Aidana, our 6-year-old girl, said something very rude to my wife when they were in the car last week. My wife ignored the comment, but about ten minutes later, Aidana said, “Why did I say that?”
Even at 6 years old, her conscience appears so healthy. We adopted Aidana from Kyrgyzstan about a year ago. Though her heart is beautiful and her relational skills are improving, we are also made aware daily of setbacks she faces since she lived in institutional care for over five years. For instance, when we told our 16-year-old he could go on a trip to the lake with friends, she was convinced there was a great injustice in her not going too. Her whole worldview is predicated on everyone having exactly the same treatment. She has a mindset shaped by institutional care.
My wife saw Aidana’s profile on a site for adoptable children and felt drawn to adopt her. We waited about four months to make the decision, and finally committed to adding a sixth child to our family. After being in our home for just two weeks, we had a family meal with the grandparents. She said loudly and confidently (in Russian), “Grandpa, you sit here. Micah, you sit here. Mom, you sit here. Everyone…it’s time to eat.”
My father said, “I see she has gone from ‘orphan’ to ‘her majesty’ in just 2 weeks!”
This was a fact. I’m sure those who have adopted children share my wonder: ”I can’t believe no one else adopted her! I can’t believe we were so lucky.” We accept the reality that though she is deeply loved in our home, and was decently cared for in her institution, there was, in fact, no one else who wanted her. She spent five entire years, from birth, in her orphanage. And she was photo listed for four months. Then we were lucky to have her in our home.
Oddly, however, the US State Department, UNICEF, and other regulatory bodies, have convinced themselves that there is a black market for children, and that they are being rounded up and sold eventually to adoptive parents.
Anyone who has spent a week with these kids in an orphanage can see how ridiculous that idea is. We know there are millions of kids in need of families. But nevertheless, we have seen a decline in intercountry adoption by 75% since 2004. This decline is government induced. It has nothing to do with the number of children in need, or the number of willing families, or the economy. It has everything to do with policy.
The number of adoptions rises and falls based on policy. Government adoption policies (here and abroad) make adoptions easier or more difficult. When the policies make adoption more difficult, adoptions decrease. If the policies were ever to make adoptions easier, they would increase.
Now the US Department of State is issuing new policies to regulate intercountry adoption. Adoptive parents should ask themselves which of these policies will make adoptions increase? Which of the previous policies drafted by the US government have helped increase adoption?
So far 15,000 people have signed a petition at www.SaveAdoptions.org asking the US Department of State to rescind the proposed new regulations. Over 1/3 of the Hague accredited adoption agencies have signed a letter posted on that website asking for the same thing. If you want the government to go back to the drawing board and propose regulations that will help get more kids adopted, we encourage you to sign the petition.