The article “Under Pressure, Ethiopia Plans Crackdown on Baby Business” published in Voice of America has certainly made for some interesting conversations on the various blogs and message boards I read. Part Two “Ethiopia Working with Child Advocacy Groups to Clean Up Adoptions” was published today. I try to do my best to understand the different view points of each person as an individual. I dislike generalizations but in some instances it is easier to create distinct subgroups within groups when writing, while still recognising unique differences within the same subgroup.
What I want to state first and foremost in the last 5 years I have seen many international adoptive parents change from a view-point of we are parents because of adoption and all is well in adoption land, to yes, we became parents through adoption but if I knew then what I know now, I may still have adopted but it would have been different, to I would not adopt now but chose a different way to help the child have a family through family preservation.
This is the subgroup of international adoptive parents I am most thankful for as they can and will succeed where others have failed in opening the eyes of those who can make a change, and who can stand up and are standing up in growing numbers to the pro-adoption groups who promote adoption as the best option all the time and unethical adoptions only happen on the very rare occasions.
These parents acknowledge that corruption is part of adoption today. That it has always been part of adoption and that no matter how fancy an adoption agency, facilitator, broker, lawyer’s website, video, or promotional material is provided – you will not know if they are in fact ethical, or if their outside providers are unethical, and ‘they’ chose not to see it, thereby still seeming ethical. That bad professionals and companies exist and like any con it is hard to spot when it is practiced well, and that it is indeed easy to practice the con on families who want to adopt for whatever reason, be it infertility or simply the desire to add to their family and doing what they think is a good thing, at the same time. And why the ethical agencies are not the first ones to raise the alarm is beyond my comprehension. They must know it is happening.
Some of these parents found out the hard way and to me that is the most devastating aspect of all. That they adopted a child or children that should have stayed with their family and would have, if the corrupt adoption provider had not practiced their craft in separating families from their children to create new families. These parents and their children will forever live with that knowledge, trauma, guilt and regret. It is heart breaking and I don’t know how I would react in that situation where you find out after the fact, and you are legally the childs parents – it becomes a damned if you do, damned if you don’t scenario.
Yet I don’t understand how this can happen in this day and age, again, and again, and the only difference is the country they adopted from. Why people cannot understand that when one country closes because the process has become so corrupt it cannot be fixed, and then another fertile country opens up that the same bad players will be there to practice their craft, different day, different country, same game. It has to stop. The only way I can see it stopping is for those who live it, to step up, but that comes at a very real price from what I have read but have yet to understand what that price is.
How can we get PAPs to understand that the words used to create the narrative of why the child needs a new family is a finely tuned creation designed to provide reasons and stop questions all at the same time? I talked about my story here and how it worked then and yet today people are still buying into the same type of creations be it the term “orphan” or “social orphan” or “conceived by rape” or “abandoned” or whatever the current market needs to hear to make them negate the red flags that are so apparent?
How can we get them to understand that the demand fuels the need to ensure the supply continues and ethics can be left in the dust in many ways they will not even think of, and that the question of whether or not adoption is the best choice, is never even honestly asked and answered? How can we get them to open their eyes and actually hear the stories of those families who found out too late that the adoption of their children was wrong? How can we get them to accept it happens and happens when the demand outstrips the real supply of children who truly need new homes?
What will it take to stop the corruption when there seems to be a never-ending supply of PAPs? How many countries, families, and adoptees need to be harmed before it returns to what it should be “in the best interests of the child” instead of “we need a child to create our family”?
How can we get PAPs to understand that before IA goes into a country that country may use orphanages as a resource or stop-gap when times are tough and return for their children? That some orphanages may have children staying with them on a temporary basis? That not all children in orphanages are “orphans” needing a home in America or Europe? That some children stay at the orphanage while the family is working to create a home where food is not in low supply? That while they stay in the orphanage their families visit them as often as they can? That sometimes they stay at the orphanage when they are sick to get the care the family is unable to give them and then return home? That it may be a part of their culture and that they are loved and know they are loved by their families?
In reality how can we get them to understand that culture view-point of the western world is not the same everywhere else? That it does not mean their culture is less than ours? That we must first understand their culture before we can begin any actions that will impact them especially when it comes to their children?
It makes me sad, mad, and downright angry…