Snag in Nepali Adoptions to U.S.

By: Jessica Dealy Email
By: Jessica Dealy Email

"He told his caretakers that he loved us, which was, now, quite hard to hear," said Mississippi State University professor, Dr. Michael Brown of the child he and his wife want to adopt..

Jet-lagged and emotionally drained, Karyn and Mike Brown sit in what they believed would be their adopted son's new room. Now, the room acts as a daily reminder of what they were forced to leave a half a world away.

"I have to tell you boarding that plane to come home without him was the hardest thing I have ever had to do," said Karyn Brown.

The couple, both in their early forties and successful at their jobs teaching at Mississippi State University, have exhausted every possible resource to start a family.

After 14 years the Browns turned to Tupelo's New Beginnings Adoption Agency, filing paperwork for both domestic and international adoption.

"The U.S. government allows you to choose an international country, but only one," said Michael. "So we chose Nepal, simply for the reason that the kids there tend to be very healthy. They don't have a lot of fetal alcohol syndrome. We understood that it was an easy government to work with."

And the Nepali government proved to be just that. One hot July afternoon, the Browns received a phone call they waited on for three years.

"To get the news we we're matched, it was strange because I wanted to be excited but yet you see so many stories," said Karyn. "I wanted to be cautious but then I let caution go to the wind and I got excited."

The couple boarded a plane to fly across the world and pick up their three and a half year old son, a process that normally takes six days. While aboard the plane they heard the United States had abruptly frozen all Nepal adoptions into the U.S.

"Our government offered us no proof to any corruption, but just cited that they felt like children were being stolen and sold in Nepal," Michael said.

An accusation that meant every orphan in Nepal had to prove they were indeed homeless and without parents before the U.S. would grant the child a VISA.

Michael and Karyn spent five weeks attempting to prove their son was indeed an orphan, citing that he was found in a market when he was four and a half days old. While the couple has police reports and newspaper clippings from the event, the U.S. Embassy in Nepal said that was not proof enough.

"What our government wants to know is, they want to find the people that found him and they want to ask questions," said Michael. "And that's fine except Nepal is a third world country and these investigators go out, they flash their U.S. credentials and they tell people we want to ask you about a baby child. It would scare me if a U.S. official came up and flashed credentials and asked me questions. Of course they're going to say, 'I don't know anything about this', because they're frightened. So we're stuck. We can't get the information we need from these people."

The Browns' adoption case has now been sent to New Delhi where a judgment will be passed, the verdict of which will confirm or deny the reunion of a boy and the couple that spent five short weeks answering to the title of Mom and Dad.

"The hardest part on me is thinking of that child who is wondering where his Mom and Dad are."

To see the broadcast version of this story, go to the video box on the right side of the home page and click on Nepal Adoption under section 1.

In Part 2, Newscenter 11 talks with the adoption agency that helped match the Browns and eleven other couples in the same situation. We also speak with Sen. Roger Wicker about this situation.

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