“Please adopt us! We need a mom and dad. Please!” came the cry from three children orphaned by parents who had died of HIV/AIDS in Mozambique. They had an older brother who was dying of the same dreaded disease. He felt responsible for his three younger siblings, so when he met Sharon and Greg Slater during their visit to Mozambique he begged them to look after them. It was a desperate situation and they promised him they would.
All it took was looking into the sweet faces of these three children to know that they would do everything in their power to adopt them and bring them home to America. Little did they realize how difficult this would be.
All the delays were hard to understand when their situation was so dire. The siblings desperately needed and wanted the Slaters to be their parents. The orphanages were overcrowded, with little food, clothing, and other necessities needed to save these children. Abuse was rampant.
The red tape was long and tangled. It took three and a half arduous years before the adoption was allowed. In the meantime, they visited the children at the orphanage as often as they could, bringing clothes and other items they so desperately needed, mailing these items to them in between visits. Each time their visits ended with the children hugging them, clinging to them, begging them to take them home. It broke the Slaters’ hearts to leave them, but deepened their desire to do all in their power to make this adoption happen.
Here’s a video (the password is “2”) that was recorded during this difficult time. You can see the overwhelming need of these beautiful children, Luis (13), Amelia (10), and Alfonso (6). On the video they pour out their hearts. Be sure to have a tissue on hand as you watch it. The eldest of the three children, Luis, felt a great responsibility for his two younger siblings, and wished with all his heart that they and he would be adopted. You will see how deeply loved these children are by Greg and Sharon. And how much the children love them in return. The end of the video shows how the children had grown during this three year period, a sad reminder of what those lost years may have meant to them. This video was made to present to the judge who would be deciding their adoption case.
Fortunately, the adoption was finally granted and the Slaters took their children home to Arizona. There they were united with the Slaters’ four birth children. These children had met their adopted sibling on an earlier trip to Mozambique and were excited to have them in their family. Their family was now complete.
Since the Adoption
We cannot end the story here. What has happened to these three children since their adoption is nothing short of remarkable. They are bright children and learned English quickly. They feel passionate about helping other children born into circumstances similar to their own. They want them to have the same opportunities they have had. Most of all, they want to do all in their power to educate people of Mozambique and other African nations about the devastation of HIV/AIDS and what needs to be done to stop this pandemic. They want to help prevent children from becoming orphans with no hope for a future.
Their mother, Sharon, is actively involved in helping children around the world. She has established the non-governmental organization (NGO) called Family Watch International to help protect families worldwide. Her husband, Greg, serves as legal counsel.
Luis and Amelia have graduated high school and are now attending a university. Before their graduation they were invited to speak at a United Nations meeting in New York City. Their purpose: open the eyes of international delegates to the plight of children orphaned by HIV/AIDS, and to present research showing the best way to halt this terrible disease, which, in their words, is the need “to channel sexual activity into a faithful lifetime union in marriage.” To view their 8-minute presentation click here.
More Children Need Homes
An online report by UNISEF stated that an estimated 1.6 million people are living with the disease in Mozambique, with 16% of people between the ages of 15 and 49 affected by HIV/AIDS.
The report continues, “However, the impact of HIV and AIDS is still more devastating among women and children. About 420,000 children in Mozambique have lost their father, mother or both due to AIDS, and this number is expected to reach 500,000 by 2010. An increasing proportion of child deaths results from diseases associated with HIV. In 2008, over 22,000 children under the age of 15 died as a result of the disease.”
More Information About Adopting from Mozambique
• Laws regarding adoption by parents living out of the country continue to change. It has become more difficult, but not impossible.
• Prospective adoptive parents must be over 25 years of age and less than 50 on the date the child is entrusted to them.
• Prospective adoptive parents must be married for three years prior to initiating the adoption.
• There is no income requirement.
• A home study evaluation is required by the Mozambican social and health workers.
• Not all children in an orphanage are adoptable. In some cases, parents place their children there on a temporary status due to financial or other hardship, with the hope of bring their child home at some point.
For the latest information about how to adopt a child from Mozambique, click here.
To find out information on adopting from other countries, try browsing here.
Adopting children from a country like Mozambique may not be easy, but with relentless effort and determination, along with prayers for guidance, it can be done. The Slaters will testify that it is worth whatever it takes. Their family would not be complete without these three beautiful children from Mozambique.