THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
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.
to Prevent Illegal
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.
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,