Adoption ban keeps family apart

POSTED: Friday, November 12, 2010 - 8:23pm

UPDATED: Thursday, November 18, 2010 - 9:45am

ZACHARY, La (WVLA) -- Families across the United States are stuck in limbo right now, the result of a recent ban on Nepali adoptions. The U.S. is concerned that some of the Nepali children were actually stolen from their families and sold to orphanages, something called child trafficking. The U.S. government wants to investigate and in the meantime, they want adoption in the country to stop. However, 80 families were matched with orphans just weeks before the ban, and now they're not sure when, or even if, they'll be able to bring those children home.

Haydn Hilling and his family had two weeks to get to know their newly-adopted son, Kailash, and then, he was forced to say goodbye. Kailash was one of the 80 orphans already matched to a family in the U.S., but the government won't let him leave Nepal.

The U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu investigated his case and found it "not clearly approvable," meaning they don't want to accept the documents Nepal provided to prove that Kailash is actually an orphan as legal. "How can the State Department now say we won't accept any Nepali documents. We won't accept the word of the Nepali government when in fact our law says that its the word of the Nepali government which will determine whether or not a child's parents have disappeared," says Hilling.

The family believes the resources aren't available to truly find out if Kailash's parents are still looking for him.
"If there was any way to find our son's biological parents, I'd do it," says Hilling. "I'll bring him back myself."

This means, if Kailash doesn't go home with the Hillings, he'll more than likely end up back in the orphanage. "Most of the children are undersized. The standards of cleanliness are very different. They're very difficult places."

His family says, leaving him in an orphanage isn't an option. "We're not just going to leave him hanging. How could we?"

Hilling has been in contact with state politicians and the U.S. State Department, hoping for good news, but getting little. "They're not really interested in answering the questions."

Kailash is currently staying with a foster family in Nepal, but not for long. The family will keep fighting until their son is home safe.

"Either he's coming here or we're going there. He is our son and we're going to spend the rest of our lives acting on that fact."

NBC33 got in touch with the State Department about Hillings case. A State Department official sent this response: The United States Government is not able to comment on individual cases due to privacy considerations. The U.S. government has a legal obligation to determine whether a child meets the definition of orphan under U.S. immigration law and is therefore eligible to receive an immigrant visa.

Our recent interactions with the Government of Nepal have demonstrated that documents presented to describe and prove the abandonment of children in Nepal are unreliable. Unfortunately, without reliable documentation, it is extremely difficult to determine whether a child meets the definition of orphan under U.S. immigration law.

A joint USCIS – State Department team was sent to Nepal to speed the investigative process. USCIS and the Department of State will process each case individually, based on the evidence presented and the results of the investigation.
 

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As much as I understand this family's distress, the Dept of State had been warning for some time that people should reconsider adopting in Nepal due to concerns over where the "abandoned" children were coming from. Nepal is not a party to the Hague Convention, which at least provides some measure of protection. Last spring, a nepali couple were able to find their lost children just before they were to be legally adopted by American citizens. illiterate poor birth parents have rights, too.

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