Reunification First, Then Adoption Options
America World believes the best place for a child is within a loving family. An integral part of our work is to ensure children in need of a home are successfully and ethically placed in adoptive families. In Ethiopia, a fundamental part of advancing this goal is to conduct investigations into each case to ensure adoption is in the best interest of the child.
This last month, while executing an orphan status verification on a child’s case, as we do with all cases, our staff was provided with the name of a previously unknown family member of little “Natalie”, a child residing in our America World Transition Home. Our staff then immediately traveled to find this individual to ensure that they had given their consent to the adoption and to seek assistance in finding any other relatives of or information from the child’s background. After many efforts, we were able to find “Natalie’s” uncle and were able to tell him all of her story. He was filled with joy to be reunited with her. We are excited to say that this family has been reunited and will now be part of AWAA's Sponsorship Program!
A chief concern at America World is to protect and advocate for children around the world whether or not the answer is international adoption. As stated by our Ethiopia team and our CEO, Brian Luwis, in blog posts in May 2013, “We rejoice in these circumstances and believe that our small roles in those processes are part of God’s plan for those families. We also believe that children living in orphanages should have an opportunity to grow up with parents: if birth parent reunification isn’t possible, kinship placements should be sought; if this isn’t possible, domestic adoption should be considered; when this isn’t a possibility, international adoption can be a great, appropriate and God-ordained way of ensuring that children grow up with families.”
Our in-country staff works towards this goal of advocating for children around the world by sustaining and implementing various humanitarian projects in the country of Ethiopia on top of the administration of an incredible amount of adoption paperwork. Some of the humanitarian projects we do directly support family preservation. Our efforts in this regard are important, but just a drop in the bucket compared to what is needed in Ethiopia and other countries to assist families. We are grateful for the many child and family focused organizations that join us in serving in this capacity.
Evidence shows that a healthy and stable family can change the trajectory of a child’s life, and we are delighted to be part the journey of placing children for international adoption, domestic adoption, in sponsorship programs, and taking part in family reunifications.