Saturday, November 08, 2008

Anonymous Judgment of All of us IA Parents - Part 2

Now that you have all had the opportunity to read the anonymous comment and accompanying news article, I see that many of you already have responded at length to it...and I am glad to see the dialogue beginning. For those of you who have yet to read it, go back to my last post. I will be using this as fodder for discussion over the course of this week...there is enough there to fill a month of posts. So, let me begin.

Overall, as I finished reading the comment, I had to pause to think, to catch my breath at the truths contained therein as well as the over-reaching case made against international adoption. There were many generalizations and not nearly as many specific statistics to back up certain claims as I would like to have read, and yet as with many stereotypes...for that is what I ultimately and surprisingly found this to be, a stereotype of international adoptive parents and their children's birth circumstances...there is some fact to start with.

To say I was disturbed immediately is an understatement, and yet I did not immediately react, electing instead to let this all marinate a bit as I began the process of trying to see this from all possible angles. I felt my hackles rise as at first I wanted to jump to a defensive position, and then the longer I sat with my thoughts the more my posturing was deflated.

Let's take it from the beginning, shall we?

Before I get into commenting on the actual article, I would like to make it clear that there are really two individuals to comment upon...the author of the article referenced, as well as the Anonymous poster to the blog of the comment, whom I assume was not the author.

In reading the article included in the comment as well as the accompanying comments not attributable to E.J. Graff, there is an obvious bias from Anonymous towards domestic adoption over international adoption...so Anonymous is approaching this this with a specific agenda in mind. When you enter into something with a preconceived notion and a biased point of view, you tend to overlook the valid arguments in favor of the opposition's perspective. The comment from Anonymous at the beginning of the posted comment was:

Many children are stolen from their birth mothers and later adopted. This is why most countries are closing down their adoptions and adoption agencies are closing down.
Please read the Foreign Policy report on International Adoption.
and consider that there are 113,000 AMERICAN children in US Foster Care that are paper ready for adoption www.adoptuskids.org


http://www.foreignp olicy.com/ story/cms. php?story_ id=4508&print=1


Now, on to our first topic. Anonymous wrote "...consider that there are 113,000 AMERICAN children in US Foster Care that are paper ready for adoption...". It is true that there are thousands of children available for adoption here in the United States. No one who has adopted internationally has ever denied that, nor have we been able to escape the intrusive and accusing comments of strangers who dare to assume they have the right to make assessments of our personal family planning decisions as they pass us in the aisles of Walmart or approach us at our children's school functions.

What many fail to take into consideration is the foster care system within the United States is cumbersome, unwieldy, and in and of itself creates more damaged souls than perhaps the original reason for termination of parental rights ever did. In the past year I have spoken with no less than 4 domestic Human Services adoptive parents who say unequivocally that they would never again adopt a child within the system, and had they known in the beginning how troublesome and challenging the whole process would be they would never have started...and this is from parents who are quite happy with the children they ended up with. Their problem was not with the children, it was with how the process overwhelmed them and depleted them emotionally.

Let us take Anonymous' figure of 113,000 children available as accurate, and I have no reason not to believe that to be true other than standard statistical variation from year to year. Of those 113,000 that are "paper ready" as was stated, how many do not have moderate to severe special needs? One evening spent scanning through the photolistings of domestically available children and it is enough to scare off any prospective adoptive parent. As a matter of fact, I spent months scanning domestic adoption photolisting before ever even considering adopting from another country. I couldn't move past my own fear of the ABC lists of diagnosis that appeared with each child. Many, many of these children are irreparably damaged. Some are not, some can definitely heal, but they will require commitments far beyond what most parents will willingly accept, or feel equipped to handle...especially many first time parents.

I know not all kids in foster care are in such dire straights, and I have to wonder if the liability concerns of the system itself are not such that the desire to protect a county from a law suit causes them to list any and every possible issue the child might have, knowing that if they do not and a child ends up harming someone a law suit will ensue. While it is understandable to want full disclosure, the sword cuts both ways and if "CYA" is the battle cry of the average Social Worker and/or if children are being misdiagnosed or medicated due to behavioral issues that will allow them to be calm in a foster care home with parents who are not willing to put in the necessary loving time and commitment to get to the bottom of emotional struggles, or if diagnosis' are not accurate, then the person harmed in all of this "protective effort" is the child themselves.

