Archive for March, 2011

March 29, 2011

“Are you going to help every child that comes along and needs a family?!”

That question was jokingly posed to me several months ago. I had asked a family friend (and fellow adoptive parent) to pray about an adoption situation we were currently considering. We had just brought our son home from Africa, were pursuing a second child and now considering a 9 year old whose family could no longer care for her.

I understand, it seemed crazy to us too.

I knew our friend was just playing around with me so I laughed and said something like “we’ll see…”.

I came home that day and kept thinking about what he’d said. For weeks it just rolled around in my head. That phrase:

“Are you going to help every child that comes along and needs a family?!”

I had laughed and brushed it off as a joke. But it was more than that. There was something to what he said that I couldn’t get out my mind. It started working its way into my heart. And I heard myself saying constantly…well, shouldn’t we?

If a child comes along, needs a family and we can provide one….should we say no? If we have the ability to parent that child – should our comfort or desires come before that child’s need of a family?

I know, I can’t adopt them all. And there are certainly situations and children we can’t adopt. Where it wouldn’t be safe for our family or we wouldn’t have the resources to meet that child’s particular needs.

But not in this situation. I thought about the case of this nine year old girl. As scary as it seemed at the time, I kept coming back and saying to myself how can we say no?

How can I say no to a child in need when I have the ability to help her? We have a big house. We have an empty bedroom that could easily become a little girls room. We have food, education and mountains of love we could offer her. We could help this child.

We did eventually say yes but the adoption of that little girl never happened. She was placed with another family. We hope and pray she is safe and loved.

Even though we didn’t adopt this child, I just can’t stop thinking about the whole situation and the questions and thoughts I had as we prayed through that time.

I’m still questioning – when is it OK to say no? If a child is placed in our path that needs help and we can provide that help, what does God expect us to do?

And when is it OK to stop? When we have that “perfect” family of a boy and girl? When we feel like our family is complete? When we think we can’t afford it again? When we wonder if we’ll ever retire and have that empty nest we’d always assumed we’d have? I don’t know yet. These are things I’m thinking about and things our family will decide as time goes on. There are no easy answers.

What is right for my family may not be right for yours. But I encourage you to think about it. Just because that orphan in Uganda (or Russia or Ecuador or California) isn’t standing on your doorstep asking for a family, he’s still there. He still needs you. Maybe you have room in your home and hearts for one more child too.

Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names.
They are easier to ignore before you see their faces.
It is easier to pretend they’re not real before you hold them in your arms.
But once you do, everything changes.

From “Radical” by David Platt

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March 23, 2011

Transracial Adoption in England

Saw this article today about transracial adoption in the UK.
Good for them!

Mixed-race adoption policy gets new guidelines
from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-12513403

White couples should be allowed to adopt black and ethnic minority children under new guidelines for social workers in England.

Local authorities will be warned not to delay placing a child with a suitable family of a different ethnicity.

Many children from ethnic minorities do not get adopted because social workers have been keen to place them with families of the same background.

Education Secretary Michael Gove said too many were denied loving homes.

Actions monitored

The law will not change but the new guidance will state that as long as prospective adopters show that they are able to care for the child then race should not be a factor.

They will also say that preventing families from adopting children of a different ethnic group is “unacceptable”.

Each local authority will be closely monitored and those that persistently ignore the advice could have their adoption services contracted out to voluntary agencies.

Current advice states that social workers must give “due consideration to the child’s religious persuasion, racial origin and cultural and linguistic background”, but does not specify whether race should be regarded as outweighing other factors.

Children’s minister Tim Loughton announced in November last year that the government would be updating its guidance on adoption.

Currently, single people, married couples and cohabiting couples can all adopt.

Same sex couples can adopt in England, Wales and Scotland, but not in Northern Ireland.

Adopters in England and Wales must be aged over 21 (18 if one of a couple is the birth parent). There is no upper age limit, but the placing authority must be confident anyone adopting a child will have the energy required and be in good enough health to offer a stable home.

Likewise, if they can prove they have the energy, people will not be disqualified for being disabled, overweight or having a medical condition.

People must also show that the can financially support a child.

A criminal record will not automatically prevent someone from adopting unless they, or someone in their household, has been convicted or cautioned for offences against a child.

March 20, 2011

My swinging boy…

I think he likes it. :)

Swinging boy from sister haiti on Vimeo.

March 18, 2011

First basketball season….

So many of you prayed for my little sister M. during her adoption and that scary time after the Haitian earthquake when our family was trying hard to get her home. M. has been home from Haiti for over a year now! She is doing great and we’re so blessed to have her as part of our family.

This girl loves basketball (loves, loves, loves it!) and I wanted to share her basketball picture from her first season! She’s already looking forward to basketball camp this summer. It’s so fun to watch her pursue this passion with such enthusiasm. :)

March 9, 2011

Baby girl needs a family

This baby girl will be one in May. She has Downs Syndrome and hypothyroidism but no related heart defects. She’s in Asia and needs a forever family! There is video available. Let me know if you are interested and I’ll put you in touch with her adoption coordinator. Isn’t she cute?! (The black spots are a cultural symbol – not birth marks or anything).

