Friday, September 18, 2009

Can I have a couple minutes of your time? Please?

Many of you know of our family's love for and association with the Children's Shelter of Cebu. I have known about CSC since I was a child and Kirb and I have supported them financially, and in many other ways, our entire married life {13 years on Monday!} We had the chance to travel to CSC in 2004 and fell even more in love with the shelter, its children, its mission and every aspect of the ministry there.

We just learned of an issue that is impacting the ministry at CSC. I'll share with you the text from an email that we got today from our friend, Matt, who is CSC's US Director. He understands the issue better than I do, has done research and puts it well. Please take a minute to read and help out:

Dear Friend,

17 of our kids need your help, in the form of a couple minutes of your time.

We have a basic principle at the heart of the Children's Shelter of Cebu; that every child deserves a family. This opportunity for finding a family together has all but slipped out of reach for these 17 children. They are sibling groups of nine, six and two.

In December 2007, the United States ratified the Hague Convention. This international agreement seeks to protect children, but it also led to a change in immigration law that was not fully enacted until recently. The new law lowered the age a child could be adopted from 18 to 16, even if they have younger siblings. This means that the oldest child in each of these three sibling groups is ineligible for adoption in the US (where the vast majority of older child adoptions happen). It means splitting up kids who have already lost too much of their family, or resigning to raise them all at CSC. We provide a loving home, but that simply can't compare to a loving family.

After seeking legal counsel we have found there is one small hope remaining, and we need you to help us pursue it. A law has been introduced both into the US House (HR 3110) and Senate (S.1359) primarily intended to change the citizenship process for adopted children to be less cumbersome and costly for adoptive parents. As an adoptive parent, I see great value in that. In addition, it changes the law back to the age of 18. This provides a window of time for us to continue to pursue families for these 17 kids.

By signing the Equality for Adopted Children petition that is linked to below, you could be a part of the answered prayers of all 17. If you forward it on you are multiplying the effort. I truly hope you do. We need your help, and so do these beautiful kids.

Honored to stand with you,

Matthew Buley
U.S. Director

There are 17 kids, in 3 sibling groups, at CSC for which this would eliminate any chance of being adopted together as a family. CSC has a policy of not splitting up sibling groups and I believe that is an important and crucial policy! They've given up so much already in their lives. They need their siblings with them. Here are Matt's "nutshell" descriptions of these great families of kids:

A Family of 9!
Jeneviev, Nino, Riza Mae, Leheca, Charydyn, Charryto, June, Bart and JashlyThe reason these 9 siblings arrived at CSC was so that they could stay together. After their mom died and their father realized he could not care for them, a group of nuns on the west side of the island of Cebu found homes for them. They knew one home for all of them would be much better, and that led them to us. On February 13, 2007, the largest sibling group we've ever taken in came to our shelter. The two boys and seven girls have done wonderfully at CSC. They are well behaved and loving, and have made great strides in the counseling provided in our care.

Jeneviev, 17 (7/30/92)
Nino, 15 (1/23/94)
Riza Mae, 14 (3/27/95)
Leheca, 12 (3/5/97)
Charydyn, 11 (8/10/98)
Charryto, 9 (6/9/00)
June, 7 (6/25/02)
Bart, 5 (7/31/04) and
Jashly, 3 (9/29/05).

Because of the size of this sibling group it will take an incredible family to take them all in (it would be the largest sibling group adoption ever in the Philippines), but we have not given up hope that the family is out there.

Our 6-Pack
Analiza, Jenive, Bernardo, Birny, Jeffrey and RafaelThis family of two girls and four boys has lived at CSC since February 22, 2005. It has been tough for them to see so many kids in those four-plus years who came after them get adopted and leave. These six kids have become dear to all of us. They all happen to be somewhat vertically challenged. Three have received or are receiving growth hormone injections daily to help them grow, and this has been successful. Academics are difficult for this sibling group overall, but all are progressing. Behavior concerns are minimal, some self identity issues and low self esteem are their biggest concerns. They are now the kids that have been with us the longest, aside from special needs adults or teen home residents who are well past adoption age. They have been praying for a mom and dad much longer than all the others. It is hard to convince them that they are worthy of a family, but we know they are.

Analiza, 16 (2/4/93)
Jenive, 13 (3/30/96)
Bernardo, 12 (2/1/97)
Birny, 11 (3/2/98)
Jeffrey, 9 (5/15/00)
Rafael, 8 (8/15/01)

2 Brothers
Melvin and MilbertMeet Melvin and Milbert. These two boys arrived at our shelter on March 24, 2006 with a third brother who eventually ended up returned to their birth mother. This has been difficult for the boys, especially for Milbert. He is an outgoing and personable young man who is both bright and well-spoken. His outgoing nature and ability to articulate his thoughts has certainly earned him some consequences in his 3 years and five months at CSC! He is also a kind boy who is glad to sit, chat and soak up one-on-one time with an adult. His older brother Melvin is extremely bright. He graduated from our Children of Hope School a couple of years ago and has been studying at a top-notch high school in Cebu City since. He is also a gifted artist. His Foster Friend sponsors in Japan have been amazed by his ability to draw anime cartoons. Melvin can be withdrawn at times, and also does well with a little extra attention. The boys have had their struggles, but could surely thrive in a family.

Melvin, 16 (11/2/92)
Milbert, 14 (7/7/95)

If you could take the 30 seconds that it takes to sign this petition, I would really appreciate it. {You can also access the petition -- and find out even more information -- on the CSC website. Click on "17 CSC kids need a couple minutes of your time"}

Thanks SO much!

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