Last Monday The Southern Gent and I watched a very well done documentary film called Stuck. Produced by the by the Both Ends Burning organization, this film follows four families through the maze of the international adoption process.
The organization was started by Craig Juntunen who, after he and his wife adopted three children from Haiti, became interested in helping to reform this lengthy and costly process. When a well-known senator told him that there isn’t enough interest out there to focus on the problem, he was shocked by this individual’s perception of an issue that he knew to be very important to a lot of people.
Costing today anywhere from $28,000 to $40,000 and taking up to two, three, or more years, the film sheds light on an expensive and wearisome process. Just released March 1st, the film is being shown in 60 cities in 80 days on a cross country bus tour. One objective of the tour is to get one million signatures on a petition that will be will be hand carried to members of Congress in the Step Forward for Orphans March in Washington, D.C., which will coincide with the last day of the bus tour, tentatively scheduled for May 17.
Growing up I had a very good friend who was adopted from outside this country. I spent lots of time at her house during elementary school – I still remember the names of her pets. Her dad was my teacher in high school and her mom was one of those great people you always felt comfortable around. I can’t imagine my childhood without her and I still keep in touch with her to this day. It saddens me to think that perhaps another young couple, like my friend’s parents all those years ago, might be considering adoption and not pursue it because of the cost and uncertainty.
In fact, the numbers back up this concern. Statistics from the U.S. State Department reveal that since 2004, when there were 22,991 international adoptions, that number has declined by more than %50 to 9,319 international adoptions in 2011. That means last year alone, over ten thousands families did not bring a child into their home that could be the next great friend to a little girl growing up here in the States today.
If your city is not on the tour schedule or your schedule has a conflict when the bus is in town, you can buy the film now and watch it in the comfort of your home with some friends. Chances are that even if you are not considering adoption you have a friend that is and they would like for Congress to know how important this issue is to a lot of people. Change starts with us and we can all be a part of the change.