LOL! I don't have time to come around here much anymore, so I missed all of this until now, but yes, I can assure you that I did in fact adopt two children from Uganda, and WE GOT VERY LUCKY (because despite all my research, we were still fairly naive) and their adoptions were totally, 100% ethical, unless you count the very fact that our adoption being "successful" was something that probably led to more adoptions happening, and now there is definitely a market for babies in Uganda, which is horribly unfortunate. Lots of bad reports of coercion, etc, and I think the only reason I feel so confident about our kids is because of all of the circumstances surrounding their abandonments, their babies home, the lawyer we used, the fact that we adopted in 2009/2010 before the big rush to Uganda happened and it became profitable for many parties.... but I don't recommend Ugandan adoption anymore at all for people who are wanting young, healthy babies or toddlers. Ugandans are beginning to adopt in increasing numbers (yay!) and there are more efforts happening toward family preservation, etc.... It is just too risky and fueling the fire to hop on that lengthy waiting list for young healthy babes, no matter how long you are willing to wait....
BUT, if someone is interested in a child with special needs, or a child over the age of 5, then Uganda can be a wonderful place to adopt from, provided that you do your homework and partner with the right people. I know far more than I ever wanted to know about ethical problems in Ugandan adoption, and I'd never recommend any agency or situation that wasn't "doing it right" -- there are lots of agencies and lawyers operating in Uganda, but I'd only trust a very small few. And even then, I'd hire a 3rd party investigator to make sure the child's story checks out.
and you're right, it is illegal to ADOPT from Uganda without living there for 3 years, but because of the large numbers of orphaned children (a number which is nowhere near as large as those '147 million orphans' types would have you believe, but there are definitely still orphans in need of families -- they just aren't usually babies ;-)) the courts typically allow for families to obtain legal guardianship and then finalize adoptions once home.
Mamma Mia, what orphanage does your mother work with? I can tell you that most Ugandans think it's great that Americans want to adopt Ugandan children, and they will routinely ask you to take their kids. Not saying that anyone should do this, and I was thankful to be with a Ugandan woman who scolded people who hit me up to take their kids, but most Ugandans think it's fine, and we were thanked many times for "taking" the kids. There is another segment of the population, however, who are a bit more knowledgeable about what happens when kids start being adopted in large numbers, and I'd agree with them that Ugandan adoption is more than a little out of control right now. Thankfully, there are people who are working with the gov't to ensure that not only are babies homes and lawyers held to high legal standards when doing legal guardianship cases, (the US embassy does it's best as well, with fairly thorough investigations, though I know a lot of kids slip through the cracks that maybe shouldn't be brought to the US, depending on your point of view) but also to increase family preservation measures to try to get many of the "orphans" back with their families. Uganda has been talking about becoming a Hague country, so that will help, but things are slow moving, of course....
Edited by tiffani - 10/9/12 at 5:09pm
as for what the orphanages think about it, I really hate to sound cynical here, but many of the orphanages are finding ways to profit from adoptions, and that is a large part of the problem. Ugandans should be first in line to adopt, but many babies homes will try to find international families first, because they get $$ and donations that a Ugandan family can't provide. Other babies homes would rather keep their "orphans" at the orphanage, to attract sympathy from westerners who will donate far more for "orphans" than they will donate to families who are at risk of falling apart. In the wise words of Mark Riley, who is at the forefront of re-modeling Ugandan adoption, "there is not an orphan crisis in Uganda, there is a family preservation crisis" -- MOST of the "orphans" in orphanages HAVE families, many of them have families who could quite easily take care of them, but since that shiny new western orphanage exists, with 3 meals a day, schooling, and the possibility of life in America, many Ugandan families will put kids in orphanages who shouldn't be there, and they'll lie about their circumstances to try to get their kids adopted. On the other hand, sometimes a baby or toddler will end up in an orphanage "accidentally" and if the orphanage doesn't do a thorough investigation, the child may be whisked off to america before their parent knows what happened -- here is one example of this happening... http://www.youtube.com/embed/89-6lPA0u84
I don't agree that a child needs to stay in an orphanage in their home country to retain a sense of cultural pride -- our kids are very proud of being from "My Ganda" and we will visit Uganda as much as we can, but our kids had absolutely nobody, and if they had grown up and aged out of their orphanage, who knows what their lives would have been like. They may have gone on to live beautiful lives, if they were the rare kids who found it within themselves to do that, but statistically speaking, life is hard for orphaned kids, and ours truly were orphaned, with not a single person to call their own. I do want to hire a 3rd party investigator to see if we can track down any family at all, but the odds are slim.
anyway, the above posted kiddos are still looking for families, (I think) and their agency is great -- more specifically, the Ugandan coordinator is great, and she has ethics absolutely at the forefront of her mind when trying to find families for kids.