Finding the Balance


One of the most difficult challenges of international adoption is the balance between what is best for individual children and their forever families, and what is best to ensure that adoptions can continue in foreign lands that may be unstable. Of course, when we visit orphanages and see the conditions in which these children live without loving families, we wish we could immediately take them all home with us. And while that fantasy might benefit those children, it would jeopardize the lives of every other child in that country because it might cause the government to close to adoption.

As an international adoption provider, we have to serve both of these needs. This is an extremely difficult balancing act. When adopting from places like the Democratic Republic of Congo – where elections may be associated with violence and deadly uprisings have occurred in the past – we must be incredibly cautious about changing our actions. If we do something different today than we did yesterday, we may put the entire program at risk.

I have heard from many of our clients that one of the hardest parts of waiting for their child to come home is the period between when they receive their referral and the day the child comes home. One client described it as part of your heart is walking around on the other side of the ocean and there’s nothing you can do to protect it. Often this anxiety increases when we hear news about events in the child’s country, such as the approaching elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Here are a few points to keep in mind about the approaching national elections on November 28:

  1. Nearly all sources on the internet expect these elections will be much smoother and less violent than the elections in 2006.
  2. Any violence that does occur will probably be clashes in the street between opposing political parties. Safe at home with their foster parents is the best place our Congolese referrals can be.
  3. These families are accustomed to maintaining their lives in the midst of chaos we can only imagine – on a normal day. They have unique strengths and cultural norms that will enable them to manage whatever outcome happens.
  4. MLJ Adoptions has no legal means to intervene. We cannot bring children out of the country without following all the regular procedures.

Our foreign staff will do their best to keep us informed about events and the safety of the referred children as they can, and we will continue to communicate that to you. Adoption requires much faith, in the coming months, we must have faith in Africa.

MLJ Adoptions is a Non-Profit, Hague-Accredited adoption service provider located in Indianapolis, Indiana, working in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Pacific Isles. We are passionate about serving children in need.