, but the complexities of international politics could prevent him from starting a new life with his adoptive family.
The Rev. Dave and Vicki Jansen of Berlin Township, who have four biological children and one adopted daughter, are in the process of adopting a sixth child -- a 15-year-old orphan named Kumelachew, also known as "Lalli."
Dave Jansen, campus pastor of CenterPoint Church in Gahanna, said a recent decision by the Ethiopian government to suspend intercountry adoptions indefinitely without further explanation has complicated the process. The order, combined with Lalli's age, has his prospective parents worried.
"We're trying to bring him home because he's 15 and he's about to turn 16 on Christmas Eve," he said. "Once he turns 16, he's technically an adult there so he'll age out of the orphanage and we won't be able to adopt him.
"He'll be released from the orphanage and be on the streets ... which is what scares us."
The Jansens plan to travel to Ethiopia in mid-July for a court date. They hope they will be able to convince a judge to expedite their case before the courts close in August and September for the rainy season.
The family will conduct a bake sale and lemonade stand from 3 to 6 p.m. July 9 in the parking lot of CenterPoint Church, 7750 Green Meadows Drive in Lewis Center, to help fund the adoption process.
Dave Jansen said a younger version of himself might be surprised he's fighting so hard to adopt -- and for a second time.
"It took me awhile to get there," he said. "We had four wonderful biological children and I wasn't sure I was ready to go down the adoption road on top of that."
Vicki Jansen said she always knew in her heart she would adopt. She said it made sense to open her home to children who were on their own.
"I just knew there were kids in need," she said.
Dave Jansen said his arguments against adoption "just kind of crumbled one by one," and his family brought 14-month-old Martha home from Ethiopia in 2012.
Vicki Jansen said her daughters, Anna, 19, and Ellie, 17, had been on board with the planned adoption since day one.
Joshua, 14, said it took a little more time for him to become convinced.
"At first I did not like the idea at all," he said before Martha, now 6, interrupted him.
"Josh!" she said. "You liked it!"
"Once she came home, it was definitely something I enjoyed a lot," Joshua said.
Joshua said he's "very happy" he could gain a brother near his age through the adoption process this time around.
Vicki Jansen said her children played a major role in the decision to add Lalli to the family.
"This time, the first thing we did was go to the kids and say, 'What do you think we should do?' "
Jon, 21, a senior at Ohio State University, said he was "not at all" surprised his parents made the decision to adopt again.
Anna, a junior at OSU, echoed her brother's response.
"I wasn't that surprised. I knew it would happen again," she said.
"(The kids) were less surprised than we were," Vicki Jansen said.
Ellie said the Jansen house has been "too quiet" with two siblings off at college.
Martha said she's "a little happy and a little scared" to get a new brother.
Her mother said Martha is excited to have "what she calls a 'chocolate brother.' "
Dave Jansen said the family has never met Lalli in person, but they've sent him care packages, including Olentangy and OSU T-shirts. He said they learned about the boy, who's been in an orphanage for eight years, from conversations in a Facebook group for parents who have adopted children from the orphanage from which the Jansens adopted Martha.
Dave Jansen said he believes Lalli has never been adopted because he's deaf. He said Lalli now goes to a school for the deaf, but likely would attend a school in the Olentangy district following the adoption.
Vicki Jansen said she and her husband have been working with the staffs of U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman, along with U.S. Rep. Pat Tiberi, to get Lalli to his new home. She said the family is hopeful a resolution can be found before he turns 16.
Dave Jansen said the adoption process -- as exemplified by Lalli's case -- can be exhausting. He said Martha serves as a living example that it's worth it in the end.
"Adoption isn't easy," he said. "It's a road that sometimes can be filled with a lot of stops and starts and painful waiting, but it clearly has been the best thing we've ever done."