Bethany Meacham talks about her family's efforts to bring their adopted son Malachi to the U.S.
A decision by the government of an African nation is having a big impact on U.S. families trying to bring home adopted children, including at least 20 families in Kentucky. Citing concerns about the health and well-being of children previously adopted children, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) last fall cancelled the exit permits needed by adopted children to leave the country and join their new families abroad.
Bethany Meacham of Louisville is one of the mothers caught in limbo due to the decision. Bethany and her husband, Jon, decided to look into adoption after a miscarriage made them think they might not be able to have a child naturally. Bethany has since given birth to two children, now ages 4 and 1. But after learning about the conditions of orphans in the DRC and doing further research, the Meachams decided to adopt a son from that country.
“So we started the paperwork process to adopt from there, three-and-a-half-years ago before we ever set foot in Congo. Since then, my husband was able to go last November for the first time and meet our son, who was legally adopted and who was ours at that time.”
“His orphanage had actually just burned down, so my husband took supplies to the orphanage.”
The Meachams named their son Malachi, and he became their legally adopted son last July. But the Meacham’s hopes of bringing their son to Kentucky were derailed when the Congolese government announced it was halting the issuing of exit visas for foreign adoptions. Since then, Bethany Meacham says she has had to be content with getting bits and pieces of information about Malachi, the son she’s never really gotten to know.
A Warren County group dedicated to providing safe environments for all children hopes more families will consider adoption.
November is adoption awareness month, and the Family Enrichment Center is hoping to shine the spotlight on kids of all ages who are looking for what's known as "forever homes." The group's Board of Directors Chair, Jennifer Brinkley, says a new adoption resource center in Bowling Green is aimed at helping interested parties navigate the often complicated adoption process.
"There are over 120 children in our region who are currently waiting to be adopted," Brinkley told WKU Public Radio. "So it's an important resource when people don't know how to go about the process."
"The Family Enrichment Center, through that adoption resources center, can really help those families."
Brinkley says she often advises families interested in adoption to consider children other than newborns. She says there are many older children-including teenagers-who are eligible for adoption.
An estimated 7,000 Kentucky children are currently in foster care, residential homes, or detention facilities.
This Saturday, a "Project Match" event will be held in Daviess County, to enable those in the area to learn more about foster care and adoption. State officials in Kentucky say more than 6,000 children in the state are currently in foster care.