Today we found out officially that our family cannot adopt Shyanne. We had a meeting at CNA with her social worker, the head of the family unit, and one of the senior lawyers of CNA.
We had considered this to be a possibility from the beginning of the process, but now it is official. The reason for this is that the adoption law requires that there be no previous contact between a child and his/her possible adoptive family. Even though our placement as foster parents for her was not with the intent to adopt, our involvement in her life for the past two years, prevents us from adopting her, or any other children from Guatemala, for that matter.
A little history. Shyanne was assigned to a family in the states when she was two weeks old. Due to incompetent and crooked lawyers, her adoption was not completed before the new law governing adoptions was initiated in January 2008. As a result, her case needed to be handled as a “suspect” case and be investigated before allowing the adoption to proceed. This took almost two years weeding it’s way through the court system and the amazingly sluggish child welfare system, with her finally being declared abandoned (and adoptable) last November. Given the changes in the laws, her adoptive family from the states was no longer acceptable to CNA, and we were asked to consider adopting her. Today we got our official answer.
Now the next step is for us to approach the judge that placed her in our home and asked to have her removed (an interesting irony that we can’t keep her, but we have to have to ask to have her moved to another home). We already have a court date for her in May, but may try to get that changed to an earlier time so she, and our family as well, can begin the process of transition.
As we sat in the meeting today, the staff were in tears (as were we). They affirmed our work with the children through ORI (which incidentally now prevents us from adopting ANY children), and told us that we were the type of home they want for children. They amazingly expressed open frustration with the law as written, admitting that it prevents children from being placed in ideal permanent homes, but unfortunately, are forced to work under the law. They also admitted that Shyanne’s case has created a bit of open warfare within CNA, with some of the lawyers looking to find a way to allow the adoption to go through, but being inhibited by the process.
So we now await the court hearing, and see what the next step will be. We have the names and contacts of several homes that have said they would accept Shyanne, and they have encouraged us to present these names to the judge when we have our hearing. We pray for God to allow her to be placed in one of the homes that we feel good about, knowing them to be Christian homes with commitments to the lives of the children within them.
As a Christian, I know I am supposed to have “mercy” on all people. I have to admit, though, that right now I cannot honestly pray for mercy over the leadership of CNA and those in the congress who voted for the current law. I find myself wanting to pray like David did in the Psalms—that He would punish them for their foolishness and, ok, stupidity. My prayer is that the law will be changed, and children will be allowed to find permanent homes.
So we now anticipate Shyanne’s moving to an orphanage in the next month or so. We have tried to keep her aware that while we have been open to adopting her, the final decision rested with CNA. Now, somehow, we will need to explain to her what the next step will be. We don’t know when this will happen.
When we came to Guatemala, one of our ministry support team prayed that our hearts would break for the status of the children here. They are, and along with all the other children we meet and love on in our daily work, Shyanne will be one with whom we have had live in our home.
Thank you for your prayers, and continue to remember us and Shyanne, and her former adoptive family, who are also grieving, in the days ahead.