Moustaches might dominate November in the UK (how did your Movember go?), but in the US November is also the month for celebrating the initiative national adoption month.
To say goodbye to November i therefore decided it would be a good idea to fill you in on the bits and bops I’ve learned about the Adoption process here at the Orphanage.
First of all, the process in general differs between legal and illegal (obv) adoption and private and non-private adoptions. The orphanage is a registered organisation with permission to run adoptions. However, they are still not a private adoption organisation (which is a good thing as non-private prevent children from being trafficked or disappear). Everything is registered and the process is a standard procedure for inter-country adoption (of a Thai-child); with documents and careful observations and matching between potential parents and children:
1. The process begins when the orphanage has received the documents, complete and in proper order (the applicants will have to make the application through the competent social welfare authority in their country; be at least 25years and 15years older than the child; be eligible to adopt a foreign child under the concerned law of country of domicile; and have a legitimate spouse in case of applying as a family),
2. The orphanage begins its own paperwork,
3. Preparing and executing the “matching” of parents and child (one cannot pick, but a numerous of tests will be run to ensure that the parents and children will be a good match together).
4. Letter of potential child will be sent and needs to be accepted by the potential parents; if they do, the process continues with
5. Submitting the acceptance letter and documentation to DSWD (the Thai Development for Social Development and Welfare and the Board of Adoptions which will consider all cases involving the Pattaya Orphanage and potential adoptions).
6. The two parties mentioned above will investigate the case and make final decisions.
7. Parents come from home country to stay in Thailand for two weeks with the child (before taking it home) to make sure that they get along and can slowly adapt to the family life. A final interview will be held before the child’s visa and passports are acquired and the home-bound journey is embarked on. A sixty day report has to be made post-adoption.
I would just like to highlight that the adoption process involves a lot more finer details than what are listed above, but at least this should give you some kind of idea why the process with all its paperwork can take from 1-1.5 years or more and why it would take as much as 4 years before the Internet came!
One of my students have been adopted to France while I was here and another is going to Denmark. Some children have been matched and others are still waiting. However, some children never leave the orphanage either as they are considered “not eligible” for adoption. There can be several reasons for that, but one is that their mothers did not sign the papers before disappearing. I don’t judge anyone in the situation where they will have to decide whether or not to give up their child. I myself support abortion and to give the born child a chance for a better life if one know one is not going to be able to provide it. I don’t think it’s in anyone’s right to judge someone in such a difficult situation. However, I do hope less children will be “non-eligible” for adoption in the future; I do judge those who leave a child and take away their opportunities for a better life.
“But isn’t it such a great life at the Orphanage?” You might ask. It’s definitely a better life. “Don’t they say hardship makes you stronger?” You might ask. Yes, even Malcolm Gladwell brought up studies in David and Goliath that show children who have lost either one or both parents or grown up in adverse conditions proves to make up a high number of historical geniuses or excelled personalities as they become less conventional, less obedient, less emotionally dependent and more imaginative.
However, this also empathise the importance of taking care of each individual child and give them the single attention, love and inspiration which children need so they can grow in the right direction. Many can be future geniuses, but the majority of criminals also come from difficult backgrounds. Moreover, take it from someone who grew up without parents; there is little worse for a child – even though they might not know another world right now at this age – than to see “all other children” with their parents at school plays, vacations or holiday traditions and wonder what wrong they have done to have had that taken away from them.
Children need that unconditional love and unlimited attention. No matter how good the orphanage is and all the good it teaches the children, there is nothing it can do to provide that to each single one. They also have to make room for new playmates; the stream of incoming orphans doesn’t stop. One comes in as one goes out.
If you want to find out how you can help, The Archibald project is working hard to prevent children from being without families. It is well worth to take look at what they do; you can find more information and inspirational stories about adoption here. Moreover, apart from adoption, being a foster parent or volunteer, you can also help by fully (70 000B a year) or partially (min 1000B a year) sponsoring a Thai child at the Orphanage directly. You can contact Thai Childrens Trust in the UK or the Pattaya Orphanage for more information on this.
Today’s interesting note: after about three days at the Orphanage, me and my nan became partial sponsors to the little girl in the picture above (who put money on me doing something like this?). She’s been the ray of light for me here; she always comes running when she sees me and she’s “my girl” as people began to say. I wish I could do so much more for her, but at the very least I can now help support her and make sure that she grows up well. I got a #mamaheart for her.