More children are not placed in homes in the United States from foster care for the above reasons, but also due to "perfect scenario selection". Social Workers limit the number of possible adoptive homes with their own personal biases...they "think" a child would be best as the youngest in a family, the "think" a child would be best adopted by a family of the same race or background, they "think" a child should be in any number of specific scenarios and they often refuse to consider any and all prospective families because of their own preconceived notion of what best suits that child. It is one thing to look out for a child's best interest, it is another altogether to play God and make assumptions on what is a good fit strictly based upon your own "ideal" image of a family for a kid. We all have known of wonderful relationships in all walks of life which at first appear to be quite a mismatch and ultimately prove to be very fulfilling to all involved.

There ARE the obstacles of biological family interference and the havoc it can wreck upon the heart of not only the adoptive parents, but the child as well. To blindly act as if this is not a factor is being very naive. If our government truly wants those 113,000 children to find homes, my suggestion would be to talk to prospective adoptive parents and find out why they are choosing not to adopt through the system, find out what has and has not worked for those who have already adopted...and then don't ignore what you learn but instead implement strategies to improve how the system works. If this were a business, you would do market research and then target your sales strategies towards the consumers to lure them in, not turn them off. While no one wants to equate adoption and foster care to a business, one can take a business model and apply it to a certain degree. Yes, it should be child centered, yes the child's best welfare should be taken into account, but if your current system is not luring enough parents in for those kids then something is wrong. This is no an impossible problem to fix, but it takes someone willing to admit that the adoptive parents' hearts and needs should be taken into account as well and currently that is last on the list. That doesn't seem like the best way to increase domestic foster to adopt adoptions to me.

The Lie We Love

By E. J. Graff


After a quick google search, I learned that E.J. Graff is senior researcher at Brandeis University's Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism, where she directs the Gender & Justice Project. She is a resident scholar at the Brandeis Women's Studies Research Center. As a journalist and author, her work has appeared in such venues as The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Times, Columbia Journalism Review, Good Housekeeping, The Nation, The New Republic, and in more than a dozen anthologies. She collaborated on former Massachusetts Lt. Governor Evelyn Murphy's book Getting Even: Why Women Don't Get Paid Like Men--and What To Do About It (Simon & Schuster, 2005). Her first book, What Is Marriage For? The Strange Social History of Our Most Intimate Institution, has been widely cited in legal journals, reprinted for academic use, entered as courtroom exhibits, and quoted by government policymaking bodies. If you'd like to learn more about her you can see her "LinkedIn" page at: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/6/394/658

Before I go into discussion of the article itself, I want to make one thing clear to all who will read this...my statements should in no way be considered an attack on Ms. Graff where we might disagree, and as I write and process all of this I might very well find at the conclusion that we agree in more areas than we actually disagree. She is obviously a well respected researcher and author who is entitled to her opinion and has made a living trying to back those opinions up with hard facts. I am not a well educated person, heck I am not educated at all, so my opinions and thoughts on this subject can not be backed up by anything more than my own life experiences and those of the folks I have come in contact with in the international adoption community over the past 9 years. I have no facts, instead I have emotions, rumors, and our singular perspective and experiences to back up my statements here, so you can take it all with a grain of salt. I readily and eagerly defer to Ms. Graff on all researched items and statistics that may or may not be provided. Unlike "Anonymous", Ms. Graff puts her opinions out there for the public to dissect and she does so with her name attached, and for that I have great respect regardless of whether we agree or disagree.

Ms. Graff writes:

November/December 2008

Foreign adoption seems like the perfect solution to a heartbreaking imbalance: Poor countries have babies in need of homes, and rich countries have homes in need of babies. Unfortunately, those little orphaned bundles of joy may not be orphans at all.

ALEXANDER MARTINEZ/AFP/ Getty ImagesWho's your mommy?: Parents might never know if their adopted child is truly an orphan.

Web Extra: For a photographic tour of the global baby trade, visit: ForeignPolicy. com/extras/adoption.

We all know the story of international adoption: Millions of infants and toddlers have been abandoned or orphaned—placed on the side of a road or on the doorstep of a church, or left parentless due to AIDS, destitution, or war. These little ones find themselves forgotten, living in crowded orphanages or ending up on the streets, facing an uncertain future of misery and neglect. But, if they are lucky, adoring new moms and dads from faraway lands whisk them away for a chance at a better life. Unfortunately, this story is largely fiction.

