February 13, 2006

Petition Re: US Embassy

A group of adoptive families has joined together and created a website an petition regarding the service and inconsistencies at the US Embassy in Guatemala. You can find it here:

Having been through two adoptions, I certainly support their objective. But I also wish to express that as we judge these things, we need to look at them in the larger context.

Why does the Embassy function as it does?

Is it a lack of funding? If so, think about how you vote. Do you tend to only vote for those who promise to reduce taxes? That's really hard to do when staff require annual raises just as we all in the private sector expect. Unless of course you cut back on headcount, or constantly try to have lots of turnover to keep wages lower and staff less experienced. Those things diminsh service levels for certain. Do you support candidates who speak of all the problems with immigration? I'm sure those folks aren't lobbying to make it faster and easier for people to come to this country.

Is it a lack of attention to adoption cases? Our interactions with the embassy are with the Department of Homeland Security. In today's environment, how important should adoption cases be to the Department of Homeland Security? Have you written your members of congress about ICARE which stands to make adoptions solely through the Dept of State? Do you know the implications of that bill?

I write these things in no way to diminish the intent and objectives of the petition. I think it is a valid request that these things be examined. I also believe that we need to suggest how things be done better so here's my dos quetzales on it.

Adoptions should not be handled by DHS. Our children are not terrorists! They have nothing to do with our national security.

Adoptions should not be handed through immigration either. Our children are US citizens. They should come home on a US passport, not a visa. If I had to pick ANY us cabinet level agency for it, I'd say it's probably Health and Human Services.

The fees we pay the government to process our cases should go into a lockbox to be used to process the cases. Those funds should not go into the general treasury. We should pay for the services we receive.

Okay, there's a few ideas. I'd love to hear others'!

Posted by Kevin at February 13, 2006 09:11 AM

OK - I'm coming out of 'lurkdom' on this one. Yes, I vote to reduce taxes because I think we pay way too much in taxes. I think that the money collected is poorly spent. There is really no accountability to anyone for the billions of dollars collected. Efficiency is hardly what I see in most federally funded organizations.

Obviously, during a time of war against terrorism the homeland security area is hardly focused on international adoptions, yet here we sit. Everything about the INS handling of international adoption stinks and is handled very inefficiently. Do we need to pay more taxes AND our fees to improve the staffing? I think not. Someone just needs to do a better job of managing.

As for immigration, our country has a real mess. Illegal immigration must be addressed in a better way for our own protection and for those that want to be in our country for legitimate purposes. Our processes for immigrants to enter legally is surely as cumbersome as our adoption woes. I live in an area along the border where illegal immigrants pose a very real problem to all. I don't think all candidates speaking for reform in handling immigration are necessarily desiring to make the process more cumbersome. I don't know that they all actually want to do anything either - just gain votes is my fear.

It does seem that adopting internationally should not be reviewed with the same scrutiny as all other immigrants. The infants and children would seem to pose very minimal risk to national security. Furthermore, we, the adoptive parents are U.S. citizens and should have some standing with our own government, shouldn't we? Yet, we have felt very uncomfortable with the scrutiny and lack of responsiveness by our federal government throughout this process.

I agree with your last point that our fees should be preserved for use in supporting that segment of government operations. More demand equals more fees equals more money to finance additional staff, etc. I refuse to use the term 'lockbox' as it leaves a poor taste in my mouth from the 2000 election process. A better term is 'designated fund' that would be self-sustaining.

So...there I have broken my silence!

Thanks for the site and all that it provides. We have found it very helpful!

Posted by: Linda at February 15, 2006 06:07 PM

I agree with you that we pay too much in taxes. But I also think that the reality is that no one has the power to end the waste and thus more spending tis unfortunately the only way to increase service, albeit inefficiently. This is of course only my opinion.

Whether we agree or not is not important. What does matter is that we all think about these things and have open discourse.

Thanks for sharing!


Posted by: Kevin at February 16, 2006 01:45 PM


As the initiator and creator of the petition website, I would like to thank you for posting our information. Also, you gave me additional food for thought with your points about DHS handling our adoptions, our children coming home on visas, etc. You are absolutely correct and that information will be added to the website. Please continue to let people know about what we are trying to accomplish and hopefully we can get some attention and changes made.

Thanks again.

Michelle Shackelford

Posted by: Michelle Shackelford at February 20, 2006 07:04 PM

I'm trying to find the online petition, but when I click the link, it says the page does not exist. Has it been moved?
Thanks, Holly

Posted by: Holly at March 10, 2006 07:46 AM
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