Hello Out There!

Greetings, everyone!

I haven't posted in a long time only because we are still waiting, waiting, waiting. The good news is that two people I've met through my agency have both received their referrals! One of them is in Kathmandu right now getting her daughter! Woo-hoo! The other one just received their referral last week, and hopefully will get to travel soon.

The program is moving forward, but please keep praying for us. We are number 500, and they have matched up to somewhere in the 250s. We are praying that we will have our baby this year!

Meanwhile, I'm preparing for our yard sale fundraiser. Good times!

Love to all!

Maoist Strikes in Nepal are Over!

Thank You, Jesus! Whoo-hoo! http://www.ekantipu r.com/2010/ 05/07/top- story/maoists- withdraw- strike/313858/

Now, back to work for the Matching Committee. I pray grace over them as they match all of us to our destined children.


Word on the Street: Files have been Reviewed

We heard today from a trusted prospective adoptive parent, through their agency who just returned from Nepal, that all of the 2009 files have truly been reviewed by the Ministry, and are with the Matching Committee. This means they are ready for matching. Let it be so, Lord!

Thank you for joining us in this journey, and in prayer!

Baby Shortage

We were told by our agency, who was informed by their Nepal in-country coordinator, that there is a shortage of adoptable babies. They suggested anyone who has asked for a child under 12 months, switch to a child three years old or older.

If we switched, it would mean we would need to update our home study, our USCIS paperwork, and a few other items. It involves more money and more time.

We've decided to stick with an infant because that is what is in our hearts. We will wait it out, keep praying, and see what God will do. Please join us in prayer.

Significant Protest in Nepal - Prayer Is Needed

The Maoist political party begun a protest today in Kathmandu. 120,000 people are in the protest, and their main goal is to overthrow the government. So far, the protest is peaceful. However, the entire city is at a standstill. The US Embassy has shut down for the moment. There are families in Kathmandu picking up their children, but with the Embassy closed down, they can't get a Visa to bring their child home. This also means the Ministry and Matching Committee are likely closed down for the time being.

Here is a CNN video about it: http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/world/2010/05/03/sidner.nepal.protests.cnn?iref=allsearch.

We really, really, really need your prayers—for us, for the other adoptive parents, and for Nepal. Let's see God do a miracle.


Great News on Good Friday!

After you receive and accept your referral, you must wait for "travel approval" to be given by the Nepal Ministry to come and pick-up your child. There have been several families that have been matched since last September, and even more matches received in March, that have been waiting for their travel approval. I just heard today from our Yahoo "nepaladopt" group that the Minister has signed travel approvals and they are on their way to the families!! This is GREAT news! It means that these waiting families can FINALLY go pick up their children, and it also means the program continues to move forward.

Thank You, Jesus, for this great news on Good Friday!

File Reviewed; Match Awaiting; Prayer Requested!

Once your file (aka: “dossier”) is in Nepal, there are two steps that will take place before you receive your match (aka: “referral”). The first step is, the Ministry reviews your file. The second step is, the Ministry gives your file to the “matching committee,” who then matches you to your child.

I recently heard from our agency, who received an e-mail from their in-country coordinator, that all files had been reviewed and matched. I e-mailed my case manager and said, “What? Really? Does that mean we’re matched?” My case manager said that yes, she believed it did mean we were matched, and that she thought we’d all hear a “big update” once April was here. (The Ministry in Nepal said they would have everyone matched by April, so that’s why my case manager said April.)

This was a little hard for me to believe, but even if we weren’t matched, at least I would know that our file had been reviewed.

I heard this week from a UK friend who is adopting from Nepal, and is currently in Nepal volunteering. While there, she decided to call the Ministry to ask for a status on all the files.

The Ministry told her that all files had been reviewed, and are ready for matching. However, they are not matched yet. The reason they aren't matched is because the coordinator of the matching committee moved to a different position in the government. So, the position is vacant and the government needs to hire someone. No matches will be made until they hire the matching committee coordinator. So the files are just sitting there - reviewed and ready to go. Ugh. BUT, I feel we now we have a unique opportunity to pray in someone for that position! So, pray we will!

Please join with me in prayer that the Lord will fill the matching committee coordinator with His choice, and quickly!

Thank you for your faithful prayers and support! They mean so much to us.


Update on Nepal Adoptions in US

Hello, Nepal adoption families and supporters,

I wanted to give you an update on the Congressional Petition and on the Nepal Families/Supporters petition.
  • Senator Kerry's Congressional Petition had 19 legislators sign it. It has been presented, and Senator Kerry continues to advocate to the US State Department, and Secretary Clinton, on behalf of the Nepal adoption program.
  • The Nepal Families/Supporters petition is currently at 2,702 signatures. If you haven’t had a chance to sign it yet, here is the link: http://www.gopetition.com/online/34404.html. And please forward this link to friends and family members. We really need more signatures.
  • The US State Department issued another statement on March 4 saying they were concerned about the Nepal program, and suggesting that prospective adoptive parents who haven’t been matched, change countries.
  • We have full support from the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, who are advocating to the US State Department on behalf of the Nepal orphans and American prospective adoptive parents.
  • Nepal has issued several more matches to many prospective adoptive parents in the world, around 62, in the last week. This is incredible since they haven’t made any matches since September 2009. I personally know one of these people that received her match—a beautiful 18-month old girl.
  • The key people in Nepal that oversee Nepali adoptions - State Minister (head of the department) and the Joint Secretary - are meeting with the US State Department today. Please pray for this meeting. It is an important one. Based on the March 4 statement, the US is still concerned and the Nepal program is still at risk of being suspended.
Thank you for your continued support and prayers. They mean everything to us.


