CNN Article- African Adoptions Should Be Discouraged — The Bump
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CNN Article- African Adoptions Should Be Discouraged

I was wondering if anyone else saw this article on CNN today.

I know we have several individuals (myself included) that have discussed interest in African countries (Uganda, Ethiopia, etc) for current/future International Adoptions.

This article did frustrate me.  I do agree that these countries should be encouraged to have a centralized agency over seeing adoptions and of course sign the Hague Convention.  However, in so many of these countries individuals can barely support themselves in terms of finding shelter, clothing, food, etc.  I don't agree that just because a potential family is not from that country they should be discouraged or forbidden from adopting a child.

Any thoughts?

Re: CNN Article- African Adoptions Should Be Discouraged

  • I actually just read an adoption-related article (maybe it was Jillian Michaels) that had another perspective. The gist was that the African people in general would rather find ways to improve their situation as a whole so they could raise their own children instead of having them adopted by people in other countries. It certainly made me stop and think.

  • Ug Ug and Ug!!!

    I have tons of thoughts....  (and I apologize for not being more eloquent or coherent.)

    For those that aren't aware, there's a big meeting happening this week in Ethiopia that is bringing together many African countries--- International Policy Conference on the African Child (IPC).  I was fortunate and attended Summit 8 -  Christian Alliace for Orphans in early May.  At Summit 8, the IPC meeting was discussed at several workshops.  While the meeting in theory is supportive of adoption, the meeting organizers did not open it up to any delegates from the US, including the congressional liaison that was involved in the Hague Convention.  There are many good US professionals that wanted to be there and weren't invited.  Instead the meeting will focus on the points in the article which encourage African countries to shut down Int'l adoption programs and paint the US IA parents as lacking compassion and just concerned about "getting THEIR child" at any cost... and I do not believe that's the case for most IA parents.

     I agree whole-heartedly that the best scenario for children is to remain in their country of origin AND receive quality parental care.  But the article doesn't touch on the fact that most of these countries that are open to IA are among the poorest countries in the world.  When you are dealing with third world poverty there isn't always potential to find dometic adoptive parents for the thousands of children in need.

     Critics will say that American IA parents should instead send their $20K+ to the country to sponsor children that need food, water, etc.  While that point is valid, it goes back to the idea of not having parental units for these children.  Sure, thousands of dollars will support kids in orphanages but I will ALWAYS argue that a child deserves parents... not an orphanage director.

    I will also acknowledge the corruption that has existed in IA, and acknowledge that it most likely has existed in Ethiopia.  However, many corrupt orphanages have been shut down.  MOWA's (equivalent of the Ethiopia's DCFS) now requires several interviews of witnesses to abandonment and/or single parent interviews when they can not parent.  Ethiopia's adoption process has slowed down greatly but it's because of putting measures into place that assure that children aren't being sold or traded. 

    What makes me the most angry is the idea that politics and idealists may stand in the way of orphans (and I am included those who may have living parents who can't care for them) having a parent or two to care and love them.  Every child deserves parents. 

    I could continue ranting... but my general point is that every child needs parents..... and while it would be best if they could stay in their country of orgin, it's not always realistic.  I am happy to know dialogue is taking place to improve the processes to ensure children aren't sold and there's no corrupt money changing hands (as in the cases in Guatemala) BUT shutting down the process means there are children that will never leave the orphanage and will most likely become adults living on the streets (have you ever seen the video of the Ethiopians who have set up camp in a garbage dump??  it's no place for anyone to live... ugh).  Lastly, I hate that as parents that have seriously considered a third adoption and pursuing an IA, I hate that uncertainty continues. 

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  • image Dr.Loretta:

    I actually just read an adoption-related article (maybe it was Jillian Michaels) that had another perspective. The gist was that the African people in general would rather find ways to improve their situation as a whole so they could raise their own children instead of having them adopted by people in other countries. It certainly made me stop and think.



    I whole-heartedly agree w/the sentiment of improving the situation.  Rwanda has actually done a fantastic job but there's still some need for IA and they are working on Hague now.  Thirld World Poverty is not something that will shift quickly.  And as I said previously, orphanages are not the solution. 

    If I am put on my "idealist hat", I say lay ground work to ensure as many orphans are adopted dometically.  Put together a comprehensive plan.  But it will take years.  During that time, remain open to IA.  And once the plan is in place, remain open to IA for the children that your country can't support. It doesn't have to be either/or... it should be a combination of both.

