This is the place where we are have documented the road we have walked in order to adopt our four children from Brazil and the road we are now on as a family. We are keenly aware that adopting is not just a process we've chosen to go through, but part of God's plan for us and for our children. May He be glorified through the process and through our family!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Update from El Salvador

Christi Hicks, our family coordinator and AWAA's Latin America Program Director, recently returned from a trip to El Salvador. She met with several people who are integrally connected to the process of international adoptions. Here is her update. I highlighted some information that is new and promising as we enter into the "waiting" stage in which all is in the hands of the Salvadoran government. Of course we know that all of this is in God's hands, and this new information shows how He is at work and teaches us how to pray for adoptions in El Salvador.

Dear El Salvador families,
I can’t thank you enough for your prayers, thoughts, and even fasting for Susan and I while in-country. We certainly felt your prayers!!

We arrived on Sunday afternoon (June 24) and were able to go and visit some of the Mayan Ruins that lie just outside the city of San Salvador . It was great to see more of the culture and history of this beautiful country. Monday morning (June 25) we went to visit with the director of adoptions for ISNA (the child welfare agency) to discuss their process as well as gain a better understanding of their role as well as limitations. They have a database with all the information for the children, but lack internet in some of the outlying departments, such that there is a lag time in receiving and trading information between headquarters in San Salvador and the outlying departments.

Later that morning we were able to visit the Nun and the children in her care. For those of you that were in the process during the holiday season, these are the children you funded to buy shoes and school supplies. The nun again shared with me their vision for purchasing a property where they could grow their work with these children. They are currently licensed with ISNA to care for these children during the day, but then they have to return to their homes at night because in their current facility they cannot house the children overnight. Many of these children are from some of the poorest areas near San Salvador and have families that do not wish to care for these children or are unable to care for them. Without her program, they would virtually be homeless every day as they would be unable to attend school and would have no oversight during the day while parents are at work. Many of these families would like to relinquish their rights and entrust their children to the care of the organization permanently. However, unless the organization is able to purchase the sufficient property, they will only continue to be able to host a day program for these precious children. (I’ve included photos of many that were there that day). Please pray the Lord will bring the right contacts into their path for them to purchase this property and live out the big dream the Lord has given them for these children.

That afternoon we met with the Procurador General. He was very warm, welcoming and greeted us as friends. He stated that one thing the country of El Salvador is doing to help decrease wait time is changing a crucial law. He said this law should be implemented in the next six months. What it would change is that children who are abandoned would no longer need to go through a lengthy one to two year process to be declared adoptable. This would become an administrative procedure that could take much less time, allowing the child to be placed with a forever home much sooner. Please pray with us that this law is implemented quickly so that these children will no longer be locked into the system.

Tuesday morning (June 26) we were able to meet with the Director of OPA (Office for Adoptions). She shared with us a few specific referrals for some children that are more difficult to place, such as special needs and older children (6-14 years old). I was very encouraged to see the files and the extent of the information they're offering. El Salvador is a member of the Hague Convention and it is going to great lengths to really comply with these standards. For this reason, of the files I saw, we will be getting extensive medical reports as well as psychological reports and background studies on all the children referred. Of the files they shared with us many are available immediately and she said that so far we have the best families being put forward and she would love for our agency to be able to accept one, a few or even all of these children. I have asked that any families having submitted dossiers that would be interested in hearing more about the older and special needs children available would participate in a conference call on Monday afternoon. At this time, this opportunity is only available to those families that have submitted dossiers to America World prior to the date we met with the Director. Please pray for God to open the hearts of families, regardless of whether they are America World families or others, for these precious children that long to have a family and a home to call their own.

Again, I can’t thank you enough for all your prayers and support for our time.
Christi Hicks
Latin America Program Director