Referrals Have Begun Again

I received some fantastic news last Thursday. A dear friend received her Nepali referral (match). She's been waiting over a year for her referral, and the news was so incredibly delightful. Her referral is a beautiful 18-month old girl.

There were many referrals received last week, so it looks like the ball has begun rolling again. Apparently, the Ministry has matched up to number 180, and we're number 500 out of 554 families. The Ministry still has a goal of matching everyone by the end of this month. 374 matches to go! :-)

Nepal Adoptions Petition 2010 (the text)

Here is the petition found at: http://www.gopetition.com/online/34404.html

To: Government of Nepal
Governments of the United States of America, France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, Canada, Australia, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

From: International Group of Prospective Adoptive Families: 2009 and 2010 Applicants
And Supporters of Nepal Adoptions

Currently over 500 prospective adoptive families from the U.S., Canada and numerous European nations are in the process of adopting orphaned children from Nepal. Many of these families have been waiting faithfully for three years or more to adopt from Nepal.

In 2007, the Government of Nepal (GoN) imposed a protracted suspension of inter-country adoptions to create and implement a reformed system designed to mitigate against fraud and corruption, and to make the process of international adoption more transparent. These reforms are outlined in the Terms and Conditions (T&C) set forth by the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare. The Terms and Conditions were approved by the GoN in 2008, enabling Nepal’s adoption program to reopen in January, 2009. In April, 2009, the GoN signed onto the Hague, evidencing its intention to become a member of the Convention.

UNICEF and the Hague Permanent Bureau have recently released reports that are critical of Nepal’s adoption process and call for a renewed suspension until additional reforms are in place; namely the full implementation and ratification of the Hague Convention. In response to these reports and subsequent negative press about Nepal’s adoption program, receiving countries are monitoring the Nepal program closely, and at least two countries have suspended adoptions.

From the time the GoN reopened inter-country adoptions on January 1, 2009 to date, there have been repeated administrative delays, resulting in processing and approval of less than 5% of the more than 500 pending files in the Ministry’s 2009 queue under the new protocols. **

Over forty families accepted child referrals in September, 2009, but have now been waiting more than six months for travel approvals to meet their new children and complete their adoptions. Tens of additional matches were reportedly made months ago, but have not yet been released to agencies or families. Hundreds of waiting families and children remain in limbo, waiting for their 2009 files to be processed and completed.

We support the progress the GoN has made to ensure that its adoption system is aligned with universally accepted standards and safeguards so that each and every adoption is handled in a fair, ethical and transparent manner.

However, denying children who are eligible for adoption their basic human right to a permanent, loving family during a period of reform directly contradicts the Hague Convention’s own principles, and most certainly is not in the best interests of the vulnerable children involved.

Even the best institutions fail to provide the care that young children need; and international law emphasizes and makes central the child’s human right to grow up in a loving family. Prolonged detainment in an orphanage is detrimental to a child’s future capacity to grow, develop and reach his or her full potential. Each month of delay represents a loss that may never be recovered.

We believe that it is possible to process these cases in both a thorough and timely manner with full regard for the necessary protections now in place.

In the best interests of the waiting children, we urge the principal receiving countries to actively maintain their adoption programs with Nepal, and to redouble their efforts to support the GoN in further strengthening its adoption system as it works towards Hague ratification.

On humanitarian grounds, and with mercy towards the children and the hundreds of families who have complied with Nepal’s adoption requirements and waited years to welcome their new children into their hearts and homes:

We respectfully request the GoN sign all pending travel approvals and fully complete processing and approval of all the remaining 2009 applications, with all urgency.

International Group of Prospective Adoptive Families: 2009 and 2010 Applicants and Supporters of Nepal Adoptions.

March 2, 2010

** Applicants, agencies and their representatives have received a variety of explanations for the repeated delays: Unfilled leadership positions, sudden staff turn-over, orientation periods for newly appointed officials, apparent reluctance to convene decision-making meetings, apparent internal discord, extended holiday periods, travel, misaligned schedules, and an uncertain political backdrop. These bottlenecks have been accompanied by a lack of information from the Ministry to receiving country embassies, agencies and their representatives, and waiting families on progress, intention and timelines for adoption-related actions.

Nepal Adoptions Petition 2010 - please sign

Dear Nepal Adoption Families and Supporters,

Adoptive parents from Nepal have put together this information, and a petition that everyone can sign. We thought this information would be helpful for you to know what is going on, and why we’re asking you to sign the petition. Please read this information, but if you don’t have time, you can also just go to the petition – see the link below (under the section called "ACTION REQUESTED"). I’ve also copied the words of the petition in another post. We just found out yesterday that the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys sent a supportive letter to the US State Department regarding Nepal adoptions and this petition. This is great news.

