We are Home but Many Wait to Bring their Babies Home

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We've been back in the US for a month. It's been quite an adjustment for both Antara and me.  After a wonderful Thanksgiving and a jaunt to LA to do a TV interview on The Talk 
http://www.cbs.com/daytime/the_talk/video/?pid=jLEla6RETSOvkcxBkXGawapgp5nqUYec&vs=Default&play=true

we are back to reality - I am at work and she is in childcare.   I am figuring out how to juggle everything.  Antara is doing great adjusting to life in the US.  She met Otto, had her first play date and even made a trip to see Bad Santa.  We are so happy to be home and know we'll be settled and on a schedule soon.

While I am back to work and figuring out how to manage everything,   all of the other families are waiting to bring their children home to the U.S.    They are stuck in a bureaucratic mess that changed the way our government processes the investigations of the orphans.    There are now approximately 80 families, many living in Nepal, who are in the pipeline - all desperately waiting to bring their children home. 

These children have been abandoned by their biological parents - there is ample evidence that they have been living in orphanages for years but are still being denied visas by the US government to live with their adoptive families who will provide a safe, loving and nurturing home because their original abandonment cannot be substantially verified. Of course, in nearly all cases of abandonment, the mothers/family members/relatives by necessity go to great lengths not to be identified.  Further, the government of Nepal, in its own detailed investigations of each case, has determined that these children are legally free to be adopted.  The US parents have done just that. They are now responsible for the well being of the children.

The holiday season is here and many of the adoptive parents waiting to bring their children home to the US will not be with their families this year. For those in Nepal they will be away from family members who they haven't seen in months.Many won't see their other children's faces light up on Christmas morning. Others continue to long for their children in Nepal who continue to suffer in orphanages through this process.  I plan to provide a glimpse into these families' lives and the compassion and the strength they continue to endure as they wait to bring their children into their loving homes.

DeeDee and Bina
I still remember working away on my computer frantically shooting off emails to our legislators and other advocates and the door to the room would swing open and 4-year-old Bina would peak around and at the top of her tiny lungs yell "CAAA..NNN...DD YYY".  Bina is a special girl in all ways.  She has an unbelievable amount of energy and a sweet heart. When we moved in with DeeDee and Bina in September, our daughters quickly became like sisters and Antara tried to imitate everything Bina did.
DeeDee adopted Bina in early August and has remained in Nepal with her daughter through Bina's 4th birthday on August 9th, Halloween and Thanksgiving.   In early October, their file was sent to USCIS in New Delhi for further review.  You can follow DeeDee and Bina at http://binasjourneyhome.blogspot.com/

They continue to wait in Nepal for responses despite the fact USCIS recognizes children like Bina as a "special needs child" due to her documented birth defect of a cleft palat.  Bina likely requires additional surgery as well as a host of other medical interventions available in the U.S. yet, they sit waiting for a response from USCIS.  Weeks pass with no help for Bina and the delays in her forward progress are evident.

I met DeeDee on the phone about a year ago. Both of us were with the same agency and adopting from Nepal. DeeDee lives in Boston has a heavy accent to prove it, is single and has a great career and loving family who want her home with Bina where the medical community waits eager to help her get on track. 

DeeDee has always wanted to be a mother and decided to adopt from Nepal although she did pursue adoption through American Foster Care as a way to create a family. Both of us experienced this long road together so when we received our simultaneous child matches days apart from one another- hers with Bina and mine Antara - we were thrilled. 
Bina is sweet, a bit shy with strangers but full of life and absolutely adorable.  She is a peanut due to complications from her cleft palate.  When abandoned, Bina was severely malnourished in part due to the inability to properly suckle: a common and manageable cleft issue  in the U.S. but a life threatening complication in a Third World country like Nepal. 

When DeeDee first met Bina at the orphanage Bina was non verbal. She had lived in her orphanage surrounded by kids who were much younger allowing for no modeling of good language from her peers. As a result of the cleft, lack of intervention and her orphanage life her Nepali language is "baby talk" similar to that of a 2 year old although chronologically she is 4.

In her 4 year life Bina has had numerous hospitalizations prior to turning just 2 years of age.  If Bina wasn't adopted who knows what would have happened to her as children with visible physical deformalities such as Bina's do not fare well in third world countries where shame can be attached to disfigurements from lack of access to medical resources and education. 
I witnessed both of them growing closer and Bina falling in love with her mother and her new life and a mother recognizing her long cherished dream.  It's amazing to see a new mom's love for her child and a child's love for her new mother grow every day.

Please help bring these families home. I wrote about many ways you can help on a previous blog.To help please go to www.chicagonow.com/blogs/portrait_of_an_adoption/2010/11/help-bring-our-children-home.html.

DeeDee and Bina appeared on a news segment:: http://www.thebostonchannel.com/video/25406377/detail.html?taf=bos

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