I, along with WACAP’s India program manager, Priyanka Joshi, have been traveling in India – through New Delhi, Hyderabad and Kerala. These trips always bring so many feelings to the surface. Priyanka and I both miss our families, and as we talk to government officials and orphanage staff, we also know that “family” is why we’ve come: to share how important family is for every child who waits.
The process to adopt from India has been through many changes in recent years, and we are happy to see challenges lessening.
Our first stop was Hyderabad. Here, our contacts had questions about our processes in the U.S. We were able to share specifically how WACAP families are prepared to parent the children they welcome home. They were pleased to learn how we help American families understand the possible challenges (and joys) faced when adopting a child with special needs.
I continue to marvel at the lifelong commitment of our families. Talking about this commitment face-to-face with this official, I am optimistic that it made a difference. Hopefully, with information better clarified, she can help find solutions for paperwork delays that cause a child to unduly wait for the stability and love of a family.
During our visit we’ve learned that the orphanage successfully coordinates approximately 100 domestic adoptions annually.
Intercountry adoptions in India are primarily of children with medical or developmental diagnoses, and such placements have been limited in recent years. This orphanage is responsible for close to 200 children whom it considers to have “special needs.” We saw children with needs as minor as thyroid conditions and a benign heart murmur to children with microcephaly and blindness. As we shared our stories of the many children with such needs whom we have seen adopted successfully into wonderful families, our goal was to inspire officials to reduce barriers to adoption for children who should wait no longer for a family.
We’ve also had the opportunity to visit an NGO in the Hyderabad area, which provides care for over 120 orphans who have or who had medical needs.
The NGO started as a response to orphans’ needs not being fully addressed in government orphanage care, and as a way to be able to provide improved care for these children. Now the organization manages four small group homes where the children receive therapies and increased medical attention. Because all of the children have or had special needs, their chances of being adopted domestically is unlikely, so each of these children hopes and waits to be adopted by a family from the U.S. or Europe.
As we continue to share how family transforms the lives of all children – with all types of needs, Priyanka and I are both hopeful. We’re hopeful because the children who are waiting need us to remain their advocates. And we are hopeful because there are families who hope and who also wait to welcome them home.
About WACAP’s Vice President of Adoptions, Mary Moo: Mary has had the joy of bringing families and children together through international adoption since 1991. During these years she has coordinated adoptions in several countries including China, Cambodia, Ethiopia, India, Korea, and Romania. Her career in adoption has been supported by immediate and extended family who are also members of the adoption triad.