By Jessica Dealy
MERIDIAN, Miss. (AP) — Michael and Karyn Brown of Starkville are one of about a dozen U.S. families who were planning to adopt a child from Nepal, until the U.S. government called a temporary halt to such adoptions.
When they first filed paperwork to adopt at Tupelo’s New Beginnings adoption agency, they were planning to apply for a domestic adoption. The agency told them that the U.S. government also allows couples to choose one international location to adopt from as well.
The two filed paperwork for either a domestic or international adoption, either would do as long as they were able to offer a child a nurturing home.
“We have been on both of these waiting lists for the same amount of time,” Michael Brown told Meridian television station WTOK.
“International just happened to come up first. That doesn’t mean that we won’t stay on the domestic list and potentially adopt a domestic child when this is complete as well.”
The fact is, they fell in love with the child they spent five weeks visiting in a Nepal orphanage. And as any parents would, they plan to continue their fight to bring him home.
“I think a lot of people don’t understand adoption,” said Karyn Brown. “And I think when they put him in my arms for the first time, I know he is our son. I want to try to find somebody that has the resources and the ability to help us bring this child home.”
The Browns began a blog on the first day of the journey to Nepal, a Web site that has hundreds viewing every post, including Republican Sen. Roger Wicker, who said he has spoken to the Department of State about the issue.
“While I fully appreciate the complexities surrounding these cases, I have concerns about the timing of the policy implementation and the impact that it has had on the families already in the pipeline. I will continue to work as a liaison for these Mississippi families,” Wicker said.
New Beginnings is also arguing against the policy implementation timing.
“I got a call after they had been there for about a day, from one of the other individuals, who said that the Embassy people told them all that the agencies had been notified and no one was supposed to travel,” said Tom Velie, the organization’s president. “That was not true. That was a lie. That was the same thing that was said to Senator Wicker’s office, so they checked it out. We were not told that.”
What was shown on the United States adoption Web site, posted Aug. 6, was that the U.S. would still process particular cases, including the Browns. That has yet to happen.
The couple were on a plane to fly across the world and pick up their son, when the United States had abruptly frozen all Nepal adoptions into the United States.
“Our government offered us no proof of any corruption, but just cited that they felt like children were being stolen and sold in Nepal,” Michael Brown said.
The decision meant every orphan in Nepal had to prove that they were indeed homeless and without parents before the United States would grant the child a visa.
The Browns spent five weeks attempting to prove their son was indeed an orphan, citing that he was found in a market when he was four and a half days old. While the couple has police reports and newspaper clippings from the event, the U.S. Embassy in Nepal said that is not proof enough.
“What our government wants to know is, they want to find the people that found him and they want to ask questions,” said Michael Brown.
“And that’s fine except Nepal is a third world country, and these investigators go out, they flash their U.S. credentials and they tell people we want to ask you about a baby child. It would scare me if a U.S. official came up and flashed credentials and asked me questions. Of course they’re going to say, ‘I don’t know anything about this,’ because they’re frightened. So we’re stuck. We can’t get the information we need from these people.”
The Browns’ adoption case has now been sent to New Delhi where a judgment will be passed, the verdict of which will confirm or deny the reunion of a boy and the couple that spent five short weeks answering to the title of mom and dad.
“The hardest part on me is thinking of that child who is wondering where his mom and dad are,” said Michael Brown. ♦