Tuesday, December 31, 2013

"What can we do? How can we help?" Here is one way...

Governments shutting down their international adoption programs (or threatening to) for a variety of often politically charged reasons (ahem...Russia), is not new.  It has happened multiple times before, never resulting in a better situation for the most vulnerable section of our global society.  When there is corruption or unethical behavior in an adoption program should there be investigation, licenses revoked, perhaps even program slowdown while weeds are pulled?  Absolutely.  To throw the baby out with the bath water and simply shut down adoptions completely goes against exactly what is being professed - doing what is best to protect a country's children.  To quote Dave Thomas (adoptee), "Every child deserves a home and love.  Period."  I could go on and on with my rant about all the reasons why I view it a human rights violation to deny children the possibility of a family, and all the benefits that come with that...but let's move on to a couple of ways that something can be done about that:

Have you heard of CHIFF (Children in Families First Act)?

It is a congressional bill being sponsored with bipartisan support.  Here is a quote from their website:  

"The best protection for a child is a family. We protect children by preserving families, reunifying families or creating families through adoption.  And yet, no one in our foreign affairs agencies focuses on children in families."

CHIFF has several key goals, one of which is to establishe a bureau in the Department of State that will become the much needed foreign policy and diplomatic hub on international child welfare.  Also, "CHIFF brings the need for ethical, transparent and accountable child welfare systems to the forefront.  By ensuring systems are in place to help children remain in their family of birth, be reunited with family or be adopted locally or internationally, CHIFF promotes a holistic and preventative approach to strengthening child protections.  This strategy is critical to decreasing children’s exposure and vulnerability to trafficking, exploitation, violence and neglect.

So what can you do??  First, take just a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the bill.  Here is their website.  Take just 5 minutes to browse though it (I personally recommend taking a quick look at the FAQ tab, and if you are interested then the Stories tab), and then CONTACT YOUR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVE!

You can click here to see who are already sponsors and co-sponsors.  If your representative is already a sponsor please contact and thank them (let them know this is important to their constituents)!  If you don't see their names then call or email them (better yet both), even contact them via facebook or twitter to let them know it is important to you.  Surveys show it takes as little as 20 phone calls on an issue for an elected official to take notice of that issue.  Click here to even be provided with a sample script or template you can use when you contact them, as well as for a list of who your elected officials are!  Note to all my Utah friends...I don't see any of our Senators or Representatives sponsoring the bill yet!!

You do not have to have a soft spot in your heart for adoption or be an adoption advocate to see the wisdom in supporting this bill (although that's great if you do/are!)...this bill isn't solely about adoption.  This bill is about seeing children in families as a global priority.  If you believe in the important role of families, and their vital role for children and society then do something and stand up for what you believe!  Please.  It can help, and you will feel so good knowing you spoke up and helped make a difference.

That, my friends, is something you can do to help.

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