By Jenny Riddle
International adoption is always filled with the unexpected. Surprises, detours, and bumps in the road are all quite normal and expected. A global pandemic, however, has far exceeded the usual unexpected. Families whose bags were packed to bring their children home were banned from travel by government authorities. Families who were awaiting certain processes got stuck in a holding pattern. Still, these weary families took hold of God’s promises of faithfulness and have not let go.
God’s faithfulness has manifested itself differently for each family, although all cling to the truth that He is certainly working on their behalf. For some, it is in the form of encouragement when connecting with other waiting families. For some, it is the ability to provide supplies to orphanages. For some, it is seeing processes continue and borders open up. For some, it is seeing God making miraculous pathways for them to complete their adoption and bring their precious children home to the love and care they so desperately need and deserve.
Although processes within international adoption have slowed in various programs, we are witnessing many countries still express desire to see children united with their families. Processes that ceased are beginning again; processes that slowed are beginning to run smoothly again. Travel is opening up for many families. International adoption is still happening, and we’d love to celebrate with just a few examples of how the Lord has been working through this pandemic:
The Marchio Family: Bulgaria
After waiting a few months throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Marchio family was able to complete their court date June 29, 2020. One month later, the family was able to fly to Bulgaria to pick up their daughter July 29. Prior to arriving, they completed a PCR COVID test that would ultimately allow them out of quarantine early and able to pick up their daughter sooner. They quarantined over a week and picked up their daughter August 7, 2020. The family remained in country another week and returned home August 16, 2020.
The Davis Family: Colombia
The Davis Family flew to Colombia to pick up their two new sons March 1, 2020. Soon after, the novel coronavirus was deemed a pandemic. Countries began taking drastic measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, with most ceasing travel, closing borders, and shutting down government processes so that citizens could quarantine. As a result, most of the Davis family returned to the United States. Mom, Rachel, and one child stayed to try to navigate the unknown process ahead. They prepared to be in Colombia indefinitely.
However, the Colombian Supreme Court deemed adoptions “urgent,” and assured those in process could continue through the system. The Davis’s adoption process was finalized and the four family members flew home to reunite with the seven others in Kansas on April 22.
The Bryan Family: Haiti
In June 2019, six years after beginning their adoption process, Scott and Susan Bryan received a referral from the Central Authority (IBESR) of Haiti for a little boy named Garry. In early March 2020, their adoption was finalized, and by the end of July, Garry’s visa was issued so that he could travel to the U.S. to his family. However, the pandemic from COVID-19 was creating travel challenges. God opened a path for travel, and in July 2020, a married couple was identified to serve as travel escorts for Garry and two other children who were meeting their new family. The children and escorts traveled to Fort Lauderdale on August 1, 2020, as a hurricane making its way to the eastern part of Florida. However, God was faithful to continue to provide. Only a few short hours later, Garry cleared U.S. Customs and was united with his family.
We would love to talk more with you about how international adoption is still uniting children with their families, even in the midst of unprecedented times. You can find more information here or email us here.