Posts Tagged ‘Both Ends Burning campaign’

Craig Juntunen on Huffington Post

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

On March 13, Craig Juntunen, founder of Both Ends Burning, posted a pro-international adoption essay on Huffington Post, “We Need to Help Orphans Find Families.” If you’re reading this now, you probably know where I stand on this issue: I agree with Craig, so much so that I wish I had written these words myself:

Instead of letting this conversation get swept away in politics, let’s start with the universally accepted fact that institutionalization is an emotional — and sometimes a physical — death sentence for a child. During my travels to Haiti, I met Roberson, a 13-year-old boy who maintains the social, emotional and physical well-being of a 6-year-old. Roberson is unfortunatelyonly one of millions of orphans worldwide that fail to develop critical human functions due to institutionalization.

If we aim to save Roberson and other kids like him from a life behind the bars of institutions, we have to fix the international adoption system. Far too many eager families are simply deciding not to adopt because the system has become so burdensome. Today, the average wait for adoptive families to welcome their children home is 33 months, and costs average $25,000.

Leadership is the answer for these kids, but unfortunately, there is no sense of urgency among those who hold the power to make the necessary changes. For every Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Senator Dick Lugar (R-IN), who relentlessly pursue justice for these children, there are many others who are content to let The Hague be their excuse for doing nothing.

There must be a way for us to improve the adoption environment without sacrificing safeguards and child welfare. We need to focus on getting kids safely out of institutions, in part by streamlining the time and cost of international adoption. If we can all agree that these children’s lives matter, then why aren’t we doing something to give them a better chance of realizing the dream of joining a loving family?

I share Craig’s frustration. Adoptions from Guatemala to the US closed in December 2007. Since that time, more than 300 cases remain unresolved, and thousands of children remain living in orphanages. And that’s just one country of hundreds.

Where is the leadership?


Both Ends Burning Campaign to stage march on Washington DC

Saturday, August 13th, 2011

Two weeks ago, our family attended MOGUATE, a gathering of adoptive families in Missouri and neighboring states. While there, I met an American mother, Y, with a daughter, Z, from Guatemala. When Y accepted the referral of Z, her daughter was a baby only a few months-old. Today, Z is a four-year-old girl.

Z has been home with Y and her husband and son for seven weeks. The case dragged on for four long years.

Y is a member of the Guatemala900, the families who have been trying to finalize the adoption of their children since the shutdown of adoptions from Guatemala in December 2007.  Y told me that the turning point in their adoption process occurred after she participated in a march on Washington, DC. After that, someone, somewhere, in a position of authority, reviewed Y’s case, recognized the paperwork was legal and in order—simply, for no real reason, stalled–and moved it forward. This being a case in international adoption, complications naturally ensued. But at least an end was in sight, and, finally, came.

Every day that a child is in institutional care is a day that child pays for later down the road.  I’m sorry, but from my observations, conversations, and experience, it’s that simple.

On Friday, August 26, from 2 to 5 p.m., the Both Ends Burning Campaign will stage a march on Washington, DC, Step Forward for Orphans. The event will take place on the National Mall-Childrens Carousel near 9th and Jefferson, Washington, DC.

If you are in the area, or can get there, please add your voice to the plea of parents everywhere who are waiting for their children.