Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”  Margaret Mead

Things have progressed to an even more serious level with the visa situation.  I will copy a little of what our agency coordinator had to say about it.  PLEASE keep the whole country and situation in your prayers.  We are rallying as adoptive parents, contacting everyone we can think of who can influence a change in policy.  I’ve emailed my contact in Washington (that sounds like I’m involved in espionage!)  And I am sending off letters to my senators and reps…  and I am praying fervently and fasting…

I know alot of you are in the Acres of Hope group, so you are all busy with this, too.  If the others of you have contacts in the media or state department and would like more information on the situation to pass along, please let me know!  The more people who can rally with us, the better!  This situation really does affect all international adoption, not just Liberia, because of the precendence that could be set for the future. 

This is a brief summary of the situation from our agency:

 “The consular is requiring adoption agencies 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 agencies bring in the relinguishing
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 dont 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.”

Obviously, this is a serious concern.  Many relinquishing parents will be hard to find.  Others may change their minds about allowing their children to be adopted if required to come back a year or two later to re-relinquish them for a visa.   There are just alot of potential difficulties.  The really crazy thing is that the adoptions are already finalized by this point.  The children are legally adopted (in Liberia), so the slowing of visas does not change finalization, but it can discourage the flow of adoption.  There have been accusations against several other organizations facilitating adoptions out of Liberia (not AoH) so I can understand in a way the state department’s concern that adoptions proceed in an ethical manner.  It just seems like there are better ways to bring sanctions to those that need it, rather than penalizing every adoption and ultimately affecting the innocent children involved! Just some thoughts…