I posted an article on my Facebook recently about Afghan babies who are starving to death. Here’s a link to that article. In response, a Facebook friend sent me this:

Laila Sattar I keep hearing it’s not really possible Grace.
Is it possible? Yes! But only if it’s done correctly

Let’s look at some examples of things not being done correctly:

Last week I received a telephone call from a family that wanted to adopt older children from Pakistan. This particular family had been very diligent and hired a home study agency and a reputable Pakistani attorney. The family was directed by both the agency and the attorney to file an I-600A. Huge mistake! The I-600A is not a required form for any adoption. While the I-600A was pending, the children both turned 16. The adoption is no longer possible.

Another family I represent just welcomed a baby boy home…..he just turned 2 but was only a couple of months old when he was adopted. The case took over a year and a half to process because the attorney who handled the initial filing made multiple errors on the I-600 orphan petition and didn’t advise the family correctly as to what evidence was needed to support the petition.

So back to the question- Is adoption from Afghanistan possible? Absolutely, yes it is. There are 2 million orphans in Afghanistan. Only two children came home to the United States last year. I don’t think that’s because the US embassy in Kabul is denying thousands of visa petitions. I think it’s because people are not applying for orphan visas. The embassy staff don’t see orphan petitions very often and sometimes don’t know what to do with them. Yes, I said it State Department in Kabul- you don’t seem to know what you are doing when it comes to adoptions. E-mail me if you want to complain. My e-mail address is gkennedy@kennedyimmigrationfirm.com That said, one of the Afghan cases I handled this year took 5 months from start to finish with the visa being issued in Kabul within a week of filing.

There are societal issues in Afghanistan that make adoption difficult and can cause huge delays. In order to obtain a visa for an orphan, you have to prove that the orphan is in fact “an orphan.” This isn’t always as easy as one would hope in a country where death certificates are not routinely issued, where extra-marital sex is a crime punishable by death and witnesses to abandonment or desertion are afraid to come forward for fear of being criminally prosecuted themselves.

It has also been my experience that adoptive parents have difficulty locating children available for adoption despite the fact that there are 2 million orphaned children there.

A couple of weeks ago, two babies came home that were left in boxes- one on the side of the road. Earlier this year, a baby whose parents had both died came home. Last month, a baby whose biological mother considered leaving him in the bush to die at birth came home. Before that, a baby who was born with holes in her heart to a destitute family came home. This week I am hoping to get visas issued for two babies who were left in hospitals at birth. One of these babies comes from a region where what can only be described as a genocide of female infants is occurring, These are seven lives that were saved by American adoptive parents who made huge personal sacrifices to bring their children home. I think it’s worth it.

I’ll end with some quotes from a couple of good books:

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, holding up his two fingers together: “The one who takes care of an orphan is with me in Paradise like this.”

And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.