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  • I have the strongest dislike of people who see life through an all-or-nothing lens, especially when they are given a platform from which to proliferate their single-issue propaganda.  Stopping African adoptions is not necessary to reform the process, and all it will do is further victimize the children who desperately need families--black, white, or purple--above all else.

    Usually this kind of rhetoric is spewed by people ignorant of adoption or the crisis of poverty and illness throughout the world.  I'm particularly saddened that a group that purports to understand the plight of the children is urging this.  This is the kind of thing the UN/UNICEF does; they aren't interested in actually solving the problem, just in issuing calls for reform at all costs (and maintaining their cushy lifestyles and extremely lavish living conditions in even the poorest of countries)--even at the imminent cost of the children's best interest.

    Would my boys be better off if they were raised by a loving Peruvian family?  Absolutely.  But neither of them were adopted by Peruvian families, even though they'd been available for adoption for quite some time.  And there is no way in creation that they'd be better off growing up and aging out of an orphanage, even if that orphanage was located in Peru. In fact, it could be argued that they would have better life prospects and opportunities if they aged out in of the system in the US than if they did in Peru, even if they did have their culture.


  • image silliestbunny:


    I whole-heartedly agree w/the sentiment of improving the situation.  Rwanda has actually done a fantastic job but there's still some need for IA and they are working on Hague now.  Thirld World Poverty is not something that will shift quickly.  And as I said previously, orphanages are not the solution. 

    If I am put on my "idealist hat", I say lay ground work to ensure as many orphans are adopted dometically.  Put together a comprehensive plan.  But it will take years.  During that time, remain open to IA.  And once the plan is in place, remain open to IA for the children that your country can't support. It doesn't have to be either/or... it should be a combination of both.

    This.  I think that many programs can be a testament of this.  Several programs have been able to slow their IA programs because they are able to find homes and families for these children domestically.  

    These children deserve parents and a quality life.  When I say quality life I don't mean that they deserve an American life, because Lord knows our lifestyle isn't as fabulous as we make it out to be.  What I mean is that they deserve to have individualized, loving care with opportunities for education, nourishment (physical and emotional), and love.  If those things can't be provided in country, then an IA program should be established and flowing (ethically and in accordance with the Hague Convention).

     Specifically in Africa, several of these nations are in such political turmoil, that until these political issues are addressed and resolved by their population, poverty and third world conditions will continue to fester and drag out through these regimes.

  • Has anyone here read 

    There Is No Me Without You: One Woman's Odyssey to Rescue Her Country's Children ?

    I have been making my way slowly through it, but have to keep taking breaks because it's so sad and really leaves me angry and frustrated.

    The author illustrates the size of the crisis, specifically in Ethiopia.  It's all great and wonderful to say that the children should be raised within their own culture, and it's wonderful for a grown adult who was raised in a family to suggest that this is the only acceptable situation, even if it means the children are raised in overcrowded orphanages without enough food, no money for education, and just barely scraping by.  They haven't lived that life or lived with the children that carry the scars from that life.

    Families are more important for these children than maintaining culture, and if that is their number one reason for this, I find it so repulsive.  At least those that urge for closing of IA programs because of corruption are doing it because they feel that completely stopping and starting over is the only way to affect real change.  But advocating for a complete shut-down for the main reason that these children are losing their culture....

    YES, adoption includes MUCH loss, but in the end, if it's done well, each party gains worlds more.


  • Thanks CS... it's on my to-read list but I haven't purchased it.  Thanks for the head's up about it being a tough read. 

    And thanks for your concise and eloquent response... I agree w/your POV.... well said.

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  • ellekaeellekae
    Seventh Anniversary 250 Answers 500 Comments 5 Love Its
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    I didn't read the OP's article from CNN, but I do have a few thoughts about the whole discussion, based on my experiences.

    DH and I spent a few weeks at an orphanage in India in 2008. India is notoriously difficult when it comes to international adoptions unless the adoptive parents have Indian heritage. I was frustrated after leaving, because all I could think about for months were those 800 kids, age 2-16, that slept on boards and had basically no familial interaction with adults. There were maybe 8-12 adults on the grounds at a given time for the 800+ kids.

    I just wanted to bring the little gaggle of 8-year-old girls that followed me around the whole time home with me. But that was not even a possibility. The orphanage wasn't one that adopted kids out anyway. It made me angry that they wanted to keep the kids there, rather than allow then to find families.

