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By Matt McCoy
A group photo by The Christian Post of the Step Forward for Orphans March
I'm back to work after a powerful and moving experience at the Step Forward for Orphans March in Washington D.C. on Friday...a trip I had no idea I would make, until April 29.
That was the night the documentary Stuck came through Columbus as part of its nationwide tour. The movie exposed the broken system of international adoption and the affect it's having on families trying to adopt and on orphaned children who are living their young lives in institutions, rather than in families.
As I've blogged recently, it's a subject that hit home for my wife and I because our family was formed through international adoption. Our two children were both born in Guatemala, a country that closed adoptions to other nations on January 1, 2008.
Unfortnately, hundreds of families, who were in the process of adopting at that time, have been wrapped up in the red tape of two buereacracies since then. One of the more moving experiences at the March for me came when a woman, who started the adoption process for her daughter in 2006, gave my 10-year old daughter a hug and said "you're the same age as my daughter." In 2006, her daughter was three...Seven years later, she's still waiting to come home. I'd say that's a broken system.
Fox News commentator Laura Ingrham speaks following the March
Following the March, Fox TV news commentator Laura Ingraham, who has a daughter who was born in Guatemala and a son from Russia, spoke with emotion about the need to fix the system. Ingraham wore purple because as she said, 'this isn't a red state or blue state issue.' Ingrahm promised that fixing the system and helping families bring their children home will be her highest priority.
Me, with March organizer & Both Ends Burning founder Craig Juntunen
A week ago, WTVN's Joel Riley had Craig Juntunen on as a guest. Craig is the founder of Both Ends Burning, a non-profit organization with the goal of finding a solution to the failing international adoption system. He is also the excutive producer of "Stuck." It was an honor to meet him in Washington and to hear his passion for the issue. As Craig said, the March was not an end...just a beginning.
There is not only a need to bring the children 'stuck' in the middle adoptions home, but also to improve the system going forward. The number of children being adopted internationally to the United States is down 60 percent in the last six years and those numbers are getting worse. Those children are not being adopted in their own countries so consequently, the number of kids growing up in orphanages and without families is increasing. We can do better.
My wife brought my daughter with her to meet with the staffs of Senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown to ask for their support of new "Children and Families First" legislation, designed to improve the international adoption system.
If you are interested in helping, you can sign this petition, urging our lawmakers to step up to the plate and show they care.
I've received serveral e-mails and social media messages of support. I thank you for that and for allowing me to share this issue with you.
A look at our path to Capitol Hill Friday