Last week I linked to an almost unbelievable Seattle Times news story about delayed adoptions from Nepal. Journalist Nancy Bartley reported that although investigators representing the US Embassy in Kathmandu have found no evidence of fraud in eighty pending, disputed adoption cases, the Embassy is still refusing to grant visas to the children until the adoptive parents prove that the children were genuinely abandoned. Families are being asked to independently hire private investigators to clear their own cases. This development seemed so surreal to me I couldn't bear to think about it for a few days; I can only imagine how distraught the families involved must feel. How can this be true?
Today I forced myself to do a little searching and uncovered this story by Nik-Noi Ricker of the Bangor Daily News about the Davis family of Maine, who still hope to adopt a little boy named Trek, who was found abandoned on a Kathmandu street when he was five days old.
“Back on Aug. 6 the U.S. suspended adoptions with Nepal,” Tonya Davis said. “They did it because they believe the paperwork Nepal was providing is fraudulent.”
The government of Nepal issued the Davises their referral letter on Aug. 1 approving their match with Trek, just beating the U.S. moratorium.
The good news is that those already matched with a child are in the pipeline and their paperwork will continue to be processed, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website states.
“There [are] about 80 pipeline families and we’re one of them, the only one in Maine,” Tonya Davis said.
New adoptions have been suspended for abandoned children in Nepal because “the Department of State has concluded that the documentation presented for children reported abandoned in Nepal is unreliable,” the USCIS website states...
The State Department sent a team of investigators to Nepal in August to review the 80 adoptions in the pipeline and found nothing fraudulent, but even so it still is requiring adoptive families to jump through very expensive hoops, Mike Davis said. The pipeline families are now required to hire a private investigator in Nepal to look for the parents who abandoned their children, as well as a U.S. lawyer to process all the paperwork, he said.
The lawyer and investigator are expected to cost about $10,000, and that’s money the Davises don’t have.
Add to that the fact that a clock is ticking away toward a deadline.
“We have 87 days,” Tonya Davis said.
I'm absolutely not someone who believes in "adoption at any cost." Ethics matter, and government officials must have some grounds for concern in some cases or this stalemate wouldn't be occuring. However, I've also seen firsthand how corruption hysteria can take hold in these situations until cases cease to be evaluated on their individual merits and facts, and every case is deemed suspect.
Investigators representing the US government have failed to uncover evidence of fraud or to locate any birth parents attached to these cases; now adoptive parents are being asked to accomplish something the United States government, with all its vast resources, could not. It's a little like The Wizard of Oz demanding that Dorothy bring back the broomstick of the Wicked Witch if she wants his help getting home, but much, much worse. This is real, and no happy ending is assurred for anyone involved.