March 7, 2011

Homecomings…

I can’t help it…homecoming videos make me cry.

Get your tissues out and celebrate the homecoming of two beautiful children from Uganda.

Congratulations Owens family!!!

Home At Last from dan owens on Vimeo.

March 7, 2011

Big changes in Ethiopia….

From www.voanews.com

“Ethiopia is cutting back by as much as 90 percent the number of inter-country adoptions it will allow, as part of an effort to clean up a system rife with fraud and corruption. Adoption agencies and children’s advocates are concerned the cutbacks will leave many Ethiopian orphans without the last-resort option of an adoptive home abroad.

Ethiopia’s Ministry of Women’s, Children’s and Youth Affairs has issued a directive saying it will process a maximum of five inter-country adoptions a day, effective March 10. Currently, the ministry is processing up to 50 cases a day, about half of them to the United States.

A copy of the directive provided to VOA says the reduction of up to 90 percent in cases will allow closer scrutiny of documents used to verify a child’s orphan status.

Ministry spokesman Abiy Ephrem says the action was taken in response to indications of widespread fraud in the adoption process.

“What we have seen so far has been some illegal practices. There is an abuse. There are some cases that are illegal. So these directives will pave the way to come up with [safeguards],” said Abiy Ephrem.

Investigations have turned up evidence of unscrupulous operators in some cases tricking Ethiopian parents to give up their children, then falsifying documents in order claim a part of the large fees involved in inter country adoptions.

American couples often pay more than $20,000 to adopt an Ethiopian child. Such amounts are an enormous temptation in a country where the average family earns a few hundred dollars a month.

U.S. State Department statistics show more than 2,500 Ethiopian orphans went to the United States last year. That is more than a ten fold increase over the past few years, making Ethiopia the second most popular destination for Americans seeking to adopt overseas, after China.

Child protection professionals generally welcomed efforts to clean up the system.

Some, however, questioned the motive behind the cutback. One adoption agency representative who asked not to be identified called the policy “ridiculous”, and said it appears to be in retaliation for recent criticism of the government’s lax oversight of the process.

Abigail Rupp, head of the consular section at the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa says the cutback is likely to result in a drop in adoptions to the United States from last year’s 2,500 to fewer than 500. She says the biggest concern is for the estimated 1,000 children currently in the adoptions pipeline, who may be forced to wait more than a year for their cases to be considered.

“We share the government’s concerns about the vulnerabilities in the process. But certainly we have concerns about children who would be waiting longer for their adoptions to be final. That would mean they would be in an orphanage or transition home for a longer period of time,” she said.

Rupp said adoption agencies in Ethiopia should take the directive as a cue to be accountable for each case they bring forward, including knowing exactly how children in orphanages came to be there. She said government officials have indicated they may close as many as 45 orphanages as part of the effort to clean up what critics have labeled a “baby business”.

Ted Chaiban, head of the Addis Ababa office of the U.N. children’s agency UNICEF, called the new rules “an important step” in rooting out irregularities in the system and finding family-based local solutions for what the government estimates are 5 million Ethiopian orphans.

“What is important is that any child deemed to require care be looked at in terms of a range of options starting from family reunification all the way through inter country adoption. In that respect the work being done by the ministry needs to be strengthened and supported,” he said.

U.S. Embassy officials late Friday indicated they are posting an adoption alert on the State Department’s website addressing the concerns of Americans who will be affected by the Ethiopian government directive. The alert can be seen at http://www.adoptions.state.gov. “

March 5, 2011

Update time…

Can you believe it, Mayer has been home for 9 months! He’s been with us for over a year! Totally amazing that we’ve known this little guy for a whole year.

Mayer is doing SO WELL!  He could be a poster child for toddler adoption. I can honestly say we have no attachment/adjustment issues. This kid seems like he’s always been a part of our family!    He is a mommas boy for sure but loves his daddy and gets so excited when Keith comes home. He’s talking much more and his pronunciation is becoming more clear. He is completely potty trained and while he does have some accidents – they are mostly when he’s very busy playing and doesn’t want to stop! He eats well and sleeps well. He plays hard but loves to read books as well. He’s just a good kid all around! People comment on what a quirker he is, he’s so silly sometimes. Especially when he’s showing off for people he’s just met or doesn’t see very often. He and F. still compete for attention. A lot. But that’s to be expected. They get along really well most of the time and Mayer loves to play with F. He and the girls have a great relationship and they are wonderful with him.

He’s growing taller and really thinned out since he came home. He definitely looks more like a little boy now.

One of his favorite phrases is “Me too!” or “Mayer too!” which he says ALL DAY LONG, about everything. Whatever you are doing, he wants to do. Whatever you have, he wants some too. :) He also says “Hey guys!” all the time. “Hey guys, come here!” “Hey guys, look at this!” Pretty adorable.

Here’s a new picture from this morning.  We’re just crazy about this little guy and feel so blessed to be his family!