Wednesday, August 29, 2012

We're Moving (backwards) on the Immigration Front

It's a well-known fact: I just don't get Immigration.
I was great at dealing with adoption agencies, organizing home-study appointments and fingerprints, finding out how to go about the next step of the process, gathering documents and sending everything off in time.
But the Immigration process is waaayyy above my head!

I have received an email, this week. It is addressed to my child. They call him/her " ", since we don't know what the first name is.
The email states that the sponsorship approval was received in Colombo. It then lists several documents that " " is required to send out.
Some of those documents are not yet available (birth certificate, adoption order, passport, etc). Others were sent to the Mississauga office with our Application to Sponsor.

And then it asks for these documents to be sent out within 30 days. Hummm... We may not have a birth certificate for our unborn child in 30 days...

I get that the sponsorship for family member can be used to bring people of all ages into Canada. But this letter has a few specifics about adoption. Why didn't they also adjust the last sentence? In fact, there is even a bold and underlined statement that failure to send the documents within 30 days could result in " "'s application being refused.

It's just plain stupid. I hate trying to figure out instructions from Citizenship and Immigration Canada!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Hague Convention

Over the past year or so, I have become a huge fan of the Hague Convention.
That's right! With all the red tape, all the paperwork, all the added work, I'm still so happy we chose a Hague country to adopt from...

It's true that the Convention adds an extra layer of complexity to an already messy process. But it's also a guarantee for our children and for ourselves.
As I have discussed here, I am fully onboard with the idea that maintaining a child in her birth family is the best option. I also believe that children should be placed in their country of origin whenever possible. But I know for a fact that they need a family and that, though placing children abroad is a last resort, we are still a great way for a child to grow in a safe, loving environment.
Of course, this doesn't give us priority in getting the baby we long for. But here is one more thing the Hague states: the interests of the children should always prevail. And I agree with that too. These kids are in tough situations and so vulnerable. They need protection and their needs should be a priority.
One day, one of these children will be my son or daughter and I will want to know that their best interest has dictated every single decision made along the way.

Under the Hague Convention, children are, at least in theory, matched by government officials.That's something else I like! The government adds a layer of control between parents (who have money and have been waiting for a terribly long time) and whoever has custody of an orphan.
See where I'm headed?
Don't get me wrong, I believe that most adoption agents, orphanage workers and foster families are wonderful people with a heart of gold. But all it takes is one dishonest person to suddenly stir the focus away from one child's real needs.

I wrote this post over a year ago. And I believe it now more than ever.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Are We Making a Difference?

I have been wanting to write about this for a while, but it's a difficult subject...

There has been an interesting discussion on ichild, lately.
For those who don't know ichild, it is a Yahoo Group of people touched by adoption from India and the Indian sub-continent. A  lot of discussions are specific to the Indian adoption process, but there are also talks about adoptive parenting, adoption travel, culture and more general topics that I find very relevant to our Sri Lankan adoption.

These past few weeks, someone has raised the issue of our motivations to adopt internationally. And it has sparked a deep and thoughtful discussion.
Why, indeed, do we adopt internationally?

It's true that some orphans are destined to a life in very poor conditions. And children who grow out of the orphanage/child care system have very little hope of anything better than a life on the streets. These children need a family, and we are giving them just that.
That is one of the main reasons Pablo and I decided to adopt.

The Hague Convention recognizes a few principles:
- A family is a much better place to grow than an orphanage
- Whenever possible, a child should stay with her birth family (unless the family is abusive).
- When the birth family cannot keep the child, he should be placed with a local family and stay in his birth country.
- If the birth family and a local family are not viable options, then international placement may be the only way to offer the child a family.

I tend to agree with these principles. Though we have good life conditions and I consider our family to have a rich culture, I do not have the pretension to be any better than a Sri Lankan family for a Sri Lankan child.

And that is where the problem arises. An adoptive mother on ichild asked a very difficult question:
We are spending a lot of resources to adopt our child - Money, time, energy, we are even going to travel halfway around the world! If we want to help these orphans, why are we not putting all these resources toward helping a Sri Lankan family keep their baby? Why not invest in a local family to help them take a child under their care?

On the other hand, I wonder how realistic this view is. If I traveled to Sri Lankan and gave all the time, money and energy I've invested in this process, would I even be able to do anything at all for even just one child?
Some birth families have complex stories, where poverty is not the only reason for placement. What about unwed mothers? Illegitimate children? Teenage mothers? Cultural barriers to adoption?
Is it true that money can solve the world's problems?

I would love to hear what other people think about this (please keep the discussion respectful). Any insight from waiting families, adoptive families, Sri Lankans, maybe even adoptees?

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Chinese Must Know...

It’s the second time this happens since we started this process!
I’m taking this as a promise...

I just wish they had provided a timeline!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Immigration - Part 1

We have received our Approval to Sponsor from Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
Part 2 of the immigration process is the Permanent Residency Visa application. It requires documents such as our child's Birth Certificate, a name and a date of birth, among all sorts of forms to fill out. So we can't really do anything for now...
All we can do is wait for our referral!