Friday, July 15, 2011

Day 2 in Honduras

The first stop this morning was the US embassy. We did not have an appointment so there was some confusion, but the woman in charge of procesing adoption cases called us back within a few minutes of leaving her a message and met with us right away. She was extremely friendly and informative. She let us know that as soon as they receive the I-600 (immigration application) for adoption cases they process them right away. However, processing the immigration approval means they do their own investigation to confirm the orphan status of the child. She said it takes them 4 weeks to process the paperwork and issue the visa for the child to enter the US. We found out later that before she worked at the orphanage she was the Head of the Adoption Department at IHFNA.
After the embassy we drove up to the top of a nearby mountain to see a humanitarian aid project that another American agency is doing for teenage girls who have been abused. The next stop was to the dump just outside the city. It's in a very dangerous area of the city so I was thankful for
Fabiola's bullet proof truck!! Fabiola told us that it's not a place people visit and you would not be in that area of town unless you had a reason. We drove up the side of the mountain and the entire top of the mountain is covered in trash. There were garbage trucks going up and down and may people going through the garbage. To protect the privacy of the children I am only posting the photos which are slightly blurry, but here is a dump truck and the three small children that were following the truck. The little girl did not have shoes. After driving down the mountain we went
the largest orphanage in Teguc. They currently have 111 children, but that number is constantly changing as children are reunited with their families or placed for adoption. 54 of those 111 are either waiting to be adopted or in the legal process of abandonment so that they can be adopted. The orphanage is a campus with several houses, a dining hall, administrative building, and a playground in the middle of all the houses. In each house there is a houseparent and 6-10 children who are grouped by age and gender. The first house we entered was for children with severe special needs. Next door was the house for the babies. We went into one bedroom that had 5 cribs. 3 babies were there that had not been abandoned, but were at social risk. After we left the fumigators arrived to spray all of the houses so we were unable to see the other houses. This orphanage is like the hub. They are required to take all children referred to them so they had children from just a few months of age up to 14 years. They take care of babies, toddlers, adolescents, pregnant teenages, special needs, and everything in between. The houseparents all receive a stipend from IHNFA. We did get to see the dining room and kitchen where the kids eat. It was in much better shape than the kitchen and dining area at 21, but there they still have a lot of needs.
The ceiling was falling down in many areas and there resources like clothing and diapers are scarce. The good thing about this orphange is they frequently have volunteer groups come and visit so the buildings are nicely painted and they have a big play area for the kids. After we left the orphanage we met with the Secretary General and Director of IHNFA to discuss possible humanitarian aid projects Gladney can help with. After meeting with the IHFNA officials we had dinner with Cesar and Cecilia, the attorneys who process the Gladney family adoption cases. Both Cecilia and Cesar are knowledgable about the adoption process and committed to helping children be united with their forever families. It was a pleasure to meet them both and I can say without a doubt that our families are in great hands!
For more pictures please view my facebook page.

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