Let's take one of the first statements and examine it: "Parents might never know if their adopted child is truly an orphan". I want to clarify what we are all meaning when we use the term "orphan". It is an absolute fact that I think none of us would deny that most children available for adoption are not "truly an orphan". When I say that, I mean that they have one or both parents living, they have no been orphaned by the death of both of their parents. They most often are considered "social orphans", they have been abandoned for a number of reasons such as poverty, medical needs, out-of-wedlock pregnancies who still see that as shameful, and other reasons as well. The one exception to my comment is countries within Africa (yes, I DO know it is a continent and not a country itself...hahahaha! Had to throw in that for a little comic relief!) where the AIDS epidemic as reported widely in the media has orphaned tens of thousands of children, or where war torn countries have thousands of parentless children. But when we speak of former Soviet Unions countries, China, and others it is more common to find "social orphans" rather than "true orphans". It actually is quite similar to the circumstances of most children here in the United States, the difference being in the kind of state care being provided for the child...foster care versus institutional care.

Now, to take that bold statement as it stands, whether we adoptive parents want to admit it or not, it is 100% true. We are given documents by coordinators and agencies, documents written in foreign languages with translations attached, most often there is almost no history accompanying our child, and we are often provided with conflicting verbal reports of why the child was placed in an institution nor is there much birth parent history provided at all. How can we know if the scant information we are able to piece together is true? How can we ever know what our child's beginnings really were? Can we trust the documents we are given? Are they accurate? Was there no effort to deceive but was there merely no information available as is often the case?

The fact is, we as the adoptive parents are at the mercy of those within the system (no different than with domestic adoptions), we have to place some level of trust in those we are working with that every effort was made to obtain accurate information to pass on to us, that those involved are not only in it for the money, but actually care for the children they are placing. And again, just as in the US, sometimes that is true and others it is not.

Let's move on to another statement in the paragraph above:

"But, if they are lucky, adoring new moms and dads from faraway lands whisk them away for a chance at a better life. Unfortunately, this story is largely fiction."

How can I argue with the identification of me or any of us as "adoring new moms"? What I do ask, is that while the tone of this is a bit condescending, what WOULD you like us to be, if not "adoring"? Shouldn't EVERY new mom adore her child, regardless of how they came to her? Isn't the goal to create relationships that are alive with love and commitment?

I do tend to feel a bit uncomfortable with the "whisk them away for a chance at a better life" statement as it touches the heart of what I have long said and yet found myself on the losing side of conversations with other adoptive parents about. My children are not getting a better life because they are coming to America. If they had been born into families who could have lovingly cared for them in their birth countries, that would have been the best for them regardless of the relative wealth and opportunity that is available to them as citizens of the United States. I do not see material wealth as "opportunity" or even "better". But I DO see having loving parents (or parent if a single person) as something that every child deserves and THAT is what gives them the chance for a better life. Being a number in an institution is in no way, shape or form better than being loved and cared for within the warm embrace of a family. Period. Argue away on that one all you want, but I will not waver on that point.

"Unfortunately, this story is largely fiction." Graff writes.

Ok, this one I admit to having a real problem with. "Largely fiction?", as in almost all adoptions of children are invalid and never should have occurred or that social orphans OR true orphans do not exist in huge numbers throughout the world? Ummm...that one I am not buying without some hard core statistics. If it had been worded "Unfortunately, this story is OFTEN fiction" I would not hesitate to agree.

That is enough for one night, I will resume tomorrow and hope I see tons of comments as you all digest this, roll it around a bit, and share your thoughts. I encourage everyone to read the comments section and to add your own, for this thought provoking subject is definitely one that touches all of our lives, and is one not often broached in public adoption forums. It is too "touchy", and it raises far too many fears that none of us want to address. Tucking them away is much easier, but really doesn't help much to evaluate the truth of such issues and work to change the circumstances if necessary. As I write, I will try not to comment on each sentence, as that will be far too boring for all of you, but for myself it seemed that so many statements brought up a strong reaction for me so it might be hard to summarize and not act as if I am involved in a one on one conversation with Ms. Graff.

12 comments:

Julie and John Wright said...

Hi Cindy... As I have always maintained... Any one that argues against the merrits of international adoption...especialy if there is ANY disability at all, really nees to spend a few days with me in Central Asia....the offer is always open....
It's funny as I read the comment left on your sight, I was suddenly catipolted back to a conversation I just had that day with my Girls....They wanted to know why if the word Ass is used in the Bible... why can't they use it to descride someone that stubbren and locked in , and refuses to except what is best .... You know ... Just like an Ass.....

