• Erica Rosi Tham

Waiting Kids and a Week of Protests

We recently had good news. The application for our adoption is still being considered by CARA, the Indian authority that deals with international adoptions. Sadly, CARA has indefinitely delayed referrals of kids, but those of us who had planned on adopting kids from the waiting child list still have a chance during this uncertain time. And on the plus side, CARA has stated that home study dates will be extended which does suggest that the entire process could reopen in the future.

I believe those of us who had our adoption plans compromised by covid19 have felt mixed emotions during this week of protests, and I want to share a few of my own thoughts.

We are located in Seattle, and our governor has been stalwart in his decision to postpone reopening as long as possible. Because of this, we had been waiting for Governor Inslee’s announcement scheduled for May 31st on whether or not the stay-at-home order would end. Last Friday, we saw that he was withdrawing it. “Wow,” I said. “This deserves a toast!” And we poured some wine to celebrate.

The next morning, we saw news of the protests that had started in Seattle. I found the video of George Floyd and made myself watch it—so terribly tragic. I will never forget his face as he lay there.

I was perturbed by the mass gatherings during the weekend, but I understood that it was a shocking event and that the protests were needed to send a message.

However, as days passed, my feelings changed. Neither our mayor nor our governor made any serious effort to encourage social distancing. The news programs were instantly dominated by protest news, and it seemed as if covid19 had never existed.

And for us this means the threat of covid19’s resurgence … which could mean a longer delay in our adoption process.

Why did our leaders not push for social distancing among the protesters?

If they had, here are a few positive outcomes that would have been possible.

Many protesters would have complied.

Not those in Minneapolis and L.A., but there were protests in over 40 cities, and the atmosphere in each city was different. Also, maybe it would not have worked on the first two days when emotions were highest, but certainly after that. Why not? There is plenty of evidence that the majority were protesting peacefully. Why could they not have protested while standing or marching six feet apart? A thousand people standing six feet apart could make a stronger statement by occupying more space. Did your mayor even ask people to do this? Mine did not.

Lives could have been saved.

The police could have determined which people were protesting peacefully and which were not. They would have had clear visuals of people standing six feet apart and seen the difference between these and those with criminal intentions. This might have prevented many injuries and even some deaths. Here in Seattle, where a protest leader stated in a live interview that Seattle has one of the best police departments in the country and that they were not protesting our city, but supporting Floyd in principle, there were fires on the first two days started by criminals. The fire department chief said that they were unable to access the fires because of the crowds.

The chance for a resurgence of covid19 would have been greatly reduced.

I feel scared about our current times because too many people are behaving irrationally. I fear the days ahead. It seems that when simple and clear answers are possible, few are choosing them. Our leaders seem so crippled by something—and what is it? The media? The tides of change?

I urge you to write your leaders and push them to get their message straight. Are we in the middle of a pandemic … or not? Our first amendment right, so precious, is not violated if people protest peacefully and with distance from each other.

If you wish to adopt, like me, remind your leaders that they must be responsible for all parts of society, not just one at a time. If covid19 resurges, the waiting kids will wait that much longer. Already I am sure that adoption numbers will be down around the world. Waiting kids cannot wait because waiting means aging. Once a child reaches eight years old, every year exponentially decreases that child’s chance of ever getting adopted.

And besides, our country has reached an all-time low. Our leaders need to make level-headed choices, and we need to urge them to do this, not with insults or anger, but with forceful voices and plausible ideas. When storms erupt, we need them to choose a course and stay on it because when they do not they lose credibility in their voters’ eyes, and our country loses credibility in the world’s eyes.

The kids are waiting. We’re still hoping to bring them home.

Erica Rosi Tham

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