    It took me a long time to see their perspective. The organization that runs that and dozens of other orphanages around India (and the world) has the focus on the country and the people as a whole, as opposed to the specific children. Their goal is to raise up the orphans to help their country. They feed, clothe, and educate the kids, even getting them spots in the universities if they are interested... And teach them, empower them really, to become the next generation of leaders... To make a difference in India. Many of the kids who grew up in the orphanages now run their own orphanages around the country.

    It is a complex issue, and, like you guys have been saying, I don't think there is a right or wrong approach between these two options. Just two different approaches. I want to "save" all the orphans... Whether through adoption or by sponsoring them financially. But like PP said, every kid deserves loving parents... So is it better that these kids grow up without a family if they get to remain in their country of origin? Bleh. I wish there were an easy answer. Sometimes I think we picked domestic adoption just to avoid haing to figure all of that out. But, then again, DIA has no lack of controversy either. Oye.

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  • @Ellakae... I love the idea of what the Indian orphanages are doing.. but do you think these children actually do get spots in university and end up matriculating into society?  I don't know the answer.. but I'd be curious if it's working. 
    What do you think??? 

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  • Lurker in ;)

    So first I am wholeheartedly for IA to Africa. I will never understand children growing up in orphanages when there are waiting families any where in the world. However I have two concerns which I would love to see addressed before we consider adopting from countries not yet Hague accredited

    1) If a country is in a constant state of crisis and/or war, how can we TRULY be sure that these children are being voluntarily surrendered or "found" abandoned. I love the transparency of (specifically) agency infant domestic adoption in America. You know the birth parents, you know the medical history, you have a good idea of the social/economic and personal pressures leading to the adoption plan. In the American county system as an adopting family you get pages upon pages of years of attempts to reconcile child and bio parent before it comes to adoption.

    We have SOLID laws about biological fathers and mothers and we have SOLID procedures for terminating those rights. We have to work in coordination with several agencies (courts, social workers) to ensure our adoptions are legally sound and all birth parents have the same rights.

    This may be my own ignorance, but I like to see 100 pages of documentation on how and why a child became available for adoption. I raise my eyebrows at finding a newborn in a field- although I am sure it absolutely happens. However, what effort was made to locate the birth parents in that case...I am just missing the informed consent part of adoption in this scenario which is so intrinsic. 

    2) I think the adoptive mom in the story eloquently described my second problem with IA in general. She stated that as long as a child has love and a family they have a lot. Wrong. Every child adopted, fostered or parented by their bio parents have a RIGHT to their heritage, native language and birth history.

    When you strip someone of that you are setting a child up to fail and have the questions all adoptees have - why was I placed for adoption, whose nose do I have, are my birth family ok. Adopted kids have the right to know the answers to these questions. Saying someone was abandoned and telling them to move on and be happy with the family they now have is the wrong approach.

    Instead, families who adopt from an African country, really do need to be prepared to find mentors for their child from that country, they may want to consider taking up the language of the country or in some other way establishing the heritage of that country in their home. This country will always be part of the child's heritage and something for the child to cherish.

    Very lovely, well meaning, adoptive parents with their hearts in the right place still may not understand this. I think there needs to be a lot more education on openness even in IA and especially in countries just now working on establishing adoption laws and policies. So many people just decide "I don't want an open adoption" and go abroad- but openness is for no ones benefit except the child's, so openness is important regardless of their birth history situation.

    I think when you have an endeavor as expensive and taxing as IA you are inevitably going to have some factors fall through the cracks. If both the above were addressed I would wholeheartedly support IA to all African countries. 

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  • Also, as a birthmom to a child who has not one but two living birthparents, I can definitely say that it's not ALWAYS best to keep a child with their birth family. I mean, come on, it's hopelessly naive to believe that every child in an orphanage in Uganda should be kept in the orphanage in the hopes that their birth family will want to raise them someday.

    And I have several friends from Nigeria who say that people just don't adopt domestically unless the child is a relative. One of our very close friends admits that he thinks Africans view adoption in general as very suspicious because they just can't really, fully believe that someone would really love "a stranger's child." But that may be only a western African perspective. 

    Of course you make sure kids aren't being trafficked. Of course you work to reunite children with their birth families. Of course you seek the best for the child, including letting them be adopted I don't think these officials really do care about what's best for the children. But I'm sure it's really exciting to get publicity.

