Sunday, June 7, 2009

Advice on Adopting

I am usually the blog stalker, not the stalkee. This week I met someone who follows my blog that asked me for advice on pursueing an adoption. I was kind of surprised. I’m usually the one calling, emailing, asking questions of those who have gone before me. The I realized I AM in the position to give advice. I am by no means an expert on adoption in Uganda, but I have learned a few things in the last few weeks.
First, I can not say this enough. An orphanage is not a place to shop. The children here are not snowglobes that you can pick up ans shake and see if they will look good in your house and then put down and move on to the next one. They should not be treated as souveniers of your trip to Africa. You don’t have any right to think that because you live in another country that you can give a Ugandan orphan a better home than one here. Ugandans love their children and the best case scenario is that all of these children be raised in loving homes here that will support their culture. If you are trying to complete you collection of children from around the world, STOP!!!!! We don’t need you here. If this is not something that you have prayed about and are sure that is the will of God, DO NOT PROCEED.
Do not assume that you are entitled to a child. Do not come with the expectation that you are going to save a child. Do not come demanding that things go your way. Things change in adoption every day. If you are committed to adopting a child for the right reasons you will be willing to go along with the changes.
I know that some of you are worried about these changes. Let me assure you that I am truly happy that these changes have been made and I have no problem with them. Barbara wants everyone to come and stay 2 weeks when choosing a child. Can I say that this is a blessing and not a curse. Who would not love the opportunity to come and get to know these children before adopting one. I know I have enjoyed the experience and will cherish it always. If you come with your proper paper work you can go ahead and start the adoption process. I do not understand why someone would expect to be able to adopt anywhere when they have not gotten a home study or any of the other paperwork necessary. It is damaging to the process. It makes it seem like the Westerners are trying to pull a fast one on the Ugandans. I will say again WE ARE NOT ENTITLED TO A CHILD. This is a gift that is given by God and the guardians of these children. It should not be taken advantage of, just because you think you deserve your baby now. This is not a western culture where demanding something is going to get it done. It is going to compromise the process for everyone who comes after you.
I am more than happy that Barbara has asked Hedda to look over the paperwork from the US and Canada. She has someone doing it in Australia and in the Netherlands. Barbara is a very busy woman who has the best interest of each of these children at heart. She can not look over every set of documents and be an expert on the laws of each state and province. This will not delay the process. It will insure that the process is seen as uncorrupt as possible. Hedda was asked by Peter Nyombi this week to meet with 2 of the Ministers of government here. He thinks it is a wonderful idea that this step has been added. This will help assure the judges that all paperwork from Sanyu adoptions is in perfect order and that they do not need to worry about child tafficking. By the way, Hedda is doing all of this for FREE. She is not getting a dime. She is doing this because she loves children.
I know that Hedda has taken a lot of heat. Both here in Uganda and in the US. It is completely undeserved. She is a wonderful woman who loves these children. She is doing what she was asked to do to make sure that guardianships in Uganda continue. She is here to complete the guardianship of her own child. She wants to make sure that all of these children get the opportunity to find loving families. She has spent every day that she has been here taking children that are in need of medical attention to the doctor. Not her own child. Other children, children who would have died if they did not get this care. Does this sound like she is trying to keep families from adopting the children at Sanyu?
It truly saddens me that some people have let Satan get a foothold in this process. We do not need to be tearing people down, but building them up. If you don’t have anything to hide you should not be afraid to let a knowledgable professional social worker look at you paperwork and conduct a phone interview. Remember you are not the only person wanting to adopt a child. Please do all you can do to preserve the process and ensure that adoptions continue.
While you are here, respect the culture. Do not assume you know better or are better than anyone. Just because you came on a mission trip last year for 2 weeks does not make you an expert on how to run an orphange or help these ‘poor people’. Keep your mouth shut and DO SOMETHING USEFUL!!! If you think changes need to be made, try building trust and relationships with the people instead of bossing them around and treating them like they know nothing. Don’t be a stupid mzungu.
I hope I have not offended anyone. I will be reviewing comments before they are posted publicly. Like most advice, you can take this or leave it. It is up to you. But I beg you to stop perpetuating the idea that Americans are bossy, rude, and arrogant. It is not helping anyone. Most of all, the children who need homes. Pray about the words you use and the tone you use before you speak. I did.


Kathryn said...

Hey! I think this was a great blog! What a great way to advocate for what is true and most important! If people aren't willing to work with the Barbara and the needs that SHE has to fulfill, then this is not the place for them. Adopting a child is not like shopping for a puppy in the window.. You don't just walk by a pet shop and see a puppy, fall in love, and then decide to buy one... Adopting and taking a child into your home is spending ALOT of time on your knees, preparing, praying, and seeking to hear God's plans for you. That takes time to get to that point. And the homestudy process is HUGE! My husband and I have gotten so much out of the process. Learning about each other, and culture, and becoming prepared to bring a child into our home. This is a VERY important step, that should be done thoroughly and whole-heartedly, before ever making the step to come to Sanyu. I think it's a good thing that some guidelines are being put into place.
I pray that all of your work, and Hedda, and the McD's and the Penner's; all the knowledge and love and support can build a relationship with the courts in Uganda, to provide an efficient process for guardianship in Uganda, so that each childs' needs are met first and foremost, and that God's will is done.
When you have sometime, please email me! I have a few questions, and would love to get more involved!
God Bless Sanyu!

Robin said...

OH My GOSH!!! But AMEN!!! :-) I'm a missionary working in Uganda (at home on furlough right now) and you couldn't be more right! (sadly.....) Thanks for being upfront about it when people ask.

jena said...

Cat got your tongue?

You should tell us how you really feel!

Thanks for sharing your heart. And thanks for wanting to put your needs behind the needs of the children.

Adrian Carr said...

Hi Tanya,
My wife and I just came across this post and love it. It reminded us a great quote from Pastor Tony Evans:

Now, if this doesn't apply to you, just let it pass over you. But, some are you are getting ticked off right now. If you getting ticked off, that's probably because it applies."

Very well said.
Adrian and Ami Carr