Adoptions from Nepal are under threat. The Hague Permanent Bureau and UNICEF have recently released problematic reports that are critical of Nepal's inter-country adoption process. The reports have called for a renewed suspension until additional reforms are in place. In response to these recommendations, and a subsequent flurry of negative press, receiving countries are monitoring Nepal's adoption program closely. At least two countries have suspended adoptions from Nepal (Sweden and Canada).

The Government of Nepal (GoN) announced the reopening of its adoption program on January 1, 2009. This reopening followed a suspension during 2007-2008, and subsequent reforms to Nepal's inter-country adoption program as articulated in the Terms and Conditions approved in 2008.

Despite these recently implemented reforms, the GoN has processed less than 5% of the more than 500 currently active, 2009 pending files since it reopened adoptions over 14 months ago.

These delays have been detrimental to the hundreds of waiting children, causing them to endure protracted and unnecessary detainment in under-resourced orphanages. The situation has also left hundreds of waiting families in limbo, without any firm information on when, or whether, their cases will be processed.

PURPOSE OF PETITION: An international group of waiting adoptive families has organized an online petition. We need your immediate assistance to:
• Urge receiving countries to maintain active Nepal adoption programs and provide assistance to the GoN to further strengthen its system as the government works towards ratification of the Hague Convention.
• Respectfully request that the GoN issue pending Travel Approvals and clear the backlog of over 500 pending 2009 files, with full urgency.

• Please support the waiting families and children by signing this petition.
• To sign go to: http://www.gopetition.com/online/34404.html
• Please disseminate this notice broadly and ask people to sign the petition.
• Please post a link to this petition on Facebook and other relevant sites.

• Countries with Nepal adoption programs
• The Government of Nepal

• Waiting prospective adoptive families
• Supporters of Nepal adoptions
(e.g., friends, family, your communities, adoption professionals, colleagues)
• This petition is open for signature by citizens of all countries.

Thank you so much for your support!

Your help needed: Advising U.S. Gov't to not stop Nepal adoptions

Dear Nepal Adoption Supporters:

I am writing to ask for your action to help prevent the U.S. government from stopping the processing of visas for adopted children in Nepal.

To participate in this effort, you would need to immediately e-mail your Senator and Representative to ask them to sign onto a Congressional Petition by MONDAY. I have written a letter you can use below, and there are also links below to easily find your senators and representatives.

Senator John Kerry is sponsoring a Congressional Petition to Secretary of State Clinton regarding the current Nepal adoption situation. The purpose of this letter is to urge the U.S. Government not to close Nepal adoptions, allowing current in-process families to go through. The letter asks the U.S. State Department to work proactively with the Government of Nepal to strengthen their newly reformed system under the new Terms and Conditions.

Please contact your Senators and Representatives immediately to ask for their support for the continuation of the US-Nepal adoption program by signing onto this letter. For their signatures to be included please have Staffers contact Megan Thompson at megan_thompson@kerry.senate.gov by noon on Monday, March 1. Ms. Thompson can provide a copy of the letter. This is a non-partisan, bicameral initiative.

To make this as easy as possible:
1) You can look up your Senator's e-mail address on this website: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_ cfm.cfm?OrderBy= state&Sort= ASC
2) You can look up your Representative's e-mail address on this website: https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml
3) You can use the following text in your e-mails:

Dear [Senator/Representative]:
I am writing to ask you to sign on to a Congressional Petition being sponsored by Senator John Kerry to urge the U.S. State Department not to close adoptions from Nepal. I am [a family member or friend of a Nepal adoptive family] and know first-hand how important it is for orphaned children to have a family to love and care for them. Nepal is in the process of working toward reform in its adoption laws, which is a difficult process and takes time. This process should be supported by the U.S. Government so that vulnerable children in urgent need of families should not be kept in institutionalized care, which is detrimental to their health and development. Please contact Megan Thompson at megan_thompson@kerry.senate.gov by noon on Monday, March 1, to sign on to Senator Kerry's letter.
Thank you in advance for your immediate action on this issue.
[name, address, phone/email contact]

4) If possible, please forward this call to action to your friends.

Thank you very much! This is really important.

Don't Suspend Inter-country Adoption

To my beloved family, friends and readers:
This is an amazing article. It's refreshing, insightful and is written from someone with experience on the ground in Nepal. It is the best article (and I have read MANY in the last 11 months) on this subject. Please consider reading this important article.
This is written by Philip Holmes who is the founder of an amazing organization in Nepal called "Esther Benjamins Trust - Nepal". Esther Benjamins, Philip's wife, was a judge that had a deep resolve to protect vulnerable children. Sadly, she chose to take her life in January 1999, citing barrenness as the reason in a one-line suicide note to her Philip. Philip decided that something positive should come from such tragedy and chose to form a children’s charity named after Esther to further her values and offer hope to the children that are most vulnerable. To read more about their organization, go to: http://www.ebtrust.org.uk/index.php.
With love,


Don't suspend inter-country adoption
—Philip Holmes

Inter-country adoption is once again receiving a bad press. First we had the arrest of a group of Americans in Haiti who were allegedly trying to remove children from the country without the permission of the authorities. Then in this past week UNICEF in Nepal has endorsed the findings of the Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference that inter-country adoptions from Nepal should once again be suspended. This they state is in response to the Government of Nepal’s failure to fulfill commitments that it gave to reform adoption practice and improve child protection after it signed the Hague Convention in April 2009.

