Posts Tagged ‘Craig Juntunen’

It’s here! The documentary “Stuck”

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

The long-awaited documentary Stuck, produced by adoptive dad and Both Ends Burning founder Craig Juntunen, is now in theaters across the US in limited screenings. Previously, I wrote about Stuck and Craig Juntunen here and here.

What I love about the movie is that Craig put faces and personal stories to the abtract idea of “children without families, somewhere out there in the world.” I thought I couldn’t cry anymore about adoption, but after watching the film trailer, I know now that I can.

In previous posts, I’ve lamented the lack of leadership in international adoption, and how, among our elected officials, no one seems to be leading the charge. May I please amend that statement? Senator Mary Landrieu advocates for adoption non-stop. She is everywhere, all the time. Certainly in Craig’s film,  but also Skyped into a broadcast I watched recently on Guatemala television, lobbying in Congress, at conferences, and on the ground in countries where adoptive parents continue to wait for their cases to untangle from miles of red tape while their hoped-for children grow up without them. I’m sure I speak for thousands of others when I say “Thank you, Senator Landrieu.”

Last summer, in the days leading toward the fifth anniversary of adoptions being closed in Guatemala, I was so demoralized thinking about the unresolved cases, and the future of the children who live in institutional care, that I despaired of ever seeing change being made. Craig Juntunen’s movie gives me  hope.

Please watch the trailer, share with friends, and check the film’s itinerary. Craig and his team are embarking on a cross-country bus tour, and seek volunteers to help promote the film along the way. Details are on the website.

Onward. ~

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New documentary about international adoption aptly titled “Stuck”

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

A new documentary about international adoption, Stuck, will premiere at Michael Moore’s Traverse City Film Festival on August 3 and be released nationwide in November. The film is produced by Craig Juntunen, adoptive father and founder of the Both Ends Burning Foundation. The Christian Post reports:

The purpose of the film is to “get the word out” and expose the issue of the troubled international adoption system, Juntunen told the Christian Post. Juntunen noted how other recent documentaries have been successful at bringing awareness to issues, such as “An Inconvenient Truth” and “Waiting for Superman.”
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Seven out of 10 Americans believe that inter-country adoption is on the rise, Juntunen said, when, in fact, the numbers have dropped dramatically. International adoptions to the United States have dropped 60 percent since 2004, going from 22,991 to only 9,319 in 2011.

The film points to many culprits that explain the decline, including the U.S. State Department, UNICEF, a United Nations agency designed to help children, and the Hague Treaty. The Hague Treaty was begun by the United Nations to bring transparency, clarity and coordination to the inter-country adoption process. [Senator Mary] Landrieu introduced the bill that brought the United States into the treaty, but expressed regret in the film after seeing the results.

Kudos to Craig Juntunen for getting this film made. Here’s to hoping it makes an impact in adoption reform.

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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?

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“Both Ends Burning” and baking cakes

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

For months I have been vaguely aware of the pro-international adoption organization, Both Ends Burning, whose subheading is “a global initiative to transform the process of international adoption.” The movement’s founder, Craig Juntunen, and his wife, Kathi, are adoptive parents to three children from Haiti. Juntunen has published a book, Both Ends Burning: My Story of Adopting Three Children from Haiti (Outskirts Press, 2009), and is producing a film, Wrongfully Detained, scheduled for release in September 2011.

I haven’t read the book and know little about the organization beyond the information on its website. But today I came across this  ABC15.com interview with Craig Juntunen, Valley group aims to make international adoption easier, and was able to listen to and watch Juntunen discuss the subject himself. The clip contains footage from what appears to be orphanages around the world, as well as a delightful singing performance by Juntunen’s son. Many of Juntunen’s views on international adoption mirror my own, including his belief that children everywhere deserve a nurturing, permanent home. However, I believe that government bureaucracy and shutdowns–current or threatened–and not expense or length of time, are the prime deterrents to international adoption. (Expense and length of time are folded into the bureaucracy, in fact.) More people might consider adopting internationally if they weren’t so afraid of the process.  And that, of course, requires careful collaboration and negotiation between countries to create a system that is transparent and fair to all, which is another extremely complicated subject.

But anything that raises awareness of international adoption deserves to be shared. Please watch and see what you think.

On a different and related subject: To cover the costs of adopting her then-14-month-old daughter, born in China with a cleft lip and palate, Kateri Lambrose baked cakes. Hundreds of them.  I’m posting the link to Cakes create a miracle not only because it includes the recipe for “Kateri’s Chocolate Candy Bar Cake,” but also because I was so moved by Kateri’s story. I’ll end with her words:

 ”You go into this thinking you’re going to bless this child, and give them a family they deserve. In reality, it’s the opposite. She has blessed our family so much… I cannot imagine our lives without her. It’s incomprehensible.”

I know what she means.

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