Maureen said...

Hi Cindy,
I have comments about this paragraph:

"I do tend to feel a bit uncomfortable with the "whisk them away for a chance at a better life" statement as it touches the heart of what I have long said and yet found myself on the losing side of conversations with other adoptive parents about. My children are not getting a better life because they are coming to America. If they had been born into families who could have lovingly cared for them in their birth countries, that would have been the best for them regardless of the relative wealth and opportunity that is available to them as citizens of the United States. I do not see material wealth as "opportunity" or even "better". But I DO see having loving parents (or parent if a single person) as something that every child deserves and THAT is what gives them the chance for a better life. Being a number in an institution is in no way, shape or form better than being loved and cared for within the warm embrace of a family. Period. Argue away on that one all you want, but I will not waver on that point."


We adopted from Russia and on our court day the translator was talking to us about the changes Russia has made to encourage more Russian couples to adopt Russian children (i.e. -- giving them money). I replied to her that although I don't agree with giving someone money to take a child, it did seem good for the children to remain in their country and be immersed in their own culture. I was shocked when she vigorously disagreed with me. She said that the children adopted and taken to other countries had many better opportunities for schooling, life experiences, jobs, etc. and that she felt international adoption was much better for the children.

I agree with you that the BEST scenario would be for a child to be able to live with loving parents. Love does not fix everything, but it is so very important. I feel so blessed that we get to be that loving environment for our son.

This IS a lot to chew on (I think as I type this). :-)
Thanks,
Maureen

Kristy said...

Thanks for posting the article and then commenting.

I was struck most by the initial comment suggesting we look to foster care as an obviouss answer to our "problem". This just shows me that the poster hasn't thought much about the topic, and probably hasn't adopted.

Those who are adopting get to make choices different that those who birth children. And those adopting have to choose whats going to best work for building their family - whether that be internation, domestic, or foster care. So it makes no sense for someone to assume caring for kids here is the way to go - because it may not be the best plan for that family.

Lindsay said...

Ooops - turned into a very long comment! :)

The sad truth is that for many children, being "whisked" away to another country is their best chance in life. For some it may be their only chance FOR life. My daughter is Romani (or what some people would still refer to as 'gypsy'). Were she to remain in her home country she would face a life time of racial discrimination and segregation (in housing, employment, health care and education: this is documented by the UN and Amnesty International, and not something I just made up for the drama of it!) Her life expectancy would be amongst the lowest in Europe. She would likely age out of the child care system into a life spent on the margins of society. This is because the majority (white) population where I live neither like the Roma or want to adopt them. Adoption here is not common at all. Comments I received from colleagues included "they're all from incest"; "she'll grow up to be a prostitute" and "none of them are normal". These are not considered extreme views here - they are held by the majority of the population. A recent survey said something like 70% of whites do not want Roma living near them. In one town 95% said Roma do not deserve equal rights.

At 14 months old my daughter was spat at by a man in the street because she is Romani. Racially motivated attacks are common (including against women and chidren) and there have been many well documented murders over the last 10 years of Romani people in "police custody". Institutional racism ensures the placement of overwhelming numbers of Roma children in "special schools" for the "retarded" whilst the real problem is they don't speak the national language fluently (they speak Romani). Homes burned, people forced out of legally held property, families living in wooden shacks with no electricity or running water. The list goes on and on.

Trust me, international adoption is better than this!

I believe that if my daughter's birth family had equal access to employment, housing and education they would have been able to parent her. That knowledge causes me a great deal of pain. I know that she came into my life not because she was unwanted but because society in this country is deeply unfair, with racism ingrained at every level. The situation for the Roma is the same across the former eastern bloc.

Whilst I know there is corruption at many levels of government here, I can honestly say that the system which approved me to adopt, and matched me with my daughter, was vigorous and above board. The social worker and child psychologist I worked with are totally child centred and their priority from the get-go has been the best interests of the child. There is often a perception in "the West" that everything must be inferior elsewhere in the world. The system must be corrupt or incompetent or inefficient. My own experience has been the total opposite, and I hold the system here, and the many individuals in it who have worked on my adoption, in the highest regard. They have never been anything other than professional.

