Srey Ya is a precious little girl with EB living in an orphanage in Cambodia. She is two years old. I have been working hard on advocating for her eligibility to be adopted but have come to a point where we must accept this fact:
At this time, Srey Ya cannot be adopted internationally.
Due to concerns of child trafficking and general concerns regarding the safety and well-being of Cambodian children, no countries are currently processing any Cambodian adoptions. There has been talk about this changing for several years now but nothing has changed yet. I was hopeful that we could fight for an exception for Srey Ya, especially since she has all necessary documents in order to show that she was legally surrendered for adoption (and not kidnapped and/or trafficked). And it looked hopeful at first. We have a relationship with Srey Ya's caregivers and they were optimistic of their ability to have an exception granted by the Prime Minister. I made contact with some important adoption officials in DC, which is unfortunately where the story ends. Even if Cambodia were to grant an exception for Srey Ya, the US government would not be able to process her adoption or grant her a visa. I made the case for her and fought on her behalf, but this is a systemic issue much larger than me or the individuals I spoke with. Ultimately, I have to remind myself that these policies were put in place in the best interest of Cambodian children and families. Can you imagine having your child kidnapped and trafficked and sold into adoption? Or realizing that the child you were adopting from Cambodia, who you thought was an orphan, actually had a family searching desperately for him/her? I can't. But let me be clear: none of this makes Srey Ya's reality any easier to accept. Her reality is heartbreaking and devastating. She will remain in the orphanage without a family and without access to the top medical care she needs. She will likely die much sooner than she would if she had these things. This is not okay. Ever the optimist, I am trying to focus on the good here. For one, EB Promise EXISTS. This little girl has a community rallying around her and advocating for her. We have a great relationship with her caregivers, and her caregivers are trustworthy and invested in Srey Ya's life. This is not always the case, so I am extremely grateful for this.
What can we do?
Support Srey Ya by purchasing items of of EB Promise's Amazon Wish List. Because she cannot be adopted, items have been added to our Wish List that will help her to live the best life she can in her current setting.
Are you an EB parent to a little one? Pass on your old EB-friendly clothing, EB-friendly spoons, forks, sippy cups, bottles...anything you have that you can think might be a blessing to this little girl. Her caregivers report that the plastic silverware they use is extremely sharp and nearly impossible for her to use without injury.
Bandages & supplies - some of these are on our wish list, but we will gladly accept any donation of oils, lotions, bandages, gauze, etc. for precious Srey Ya. Her caregivers are doing the best that they can, but Cambodia is a very difficult place to have EB.
Donate to EB Promise. Once we have the means to do so, we are hoping to set up a fund specifically for Srey Ya to cover the cost of bandages and medical supplies and other things to provide her with the best life possible.
Host Srey Ya. The chances of this are small and the process would be extremely difficult, but because of her adoption status there is a chance we could obtain a medical visa for her in order to come to the states for specific care such as the placement of a g-tube (which would forever alter her life for the better).
Adopt Srey Ya. I know what you're thinking...I just went on and on about how she cannot be adopted, and that is still true. However, a US citizen (or any foreigner I believe) could technically adopt Srey Ya domestically if he/she/the family were to obtain the proper visa(s), move to Cambodia, and prove residency after one year of living there. Clearly not a process for the faint of heart, but technically a possibility.
Interested in learning more about how you can support Srey Ya and other children like her? Email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or on the contact page of our site.