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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Day #64 & A Golf Tourney

Each summer, the kiddos participate in a golf clinic and tournament. This makes their father VERY proud. Many weekends I find myself a golf widow, and Papa has grand aspirations of playing golf in his "golden years" surrounded by his children. I have grand aspirations of ANYTHING that will lead to a scholarship to offset college expenses of 6 kids! So let me say how very proud we are that this year, in the tourney, my youngest son scored a 64!!!! It was a grand moment! Boo beamed with pride and our smiles couldn't have been wider. Never-you-mind that his score was for one hole! And a par 5 at that. That's a LONG way! We'll keep encouraging him and hope that he doesn't burn out.

Patch on the other hand, loves the game. The picture of Patch on his bike, is very often the last I see of him till sundown as he leaves each morning. "Bye, Mom. I'm gonna go to the putting green, driving range, chipping green...!" as he zooms off on his bicycle each morn. Collared shirt-check. Sunblock-check. Carbolicious breakfast-check. Borrow his sister's pitching wedge and 3 wood-check. Cell phone so I can find him when the thunderstorms roll in-check. Small maternal lecture on golf etiquette, letting the adults play through, and NO MORE "borrowing" soda from the snack shack-check. And he's set to go! He usually plays 9 holes with his golf buddies (yes, at 9 years old he has golf buddies!) in the afternoon after the adults have mostly left the course.

Final Golf Tourney Scores-
Boo 64--mixed 1 hole
Patch 38--boy's 6 hole (took 2nd place!!)
Livy 61--girls 6 hole (Don't let the photo fool you, she has a great swing!)
Sunny--(she's a teenager and a high school freshman to boot! She has finally put her foot down to the annual golf tourney. Sorry Papa. We have other children!)

Adoption news---Well, we made it into the 60's. Honestly, I never thought we'd get to this point. Someone asked me the other day if I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. All I could think of was that I've been praying God give me a flashlight. It's dark.

A little overview about where things stand politically might be in order.

Basically, the MOU (or contract between VN and the US to adopt Vietnamese orphans to US families) basically defines that it is VN's responsibility to determine the status of orphans and weather or not they meet the criteria to be adopted. There are 5 criteria that VN uses-

1)  Length of time the child has been living in the orphanage or charitable institution (Entire lives-almost 1 year)
2)  Financial support provided for the child by the birth parents (None)
3)  Contact between the birth parents and the child (None)
4)  Expressions of interest in the child by the birth parents (None)
5)  Whether actions taken by the birth parents on behalf of the child were initiated by them or were done at the request of government or orphanage officials. (Initiated by VN gov't officials.  Due to fact that a police investigation and public advertisements have been unable to locate or identify the birth mother.

So under the terms of the MOU, Sunburn and Little Man, (and all the babies stuck in this political quagmire for that fact!) easily meet ALL these criteria, and it unequivocally qualifies them as orphans and adoptable. However the US has unilaterally decided to "re-evaluate" the orphan status of these children (with no explanation as to why) and "take" this responsibility away from the VN govt. It seems hellbent to locate the birth mothers of the children to get their personal approval and/or find fraud in this system, the very same system that the US had already agreed to honor by signing the MOU in the first place.

In VietNam, the stigma of an unwed mother being pregnant or having a baby out of wedlock, is a HUGE deal. Think of the 40's or 50's here in the US, but double the consequences. VN has the highest abortion rate in the world. It is not unheard of for a family to forever disown a daughter who would find herself pregnant and not married. In my opinion, if a single unwed mother went through all the trouble to hide her pregnancy from her family, maybe even resorting to moving to Saigon to hide and live in a secret safe house, (run by the previously eluded to Catholic Church) then I don't think a US gov't investigator is going to be able to find her. And if they did, the mere act of finding this woman would "out" her secret and reveal her past. Her consequences of the US gov't could be last her life long. And yes, the US govt has already done this to many young Vietnamese women.

Most importantly to the orphans, none of what the US gov't is trying to find, will change ANY of the 5 criteria above. Nothing will change the fact that there are still orphaned babies growing up parentless in an orphanage, with no contact, financial support, or ANY expression of interest by their birth families. And no matter what the US gov't hopes to finds, these children will still live the remainder of their childhoods in the orphanage until they age out, unless they change their stance on the adoption of these innocent children.
So that's where we are... we wait and wait and wait for someone to intervene or realize that enough is enough already. It is obvious to most that these children have no family. How long will the US gov't attempt to find fraud at the children's expense? How long is it comfortable making these children wait?

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