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  • ellekaeellekae
    Seventh Anniversary 250 Answers 500 Comments 5 Love Its
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    image silliestbunny:
    @Ellakae... I love the idea of what the Indian orphanages are doing.. but do you think these children actually do get spots in university and end up matriculating into society?  I don't know the answer.. but I'd be curious if it's working.  What do you think??? 

    Yes, I think it is working. While I was there, I taught an impromptu seminar on interviewing and writing at one of the Bible colleges, and there were several kids who graduated from the orphanage school in the class. I don't know what the caliber of education is like at the colleges and universities they are getting into though. And beyond that, I don't know what kind of jobs they are able to get afterwards. But the premise is amazing... So I am hoping that it keeps progressing!

    (Edited for grammar.)

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  • image Nineoceans:

    Lurker in ;)

    1) If a country is in a constant state of crisis and/or war, how can we TRULY be sure that these children are being voluntarily surrendered or "found" abandoned. I love the transparency of (specifically) agency infant domestic adoption in America. You know the birth parents, you know the medical history, you have a good idea of the social/economic and personal pressures leading to the adoption plan. In the American county system as an adopting family you get pages upon pages of years of attempts to reconcile child and bio parent before it comes to adoption.

    We have SOLID laws about biological fathers and mothers and we have SOLID procedures for terminating those rights. We have to work in coordination with several agencies (courts, social workers) to ensure our adoptions are legally sound and all birth parents have the same rights.

    This may be my own ignorance, but I like to see 100 pages of documentation on how and why a child became available for adoption. I raise my eyebrows at finding a newborn in a field- although I am sure it absolutely happens. However, what effort was made to locate the birth parents in that case...I am just missing the informed consent part of adoption in this scenario which is so intrinsic

    2) I think the adoptive mom in the story eloquently described my second problem with IA in general. She stated that as long as a child has love and a family they have a lot. Wrong. Every child adopted, fostered or parented by their bio parents have a RIGHT to their heritage, native language and birth history.

    When you strip someone of that you are setting a child up to fail and have the questions all adoptees have - why was I placed for adoption, whose nose do I have, are my birth family ok. Adopted kids have the right to know the answers to these questions. Saying someone was abandoned and telling them to move on and be happy with the family they now have is the wrong approach.

    Instead, families who adopt from an African country, really do need to be prepared to find mentors for their child from that country, they may want to consider taking up the language of the country or in some other way establishing the heritage of that country in their home. This country will always be part of the child's heritage and something for the child to cherish.

    Very lovely, well meaning, adoptive parents with their hearts in the right place still may not understand this. I think there needs to be a lot more education on openness even in IA and especially in countries just now working on establishing adoption laws and policies. So many people just decide "I don't want an open adoption" and go abroad- but openness is for no ones benefit except the child's, so openness is important regardless of their birth history situation. 

    Wow.

    1) Transparency of Domestic Agency adoption?  Really?  I can think of a few mama's on this board who would love to know their birth parents (but don't), love to know the full situation behind why an adoption plan was made (but don't), and would love to have transparency in their adoption (but don't).  Our adoption system is much more organized, and we have laws in place to protect biological parental rights, but don't fool yourself into thinking that no part of our system is corrupt or broken.

    2) I'm not saying that some of these children that are being adopted aren't being sold/abducted/Lord knows what else.  But in a country that lacks telecommunication systems and spans hundreds of miles, how exactly would you like to see parental notification happening?  What would you like to see documented in those 100 pages that you claim make it a more viable attempt?  Whether that child is being placed in a state run home (orphanage) or being placed for adoption- these are third world countries- lacking the infrastructure to have be able to notify parents. 

    Don't get me wrong, I strongly feel these countries need to abide by the Hague Convention however, I think as American's we assume that every country has the resources, technology, and systems in place to mirror our imperfect system.  

    3) I personally find it very offensive that you assume that just because parents chose to adopt internationally because they do not want an open adoption, and honestly that's just a flat out ignorant statement or state of mind.

     

  • image Nineoceans:

    Lurker in ;)

    1) If a country is in a constant state of crisis and/or war, how can we TRULY be sure that these children are being voluntarily surrendered or "found" abandoned. I love the transparency of (specifically) agency infant domestic adoption in America. You know the birth parents, you know the medical history, you have a good idea of the social/economic and personal pressures leading to the adoption plan. In the American county system as an adopting family you get pages upon pages of years of attempts to reconcile child and bio parent before it comes to adoption.

