Monday, December 26, 2011

Family hopes state enables more international adoptions

Carolyn and Kiel Twietmeyer and their large family sit down for dinnner in their Joliet home. "This is no easy process." Carolyn says of the couple's adoption of seven children in addition to their seven biological children. "We shouldn’t have to go through what we need to go through to be a family."

Carolyn and Kiel Twietmeyer and their large family sit down for dinnner… (Zbigniew Bzdak, Chicago Tribune)

Joliet couple see adding more kids as part of their religious mission

November 24, 2011|By Manya A. Brachear, Chicago Tribune reporter

As the parents of 14 children, including six adopted from Africa, Carolyn and Kiel Twietmeyer believe they are doing God's work.  Two of the six children the Joliet couple adopted from Ethiopia suffer from HIV. Bringing them to the U.S., where they could get the medical attention they needed, was a matter of life or death.  "The worst part of HIV is the stigma," Carolyn said. "In the U.S., it's considered a chronic and manageable disease."

But the Twietmeyers and other like-minded large families in Illinois face an obstacle to their mission of adopting from countries where the orphan crises are especially dire. In order to adopt children from countries such as Uganda, India and the Philippines, parents must be licensed by the state as foster care families. That's a problem for the Twietmeyers and other families who far exceed the standard licensing limit.

It's also a problem for Jojo, Carolyn Twietmeyer's nickname for Jonathan, a 3-year-old child with Down syndrome and HIV, who lives in a Ugandan orphanage. Twietmeyer dreams of the day she can bring him home and call him her son.
But social workers at the Twietmeyers' adoption agency say they have been told the family won't be licensed for more children, a necessary step to adopt from Uganda, where adoptions are not finalized until after children reach the U.S.
The conflict pits the families' desire to live out their religious mission of caring for orphans against the state's mission to protect children.  To read the complete story, click here: 

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