SEATTLE, Washington — COVID-19 has plunged the world into uncertainty. It has had a direct impact on a number of things. One area affected is adoption agencies and their ability to function properly across the world. Adoption agencies that have been most impacted by the pandemic are ones that operate out of regions like Africa and Asia. Because of this, adoption agencies around the globe are refining their system to make adoption as safe as possible. Here is how agencies are mobilizing digital adoption during COVID-19.
Disruptions in Adoption
The pandemic abruptly struck the world and borders closed. Flights were canceled, and any in-process adoptions were placed on indefinite hold. This brought all adoption operations to a temporary stop. Families that had flown to the home countries of their potential adopted children were stuck with the choice of flying home without their now adopted children or staying with them unable to take them home to keep them safe. For some, that was a choice they were not willing to make, so they stayed behind. For others, they had to go back to their counties and wait for a solution.
At least 250 adoptions have been held up due to the pandemic. The slow-moving adoption process is agonizing as it stands for families. The pandemic is bringing things to a complete pause until families have a way to leave the countries with their adopted children. Many families are uncertain of what will happen next, especially when they have already traveled to another country to pick up their children.
Holt International is an agency that helps parents around the world adopt their children. Previous to COVID-19, foster parents signed up to take care of children during the adoption process. These foster parents are like second families to these children, engulfing them in love and care until they can make it to their adopted families. Hot International is continuing these programs with precautions to keep these children safe during COVID-19. This has provided some relief for families feeling helpless because they could not be there to take their children home themselves.
While there have been certain travel bans implemented internationally for travel into the U.S. there is an exception for children that have been internationally adopted to be able to travel to their new home in the United States. On April 22, Holt International announced the U.S. travel ban would not extend to adopted children. This means adopted children would be able to fly to their new home families after adoption. The announcement noted that “this exception would apply to children seeking visas in the IR2, IR3, IH3, IR4, and IH4 categories.”
GSMA: The Innovation Fund
GSMA is a global mobile tech company. The company created the Innovation Fund for Mobile Internet Adoption and Digital Inclusion to fund projects that will bring digital inclusion to remote areas. The hope is to fund start-ups and small businesses working to facilitate digital adoption around the world. The Innovation Fund will help ensure that everyone can access the internet to gain the ability to adopt online when they were previously unplugged.
The pandemic is halting and slowing a lot of processes, bringing some to a full stop. Mobilizing digital adoption during COVID-19 will keep the agencies working on getting children loving forever homes. The more people that can get online and adopt, the more children will be safe and healthy during these trying times. Adoption helps connect families that are able to provide a life for a child in need of parents. This gives children living in extreme poverty a chance at survival.
– Kim Elsey