Thursday, August 16, 2007

Changes to The Adoption Process in Liberia

A few weeks after we got home, the U.S. Embassy in Liberia announced they would be changing the way visa's were given to Liberian children and basically slowing things down for adoptions. The reason: A new woman in charge named Alma. From my understanding Alma thought there were too many adoptions going on and the previous article shows some of the concerns. They now have stricter guidelines. You can only have your visa interview on Thursdays (your out of luck if you miss it, have to wait until the next week) Birth families have to come to the embassy to relinquish rights. The hardship this may cause is amazing, especially if its the rainy season and the family lives in the interior or several hours away. Also, if you are having your child adopted, who has the money to come to Monrovia. Other things like documents will be snail mailed instead of e-mailed is new protocal.

I must admit I don't understand it all but it sounds like more confusion and the inevitable more waiting. Some have said it will push things back three weeks. At one point families worried adoptions would stop. But since then we have seen Alma does have a heart. A few agencies have met with her and she has agreed to make some concessions. In one case she was not happy with documentation of a child but allowed the child to leave with their family because she didn't know what would happen to the child.

Yes, there are a lot of adoptions in Liberia. But there are also some good reasons for that. One, Liberia is one of a handful of countries that actually does international adoptions in Africa. Two, it is one of the poorest countries in the world. As a parent if you have the choice to have your child starve to death or go be with a family that has opportunity written all over it, isn't it a no brainer. It's all sad. Liberia needs a lot of help to allow parents to actually raise their children. I'm afraid that won't be happening for quite some time.

1 comment:

Nancy said...

My heart aches for the many waiting adoptive families for whom the adoption process may be considerably slowed down or halted. I realize that this is a much more complex situation than I can comprehend, but it would appear that the children are being used as pawns in some way by the government to achieve economic, sociological or political goals. Greed was mentioned in one article, but who is being greedy? It is certainly not the biological parents who are giving up parts of their hearts and souls to give their children a chance of being well-fed, educated and healthy. And it is certainly not the American adoptive parents! Of course there was that big flurry about Madonna and her adoption of an 'orphan' who had a living father, and it was suggested that she bring the father to the US as well, which she could of course well afford to do. But I suggest that most Americans who adopt African children can, by most people's standards, ill afford to do this financially, and do it anyway at some sacrifice to their already existing families, because they are inspired to do it by the enormous need that they see. Why is it that so often those that have the least to give, give the most? And why is it that our government isn't doing more to improve medical services in these very poor countries and also to promote birth control in countries where parents can't afford to feed their children? Liberian parents who give up their children are not greedy, they are desperate to give their children hope. Parents who adopt these children have the same goal of wanting to give them hope.