Alcoholism is not a small problem here in Bolivia. Sadly, a cheap fermented drink called ‘chica’ is readily available even in the most remote villages. Alcohol also plays a significant part in many cultural traditions and holiday festivities.
These and other reasons are why it comes as no surprise to find out that many of the kids in the House of Dreams have family members who struggle with this disease. As I explained in the an earlier post about re-instertion the priority of the Bolivian government is that a child be reunited with their family after there has been a time of purposeful treatment and change in the problem areas. My own opinions aside this is an element we have to deal with.
Currently we are working on renewing our orphanage licence. The legal advisor assigned to us by social services has been reiterating the importance that we play our part in helping these kids back to their families. In the cases where it is probable we are complying. Two children will be heading back to their parents in the next few months. In cases where there has been no show of effort from the parents we are pursuing the official severance of parental authority for our children. This improves their chances for adoption. We are hoping that this young lawyer who is frowning upon this action will understand that we are looking out for the best interest of the children.
The process to sever parental rights takes about ten months. All the while the children are getting older, thereby slimming greatly the probability that they will be adopted.
We know for certain that the parents of some of our kids are showing no signs of efforts for change. As I was speaking with our director she expressed her concerns about the parents of some of our kids who are trying to improve themselves. We are trying to know how long we should wait on them.
In one case a sibling group was taken from their mother for issues of neglect. Upon finding that her children were gone she spiraled into a massive depression and fled to the streets for comfort. She drank heavily and lived under bridges with other homeless people. Allegedly she asked a man to shoot her in an aided suicide. This went on for months. We were ready to begin the process to prepare the children for a chance at adoption. We could not move forward because the mother appeared claiming she wants to recover her kids. Two weeks ago she checked herself into a rehabilitation center. Her own recovery will take a long time. Then the legal proceedings follow taking even longer.
Along with our director we are trying to decide the best action to take. Most likely because they are in a sibling group they will not be adopted. The question is if we should enter into a legal fight for custody of the children if down the line things are not looking good. How can I trust this mother, even if she fulfills all the legal requirements to recover her kids? What about the ever frequent regression that commonly occurs? What about her proven instability? The hard truth is that it is not ultimately my decision. I have to trust that the government is thinking about what is best for the kids. I also have to trust the leading of the Lord to be able to know when to pursue legal actions and when to hope for change.
I struggle with being judgemental. I judge the parents for abusing their children. I judge the government for wanting to give the parents a second chance. I judge the judicial system for lack of better representation to fight for a better life for the kids. I judge the adoption policies both local and international for not being better at forming new families more rapidly. Then I come down hard on myself in judgement for not being more tolerant, gracious, patient or prayerful.
To date we have had:
- 10 children adopted, both locally and internationally
- 5 children re-inserted with their families
- 2 children moved to homes more equiped to care for their special needs
- 1 child return to an abusive situation and lose his life
Currently we have:
- 2 children approved for re-insterion with their families
- 3 children awaiting sure adoption
- 5 children who have parents trying to recover them
- 11 children who could be adopted but most likely will not be
Oftentimes people ask about the history of specific children. We are not at liberty to share details. Though, we can share in these broad terms so that you can know what is commonly found at our home. Please continue to pray for wisdom for us and peace for the kids.