For over 25 years in the Senate, I have been an advocate for adoption.
Adoption is a way for families to be created out of tragedy. It’s a pathway to the joy of raising children, and the security of a place to call home.
One family, Cate and Ben Bryan of Iowa, made the choice to open their hearts and home to a child from China and were matched with a little girl named Rosie.
Hundreds of families across the country, including the Bryans and others in Iowa, have chosen adoption from China. They’ve been matched with specific children and made arrangements to welcome them home.
Many of these kids being adopted from China have disabilities or other special needs and require specialized health care and services.
These kids are in desperate need of families to take care of them, but are being denied the opportunity to come home with their parents due to China’s refusal to let Americans into the country to complete adoptions.
In February of 2020, China closed its border due to the spread of COVID. This meant that parents who had already been matched with a child in China could not proceed with their adoptions. Parents must physically be present in China to continue the adoptive process and bring their child home.
What was said to be a temporary, emergency precaution has stretched into years, despite the availability of vaccines.
Due to China’s unwillingness to open its border to these parents, adoptions have been stalled for almost two years.
Some parents have been prohibited from communicating with their children during this time.
The Bryans are unable to receive updated health information about their daughter and are unable to send her letters or care packages. She might not even know that they’ve been trying for years to bring her into their family.
Other countries that participate in international adoption have found a way to continue the process. Even countries with travel restrictions on other groups have made exceptions for adoptive families.
Parents are willing to quarantine, be tested and take every precaution asked of them. China has opened the country to athletes participating in the Olympics, those wishing to do business and to American journalists.
Tourist visas are still not being issued and adoptive parents are being classified as tourists, despite the specific reason for their visit.
It’s imperative that the Biden administration work to get adoptions from China moving again.
These families have been waiting long enough. The kids they’re working to adopt have been waiting even longer.
I get the chance to hear from kids in foster care in the U.S. through my role as Chairman of the Senate Caucus on Foster Youth.
I always hear the same message from them. They want a mom and a dad. They want a loving place to call home.
Kids in China are no different. They deserve a family and the safety and security of loving parents.
I pray that the hearts of Chinese leaders are softened enough to allow these families into the country and allow these kids to come home.