Of course, aspects of the inter-country adoption process as it stands at the moment are totally unacceptable and if the interests of the child are not central and being ignored then UNICEF and others are duty bound to adopt a robust stance. My concern is that a blanket suspension is an overreaction that will be to the detriment of very many children who will be denied a future and loving homes abroad. Instead they will be condemned to remain in grim “orphanages” or they could face an even worse fate. I also believe, after 10 years of working in grass roots childcare in Nepal, that it is overly simplistic to champion the use of family-based care alternatives in Nepal.

In the joint UNICEF/Terre des Hommes report of August 2008 “Adopting the Rights of the Child” it was stated that over 60 percent of children in orphanages were not true orphans. The contention restated in a BBC interview this week by Joseph Aguettant, Country Representative of Terre des Hommes, is that these children could be better supported within their natural families. The status of “orphan” or otherwise is not the key issue; children do not need to be presented as orphans for inter-country adoption. Being a step child is enough. In this regard, I offer an alternative statistic that is much more relevant than the 60 percent figure.

At our refuge in Godawari, we are caring for 100 children. Of these, an amazing 90 percent are step children. Step children are often unwanted and unloved within new family units and if they remain with step parents they may well be neglected and abused. This has been the common etiological factor for nearly all of the at risk children that we have taken into refuge care over the years. We care for children of prisoners. Commonly, shortly after a father was imprisoned, his wife would remarry and the new husband would reject her child or children from before. When we first began working in Nepal, we were to find such children languishing in jail with their biological fathers. We’ve picked up street children who were running away from domestic abuse inflicted upon them by step parents. Most recently, we removed an innocent nine-year-old Nepali boy from inside a young offenders centre in Calcutta; he’d spent four years inside after being found on the street in his bid to escape a violent step parent. And nearly all of the girls that we have rescued from inside Indian circuses were trafficked there by step parents who sold them into a life of abuse and sexual exploitation for just a few dollars and to get them off their hands.

Criminal activities need to be addressed specifically rather than the Nepali government bowing to calls for a blanket ban that stand only to throw the baby out with the bath water.
From our first-hand experience, I am also deeply skeptical about the rationale and practicalities for providing family support to keep children with families. We tried and it didn’t work, even with our adopting the most focused of approaches as we tried to reunite a few individual children with families. We found that, unsurprisingly, financial support just won’t buy the love of step parents and, if material support is accepted, can force children to remain in a potentially dangerous domestic environment. They can be trafficked out of there at the drop of a hat to vanish into the abyss of India or the growing domestic sex trade. Moreover, I am very unclear as to who would fund such widespread support and how on earth it could be implemented, monitored and evaluated in some of the source areas for children who end up in orphanages. By contrast, international adoptive parents can offer infinitely better material support and, above all, love. Their commitment is beyond doubt by virtue of the very fact that they embark upon the long and difficult adoption process.

The latest report from the Hague Conference raised the very serious concern over “paper orphans”, children who were designated as being orphans when they are not through the falsification of paperwork that can ultimately be the basis of inter-country adoption. This is indeed a terrible state of affairs but surely the answer is to track down and bring to book the criminal elements and orphanages that have been involved in this trafficking of children? If such evidence exists (and presumably it does), then it should be passed on to the authorities. Arguably, UNICEF would be better employed taking a robust stance on this rather than adopting a blunderbuss approach through supporting a blanket ban on all inter-country adoption.

Finally a word on domestic adoption. Superficially, it might seem to be a preferable option to keep children in their own country through making more use of domestic adoption as a family-based care option. However, one has to ask if this is really in the best interests of the child and his or her development. Nepal currently is number 144 on the UNDP’s Human Development Index, comparing very unfavorably with inter-country adoption destination countries the USA (number 13) Spain (number 15) and Italy (number 18). But what about the all important issue of love? Many Nepalis will tell you that a child that is adopted into a family has a very high chance of being treated as a domestic servant who is expected to work in return for food and board (and be glad of it) rather than being treated as a true son or daughter. This is in marked contrast with what is available overseas.

I can see a huge need for a reform to the inter-country adoption process. It is way too expensive and the amount of money that is available to adoption agencies, orphanages and central government coffers stands to compromise decision making and the welfare of the children. It is also too slow. Every day that a child spends inside a grim orphanage is a disaster. I also believe that adoptive parents should be required to spend some months in Nepal before receiving their child so that they have a chance to bond and obtain a feel for the country. They should also undertake to bring the child back to Nepal on a regular basis; this is a much better alternative than the visits by ministry representatives to children in their destination countries which are highly intrusive and potentially frightening for the children, not to mention costly for Nepal. Above all, the criminal activities need to be addressed specifically rather than the Nepali government bowing to calls for a blanket ban that stand only to throw the baby out with the bath water.

