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We have lived in Romania for 16 years now. We have 6 kids. The top photo of our family is the day we met the twins, just before their 4th birthday. We were granted custody of them on their 5th birthday.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Why is Adoption so hard in Romania?

So, I thought I would explain to you all why adoption is such a slow process in Romania. The old law stated that if a child wasn't visited for 6 months by family they were legally adoptable. When Romania wanted to enter the EU, the EU told them they needed to clean up their act as far as abandoned children before they could enter the EU. There was a lot of child trafficking going on at the time and the EU wanted that to stop. Also there is a lady in England named Ema Nicklson (not sure if that spelling is right) who sat on the committe that would accept or reject Romania into the EU and she has this thing against foreign adoptions. I am sure the lady never spent a day in her life actually speaking to the orphans and finding out what it is like to grow up in an institution but she thinks she knows what is best for orphans and she thinks it is better they grow up in an institution then be taken out of their country. So, she was pushing Romania to close down international adoption. It was supposed to be temporary but has turned into a long term thing. We are not considered an international adoption since we live here and have permanent residency. They also changed the law on how children are declared adoptable. It is very hard to get a child declared adoptable. So, even though there are some 50,000 kids in the system in Romania they don't have a problem because those kids don't show up on the adoptable list. They say that there is a long list of Romanians waiting to adopt and not enough children. The other problem is, Romanians specify that they want babies under the age of 1 and they don't want gypsies (this was told to us by several social workers here in the country). The other problem is it takes long time to get a child declared adoptable hence not many babies. So, that is why there is a long waiting list.
So, what has to be done to get a child declared adoptable? A social worker (who has a huge case overload) has to determine if any one in the family wants the child...aunts, uncles, grandparents to the 4th degree. All family must be willing to sign off that they child can be put up for adoption. Many parents can't or don't want to care for their child but they also don't want the child to be in another family. So the law says that if it is obvious the family will never take the child in the social worker can push to get them to sign off and loose their rights. The problem is there really is no one to adopt these older children so why bother to do the work of getting them declared adoptable. In our twins case, they were abandoned at birth but their mother came to visit them every year and didn't want to sign off her rights. The father is not listed on the birth certificate so he has no rights. The mother passed away unexepctantly last December and the twins social worker decided to put the twins up for adoption. When we got the phone call about them they were still not declared legally adoptable. So, now we are doing paper work (which we have already done to be adoptive parents) again to become their legal guardians. Once we are their legal guardians we can go to court and say they should be declared adoptable because their mother is dead and there is no father and the uncles have signed off. (We are actually still waiting for the uncles to sign off but don't think it will be a problem.)
So, in the end the ones who are being hurt and suffering are the children. There are still many children hanging in the middle. When adoption was closed there were many children that had already been paired with a family and many of those families and children continue to wait today.
So, what can you do...you can pray. Fast and pray for the children of Romania. Pray that we will get a court date before the courts close down for vacation in July and August and that we will find favor in their sight and be granted legal guardianship of the twins. Gina gets sick every time we drop her back off at the children's home. She gets a fever and is lethargic. It is so hard for her to go back, she wants to be with her family. She keeps asking us to please hurry and get the papers done so we can come and take her home. We would have never told them so soon that we wanted to be their family if we knew it would take so long to get them home. Their case was supposed to be easy, cut and dry but as we have learned nothing is cut and dry in Romania.
Please cry out to God for these kids and especially for our twins and the other kids at Casa Alba!

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