I am not naive. Like others I have read and wept over the stories from central America of baby mills and the stolen children of Vietnam. However I have yet to read any factual report that this is the situation of the majority of children placed for international adoption. Indeed countries like Guatemala have, in the past, reacted by suspending their IA programs so that investigations can be carried out into allegations of abuses in the system and have, where necessary, changed their procedures (eg by demanding DNA tests from birth mothers surrendering their child).

The truth is if it happens once, it is happening once too often. It's why the Hague Convention is so important. It is why we as adoptive parents have to demand that everything - in our own nations and those from where our children originate - is open and subject to scrutiny.

Adoption is about finding families for children, not vice versa. International adoption for many children is the only possibility that they will ever have a secure and loving home of their own.

Anonymous said...

There is no more struggles in adopting domestic than overseas. In fact, with a domestic adoption you can monitor and oversea the processes much easier. With an international adoption it is difficult monitoring an adoption over 3,000 miles away. There is a ton of grey areas that up until this last year (with new human trafficking laws in place) some adoption agencies thrived in (what happens in Ethiopia stays in Ethiopia) Are you implying that International Adoption is easier and cleaner because once you have the child in your possession the birth mother cannot come back and ask for their child back?
In the news there have been over 23 children abandoned in the state of Nebraska alone. There are abandoned babies every day in the USA. If a family chooses to Fost to adopt the state assumes medical and other expenses till the child is 18.
Not all agencies are crooked but a great deal are and some just don't want to know the legal status of the child. Jolie's first child adopted from Cambodia through Seattle International Adoption with Lauren Galindo as the facilator was later closed and Galindo was placed in federal prison for Visa fraud. Adoption 2)From Ethiopia, Jolie was informed that the birth mother died of AIDS.
Last year the birth mother surfaced and explained her daughter was a result of a gang rape. The Adoption agency made a statement, then distanced themselves from the Ethiopian facilitator. Adoption 3) Vietnam...I don't think I have to tell you that Vietnam adoptions closed down shortly after this because the children were not abandoned but sold.
No one is opposed to International Adoption, but many PAPs start the process and have no information on the bumpy ride they will have. They should consider domestic first. Many agencies are so desperate for business they are now offering surrogate adoption in the Ukraine and India. That is right "Rent a Womb" for desperate Americans willing to pay any price for a baby....crazy to create more children when there are so many homeless kids in the USA, Ukraine and elsewhere.
And to the post about Central Asia, I have been to many orphanages, some good some not so good just as many foster care homes are good and not so good. If you think the USA doesn't have poverty.............you are kidding yourself.

Victoria said...

Hi Cindy:
My email is kazakhvictoria@mac.com I was so excited to hear from you and learn more about your family. I leave in February for Kazakhstan. I first visited in 2000 and returned every year on short term trip doing camps at the various orphanages. My heart was captured by the country, but especially the children. As a single mother I felt I wasn't being called to bring a child here, but rather go there and work full time. My two children, who I adopted are American born bi-racial children now grown. I have the great privilege and honor to go and be hands and feet to the least of them.
Thank you for taking the time to read and write a response. I know the Delille family and actually knew Sam, one of their son's before they did. He had a cleft pallet that wasn't fix when I took a picture of him. Now he is a happy well adjusted child living in a wonderful home. I love to visit the Delille's and delight in the chaos of their lives.
I will keep up with your family on your blog.
Blessings
Victoria

rachel said...

I started to write a long comment, but I think I'll try to just make a quick point.

I do believe we as adoptive parents have a responsibility to find out if our adoptions are on the up and up. Like anything else, we can't know all of the details, but we can research (for any poster to assume we don't is ridiculous...some APs don't, but most do not go into this blindly). However, to say that NO child should be adopted internationally is not only irresponsible, it is also racist and elitist. If I put two children in need of love and a home next to each other, will you automatically discard one because she is not American? That sounds pretty racist to me.

I also have a problem with the culture thing. Culture is NOT part of DNA. If the biological parents are loving and willing, I do think it best if the child can stay with them. Who doesn't? But as far as taking them out of their culture? Culture is man-made. I am part Italian and I love Italian food, but it does not define me. I am an American. I will teach my child their birth cultures because I think it's good they know their history, but it does not define them. We choose what cultures we want to accept.

I would LOVE to see my kids one day give back to their birth countries. Not sure how, perhaps through missions or (how cool would this be) medical help since, you know, they'll be doctors *smile* To me that would be amazing. But if they choose to be CPAs and homemakers, that's ok too.

Sorry, guess it ended up being a little long after all!

