Cause to Celebrate, Cause to Fight


The Romeike’s Can Stay!

There’s a lot of disagreement in the world of orphan care and adoption, but almost everyone agrees on one thing. When possible, it is in the best interests of a child to remain with their biological family. Prevention is the best way to keep a child from being an orphan. The American foster system tries to reunify families when possible, and organizations work in other countries to allow poverty stricken families to keep their little ones. People understand that the government makes a poor parent. Or do they?

Homeschooling is not allowed in Germany. This law essentially puts government control of children above parental rights. To make matters worse Germany puts their anti-homeschooling sentiments over the well understood importance of keeping children with their families. If families try to protect their children from the enormously secular German public school system, the German government will remove the children from their parents. These children are not in abusive, neglected, impoverished, or harmful situations. They have loving, happy families.

If governments know how to raise children better than loving parents, why do so many studies reveal a decrease in brain development among institutionalized children? Why do high percentages of graduates from government care programs end up in crime, prostitution, and poverty? The statistics and studies are clear. Raising children isn’t a job for the government.

Romeike2The Romeike family fled to the US after suffering persecution for homeschooling their children in Germany. They were granted asylum by US courts and settled quietly into their new lives: until members of the American government appealed the already settled case, and began attempting to throw the Romeikes out of the country. These officials almost became responsible for adding six more children to the millions of orphans in the world. Thankfully, last night we learned that the Department of Homeland security has announced that the Romeike’s can stay! This family will remain together, the way a family should.

However, there are still children being orphaned because of this issue. Children being snatched from their stable families by overbearing governments. Children being subjected to the documented trauma of being removed from their parents for no good reason. Families like the Johansson’s whose son has been in foster care for years simply because his parents homeschooled him .

These situations have been recognized as human rights cases. They’ve been recognized as parental rights cases. But they also deserve attention by people in orphan care. Across the board, people who care for orphans seek to prevent children becoming orphaned in the first place. From efforts to reunify families with children in the US foster care system to sponsoring poverty stricken families around the word to keep them unified, making sure children remain with their parents whenever it’s safe is a priority in this field.

Families whose children are being removed for no good reason need people to fight for them. Learn how you can help the Johansson’s  by visiting the Johansson Resource Page and How to Help the Johansson Family.


Russia, Politics, and Adoption

russia-grunge-flag--blueThe Olympic games draw a lot of attention and interest from people around the world. If you mention Russia right now, everyone’s first thought will probably be the games in Sochi. However, the Olympic games only last a short time, and they don’t eradicate problems within a country.

Russia has held a special place in my heart for a long time. It started when I read a story about a street boy in Russia, trying to survive in the aftermath of WWII. Something about the story touched my heart, and I started dreaming about someday adopting from Russia.  Unfortunately, unless something changes, that door is now closed to me and hundreds of others. A little over a year ago, Russia closed it’s doors to would-be adopters from the US.

Lots of people know about the scandals surrounding several Russian adoptions, including the story of a mother who put her adopted son on a plane by himself and sent him back to Russia. It’s easy to assume that stories like these caused Russia to close it’s doors to adoption. But that’s not the case.

I’d heard many times that the closing of Russian/US adoptions was political posturing, but never knew the full story until yesterday when someone mentioned a story featured recently on 60 Minutes. The video is embedded below.

Basically, an American business man working to fight corruption in Russia stepped on a few too many toes and ended up getting thrown out of the country. When Russian police raided his Russian office, seized ownership papers, and gave away control of his three companies, he hired a Russian man to investigate. The hired man uncovered more corruption and took it to court. A short time later, he was also arrested for tax evasion. He died after being held in prison for a year without a trial. The original American business man then flew his investigator’s family to DC and told American officials what happened. America responded by banning a bunch of Russians from the country. Russia responded by prohibiting Americans from adopting Russian children.

Now, I haven’t done a lot of research about the corruption in Russia or the validity of the American business man’s story. I assume he must have some pretty good evidence if the American government took action on his story. But the bottom line is that children are being kept from families who want them because of politics that have nothing to do with adoption. It is estimated that only 10% of children who grow up in Russian orphanages go on to live productive lives. A large majority turn to crime and prostitution.

I’m not sure what we can do about this. Like I said, I just learned the full story yesterday. But being educated about what’s going on and praying about it is a great first step. I encourage you to watch the video and follow the links throughout this post to learn more.

Movie Review: Stuck


All of these kids have families. All of these kids have homes in the US, and they have for years. And ye here they’re sitting, waiting, suffering.

International adoption is known for it’s hefty price tag and frequently long duration. Why does it take so long when so many children around the world wait for forever families? This documentary follows three families through their international adoptions, and provides a very personal look at the joys and heartaches of the process. It also provides a glimpse at international laws and treaties that cause adoptions to be held up for years with very little reason.

Yes, it’s true, I cried my way through this film not once, but twice. It’s heartbreaking to watch parents struggle against a convoluted system while loving children they can’t be with or take care of. And it’s wonderful (in a tearful sort of way ;)) to see these parents finally united with the children they have fought for. You can rent it for a week on Amazon or buy the DVD off the Both Ends Burning website. Want to know more? Read my friend Marli Renee’s blog post or watch the Stuck trailer over on the Videos page.

What do you know about the cost and time involved in international adoption? What are your opinions on the subject?