Each year thousands of children from around the world are adopted by U.S. citizens. According to the 2010 International Adoption Statistics, there were over 3,400 adoptions from China, 2,500 from Ethiopia, 1,082 from Russia, and over 60 from Uganda just to name a few. But with how many thousands of adoptions there are each year by U.S. citizens it’s not always easy, and it can take a long time.

“It’s just been a long process it’s taken a long time to get where we are. We started with an overseas adoption, and we started the initial application about a year ago.”

That’s Wrangell couple Greg and Laura Salard, they knew they always wanted to have more kids, but were unable to have children of their own. With Greg at 50-years-old and Laura at 46-years-old and with previous children of their own, they both knew they would have trouble qualifying for a U.S. adoption. That’s when they began looking at international adoptions. Laura says early on they were working with an agency in Ethiopia, but due to time restraints, a year into the process switched to Uganda and that’s when she says the ball started to roll.

“Well when they called I was still in bed asleep, and I told them I have to call you back, I can’t believe, I can’t think,” Laura says.

That call was from an adoption agency working out of Uganda. They were calling to let the Salard’s know they had been approved to adopt two little girls, ages 3 and 5.

“When we switched to Uganda that’s when everything just fell into place quickly. We switched to the Uganda program in March, and within 6-weeks we got our referral. That’s a really quick turnaround. In most programs you wait 6-months to a year or even year and a half for a referral and then you still have to wait for your court date,” she says.

But they say the process wasn’t that simple. Both Greg and Laura work in the medical field, Greg as a physician, and Laura as a registered nurse. But even as a couple with secure incomes, the adoption process is expensive. They say with the home study, adoption agency fees, a lawyer, and travel the overall cost is over $20,000. Laura says along with costs, the process can be long and arduous.

“There is not an adoption that is “boom boom fast.” As much as there is a need for parents and children to have a home, you have to go through a lot of steps. There is a home study, they want to look at your income, they want to come look at your house, they do background references, and every background check known to man, and all of that takes time,” she says.

She says for those thinking about adopting it’s important to start researching early and stay as patient as possible during the process. The Salard’s say what helped them with their adoption process was the overwhelming support of the he Wrangell community. They thank the community for the fund raising, and donations collected to help with the adoption of the two girls.

And as a way to give back the Salard’s plan to do medical missionary work while in Uganda. This will include physicals, and assessments, and teaching caregivers at the orphanages how to do their own well child checkups and address major developmental mile stones.

“We will do what we can while we are there, but once we are gone they need someone there who can identify problems, if nothing whether the child is not growing like he should and know when to get him to see a doctor,” he says.

Dr. Salard says teaching basic medical care is something he and Laura have always wanted to do, and says it’s an important first step in improving medical practices in more impoverished parts of the world. The Salard’s expect to be back in Wrangell with their two girls by the end of September.
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