Christina said...

You stated: "More children are not placed in homes in the United States from foster care for the above reasons, but also due to "perfect scenario selection". Social Workers limit the number of possible adoptive homes with their own personal biases...they "think" a child would be best as the youngest in a family, the "think" a child would be best adopted by a family of the same race or background, they "think" a child should be in any number of specific scenarios and they often refuse to consider any and all prospective families because of their own preconceived notion of what best suits that child."

With personal experience adopting 3 children out of USA foster care I can say this absolutely, without a doubt takes place. My husband and I were told by several social workers that we couldn't adopt "those children, or that sibling group because we were white...." and we were pushed into looking into severly handicapped children that "they" thought we could serve best. (Although we knew for us, that we couldn't take off weeks and weeks of work to take children to physical therapy or to stay in hospitals for weeks while a child underwent surgery after surgery as it just wasn't financially possible) 2 years after we finalized with 3 amazing children we believe God ordained for us to parent, we found out that 3 sibling groups we originally had interest in were still not adopted into a forever family (as statists show that fewer families of some races choose adoption for whatever reason). So terribly sad.... would USA foster care really be "best" for a child instead of a loving family of a different race??

My husband and I LOVE our kids (as we should) and really believe the USA foster care system needs reform for the best interest of the children....

Also, another "anonymous" comment was made that "If a family chooses to Fost to adopt the state assumes medical and other expenses till the child is 18."

This is NOT true (at least in the state of Florida). If you foster to adopt an infant, they are not considered "special need" because they were "adoptable" and therefore do not qualify for state assistance unless they meet the qualifications in some other way.... being an infant in foster care, if they are then adopted doesn't guarentee them medical or financial assistance for them to the adoptive parents.

IF you adopt a special needs child (in Florida defined as 1. A child older than 8, 2. racially non-white, 3. a sibling group of 2 or more 4. severe documented medical condition, and several other non-common reasons) then you are able to APPLY for assistance with medical and financial help with paperwork that states that the child or children meet these requirements AND WERE UNADOPTABLE if this assistance is not provided. (Because infants are in "higher demand" for lack of better terms, and frequently have a "waiting list" they are not considered UNADOPTABLE no matter what race they are, and therefore are denied any insurance or financial help)

IF APPROVED (no guarentees before adoption is final), then an adoptive child can receive medicaid insurance until the day they turn 18, and a monthly check to the adoptive parents that varries depending on the age the child was at adoption (less for younger children, more for older children but once adoption finalizes, then amount stays fixed). Typically around $300 a month. Being approved is not easy... I know first hand. Paperwork is lost in a system, busy, overworked employees who "suggest" that the adoption could move faster if this assistance wasn't applied for.... (even though if a child meets the critera it is law that the state provide the assistance).

I feel the need to add that I do not feel that families should adopt for the assistance that COULD be provided to them.... but rather because they feel they can provide a loving forever family for a child..... I just do not want others who might not be educated in USA adoptions to think that all foster to adopt infants come with financial assistance and health insurance because this is UNTRUE.

Sorry this ended as a long comment... just a topic near and dear to my heart :)

Anna said...

This is a really tough subject, with so much truth on "both" sides (and there are probably more than two sides).

I did consider domestic adoption, long and hard, before adopting internationally. I searched myself, and concluded that I was not prepared to adopt older children (mine were 6 & 7 at adoption) who were already known to have attachment disorders or other mental illness, FAS, ODD or any of the oh-so-many issues the children on AdoptUSKids are identified with. I wasn't prepared to adopt a sibling group of 3 or more, including teenagers, nor was I prepared to parent African-American chidren. That last realization gives me the most guilt of all.

My kids do actually have some of harder issues of PI kids -- anger, attachment, learning difficulties. I think that there is a lot to the notion that the "marketing" of adoptable US kids is very flawed.

I have accepted the idea that one of my children's birthmothers may have been "encouraged" to sign release papers. I also know that this was after not having visited the child in the orphanage for 4+ years. I also now know that the birthmother's downward spiral resulted in another birthchild's abuse and removal. Should I agonize over the possibility of having "stolen" my child from a drug-addicted, incarcerated, and enabling birthfamily full of empty promises? Maybe. Would my kids be better off with adoptive families in Kazakhstan? For one, maybe, for the other, probably not.

For my children in particular, local families had 5-7 years to choose to adopt them. I know that it's by no means guaranteed that older children are truly in need of new families, but it's far more likely.

