Monday, August 27, 2007

Papers are DONE

Our papers are all together and done. We now have a few that need to be notarized. We have to print up a few pictures and then I will send all of the items off. Still waiting for our I-171 but I figure I'll send out what I can now! It certainly feels good to be 'almost' done with this part! A big relief and one step closer to holding our little girl.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Patty's Meeting with the Consulate

I know you all have been anxiously awaiting news about my meeting with the Embassy today. I am happy to report that our discussions were positive and the Consulate took several suggestions I made about making the process perhaps a little less stressful. She acknowledged the unfortunate families who have been caught in this new transition and express that she hoped not too many more families would be in this position.

One of the concerns shared was the increase in adoptions and why that was happening. My explanation was simply.........20 years ago before the war Liberia was a peaceful and relatively prosperous nation and with the African culture that supports extended families caring for each other, adoption was a rare occurrence. Then with the many years of war the nation was left with thousands of orphans. NGO's and Organization like our saw the need to respond.Now while the orphans may be for the most part semi orphaned or children with single mothers, the need for these children to find loving forever families is just as great. The war left poverty at such a all time high, that extended families in many cases are no longer able to care for the vulnerable children. I had the opportunity to share what Acres of Hope was all about and the many programs we have that are serving the children of Liberia. That we are committed to serving all the children of Liberia. In the big scene of things only a few will be lucky enough to find the loving arms of adoptive parents, but because of those few..........thousands of others will be served in Liberia. They were impressed with the humanitarian outreach Acres of Hope and that was a real plus. The Consulate was quite socked to see the 22 page album that we put together just showing our special needs miracles. She assured me she would consider the needs of some of the most fragile children and applauded Acres of Hope in meeting the needs of this special group of children.

After discussions of the latest venture my staff had to make driving 200 miles on terrible roads with life-threatening conditions, crossing bridges washed out by the rains and needing to be re-built, I informed the Consulate I would not ever put my staff in that position again and that her request certainly appeared as if she was trying to put blockades in the process. Again she assured me her intentions were not to stop adoptions. At that point I suggested we pre-approve the children for visa at the beginning of the adoption process at the time the parent signs the relinquishment. That way the investigation should not be so involved as the part of verifying the orphan status would already be complete. She agreed to this.

So what does this all mean?

There will be a new order to adoptions that would include a pre-approve of the orphan for adoption by the Embassy much like the I600A is for the adoptive parent.This should eliminate the fear that at the end something could go wrong.

Time wise.........well that is still yet to be known, but I truly believe that this will improve what has already been in place and probably cut the process down in the end.

We also discussed that it was necessary to allow processing to be 2days per week with Thursdays being the day to drop off papers and schedule appointment.The result will be much more order, still the same amount of time,but with some strict guidelines.

In conclusion, our new Consulate is very willing to work with us to improve the system. She encouraged me to meet with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to discuss all these issues and concerns I have in educating others in the country on adoption including NGO not in favor of adoption.

I gave her a stack of information on articles you all were so good to research and I know she will have lots of reading materials and hopefully learn alot.

All in all it was a positive and productive meeting and I went away with good feeling realizing that changes are always hard and take time to get use to, but in this case I am convinced it is for the better.

Too many agencies have done short cuts or been dishonest and this is what has caused the issues we are dealing with now.

Acres of Hope is committed to setting the standards for how adoptions should be and with all of your help I believe the Lord will bless our efforts.

Thanks you all for your many prayers and patience through this growing experience. I want all of you to know I personally along with our wonderful staff are here to do everything in our power to remain a voice for the children and support to you as adoptive families.

THREE CHEERS FOR YOU ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

*Note: I will give each of your children a big hug and kiss !

Blessings,Patty Anglin, Executive Director


Uh, Donna from AoH just called telling me that my homestudy that was sent to them was copies- and some were only the backs of pages. What is our agency doing? They should know that originals are needed! Even I know that! Not to mention awhile ago when I got a copy of my police clearance (it was fine guys) the birthdate was wrong. Even some information in our homestudy was inaccurate. Good thing our social worker is coming on Friday to update our homestudy since we've moved. I will address this all with her then and hopefully we will run in to no more snags with this. Now I have got to get going on this other paperwork. It is difficult when I'm still trying to change my address with this and that. We still haven't gotten any mail forwarded from our old address and its been 2 weeks. We only moved 1 digit in our zip code away (if that makes sense). I'm also trying to get ready for the school year so life's been busy as can be. Just when I think it settles down I find more I need to be doing. Well, off to play a game with the kiddos!

Sunday, August 12, 2007


I have been away from my emails and groups for some time and I'm just catching up. Seems like I've missed a lot and my heart is saddened by the latest news on Liberia's front. Please read what Donna from Acres of Hope has shared with us:

* The consular is requiring adoption agency's to make an appointment for a pre-visa interview. That can only be done on a certain day and only for a couple hours that day. After the petition has been filed; the consular requires 3 weeks to conduct a mandatory I-604-Determination on Child for Adoption.
-Due to security concerns; the consular staff is requiring that agency's bring in the relinquishing birth parent for an interview with the consular. Families within the city will be required to come in as well. Furthermore, DNA testing will be required for all cases which consular staff cannot determine parentage by interview.
-Adoption providers can drop off documents pertaining to adoptions on Thursdays from 2-4:00pm.
-Adoptive parents should not schedule return flights to the U.S. until the consular provides the date a visa will be issued. Parents cannot meet with the consular unless they have a visa interview which can only be Thursdays from 2-4.

*The embassy gets its directions from the state dept. in Washington. They don't want to stop adoptions. They just want to slow them down to such a point that parents will be discouraged and not adopt from this country. They are now considering requiring parents to stay in country for a month. If the agency cannot locate the parent to your child then they will not issue a visa.

Parents need to be VERY concerned and get involved now. We need families to write letters. Use statistics. Child Institutional care is not what is best for kids no matter what country. They want the kids to be kept here (what kind of culture is an orphanage?) yet we just read last week how they are closing orphanages and returning kids to parents who cannot care for them. Letters need to be written reminding the state dept of the Geneva convention- a child's right to be adopted. This goes far beyond clothes, food, medicine, and education for kids. Institutional care is not the answer. Patty (AoH director) is making plans to go to the embassy early next week with other people.

We know that 70% of kids in private foster care in the U.S, alone end up in prison. And that is in the U.S.! What is this doing to the children in Liberia? Realize that this affects everyone adopting. No one is left out. This will cause the cost of adoptions to rise again as it will take so much more longer for the kids to come home. Families whose kids are home- take action. Don't think that because your children are home you can breathe a sigh a relief. You have an obligation to get involved for your adopted children's sake. This is their home country and many more children need your help.

My 2 cents- UNICEF is a driving force. They fund the social services department of Liberia. They are convincing them that adoption is big business and all these kids are going to leave the country. I hope this stirs everyone into action.

I know I will be taking action to do what I can. Even if you may not be adopting from Liberia, you too can help us families that are! Please, please, please help us out!!!

Katy has posted about this as well, and if you scroll down she tells how it will affect the children in Liberia. This really breaks my heart and I want you to join me in PRAYING for Liberia, for the orphans and for those in power to change these new rules.