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COVID Pandemic Brings New Challenges to International Adoption Process – CBS San Francisco

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San JOSE (CBS SF) COVID-19 restrictions have left many hopeful Gulf Area parents with open arms but empty as the pandemic has slowed or suspended their adoption plans.

Jessica, who preferred not to use her last name, learned sign language while preparing to adopt a little boy in China who had hearing problems. Her problem: she could not bring him home to San Jose.

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Sometimes I feel anxious, impatient; and really sad, she said.

She was compared to the 7-year-old boy last year, but China had banned all foreign travel during the pandemic.

The wait is difficult because Id expected to travel and complete the adoption long ago, she said.

Susan Soonkeum Cox of Holt International Childrens Services has 40 years of experience in overseas adoptions.

I have never seen anything that starts to compare to the size of this issue, Cox said.

Currently, 400 American families are awaiting adoption of Chinese children. Holt International is working with 140 families. The word from China is that services will reopen once things are safe.

However, Cox said, who knows when that will happen?

The best guess? After Beijing hosts the Winter Olympics in February.

We feel confident there will be no travel until at least after the Olympics, Cox said.

The good news? To protect them from COVID, China places adoptive children locked up with their caregivers.

And sometimes caregivers share updates: Jessica has emailed video in sign language she recorded at home to connect with her son an ocean away. In response, his caretakers sent him videos of her following her lessons.

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It’s really cute, Jessica smiled. You can see it by seeing it, hearing it and making signs so that it gives me a spark of joy and hope.

The pandemic has also delayed domestic adoptions. Kimberly Batson of San Francisco was submitting documents to adopt her 5-year-old granddaughter, Sariah, when the city took refuge in the country.

It was stressful all the time, Batson said.

Among the many difficulties, it was especially difficult to get the physics needed.

They did not allow you to go to the hospital, Batson added.

And the visits with Ann, the social worker, were socially distanced outside. Even in the rain.

Ann did not want to be wet, and I did not want to be wet, Batson said.

Alternative Family Services in Oakland saw one-third fewer adoptions last year as Zoom meetings replaced parental personal training, CPR classes and court hearings.
Coordinator Alma Woodard said the agency needed to be rotated.

It took so much more for the fact that we could not meet in person. But we were able to do it, Woodard said.

The adoption of the Batsons became final after a year. Meanwhile, Jessica’s application has entered its fourth year.

I keep reminding myself that everything is in God’s time, she said.

So she waits for the day when on the phone she no longer holds an image of a little boy in her hand, but in the arms of a boy.

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More information on the services provided by these organizations can be found on the websites for which Alternative Family Services AND Holt International.

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