Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Are politics preventing adoptions?

I have always been an advocate of adoption. Any chance I get I promote it. My thought has always been, that if enough people adopted, we could find homes for all the orphans of the world. Big dreams I know, maybe even na├»ve. I prefer to always stay on the optimistic side of things.  However, as Daniel and I embark on the beginning of our international adoption journey, it has become all too apparent how many walls there truly are. It no longer seems that the only problem is finding enough adoptive parents. There are so many more issues at hand.

The first step on our international journey was picking a country to adopt from. As a Canadian citizen one of the first things you need to know, is you can only adopt from other countries who are members of the Hague Convention. This limits your choices. The next thing you need to know is no country is the same; in fact one single country can even change from year to year. For example, some countries may have rules stating applicants must be married for a minimum of 10 years, over the age of 35, and no children living at home. Others might require you to be 30 years old, have no more than 2 children at home, and married for 2 years. Some countries require you to reside in the country of your child’s origin for 3 months, 6 months, or even a year. Some even require you to have less than a maximum body mass index (no overweight applicants). Furthermore, many countries are closed or no longer accepting new applicants. Since the earthquake, Haiti has stopped accepting new applicants, Ethiopia is placing new applicants on a wait list, and people can wait for up to 5 years to be matched through the mainstream China program. Each country also varies in cost. To adopt from the United States can cost between $40,000- $50,000, while the fees for adopting from Columbia are as low as $20,000.

So at the end of the day, couples like Daniel and myself, who are under the age of 30, and have young children at home preventing us from long stays in the country of origin, it leaves very few options available. And even if we did meet the qualifications of more countries, many of them have long waitlists. So even though there are millions of children out there in need of a home, there are many less who are actually available for adoption.

Now please don’t take this as a deterrent. There are still options out there, such as the Ukraine, The China Special Needs program, and Jamaica (where we have chosen). It simply means that if every available person out there wanted to adopt a child, it would not solve this global problem. I don’t have an answer as to how any of this can be solved, but it seems disappointing that rules and waitlists are preventing children from finding a forever family NOW. This problem requires more than just people wanting to adopt, but rather people wanting to fight for change. People wanting to lobby. People wanting to donate finances. People wanting to come together, regardless of what country they live in, and unite in the process of finding children homes.

With all of that said, Daniel and I have chosen to adopt from Jamaica. The minimum age there is 25. There are currently no fee’s on the Jamaican end of things, beyond perhaps a minimal lawyer's fee and travel costs, plus the adoption fee due here in Canada. The required stay is only 5-7 days. There is no maximum amount of children allowed to live in your home(fewf!) and at the end of the day it is where God wants us to be. I am excited to see where this journey goes and am grateful to have my eyes opened to the greater problem at hand. I can only pray that these problems will be worked out, that countries can work together, and that political rules and regulations won’t prevent a child from finding their forever home! I will post soon about adoptions right here in Canada through the Ministry of Children and Families, and bring awareness to one of the adoption options that are in fact quite simple and within reach of many!

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