I realize that many, many times on this blog, I have been an advocate for international adoption. I have been an advocate for Tanzanian adoption. I have wanted Tanzanian laws to allow more adoptions.
I love Tanzania's orphans. I want to see more Tanzanians have a heart for adoption. I want to see Tanzanian churches and Christians step up in the area of orphan care and adoption.
But let me make this crystal clear: I would never, ever advocate for someone to adopt a child, from Tanzania or anywhere, by going around the laws of the country.
I discovered yesterday that this is exactly what is happening. There are American adoption agencies, and American families--Christian families--who are attempting to adopt children in Tanzania.
Tanzanian adoption law is extremely clear. You must live in this country for three years before you can apply to adopt. There are no exceptions. You foster a child for six months, and then you apply to legalize the adoption. It always works that way. It's a slow process, it's a frustrating process, but it works.
I am horrified...let me reiterate...HORRIFIED...to find out that there are American agencies and families who are trying to get around that process. The only way--the ONLY WAY--that is happening is because major money is being shifted around. I'm sure the families are in the dark about this. They are trusting agencies and orphanages who should know better.
So when I see cute little fundraising pages for American (Christian) families who are raising money for their $30,000 Tanzanian adoption....the frustration, the outrage I feel just cannot be communicated in words.
All three of our adoptions have been incredibly ethical. The process here is slow and frustrating, but it works. It is also FREE, other than lawyers' fees at the very end. So where do you think the $30,000 is going?
What do you think that kind of corruption will breed?
Sure, you give a kid or two a better life, but what happens when all adoptions in Tanzania are shut down due to corruption?
I care about Tanzania's orphans, but I also care about Tanzania. I would never, ever endorse an adoption that will only breed more corruption, deceit, and most likely, child trafficking.
Please friends, if you are pursuing an international adoption, ask the hard questions! Be wary of "Pilot Programs" in new countries! Be wary of small agencies who don't have much experience! Don't cut corners! It's just not worth it!
Please, if you know anyone pursuing a Tanzanian adoption (who is not a resident of Tanzania), share this with them. My friends, let us love the orphan. But let us love truth and justice too.
*Update January 2016: If you are considering a Tanzanian adoption and found this post through a Google search, please contact me. I have a lot more information that I would love to share with you. amedina(at)reachtanzania(dot)org.
Please also consider reading the series I wrote on adoption corruption, starting here.