A solution? I don't know for sure -- Hague protocols are a start, perhaps capping adoption fees, or screening extra carefully the "hot-ticket" adoptions, like "baby girls as young as possible." Do we look at what's going on in Western society to create the demand, and try to work on that end as well?

Lori said...

To Anonymous...
As Cindy said she has done as well...I have PORED over domestic agencies ALL ACROSS THE COUNTRY. I have begged my social worker to send me any and everything she can on children--race not an issue, age and needs negotiable...she is a Social Worker (who loves us DEARLY and wants us to have a child almost as much as we want one!) from a well known and reputable NATIONAL agency..and the wait for domestic children under the age of 2 generally speaking is STILL approximately 2 years. I was prompted immediately to go to several of the sites mentioned in the article and again, as Cindy said, many of the synopses of the children are enough to make anyone wary. With regard to the insensitive remark about meaning that international adoptions are easier because the birth parents can't just hop on a plane and get their children back--truly, do you think anyone given the heart and the desire to be a parent and willing to go through the hoops and paperwork nightmares that accompany adoptions would be so insensitive and cruel to rejoice in the fact that once they hop on that plane, odds are no one is coming to get them?? NO! I don't know of a single adoptive parent who does not have anything but the deepest feelings of respect, admiration and yes, even heartbreak at whatever circumstances led the birth mother to give her child up. We pre-adoptive and adoptive parents are truly humbled by the courage it takes any mother to have to selflessly give their child up in favor of a different, and yes most of the time better life. We weep for those mothers. And are thankful to God they exist and have the love for their child to be so brave.

And as far as it being easier and cleaner?? For real. Dealing with IA is dealing with countries who have no obligation WHATSOVER to act according to the way we have been blessed to expect as Americans. Trust me when I say there is NO ease in wondering if a country one day decides--"That's it. No more." and there is no recourse whatsoever. No ease there at all.

Mishelle said...

To those (usually bio parents) who ask me why I didn't adopt from the US foster care system, I ask them, "why didn't you?" I didn't adopt from the US foster care system for the same reason they didn't (and it has nothing to do with the system itself). I didn't adopt from that system because I was adopting to create a family, not to save the world. And I did that in the way that made sense to me. And, yes, I researched it and found out for a FACT that my child was not wanted by her bio parents. She waited for five years in the orphanage for a visit from family or even a countryman, but did not get even one. When her birth mom showed up during the adoption hearing to relinquish rights, she said it was her choice.

blessedfamily said...

wow. This seems to be the same person that came to my blog a few months ago when I was researching Haitian adoption.

Like many others I have vacillated between domestic and international adoption. Foster care adoption is NOT for everyone. It is cumbersome and the wait can be JUST as long if not longer than International adoption. I am on a yahoo board where there are people STILL waiting and have been waiting for 3+ years for US adoption; one member has waited for 16 years(off and on but more on than off) and is open to all types of children,all ages, any issues. Yet they wait. MANY states are looking for Foster parents, not adoptive parents, thus there are MORE adoptive parents than there are children to adopt them. The US is big on reunification of the child with the bio family and I agree with this to a certain degree.. specifically if it is in the best interest of the child.

Also consider, as I have recently found out, some children (mostly teens) have the right to say whether or not they want to be adopted OR whether they can be adopted out of state. The age they can make that determination varies by state. Thus the numbers CAN be misleading and skewed.

And I have to agree with the comments on family size limiting adoption from US fostercare. There are limits setup (by the states) and parents are running into brick wall trying to adopt when they have more than the alloted amount.

Research, talk to other parents, research some more... you'll get the REAL facts on all aspects of adoption. Not just the cute fluffy stories.

I like the comment that someone has already stated when asked why didn't they adopt from the US: Well , why don't YOU (adopt from the US)?!?

International children should have just as consideration as US children when parents turn to adoption as an option. No one child is "better" than or should be highly more favored than any other just because of where they live. There are MILLIONS of orphaned children in this world. Find your child YOUR way, and let others find their child THEIR way. It's a personal choice.

Oh and unless were were ALL there when the adoption of Zahara (Jolie's daughter) took place or you in fact KNEW the bio family, I suggest we take everything that was said and done with a grain of salt. Who really knows what happened or if it was media induced, etc.

That's my 2 cent.

Thanks for commenting on the article and responding to the comments.

Blessings,
JG