There are millions of children in need of loving, stable families all over the world. We hear the statistics all the time. However, when you see the faces of these children without families, you know they are so much more than numbers. For this reason, the staff of MLJ Adoptions is introducing Burkina Faso, our ninth international adoption program.
Prior to opening our Burkina Faso program, I traveled to Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso’s capitol. Burkina Faso is a lesser known, small West African nation. It is a country of 16.93 million people with an estimated 980,000 children in need of families. Every nation on the face of the Earth has orphaned and vulnerable children in need of families. Some countries struggle with what to do with these children, other countries do a fairly good job of caring for them. Regardless of whether or not the country does a good job caring for these children, the stark reality is that they all deserve the benefits of a loving family.
While in Burkina Faso, I had the privilege of visiting three orphanages. After seeing some of the worst orphanages in other countries in Africa, I was truly impressed with the condition of the orphanages and the level of care provided to the orphaned children in this country. I toured orphanages that were clean, provided nutritious meals to the children and were staffed with a good ratio of caregivers to children. As in all visits to orphanages, it is hard to tour these orphanages. It is even harder to leave them, knowing you are leaving the children behind. Touring an orphanage, holding an infant in your arms, and playing with the orphaned children takes an emotional toll, regardless of how many you have toured in the past.
Burkina Faso ratified the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-Country Adoption (the Hague Convention) in 2006. As a Hague Country, Burkina Faso has implemented processes and procedures that comply with the Hague Convention to enable adoptions to proceed in accordance with the best interests of the child with respect for his or her fundamental rights. All Hague Countries must have a Central Authority; Burkina Faso’s designated Central Authority is le Ministère de l’Action Sociale et de la Solidarité Nationale (the Ministry of Social Affairs). I had the pleasure of meeting with the Ministry of Social Affairs during my time in Burkina Faso; we discussed what is expected of MLJ Adoptions as an agency, what the Ministry of Social Affairs’ role is, and how we can work together to match children with adoptive families.
MLJ Adoptions is approved by Burkina Faso’s Ministry of Social Affairs to facilitate adoptions in Burkina Faso and has entered into an official agreement with the Ministry of Social Affairs to this effect. Obtaining this approval was a lengthy process, taking close to one year. If you are researching adopting from Burkina Faso through a U.S. adoption service provider, be sure to ask the adoption service provider if it is officially approved through the Ministry of Social Affairs to operate in Burkina Faso.
Children in Burkina Faso are abandoned or relinquished for many reasons, including, but not limited to, poverty and unwanted or unplanned pregnancies. These children are placed in orphanages that provide care; however, these children still await forever families. If you are considering adopting from Africa, Burkina Faso may be an excellent option for you. These children are in need of families and love. Without a family, their futures are very dismal. So I ask, can you fundamentally change their lives? Change their realities? Yes, you can. Bring a change to a child’s life that will make a difference. For additional information on our Burkina Faso adoption program, please contact us.
Photo Credit: Eric Montford