(Writer, Country Director of Esther Benjamins Trust – Nepal (EBT-N), is the father of two adopted Nepali children and lives in Kathmandu. EBT-N is at the forefront of grassroots work in childcare, child protection and the fight against child trafficking.)


Published on 2010-02-24 01:48:28

"While I'm Waiting"

I saw this video on a fellow Nepal adoptive parent's blog today, and it couldn't better describe the way Andrew and I feel.


Born of My Heart

Not bone of my bone, nor flesh of my flesh,
but still miraculously my own.
Never forget for a single minute:
you didn't grow under my heart,
but in it.

—Fleur Conkling Heyliger


We found out our number in line! We are #500 on the list.

180 have already matched, so that means they are around #320 right now on the list. So, if my math is right, there are 180 families in front of us, which isn't too bad!

Bring on the babies!

11 months or 2 months?

Eleven and a half months ago, we decided to adopt from Nepal. Today, it has been two months since our dossier was registered in Nepal. So, whether we're two months "paper pregnant" or eleven months, the pregnancy continues.

Praying Godspeed over the paperwork for all of us waiting to be united with our destined children.

Trust, Time and Today

Life seems to be about learning to trust God, and adoption certainly is full of that!

In the last two weeks, there have been reports that Nepal's inter-country adoption process is unethical. UNICEF and Terres de hommes (both anti-international adoption organizations), citing a report from Hague amongst other things, say that Nepal should suspend their program to ensure ethical practices, practices free from child trafficking possibilities.

The sad part is that the information they used is old and outdated, and full of inaccuracies. And, the reports do not mention the excellent "Terms and Conditions" Nepal instituted as of Jan. 1, 2009, to further ensure an ethical process free of inconsistencies or mistakes. The reports make no mention of what the Nepal government has done to make their program what it should be.

But the saddest part of all is that, because of these reports, Germany and Sweden have suspended Nepal adoptions for their countries. And, Canada will not issue entry Visas for adopted Nepalese children. Therefore, Canadian citizens cannot accept Nepalese referrals because Canada will not let the child into their country after they're adopted.

These suspensions took place based on reports that had false and inaccurate information.

My heart aches for the people I've met through my Yahoo Nepal group that are German, Swedish and Canadian. These prospective adoptive parents have become my friends. They've shared their hopes, they've dreamed of their Nepalese beauties, they've been vulnerable, and now their hopes and dreams are on hold. One of my Swedish friends, who has a Nepalese son and was waiting to be matched with her Nepalese daughter, posted on her blog, "The ending of a dream and a really HARD day." I'm asking the Lord to intervene for these friends, these waiting parents. I can't help but pray those prayers. He can do the impossible, so I'm asking for what's currently impossible.

In the midst of all this, fear has attempted to claim parts of me. But I am finding that Jesus won't allow it. He says to me, "Choose trust instead." I increasingly grow in my love for Him...so how can I not trust Him? How can I choose fear instead? "There is not fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involved torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love."*

He is love. And if I'm in Him, I'm in His love. Fear can have no hold. And when it tries, I just go deeper into Him.

In my next post, I'll talk about some rebuttals to the UNICEF and Terres de hommes reports. The rebuttals are amazing and full of actual facts.

But for this post, I don't want to focus on that. I want to focus on the fact that today, with the time I'm given every day, I'm choosing to trust. I have no reason not to.

*1 John 4:18-19

I Long For You

My dear child,

For many months I have dreamed of you. This morning, when I woke up, I was thinking of you. I couldn't go back to sleep because I was thinking of you. I laid in bed smiling over the many thoughts that came to mind.

I dream of holding you, smelling you, kissing you, calling you mine. I dream of being a family, laughing together, eating together, hearing your voice in the house. I dream of watching Daddy play with you, tickle you, cuddle you. I asked him the other day, "What are you most looking forward to as a Daddy?" He said, "Cuddling." He can't wait to cuddle you and look into your eyes and tell you that you are his.

We are preparing a home for you. Soon, we will start on your nursery. I love getting everything ready for you. There is nothing else I think of more than you, and getting everything ready for you.

The Lord is knitting our hearts together, and my heart is with yours. I will see you soon, and we will be a family.

All my love,

Minister Bats for Tighter Adoption Policy

Last Updated : 2010-02-06 10:51 PM
Himalayan News Service

KATHMANDU: State Minister for Women, Children and Social Welfare Ram Bachan Aiyar today said that the government was committed to ensure that adopted Nepali children were not abused at home and abroad. The minister’s statement follows a public outcry over the adoption of children to foreign countries without following procedural rules.

Speaking at an interaction programme organised in the capital today, Aiyar warned that no one was allowed to abuse the adopted child or indulge in any foul play over the children’s right to care and choice.

“Orphan and abandoned children will but wait for those who are caring enough to get them into their next sweet homes,” he said cautioning that the government would go offensive against the orphanages if they took law in their own hands. “Make room for an orphan or abandoned child at home first before letting the foreign couples to adopt them as per the government policy. Only when there are no other options left at your disposal when you have to make the hard choice of letting the foreigners to adopt,” he told orphanages.

