COVID-19 is causing a disruption in child adoptions

Posted at 7:12 PM, Apr 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-03 19:31:26-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Executive Director of Nightlight Christian Adoptions' Kentucky branch Dana Poynter said the agency is receiving an influx of calls from people inquiring about the adoption process.

“I think that's because they have some free time in their home," Poynter explained. "And it may be something that they've thought about for a long time that they've not taken the time to make the call to ask the questions."

Even though they’re getting more calls, the progress they can make with families is limited in some cases. They can assist families in filling out initial paperwork, but can’t finalize adoptions because they aren’t currently conducting home visits. If the child being adopted is in a different state, travel restrictions across state lines slow down the final stages of an adoption.

“I think everything's just slowed down," Poynter said. "Nothing has stopped. You know, there are still children around the world in need of families."

Poynter explained they’re required to conduct post-placement reports to check-in on how the child is doing in their new home. These normally involve home visits, but with Nightlight Christian Adoption employees working from home, these are being conducted virtually.

“If there was a problem with the family or if we felt the child was in danger, we would go into the home," Poynter said. "We have permission to do that from the office of the inspector general.”

International adoptions are facing different challenges. The spread of COVID-19 is leading some government offices to reduce staff or close their doors abroad, leaving some families waiting indefinitely for their child’s visa.

“They're kind of stranded in the country with this child that they don't want to leave there to come home. And they can't bring the child to the United States because they don't have the appropriate paperwork for them to cross the border into the United States,” Poynter said.

Nightlight Christian Adoptions is working with families to find ways to bring the children home, including soliciting the U.S. government for humanitarian parole.

Despite the delays and challenges her office is currently working to overcome, Poynter encouraged people to continue adopting. She noted when the pandemic ends, there will still be children in need of adoption.

If you’re interested in adopting a child, you can find more information on Nightlight Christian Adoptions’ website.