Editor’s note: Recent presidential executive orders relating to immigration and proposed budget cuts have stirred up questions regarding children adopted from other countries. In this second part, today’s Focus looks at the potential social implications.


ASHEBORO — Through tears, Robin Carter of Greensboro, adoptive mother of two, said, “I’m mourning for the children, because I was there, at the orphanage in Vietnam, and I saw there was nothing there. And I walked out of there feeling guilty, because I had two and I should have had more. And now our country is debating on whether on not to feed children.”


Referring to proposed cuts to Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds that states receive from the federal government and other cuts in President Trump’s proposed budget, Carter questioned the priorities of the new administration, and how those cuts could impact children. Services CDBG provides can include payments to families for food and shelter.


Daniel Keylin, communications director with the office of U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, (R-N.C.), cautioned that the budget is in its early phases. He pointed out that CDBG funds can be used for a variety of purposes, and are used by North Carolina for water and infrastructure needs across the state. The Disaster Relief fund within CDBG will also be critical for Hurricane Matthew recovery efforts, Keylin said.


“Sen. Tillis has concerns with the funding of some priorities in the White House’s budget blueprint,” Keylin said. “At the end of the day, it is a blueprint, a starting point in the budget process. Congress ultimately appropriates funds, and the final result is very likely to look different.”


Efforts to reach U.S. Sen. Richard Burr’s office before press time were unsuccessful. Burr, a Republican, also represents North Carolina.


Future fears


Carter’s two daughters, Honour Ań Carter Davis, 11, and Hope Linh Carter Davis, 10, were adopted from Vietnam through Carolina Adoption Services when they were 15 months old and 3 months old, respectively. They spent the first two years of their life undergoing therapy and various operations. Today, they are thriving.


“Now, I can’t guarantee a future for them,” Carter said.


Carter sees the shifting ideology within the U.S. as promoting a perspective of fear, especially with proposed cuts to education and food for U.S. children.


“More families would like to help children in need, but how can we if we don’t even provide food for our own children?” Carter said. “We need to get back to the heart of the matter — people before greed. Children have to come first.”


As the mother of two Asian daughters, Carter expressed anxiety regarding the perceived uptrend in racism. Kathy Homiller of Asheboro, who adopted her daughter Carol Lein “LiLi” from Vietnam in 2007, shared the concern.


“We’ve been a very welcoming society,” she said. Students are “so much more accepting today of all people.”


LiLi currently attends a school in Guilford County with a “truly multicultural environment.”


However, Homiller does have concerns about LiLi’s future as it relates to the impact the current political climate could have on attitudes and public perception.


“The stories of people who have been here all of their lives, but are now faced with discrimination due to current policies are popping up,” Homiller said. “They’re making it okay for kids to hate again.”


Bottom line


“We just need to help kids, I don’t care where they’re from,” Carter said. “We’re all in this together.”


And that is how Carter is raising her daughters. The girls will be performing in an Adoption Day concert Saturday, April 22, at 3 p.m. at the Friendly Center Barnes & Noble, 3102 Northline Ave., Greensboro. The fund-raising event will benefit CAS and their efforts to facilitate adoptions and provide humanitarian relief abroad.


“We’ve seen too many positive outcomes to even question whether international adoptions should continue,” Stephenson said. “We are a world community. We need to be open to looking at global solutions and global communications.”


Resources


Carolina Adoption Services partners with individuals and organizations to help children domestically and abroad. For additional information, visit carolinaadoption.org or call 800-632-9312.


The U.S. Department of State provides guidance and resources regarding intercountry adoptions, both for U.S. parents adopting children from other countries and for U.S. children being adopted by families abroad. For additional information, visit travel.state.gov/content/adoptionsabroad/en.html or call the Office of Children’s Issues at 888-407-4747.