    We have SOLID laws about biological fathers and mothers and we have SOLID procedures for terminating those rights. We have to work in coordination with several agencies (courts, social workers) to ensure our adoptions are legally sound and all birth parents have the same rights.

    This may be my own ignorance, but I like to see 100 pages of documentation on how and why a child became available for adoption. I raise my eyebrows at finding a newborn in a field- although I am sure it absolutely happens. However, what effort was made to locate the birth parents in that case...I am just missing the informed consent part of adoption in this scenario which is so intrinsic

    2) I think the adoptive mom in the story eloquently described my second problem with IA in general. She stated that as long as a child has love and a family they have a lot. Wrong. Every child adopted, fostered or parented by their bio parents have a RIGHT to their heritage, native language and birth history.

    When you strip someone of that you are setting a child up to fail and have the questions all adoptees have - why was I placed for adoption, whose nose do I have, are my birth family ok. Adopted kids have the right to know the answers to these questions. Saying someone was abandoned and telling them to move on and be happy with the family they now have is the wrong approach.

    Instead, families who adopt from an African country, really do need to be prepared to find mentors for their child from that country, they may want to consider taking up the language of the country or in some other way establishing the heritage of that country in their home. This country will always be part of the child's heritage and something for the child to cherish.

    Very lovely, well meaning, adoptive parents with their hearts in the right place still may not understand this. I think there needs to be a lot more education on openness even in IA and especially in countries just now working on establishing adoption laws and policies. So many people just decide "I don't want an open adoption" and go abroad- but openness is for no ones benefit except the child's, so openness is important regardless of their birth history situation. 

    Wow.

    1) Transparency of Domestic Agency adoption?  Really?  I can think of a few mama's on this board who would love to know their birth parents (but don't), love to know the full situation behind why an adoption plan was made (but don't), and would love to have transparency in their adoption (but don't).  Our adoption system is much more organized, and we have laws in place to protect biological parental rights, but don't fool yourself into thinking that no part of our system is corrupt or broken.

    2) I'm not saying that some of these children that are being adopted aren't being sold/abducted/Lord knows what else.  But in a country that lacks telecommunication systems and spans hundreds of miles, how exactly would you like to see parental notification happening?  What would you like to see documented in those 100 pages that you claim make it a more viable attempt?  Whether that child is being placed in a state run home (orphanage) or being placed for adoption- these are third world countries- lacking the infrastructure to have be able to notify parents. 

    Don't get me wrong, I strongly feel these countries need to abide by the Hague Convention however, I think as American's we assume that every country has the resources, technology, and systems in place to mirror our imperfect system.  

    3) I personally find it very offensive that you assume that just because parents chose to adopt internationally because they do not want an open adoption, and honestly that's just a flat out ignorant statement or state of mind.

     

  • ellekaeellekae
    Seventh Anniversary 250 Answers 500 Comments 5 Love Its
    member

    image Jenn is Silly:
    3) I personally find it very offensive that you assume that just because parents chose to adopt internationally because they do not want an open adoption, and honestly that's just a flat out ignorant statement or state of mind.

    Jenn, I think that Nineoceans was just making a point that SOME adoptive parents may feel that way about IA, not that ALL of them do.

    I know that in my discussions with people who are considering IA or discussing our adoption plans, several of them have said stuff like, "At least with IA, you don't have to worry about dealing with the birth parents on a regular basis."

    Obviously, people who say things like that do not have a clear understanding of how open adoptions or international adoptions work and are functioning under seriously flawed assumptions about birth parents. Hopefully, the training that prospective adoptive parents receive during the process will help them to come to a better understanding... but that's probably not always the case. It's sad for them, but it happens.

    That said... sorry you were offended! I don't think that was her intention.

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  • image Nineoceans:

    We have SOLID laws about biological fathers and mothers and we have SOLID procedures for terminating those rights. We have to work in coordination with several agencies (courts, social workers) to ensure our adoptions are legally sound and all birth parents have the same rights.

    One thing that I think is often missed in discussions like this is that there remains a lot of dysfunction in domestic adoption in the US.  It can be full of corruption.  Sure, the corruption looks different but anytime there's money exchanged, there is room for misuse.