The children who are available for adoption often live in orphanages. Nepal law states that adoptive parent or family may only have one child of each sex in their household. If one already has a son, he or she must adopt a daughter and vice-versa. The law further states that a person or couple cannot adopt from Nepal if they already have biological children.

It has widely been argued that Nepal is a safe haven for adoption. For many people living in abject poverty, placing their children for adoption is getting lot easier than nurturing them at home.

State [department in Nepal] Sees No Loopholes in Adoption

KANTIPUR REPORT Related News Lawyers: Stop adoption KATHMANDU, FEB 07 - 2010

The government and representatives of organisations working for children have said that the survey report, which claims to have found loopholes in the adoption process, is far from truth.

They have urged the Hague Conference on Private International Law, which prepared the report, to substantiate its claims.

Among others, the report states that falsified reports are presented for facilitating the adoption of children from Nepal.

"The report was prepared with a view to tarnishing the country's image. It is far from truth," said Prachanda Raj Pradhan of the Child NGO Federation, Nepal.

The report follows a Terre des homes' study report, which claims that more than 60 percent of children in orphanages had parents, who could take care of them.

"With new rules and regulations in place, there's no room for malpractice in the adoption process," said Dharma Raj Shrestha, member-secretary of the Central Child Welfare Board.

Nepal reopened the overseas adoption process in May 2008 after introducing new regulations. As per the new rules, the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare takes a final call on adoptions.

Foreigners can adopt only those orphans or children, who are relinquished by parents through due procedures. Prospective parents have to pay US$ 3,000 to the government and $5,000 to foster homes before adopting a child.

Twenty out of 534 applicants got a nod for adoption in 2009, said an official at the ministry. The prospective parents are from Italy, the US, France, Canada and the UK. Paperwork for 39 applications is complete.

Amid claims of flaws in inter-country adoptions, Minister of State for Women, Children and Social Welfare Ram Bachan Yadav pledged to take action against anyone found involved in malpractices.

He asked the organisations to work in the best interest of the children. No communication could be established with Terre de homes office in Kathmandu for comment.

The Good News Continues

We received notice today, 4/5/10, that The Ministry has approved 42 cases for travel*, which will soon go out, and is about to send out 62 more matches! One of those is a match from someone who is with my agency. This gets Andrew and I closer and closer to being matched!

In the same notice, we also received confirmation that The Ministry is working quickly to match all cases by the end of March. I'm working at keeping my hopes in the hands of God for His perfect timing, but wow -- this is exciting!

*Travel approval is the second step in receiving your child. The first step is the referral/match from The Ministry; the second step is The Ministry giving you approval to travel to pick up your child; the following steps all take place while in Nepal - physicals, court, US Embassy investigation that the child is an orphan, Visa from US Embassy to bring the child home, US citizenship of child.

Post from The Ministry in Nepal; E-mail from US Embassy in Nepal

This is taken directly from the website for the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare in Nepal. This is the government department that processes the adoption dossiers. The posted this notice on 2/4/10.

The notice tells us a couple things.
1) The Ministry is focused on matching the 2009 dossiers. They have told our agency, and other agencies, that their goal is to make all matches by the end of March. (This probably won't happen since there are at least 400 dossiers, but it still is great that they've set this as a goal because it does mean it will happen sooner than later.)
2) If we had not gotten on the 2009 list (we were originally approved for the 2010 list, but our agency suddenly had an opening for the 2010 list on 11/30/09, and contacted us), our dossier would just be sitting on the desk of our case manager at our agency, and would have not have been sent to Nepal until 4/15/2010. WOW.

Investigation, Recommendation and Monitoring Committee

This is to inform all the concerned Embassies/ Diplomatic Missions/Adoption Agencies and Adoptive Parents to take the following notes:

For the year 2010, application should be submitted from 15 April, 2010 to 15 July, 2010.
Application should be submitted enclosing therewith a checklist of 5 major documents such as Guarantee Letter, Consent Letter, Home Study Report, Medical Report and Character Certificate.
Application without valid and complete documents shall not be entertained.
Application exceeding the quota shall not be entertained.
If it is found that the Agency has, upon receiving allocated quota, submitted an application for further quota, the Ministry shall take necessary action against such Agency.

The following is an e-mail a fellow Nepal prospective adoptive parent received on 2/4/10 from the US Embassy in Nepal. This e-mail tells us a couple things:
1) By virtue of the US Embassy meeting with The Ministry, the US Embassy cares very-much that US dossiers on the wait list are processed.
1) The US Embassy heard straight from The Ministry that The Ministry would like to complete all dossiers by the end of March. This is SUCH good news because for so long, it seemed like agencies and embassies were not hearing the same thing from The Ministry.
2) The USA continues to be completely committed to confirming the orphan status of all matches made to US citizens.

We have met with the Ministry and they did inform us that they plan to complete processing of all dossiers by the end of March. However, we do not know if this is a realistic goal, given the large number of cases waiting for processing.

