An American Couple Calls Attention to Stalled Adoptions in SVG

A family in Arma, Kansas are among other United States families wanting to adopt. They and attorneys in the Caribbean islands of St. Vincent and the Grenadines are uniting to call on the government there to quit stalling and make adopting kids a priority. Adoptions have been put on hold for more than a year.

Hannah and Adam Montee adopted Maddox, who’s four, last year from China. And five-year-old daughter Malaya from Taiwan when she was 7 months old. They’ve been trying to adopt Mateo since before he was born. He’s twenty months old and they’re still waiting.

Hannah said, “We missed a lot of those first milestones we’re never gonna get back. His first words, him walking.”
Mateo was born in St. Vincent where new child treatment and adoption rules were implemented in 2015 which brought adoptions to a halt.  An attorney there fights for families.
Vynnette Frederick, a former member of parliament and now a barrister said, “We need the new adoption committee to be sworn, take the oath of secrecy, and to sit down with these existing adoption applications that have been in flux for eighteen months and say yes to them, assess them, and let us go to the court. We will argue before the high court that the old regulations can apply.”

Mateo was born in St. Vincent
Mateo was born in St. Vincent

Eighteen months that the adoptive parents pay for Mateo to live with a foster family.
Hannah said, “It’s more than our house payment. It’s quite a bit. More than what we thought, honestly, when we initially started and didn’t know a year later we’d still be paying.”
Because of the delays the Montees have had to repeat certain procedures like home studies, finger printing and background checks. Things that add to the cost and their frustrations.
Frederick said they are not alone, “I have clients caught in this situation and they’re saying if they can’t have them by December  they’ll have to not adopt. I know that is unfortunate because people’s finances are not infinite.”
And the longer Mateo’s there, bonds form that will be more painful to break. Hannah said, “It will make the transition a lot more difficult. But at least he’s known how to bond and attach to people. I talk to the foster  mom several times a week and she was saying last night, he has started  calling her mommy. So that hits you in the heart.”

Mateo is also missing out on seeing a half-brother who has already been adopted by friends of the Montee’s who live a few miles from them. The birth mother encouraged them to adopt Mateo.

Barrister Frederick said the adoption committee is supposed to be sworn-in around November fourth. Until then she intends to keep agitating about the stalled adoption.  Frederick said she feels for the parents as she adopted a daughter herself seven years ago. She also said the delays are an embarrassment for the island nation.

By Lisa Olliges, koamtv

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