Editorial for 12 July: Adoption should not be a burden

Adoption is an emotional and life-changing event.

The process to allow adults to adopt children should be done
with a critical eye to thoroughness and ensuring that the match will be fair to
both the child and the parents.

The Caymanian Compass appreciates that adoptions do take

But we don’t understand why 15-year-old Zachery Wright’s
adoption has been delayed for 10 years.

The failure, it appears, is because every time Zachery gets
a case worker who ensures the family that the adoption will go through, that
Child and Family Services Department staffer moves on, leaving the Wright
family wondering why.

Unfortunately, Zachery’s story isn’t an unfamiliar one in
the Cayman Islands.

According to statistics released in 2010 there were 21 cases
before the Adoption Board – two of those cases had first been presented to the
board in 2003, one in 2004, one in 2005, eight in 2007, four in 2008, three in
2009 and two in 2010.

Requests to the Child and Family Service Department and the
Ministry of Community Affairs, Gender Affairs and Housing for an update on
those statistics but they didn’t have time to get back with us.

There are many things that can hold up an adoption,
including work overload of department staff members, but it would seem that
once an adoption application is made someone at the department or even the
ministry would ensure follow ups are done and families settled. Instead
families are left in limbo and the children waiting to be adopted confused.

Zachery’s case came to us because he has a medical need and,
until Tuesday, needed a Caymanian passport to travel off island for attention.
Thankfully the Health Services Authority and a visiting physician stepped in
and administered the testing Zachery needed and they assure us they’ll follow
up. But what about the other families in the Cayman Islands who have also been
waiting for years to adopt a child? We’re assured from Minister Mike Adam that
amendments are being made to the Adoption Law and that they will go before
Cabinet very soon. We certainly hope those revision speed up the process and
ease the burden on families pursuing adoption.