    One of my biggest gripes is birth mom  expenses for domestic adoption.  While I fully support and believe there's a need, if good education and support doesn't accompany the payment of birth mom expenses, it can perpetuate the feeling of being paid for a baby. 

    This isn't meant to start a controversy... I am just sharing my own experience.  I was told verbatim that a certain birth mom (we did not end up in this situation) "will surely produce a sibling for the soon-to-be born child within a year since she basically lives off of her birth mom expenses".  The paralegal was trying to "sell" me on the idea that this was a fantastic situation since we could have full birth sibs in a short amount of time. YUCK!!!    The situation we were being presented was the fifth placement for this particular birth mom. 

    Is this the norm?  No... but it irritates me when either side of the debate claims that one type of adoption is corrupt and the other isn't subject to corruption.  More layers does not mean that it is free from corruption.  We, as adoptive parents, have the burden of making sure our child's adoption is free of corruption and is ethical.

    (Again, I don't think we were taking your point this far... but it's one I've heard over and over again.)

     

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  • I am enjoying this discussion :)

    As for Hague.... while I agree it's intentions are best, what do you do with a country such as DRC or even Ethiopia where there's a need for IA but the country does not have the governmental capacity to become accredited?  It's not easy, it's costly, it's time consuming... and there are children waiting? 

    I can't imagine Congo ever becoming Hague... so does that mean their orphans should not be adopted? 

    I do think measures need to be in place to prevent corruption... but who pays to put stopgaps into place?

    These are tough questions?

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  • Jen is Silly- On my first point I guess I wasn't meaning openness in the traditional route but more openness in the sense that you have a good feeling with domestic adoption that your child came from this or that state and the rights were terminated under x or y condition. I don't have as much concern that someone plopped a child out of someone's front yard and got them in front of an adoption facilitator. Especially with how intensely our courts care about preserving biological rights (under any and all ridiculous circumstances sometimes)

    Having no access to parental notification is one reason why I think we need to slow down with placements until that process at minimum is figured out. If not notification then a waiting period to see if mom and dad show up and are given rights to reclaim. My biggest fear is kids would be taken and parents would have no rights or voice. Even ONE situation like that sullies any other good adoptions from the area. There would hopefully be a formal process where you know x, y, and z was done on behalf of every child to prove notification and consents were taken at minimum to protect the agency and adopting parents and at maximum to just do the right thing. If I recall the birth parents of madonnas adopted child stepped forced and stated they were coerced. A formal, legal, internationally accepted process nips that in the bud.

    As far as WHY people choose international over domestic I completely agree that there are a myriad of reasons why people go different routes. I was talking about the portion of adopting families who feel less openess is a pro for whatever reason, whereas I feel having less access to openness actually makes for a much more challenging situation for the adopting family. I could never speak for all adopting families but I think there are definitely some who feel that way or as the adoptive mom in the story states feel openness an cultural identity isn't really a big deal either way. Again I would disagree.

    Silliest- I completely agree with your concerns about domestic. I have seen and heard domestic adoption stories done with care, concession and professionalism and then domestic adoption done with recklessness.  There is definitely and uglier side to DA. Personally my gripe is birthdads. I think some agencies and attorneys value them more than others, I also think all adoption laws need to be consistent in every state. I think it is complete crap that some states are adoption friendly and some are like chopping off an arm to create a stable placement...so I agree there is room for improvement here too.

    As far as who should pay, I'd love to see a UN committee that actually raises money for accreditation. I'd like to see more support from the US and French government to get these programs running as it is their citizens most interested. I guess what I'm saying is if you rush into placements without having the proper policies you end up with countries like Romania who just say "no more." that impacts far more kids over time know what I mean

    Ellekae- thanks for summarizing, you were right on with what I was trying to say 

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  • ellekaeellekae
    Seventh Anniversary 250 Answers 500 Comments 5 Love Its
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    image silliestbunny:
    One of my biggest gripes is birth mom  expenses for domestic adoption.  While I fully support and believe there's a need, if good education and support doesn't accompany the payment of birth mom expenses, it can perpetuate the feeling of being paid for a baby. 

    This isn't meant to start a controversy... I am just sharing my own experience.  I was told verbatim that a certain birth mom (we did not end up in this situation) "will surely produce a sibling for the soon-to-be born child within a year since she basically lives off of her birth mom expenses".  The paralegal was trying to "sell" me on the idea that this was a fantastic situation since we could have full birth sibs in a short amount of time. YUCK!!!    The situation we were being presented was the fifth placement for this particular birth mom.

