The Foreign Service Journal, September 2017

50 SEPTEMBER 2017 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL FOCUS ON EXEMPLARY PERFORMANCE & CONSTRUCTIVE DISSENT Faced with growing evidence of malfeasance in intercountry adoptions in Uganda, this FSO decided on a course of constructive dissent to correct the problem. Pushing State to Prevent Illegal Adoptions BY WENDY BRAFMAN Wendy Brafman joined the Foreign Service in 2005. She has served in Kinshasa, Cairo, Baghdad, Kam- pala and Washington, D.C. Before joining the For- eign Service, she was in private law practice, worked for a nongovernmental rule of law organization in Kosovo and served as a congressional staffer. Ms. Brafman’s husband is also a Foreign Service officer. She received a 2017 William R. Rivkin Award for Constructive Dissent by a Mid-Level Officer. S hortly before I left for Uganda in 2015, a good friend adopted a girl from South Asia. My friend was filled with a host of emotions: She was overjoyed by the prospect of welcoming a child into her life; exhausted by the amount of time and energy spent on the process; and nervous that amid the mountain of documents, background checks and legal proceed- ings, she might have missed one crucial detail that could derail the entire adoption. Nevertheless, she eagerly anticipated the arrival of her newly adopted daughter. We threw her a baby shower, helped her set up and decorate her daughter’s bedroom, and discussed plans for the child’s new life in the United States. When that day finally arrived, all my friend’s doubts and worries were washed away,