Contact: Angela Hood, All God's Children International
SOFIA, Bulgaria, Dec. 12, 2013 /Christian Newswire
/ -- Two-and-one-half-year-old Isabella, a special needs baby adopted from Bulgaria, died from a blood disease and severe heart complications just days after her adoption was finalized. Shane and Lisa Sollinger from Pennsylvania were boarding a flight the week before Thanksgiving with Isabella Nikol Sollinger, when flight attendants, concerned about liability issues, refused to let her board. The baby had low oxygen levels and died the next morning in her parents' arms.
Isabella was scheduled for surgery upon arrival in the states.
According to Soojin Park, a caseworker for All God's Children International's Bulgaria program, there's no one person at fault for this tragedy -- only international policies and procedures. The law states that birth families must be given a specified amount of time before the baby can legally be considered for adoption. Then these children must be presented to three Bulgarian families.
Only after being declined by all three families do the children become available for international adoption.
"It takes too long to register one child. Even after the referral process, we still have to go through the court process," says Park. "We blame the long wait in the court systems for this baby's death. We must start paying attention to special needs children and read their reports carefully."
For the most part, these established processes and procedures are stable and they work. However, in special needs cases, the paperwork must be expedited to save children's lives. Park admits that they asked for the case to be expedited because of Isabella's medical needs. Unfortunately, her case was delayed by the Bulgarian summer court closures that happen every August. When they reconvened, it took the judge a long time to schedule the Sollingers' final court appointment.
Hollen Frazier, executive director of All God's Children International, is convinced that governments need to "speed up the process and act in the best interest of the children." Frazier says we have an incredible opportunity for change through CHIFF legislation as the Children in Families First Act redirects existing funds to move in that direction.
Shane and Lisa, who have two other children at home, informed the airline about Isabella's medical needs before they prepared to board. That's when airline staff tested the baby's oxygen levels. The family canceled their flights and headed back to the clinic to retrieve medical records so they could board the plane. They even called their doctor back in the states who said it had nothing to do with her oxygen levels -- that she was suffering from a blood condition.
The morning after the Sollingers canceled their flight, Isabella woke up crying. As Lisa held her, she knew something was wrong. Suddenly, Isabella's eyes rolled back, her back arched and she stopped breathing. Shane attempted CPR but Isabella never woke up.
More information about getting involved can be found here: www.ChildrenInFamiliesFirst.org About All God's Children International
Founded in 1991, All God's Children International passionately serves the world's orphan and vulnerable children by offering hope through the life-changing ministries of adoption, orphan care and missions. At AGCI's Hannah's Hope orphan homes, children are provided medical care, education, ministry and safety while waiting to be placed through adoption. Additionally, AGCI provides orphan care for children without families, family preservation projects, and short-term mission trips to help provide the shelter, care and love that every child deserves. AllGodsChildren.org