Tuesday, October 1, 2013

An open letter to DGM

Dear DGM (General Direction of Migration),

Your recent decision to suspend issuance of exit letters comes from the right place in your hearts. I understand that you are concerned about the children of your country. No one blames you for that. A few recent reports have come out that tell the grimmest of grim adoption tales: "rehoming," alleged abuse, and child trafficking are abominable behaviors that we--the other adoptive parents in this discussion--detest. While I sincerely wish that none of these things were true, I hate to admit that a few of the allegations in these reports may be a sad reality. I have never seen anything like that in person, but I do know that we live in a broken world, and I have seen much worse behavior in biological families as a public school teacher.

However, those rare and dreadful situations are not the reality for us and thousands of other adoptive moms and dads who are trying to give the children of your country safe, loving, and secure homes.

Let's talk about those moms and dads who were not represented in these horrible reports. Let's talk about how they have spent hundreds of hours working on paperwork, thousands of dollars on the adoption process, and millions of minutes thinking about bringing their children home from your beautiful country and rich culture. Let's talk about how they lose sleep at night because they are praying for their children across the ocean--praying for health, safety and a speedy adoption process so those kids can come home quickly and their parents can tuck them in to their own soft and snuggly beds at night. Let's talk about how their brothers and sisters have been looking at pictures of them for months, waiting for the day they will get to meet. Let's talk about how it must finally feel for them--the adopted--to have a family, a home, a future. Hope.

Right now, while you investigate the allegations to which the reports alluded, many of the children in your country are being significantly hurt by the inability to go home with their adoptive families. Surely you know the stats: One in five children die before the age of five in Congo. Compare that to the United States, the country with an average life expectancy of almost 79 years of high-quality life.

Yet, there are these kids in Congo...Their adoptions are final; all that's left is a ride home that they can't catch because of a few reports that have told only one side of the story. While children wait there in your country they are often hungry in orphanages and exposed to treatable diseases that your medical professionals--with all of their good intentions--cannot treat, simply because they do not have the resources. (We wish your country did have the resources, by the way. But that is something that cannot be fixed without major influence and change. Influence that might--MIGHT--just come from a child who was born in Congo, adopted and educated in the U.S., and who travels back to Congo to educate, equip, and change his beloved country. Wouldn't THAT make a great story for a journalist?)

But we have the resources here now. We have resources to protect your children, to save your children, to love your children, and to be parents to the children who are in such desperate need of family. So please let us do that, and let us do it quickly.

We understand that you want to keep those kids safe. So do we. Feel free to investigate us--all of us--even more thoroughly than before, but please be extremely quick about it so we can get them home. In fact, feel free to investigate us for the rest of our lives. Just get them home quickly.

Warmly, but with strong conviction,

Adoptive moms and dads everywhere