NORMAN, Okla. – The number of foreign children adopted into U.S. families has plummeted nearly 50 percent over the past five years, according to a new documentary.
Now, one Norman couple hopes this movie helps make adoptions easier for the millions who are stuck in the process.
“Stuck,” an award-winning documentary about the troublesome bureaucracy involved in the international adoption process, was shown at a special screening Sunday at the Harkins Bricktown theater.
“It’s turning out that it’s probably going to be about another year on the waiting list,” Nicole Hager said.
She and her husband Jeremy have already been on a waiting list for seven months.
“So it’s just taking a long time and we’re just waiting,” she said. “We’re excited to be parents.”
In Stuck, shocking statistics are revealed.
There are more than 10 million children stuck in orphanages worldwide but because of government bureaucracy both here and abroad, it takes almost three years and $28,000 for a couple to bring a child home.
“They say ‘why does it take so long? If there’s so many orphans in the world, then why does it take so long,'” Jeremy said. “We know it’s a long process and we knew what we were getting into and we’re excited about adopting but it can test your patience.”
Frank Garrott is with the nonprofit group, “Both Ends Burning,” which produced the film.
“What we’ve seen is that a lot of people have just decided to throw in the towel,” he said.
Garrott said he hopes public awareness of the problem will pressure U.S. officials to be more supportive of international adoption.
“It’s not the solution to the worldwide orphan crisis,” Garrott said. “There are tens of millions of unparented children around the world but it’s part of the solution.”
“These kids are worth it and they deserve parents and that kind of helps keep us going,” Nicole said.
Some countries like Russia have completely ended adoptions to the U.S.
The movie’s producers hope to create a movement to get a million signatures on a petition to President Obama to make international adoption a U.S. priority.