    That is horrifying. It's like she's running a really twisted surrogacy program. Seriously, aren't there laws in place to prevent that kind of thing?

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    Heading to China in November 2014 to bring our son home!

  • Silliest, thanks for calling me eloquent; I thought I was rambling.  I have so much to say about this topic.

    ellekae, I think what you're talking about with the hopes of the Indian program is fantastic, but I wonder how well it does in other regions of India.  When I was there, I was struck by how little mobility there was across the board.  I can't imagine that even educated children raised as orphans would have much chance of success in a society that still holds on to old caste-system ideas.  Further, even if the program is really a huge surprising success in India, it doesn't mean it's transferable to other nations without the resources to send the children to school and mentor them.  You mentioned the children's living conditions were sparse; I imagine the same scenario (or worse) in many parts of the world, but where the children do not have the chance at an education.

    In Peru, the "preparation" for aging out consists of the children getting a low-paying labor position and slowly learning to live in apartments on their own, while maintaining weekend visits at the orphanage.  There's no chance of college or anything beyond a future of back-breaking work in a world where their only friends are other children from the orphanage with whom they grew up.  They are not full-fledged members of the society which strongly values family, and they are left to struggle all their lives.  Heaven forbid they have an accident or a medical condition that will prevent themselves from working the rest of their days as they live payday to payday.  And all this is in a place where education is mandatory, the children are well cared for, and medical care and therapy are regularly provided.

    What I'm trying to get at is that the Indian system is not readily transferable to other countries that don't have the means to support these kids beyond their most basic needs for the first 16-18 years of their lives.  And if it's not, then not allowing them to be adopted by a foreign family who could afford them so many more opportunities is just cruel, any way you slice it.

    Nineoceans, I have hundreds and hundreds of pages that detail every aspect of why and how my boys became available for adoption.  And guess what?  It doesn't change the fact that my oldest was basically adopted without his mother's consent and my youngest was, indeed, found in a garden, wrapped in a plastic bag.  Go figure.  In M's case, he lived with his mother on and off, but she couldn't take care of him, and lost her rights when she didn't visit him for over 2 years.  As for trying to obtain "informed consent" from J's family, ads were placed in newspapers around the country seeking them out.  But I'd say that when you leave your child to die, you pretty much forfeit your rights right then and there.

    Having information doesn't make the past pretty nor does it make something that seems unbelievable to you any less of a reality.  All it does is make the children wait longer.  M was in and out of the orphanage system his whole life, but wasn't declared available for adoption until he was 6 years old.  He was matched with a family and that adoption fell through, so he wasn't considered a waiting child/priority until he was 7.  J was abandoned the day of his birth and wasn't declared available for adoption until he was 6 months old, and that was incredibly fast.  Most children in the Peruvian system have to wait over two years for all the checks and balances to be cleared.  The social services division doesn't have enough money to pay for the cab fare to have the children appear at the various doctor's offices, therapy evaluations, court hearings, etc., let alone to pay for any other costs associated with declaring a child abandoned.  By the time a child is matched with a family, they have usually been in the orphanages for 3 or more years.  All this, to ensure that the adoptions are ethical and there is no trafficking, which is a great cause in theory and is one of the reasons we chose Peru's program. 

    But if I could have saved my children from one extra day in their orphanages, I would have done it, and if that means that I didn't have to wait for those adds to be placed or two years to have passed without my son waiting for his mother to visit, that one day would have been worth not having such clear evidence in my mind--and they lived in decent conditions and were loved in at least one of their placements.  And that's just the thing:  until you see the effects that orphanage living has on a child first hand, until you live with them and spend your days trying to reverse the negative way it impacts their self worth, ability to build relationships, and their entire being, you can't say that a sense of cultural identity or even compiling evidence to placate fears of child trafficking is worth delaying for when it's perfectly clear that no biological family members are going to step up and raise and love that child as their own.


  • CaptainSerious I appreciate what you lived through and that you love your children and would never want to see them experience any pain. What was done in your children's cases was checks and balances. It is a necessary evil process because NOT everyone in the world is good or loving or would provide the best home for a waiting child.