We would like to remind American prospective adoptive parents that the US Embassy is by law to conduct an orphan investigation (I-604) to verify the child's orphan status prior to the issuance of an IR-3 or IR-4 immigrant visa. Depending on the circumstances of a case, this investigation may take up to several months to complete. Adoptive parents should therefore carefully consider whether to file their Form I-600 Petition to Classify an Orphan as an Immediate Relative with the Department of Homeland Security, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services in the U.S. or at the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu, as the Embassy’s I-604 investigation cannot begin until the I-600 has been filed and the documents have been reviewed by a consular officer.

Nepal Adoptions Continue Moving Forward

We read some disturbing articles on the internet this week, and you might read them as well. The BBC, PEAR organization, AFN, and a southeast Asian online newsletter posted information saying Nepal should suspend adoptions due to fraudulent paperwork on classifying children as orphans.

All of the articles posted information from old sources, and quoted The Hague* as reporting that Nepal should suspend adoptions. The information from Hague that they sited was old information.

It's very frustrating they mention Hague in this article because they have taken Hague's comments out of context. The Hague met with Nepal a few years ago, and Nepal did close their program in 2007 and 2008 to improve their process, then re-opened in January 2009. In April 2009, the government of Nepal signed "The Hague Intercountry Adoption Convention"**, which is a treaty that ensures a country follows strict, ethical practices in registering a child as an orphan, and registering them adoptable. Once all of a countries' practices are compliant with The Hague's guidlines, the country can then become "Hague-accredited". The first step in becoming Hague-accredited, is to sign the treaty. That is what Nepal did in April 2009.

Having signed the treaty, Hague met with Nepal again in November 2009. A report has not officially been written by Hague, but we do know that they gave Nepal action steps on becoming Hague-accredited. Thus, the articles posted this week did not speak to that meeting, but to meetings from a few years ago. And yet, the articles talk as if Hague came back from the November 2009 meetings and told Nepal to suspend their adoptions!

The articles written do site UNICEF and Terre de Hommes, which are both anti-international-adoption. Hmmm...

There is risk in international adoption no matter what country you choose. The USA, the US Embassy in Nepal, our adoption agency, and Andrew and I are committed to ensuring that the child we adopt has valid paperwork as a true orphan. The Ministry in Nepal (that is the department responsible for processing the adoption dossiers) also seems committed to this in that the government of Nepal signed "The Hague Intercountry Adoption Convention"**. Andrew and I are very excited to start a family. But more than that, we are passionate about rescuing orphans, particularly from a life that may take them to being trafficked as a child - either into sex slavery, or as a child soldier. It is critical to us that we do everything in our power to confirm the child we receive is a true orphan.

We continue to receive information from our agency, and our Nepal Yahoo group that The Ministry in Nepal is committed to matching all dossiers by the end of March. So, amidst this disturbing news, the mission is the same in Nepal for us prospective adoptive parents that are on the 2009 list. I will post separately a report that came straight from The Ministry in Nepal this week.

Taken from The Hague's website:
*With nearly 70 Members (68 States and the European Community) representing all continents, the Hague Conference on Private International Law is a global inter-governmental organisation. A melting pot of different legal traditions, it develops and services multilateral legal instruments, which respond to global needs.

**The Hague Convention of 29 May 1993 on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention) protects children and their families against the risks of illegal, irregular, premature or ill-prepared adoptions abroad. This Convention, which also operates through a system of national Central Authorities, reinforces the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (Art. 21) and seeks to ensure that intercountry adoptions are made in the best interests of the child and with respect for his or her fundamental rights, and to prevent the abduction, the sale of, or traffic in children.

Happy Birthday, Andrew!

Andrew had a great birthday on 2/2/10, celebrating with friends and family. We had lots of people over, enjoying appetizers, drinks, cards, gifts and the first show of LOST!

This will probably Andrew's last birthday without a little brown baby sitting on his lap. Let's hope so!

Pictures include:
• One with his parents (is Andrew ever not cheeky?)
• One with one of his best buddies, Joshua
• A group shot of a few peeps
• Some LOST fans downstairs gettin' ready for the season kickoff!

More Good News On The Adoption Front

You may have read in other posts, that there are prospective adoptive parents that already received their referral/match last fall. 41 matches to be exact. However, they had not received the much-needed "travel approval" from the government giving them permission to pick up their child.

Today (1/28/10), I received this e-mail through our Yahoo group from a fellow expectant Nepal Mom:

"I just spoke to our Agency, who made phone contact with our rep. He has spoken with the Ministry and confirmed that they plan to mail travel approvals out on Monday [Feb. 1]. He did not know how many, but had not reason not to believe they all would be going out. He said that the approvals will have varying dates of travel, so that not all 41 families will converge on the Ministry at one time."

I can't wait to hear news of parents that are already matched getting their invitation to travel to come up pick up their babes!


Nepal Adoptions Moving Again

I just received some wonderful news from a few people on my Yahoo "Nepaladopt" group.

Regarding matches:
"I talked to my agency today and they had really great news. They told me that Nepal has officially started matching again after establishing a new group of people who are only to work with the 2009 matchings.

