Sunday, 7 February 2010

The Situation in Uganda

I have not been blogging about this, because, quite frankly, there is so much information out there that it has been difficult to sort through all of the reports, and I would rather post no information than misinformation, but I think I have it sorted out.

The situation, briefly, is this: It is not legal for non-citizens to adopt in Uganda unless they are willing to live in country with the child for three years. Families like us were able to avoid this because Judges have the ability to waive this requirement and award legal guardianship if they deem it in the best interest of the child. Then, with the Judge's permission, parents (now the legal guardians) got visas to the US, where they went through an official adoption process.

Apparently, there is some discomfort about the process working this way among Ugandan officials. Increasing numbers of families attempting to gain legal guardianships means more attention to the process. In the last few weeks officials have been openly questioning it.

A family applied for a visa this week and was denied by the embassy because the ruling (the permission for legal guardianship) contained wording that indicated the child in question was not free to be adopted in the US. The embassy met with officials and discussed the legal guardianship process with them. They discussed the wording of ruling, and what the US has to see in the rulings in order to allow a child home on an IR-4 visa. Whether or not these changes can be made is under discussion. Those who support the continuation of this system are hard at work.

With God all things are possible. There is still hope for the American and Ugandan governments to find resolution on these issues, or for Ugandan laws to be clarified or changed in a way that allows more orphaned children to come to loving homes in the US (and elsewhere). At this point, all we can do is pray.

Jeff and I want Tommy to have Ugandan siblings. We love Uganda. We hoped we would return. Also, a little boy from Tommy's babies home has just been put in the custody of American parents, and these developments threaten their ability to bring him home. Thus, we feel very invested in all this, and it has been an emotionally turbulent week.

Everyone knows adoption is high-risk. International adoption frequently has stops and starts, and often those stops turn into complete shut downs. We knew when we began in Uganda that because guardianship worked the way it did that it was inherently more risky than building our family through a country that has pro-(international) adoption laws. But we fell in love with the country, the people, and especially, a little boy. Our boy. This news breaks our hearts.

The next few weeks will be critical for the children in need of families, the families waiting in Uganda for resolution, and for all those waiting in the US. Please pray for a speedy and positive resolution.

If you would like more information on the situation in Uganda, Lifeline Children's Services has posted a detailed statement from the Vice Consul at the the US Embassy in Kampala.


mary said...

We are praying.

Jim and April said...

i think you wrote this beautifully and well informed! My heart feels the same even though we know Uganda is risky to adopt from God has for some reason drawn our hearts to this country and we have fallen in love with it! praying for a quick resolution!