Monday, March 31, 2014

Disturbing Trends - Kenya adoption update

I really don't even know how to begin. Quite frankly, I am feeling like this program, that is obviously so near and dear to my heart, is on an inevitable track to derailment.

Please know that everything I am going to speaking about below is here-say, and my thoughts and opinions. It has not been formally or officially communicated or published by the NAC.

I have always refrained from posting 'here-say' here, and much of my information comes days, and sometimes weeks from me hearing it because I want to validate it before posting. I know how emotional this journey is, and I really don't want to add unnecessary concern or stress. However, it is also a juggling act for me as I know most of the information in adoption is not published or official, but rather information gained in our adoption networks, and important to our journeys.

As you all know, we are seeing some very disturbing trends since the new NAC committee has been formed.

We have heard about 3 rejections this year alone, and I believe there is more. My heart goes out to these families. This is a new trend. I myself, have not heard of families being rejected prior to this.

If we look at the reasons that were given for the rejections, in addition to comments that were made by the CD representatives at the US adoption meeting I referred to in my last post, in addition to the experience of others in country, and of our local agencies, there is too much evidence to support the following synopsis.

  • Childless couples with infertility have priority
  • Couples with NO fertility issues are not a priority and may be rejected
  • Adopting a third child is not favorable and also may be rejected
  • Having previously adopted from another country is not favorable
There have been some very random statement and actions that simply indicate the NAC is unpredictable and may be acting out against international adoption in general, as many have indicated for months now. 

Please visit JoEllen's blog, where she posted a recent memo from her local agency, that also indicates the above.

Key points copied below:

- NAC meets once a month, as previously

- Max 10 applications for inter-country adoption is approved per meeting
- Childless couples have priority
- NO to adopt a third child
- Infertility certificates shall be included in the dossier . The reason for adoption must be clear. NAC wants to understand why you want to adopt a child from Kenya, and if one can smoothly get biological children, they are not a priority.
- An update to the consent investigation (home study) is required if the investigation is over a year old when the file is sent to Kenya
Waiting times at the NAC
With the current situation it is very difficult to know how long our applicants must wait before NAC can get an answer. NAC has many applications waiting for answers and they have not yet had time to go through all the applications received from October 2013 onwards.

Onwards and upwards. If you already have a dossier submitted and fall into one of these unfavorable categories, keep your chin up and stay positive. Some families in these situations are still being approved, whereas others are not. 

If you have not submitted your dossier and fall into one of these categories, I suggest you consider the risk upon entering this program. Much of it simply feels like a crap shoot...

Personally, I would be investigating Zambia adoption. I think this it is a program worth keeping tabs on.

At the end of the day, I am very sad. I'm sad for all of you. I am sad for the orphaned children of Kenya who are being raised in orphanages instead of families. Selfishly, I am sad for my daughter knowing the impact this will have on the growth of our Canadian Kenyan adoption community.

My heart sinks knowing, had we waiting one more year, we may not have been approved, as we fall under both unfavorable categories of having no fertility issues, and having 2 children. I assure you that we did our best to defend our position while in country in a way that would hopefully bring forth an understanding of how our culture differs in our acceptance of adoption. In the end however, the program is being governed by new people now. Perhaps they are simply exercising their power, and hopefully they will soften and come to a greater understanding of international adoption within time.

I think it's important to stress to all those in process to please proceed with care and respect. You are representing every international adopter that comes behind you. You have an obligation to conduct yourselves in manner that leaves the officials with a good impression. Wear your suit and tie, skirts/dresses, over-dress your children on court day, be sure to care for their hair (no natural fros or dreads), be polite and respectful and try to convey as best possible, your desire and ability to love a child who not only adopted, but also from a different race/culture. 

2 of our 4 adopted Kenyan Canadians. So thankful for them in our lives.


Anonymous said...

This makes me sad! When I was learning about the Kenya adoption program it had such a good reputation as a stable/predictable program. I hope in the end the best interests of the children are always put first. When the time comes we may have to consider Zambia (if we are eligible). I'm glad you shared this update.

Anonymous said...

I am just wondering - isn't Kenya part of the Hague agreement and wouldn't the NAC at least theoretically need to follow some legal procedures before simply adding new requirements and regulations? Whether Kenya would stick to such procedures is another issue.

Jolene said...

Yes, Kenya is part of the Hague agreement. I am not up to speed on how Hague rules govern the country's programs, but one would think there should be an outlined procedure to follow to change the rules. It appears as if they are simply asserting their 'opinions' on cases, such as rejecting a file indicating that they don't think the family has had enough time to bond with their first child. This is why we have Home studies, so professional Social Workers can determine these things. In my mind, if a family is approved to adopt by their own country, they (most of the time) should be approved by Kenya. The NAC simply looks at paper, they are not interviewing and observing the family for months like our home countries do.

And yes, your right. If there is a rule change procedure, Kenya won't necessarily follow. Remember, they want out of the Hague anyway... and government bodies in Kenya love to flex their muscles.

Anonymous said...

I, too, feel sad with rejected prosprctive parents.

My spouse and me are applicants and we will adapt our behavior to Kenya standards of value, when we hopefully will stay there. Jolene's advice is wise.

When parents design their dossier attractive to the NAC, the adulteration hopefully does not make the matching parent<->child more risky.

Anonymous said...

Hello! I was just wondering, are dreads and natural fros considered sloppy in Kenya? I was not aware of that.

Jolene said...

Yes! Natural fros and dreads are considered sloppy. According to Kenyans, these are hairstyles that street children wear. Kenyans keep their children's hair short for boys, and in braids or extensions (puffs for young ones) for girls.

There is a modern trend starting where we are seeing more dreads and fros, but it is not common and the people of the committee will not be fashion forward enough to appreciate this.

It is important to heed this advice as appearance is extremely important to Kenyans and you will be judged on it.

Also... you may want to put your juice on the counter to warm up before your home visits as most Kenyan's do not like cold beverages. ;)

Anonymous said...

Thank you Jolene, for this information!! :)