No new agencies of new applications will be processed until all 2009 families have been matched. They expect to have all 2009 cases matched no later than april."

Regarding travel approvals for those already matched:
"Just heard from our agency that the Ministry met and approved 20 families to travel! Yes, things are moving again."

This is very exciting. There hasn't been movement—travel approvals for those already matched, or more matches made—since September 2009.

Thank you for your continued prayers!


Update From My Adoption Agency

January 15, 2010

I received an update from my adoption agency regarding where things are at in the Nepal program.

• The coordinator from Nepal visited the US in January 2010, and my agency got to have a conference call with him.
• The coordinator confirmed that the Ministry is committed to completing all cases within the next three months.

Wow...what if we had a referral by the end of March? You never know! Yes, Jesus!

The 2009 List: Destiny

I just received some information from our Yahoo Nepal adoption group, and am blessed beyond explanation to know we are on the 2009 list. They said that Nepal is no longer accepting any new adoption applications until they complete the 2009 applications. And that this included applications for 2009 and 2010.

I am rejoicing in the favor and blessing of God. If we were still on the 2010 list, we would not have even been able to submit our dossier right now, not until the 2009 list had been matched (~500 applications). Yet, on 11/30/09, my agency suddenly had an opening for the 2009 list, we were ready at just the right time, and all of our paperwork got to the Nepal coordinator—an entirely different continent—on the exact day he needed to register by the actual deadline—12/15/09 (only 11 working days later, mind you)—that we might be on the 2009 list.

Our God is a God of destiny!

Debt free!

Our God is amazing! In February of 2009, we joined several others in our church for a 13-week "Financial Peace" class by Dave Ramsey. We were several thousand dollars in commercial debt, including our car. We began to immediately implement the truths and wisdom that we were learning on a weekly basis from Dave Ramsey. (Dave has been affectionately re-named "Uncle Dave" in our household.)

When we decided to start the adoption process at the end of March, we asked the Lord to not only provide the means to adopt debt-free, but to provide the means to get out of debt completely.

Our God is able! By early summer, our car was paid off, and our other debt was getting paid off chunk by chunk. And, in 2009, Andrew and I collectively received six bonuses from our workplaces (unheard of!). Between the bonuses and following Uncle Dave's processes, the Lord provided MORE THAN ENOUGH to get out of debit. On Dec. 21, 2009, we paid off our last credit card payments. WE ARE DEBT FREE! And we still have money in our baby bank account for the adoption process, and it continues to get filled up.

I want you to know, as was shared with us by a speaker at our church, God does not provide just enough, He provides more than enough!

The Waiting Has Begun

Our greatest gift to one another on Christmas day was our completed dossier. In fact, it was our only gift! We joyously put our completely packet of Nepal requirements for adoption paperwork under the tree with a big red bow on top. Then, on Christmas morning, we opened it up and went through all the paperwork, reminiscing about the adoption journey so far. Yep...we are officially waiting!

Thank you to everyone who prayed for us to be on the 2009 list. The Lord's hand was truly on our dossier, and everything needed arrived into the hands of the Ministry in Nepal literally on the deadline, Dec. 15. It's a bit of a long story, but all I can say is - the Lord did want us on that list because He got us on it just in the nick of time! Thank You, Jesus!

Now that we are officially "prospective adoptive parents," (PAPs) we are learning even more about international adoption, especially in Nepal. One of the many things we're finding out is that by getting on the 2009 list, we'll likely have a baby in 2010. Had we been on the 2010 list, it probably would have been 2011 before we had a baby.

Even with being on the 2009 list, we are at the bottom of the list, and our hope is that we have a baby by the end of the year. (Our prayer is that we have our baby much sooner than that!) We have not received our official registration number yet, which will tell us where we are in the line of those waiting, but we think we're around #490. So, there are lots of people ahead of us, but everyone hasn't asked for the exact same specifications. Some have asked for kids older than 12 months; some for siblings; some for special needs; and some have specified a gender. We have asked for an infant, boy or girl. It's good we did not specify a gender, but babies do take longer to wait for because there are several people that have asked for a baby. But we are confident that the Lord has picked out our baby for us.

Nepal is very behind in matching PAPs to orphans. The reasons for this are numerous, but there are two primary ones: culture and politics. Culturally speaking, Nepal just moves a whole lot slower (if you've been to India, you know what I mean). Politically speaking, Nepal continues to be in a state of unrest, and those in the Ministry that are responsible for the matches get caught up in it. Recently, they fired a few people in the Ministry and hired replacements. So that also slowed things down.

All of this to say, there are only 22 orphans that are with their forever family now....That's 22 in 2009 out of nearly 500 families that are waiting! There are about 40 other PAPs that have been matched since last September, but the Ministry has not given them approval to travel to pick up their children yet. We are also told that several other matches have been made, but the Ministry has not sent out the picture and medical reports yet to the PAPs.

The Ministry met on Jan. 4 and 5 and hopefully they are going to get moving again. For goodness sake, there are over 400 PAPs waiting to be matched with their destined babes. Including us.

Thank you for prayers and love. We look forward to the day when we are on the other side of adoption...