Tuesday, July 24, 2012

And Then There Were Seven!

So much has happened in the last month with the Kyrgyz 65 and as true to form, there have been a ton of ups and downs.   But yesterday's news was fabulous!!!  Four more adoptions were finalized and those precious children left their orphanage forever.  There are four less orphans in the world today and that in and of itself is a huge victory. To see pictures of these precious children walking out of the orphanage for the last time with their new parents and knowing that their lives have been forever changed, brings me more joy than you can imagine!   CONGRATULATIONS to these families!!!

Yesterday's success brings the total adoptions to seven.  Five of those families were given grants through Altynai's Fund which brings me a great deal of satisfaction and hopefully it does the same for those of you who have donated or supported the fund over the last year.   Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!  There are still three families that are recipients that have traveled to Kyrgyzstan and are waiting for court dates (more on them later) and two families, that lost their Kyrgyz referrals that are currently adopting from other countries.  That leaves one additional family in a pending status due issues that are affecting their Kyrgyz adoption and one family that, after losing their referral last winter, has decided not to pursue an another adoption at this time.

During the last month, while several families were making final preparations to bring their children home, others were dealt some horrendous blows.  After four months of waiting and for some families, several trips to Kyrgyzstan, the courts in some regions are still not processing adoptions.  The reasons have varied, including issues with corruption, confusion on the new laws and ultimately the government's decision to ascend to the Hague convention.  The final result is that adoptions in those locations are at a complete standstill and now that turmoil is threatening the outlying regions (which is 100% remininsent of what happened in 2008-2009).  And if that is not enough, last week the government placed another "temporary" moratorium on adoptions while they figure out these pressing issues.  The duration of the moratorium has not been definitively given but any moratorium at all, is not in the best interest of these children.  The moratorium that was placed in February 2009 was only supposed to last a year, and it remained for over 2 years before it was lifted, and now a year after that the system is at the verge of crashing again.  So once again, families are in limbo, and just like last time, many of them have traveled again and bonded with their children.  Only this time, the children are much older.  So many of the Kyrgyz 65 were infants when the first moratorium was placed but now they are old enough to understand that someone special came to love on them and said they would be back, and so far the courts seem to have no intention of letting that happen.

So where does that leave the children and the families?  In full-on advocacy mode.  This is why I am continually in awe of these families.  These families refuse to give up on these children!  They are their sons and daughters and they continue to go to great lengths to do what is best for them.  They are more committed than ever!  They promised these children they would be back and I don't think they will ever give up, especially now that they have held their children again.  These families know that they are the only chance that these children have of ever belonging to a family and they simply can not walk away from them.  If they don't fight for them, then who will???

Here is just one example of how amazing these families are.  The four families that had their adoptions completed yesterday were told last week that the government was threatening to annul any of the cases that had been adjudicated but not finalized.  And to top that off, they were told that their agency may be losing it's accreditation which then would leave them potentially stranded with no advocate in-country.   They were given a 50/50 chance that the judge would sign off on their adoptions and they did exactly what I knew they would; they flew the 7000+ miles to be there Monday morning.  Can you only imagine the stress that they were under last weekend?  The torture of knowing that you had waited four years (1536 days to be exact for one family) to bring your little one home, and now, with only a few days to go, it was crumbling at your feet.  Their strength and their faith is phenomenal!

As for those that are still waiting, they desperately need our prayers!  Prayers for the children, the families and the officials.  Pray that the officials make these adoptions a priority and put policy, fear and greed aside and simply put the children's best interest first.  These children deserve the right to have a family!  They deserve to be loved, protected and believed in.

If you are interested in reading more about the events of the last month, here are few interesting articles.  The first was an article written for Eurasia.net and shared by Joint Council this morning:  http://www.eurasianet.org/node/65695.  The second was written by an amazing Kyrgyz woman who lives here in the US and specializes in child development: http://www.facebook.com/notes/kyrgyz-child/the-scream-of-my-soul/189862044477137 .  Stay tuned and hopefully, my next post will be filled with homecoming stories.

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