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COVID Pandemic Brings New Difficulties to Worldwide Adoption Course of – CBS San Francisco

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) – COVID-19 restrictions have left many hopeful parents in the Bay Area with open but empty arms 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 young hearing impaired boy in China. Her problem: she can’t get him to San Jose.

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

She was matched with the 7-year-old boy last year, but China stopped all overseas travel during the pandemic.

“The wait is difficult because I had long expected to travel and complete the adoption,” she said.

Susan Soonkeum Cox of Holt International Children’s Services has 40 years of international adoptions experience.

“I’ve never seen anything comparable to the scale of this problem,” said Cox.

There are currently 400 American families on hold to adopt Chinese children. Holt International works with 140 families. From China it is said that the services will reopen as soon as things are safe.

However, Cox said, “Who knows when that will be?”

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

“We are confident that there will be no travel at least after the Olympics,” said Cox.

The good news? To protect them from COVID, China’s adoptive children have locked down with their caregivers.

And sometimes the carers share updates: Jessica emailed sign language videos she recorded at home to connect with her son an ocean away. In response, his supervisors sent back videos of him after their class.

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“It’s really cute,” smiled Jessica. “You can see him watching, listening, and doing the signs so that I may have a glimmer of joy and hope.”

The pandemic has also delayed domestic adoptions. Kimberly Batson of San Francisco filed papers to adopt her 5-year-old great-niece Sariah when the city provided shelter.

“It’s been stressful all along,” said Batson.

In addition to many difficulties, it was particularly difficult to get the required physical condition.

“They wouldn’t allow you to go to the hospital,” added Batson.

And visits to Ann, the social worker, were socially distant to the outside world. Even when it rains.

“Ann didn’t want to be wet and I didn’t want to be wet,” said Batson.

Oakland Alternative Family Services saw a third fewer adoptions last year as Zoom meetings replaced in-person parenting training, CPR classes, and court hearings.
Coordinator Alma Woodard said the agency needed to switch.

“It took a lot longer because we couldn’t meet in person. But we could do it, ”said Woodard.

Batson’s adoption became final after a year. Jessica’s application is now in its fourth year.

“I keep reminding myself that everything is in God’s timing,” she said.

So she waits for the day when she will no longer hold the picture of a little boy on a phone, but a son in her arms.

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For more information on the services of these organizations, please visit the Alternative Family Services and Holt International websites.

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