Phew....This was a long day of wondering what the announcement would be today from the embassy, and at least for now, the news wasn't so bad. I think this situation needs to continue to be covered in prayer. AOH did a great job of explaining it, so I'll just post the response the put on their website this afternoon:
Many rumors involving alleged child trafficking and illegal international adoptions in Liberia have been flying over the past few days. It has also been reported that a “hold” has been or will be placed on all adopted children leaving the country. Indeed, ten international adoption cases came under the scrutiny of the Liberian government some days ago. Some of these children left the country before the investigations were concluded and this raised alarm. First of all, we want to assure you that Acres of Hope Liberia is not involved in these cases, nor any illegal or unethical practices, nor have we been accused of such. Furthermore, no “hold” or moratorium has been placed on adopted children leaving the country.
When AOH/AOHL staff heard of the possible difficulties in obtaining visas and getting our children home with their adoptive families, we asked the impending travelers to please hold their plans until we got confirmation of any action to be taken by the Liberian or US governments. In fact, the staff of AOHL has been working tirelessly to work through the issues raised by this upheaval and to advocate for the children and families in the AOHL adoption program. Patty (Executive Director) and Eric (Country Director) have been at the Capital building today, meeting with many Liberian government officials. They feel encouraged by these discussions. In fact, many of the legislators are strongly pro-adoption and were happy to unite with AOHL for the future of the children.
Currently, we have one family in Liberia right now to pick up their children. Although they were told yesterday that no visas would be issued until this was cleared up, the visas were granted today. This is a good sign and, coupled with the conversations with the legislators, leads us to move forward as normal and we have given the go-ahead to the families with visa appointments next week.
While we are not out of the woods yet, we feel positive and encouraged. We will keep you updated if changes occur.
Finally, we have also caught wind of a rumor that families will be required to stay in Liberia for three weeks when picking up their children. Acres of Hope Liberia has been given no such direction and we advise that families preparing to travel soon plan a one-week stay.
I also wanted to thank you for praying for my friends, Kim and Dale. There was good news posted on their blog this afternoon. They are going to continue to Liberia and get their son. Thank you for praying for them. You can visit their blog here to follow their journey. They have got to be so exhausted and drained. This has been an amazing roller-coaster week for them. Please continue to pray for them.
For now, I'm feeling cautiously optimistic again. : ) I'm really thankful that the director of AOH was in Liberia to deal with all of this firsthand.