    I'm just saying Russia closed nearly an entire program because some terrible woman threw her adopted child back on a plane with a note saying she could no longer care for him. The burden is on the countries and agencies to facilitate adoptions expeditiously AFTER all the proper channels and policies have been followed and all the correct supports have been implemented.

    Any move for children towards permanency that fail are extremely traumatic- so you can't predict what is less or more harmful. Waiting until the process is executed legally and ethically which creates more wait or rushing in and dealing with potential fall outs later. I would always vouch to err on the legal/ethical side when it comes to a life long permanent decision involving a child.

    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • image Nineoceans:

    CaptainSerious I appreciate what you lived through and that you love your children and would never want to see them experience any pain. What was done in your children's cases was checks and balances. It is a necessary evil process because NOT everyone in the world is good or loving or would provide the best home for a waiting child.

    I'm just saying Russia closed nearly an entire program because some terrible woman threw her adopted child back on a plane with a note saying she could no longer care for him. The burden is on the countries and agencies to facilitate adoptions expeditiously AFTER all the proper channels and policies have been followed and all the correct supports have been implemented.

    Any move for children towards permanency that fail are extremely traumatic- so you can't predict what is less or more harmful. Waiting until the process is executed legally and ethically which creates more wait or rushing in and dealing with potential fall outs later. I would always vouch to err on the legal/ethical side when it comes to a life long permanent decision involving a child.

    I'm not complaining here about the terribly arduous process we had to go through to adopt our sons (some of which was more than reasonable and some of which was certainly designed for no other purpose than to weed out people without the stamina to keep pushing through), I am addressing the fact that it can take 3 or more years to declare a child abandoned in some countries just because of lack of funds and repetitive, inefficient processes.  THAT is not fair to anyone, especially in cases where it is clear from day one that a child has been obviously surrendered/abandoned.


  • ellekaeellekae
    Seventh Anniversary 250 Answers 500 Comments 5 Love Its
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    image CaptainSerious:

    ellekae, I think what you're talking about with the hopes of the Indian program is fantastic, but I wonder how well it does in other regions of India.  When I was there, I was struck by how little mobility there was across the board.  I can't imagine that even educated children raised as orphans would have much chance of success in a society that still holds on to old caste-system ideas.  Further, even if the program is really a huge surprising success in India, it doesn't mean it's transferable to other nations without the resources to send the children to school and mentor them.  You mentioned the children's living conditions were sparse; I imagine the same scenario (or worse) in many parts of the world, but where the children do not have the chance at an education.

    You raise excellent points. It's such a good theory, but, in practice, there are certainly... difficulties. With the old caste system, issues abound. You are right about the prejudice toward orphans.

    There are people in India who so strongly hold the old system that they actually drove hundreds of orphans out of the orphanage into the streets at one point a few years back... all because they didn't believe orphans should be raised up from their "lowly" position. This is certainly not the majority viewpoint, but it does still exist.

    I have a friend who started a similar program in a town Haiti, but it's a struggle there too for other cultural reasons, even without the caste system.

    I guess I am just feeling optimistic about the potential.

    This is the organization I worked with in India: http://www.hopegivers.org/

    Our Adoption Blog & Fundraising Efforts

    Heading to China in November 2014 to bring our son home!

  • image ellekae:

    There are people in India who so strongly hold the old system that they actually drove hundreds of orphans out of the orphanage into the streets at one point a few years back... all because they didn't believe orphans should be raised up from their "lowly" position.

    When I read something like this, I'm filled with so many emotions, but the prevailing sense is that I'm so happy I have my faith, because I know that justice will be done.  There's a special place for people who do things like that.

    I also can't fathom how leaders can think it is better to be raised as an orphan in a county where this kind of prejudice exists (even if it's not prevalent) than in a loving family in another country with more opportunities.


  • We have 2 children from an African country and 2 bio children (From my work in orphanages in ET and Russia I always knew I would adopt.)

     My opinion: Its absolutely asinine to think that it will ever be the norm that a child who is raised in an orphanage will become functioning members of society. Do you know how low the odds of that happening are? Just look up statistics. There is RAMPANT sexual, emotional and physical abuse that goes on every single day in those orphanages. The girls end up as prostitutes when the age out, and the boys suicide rate is sky-high. I have worked extensivily with orphans in Russia and Ethiopia and what I have learned makes me want to punch ignornant, idiealistic, agend-pushing assholes like the ones who say to shut down African adoptions. Want to know why people in Africa relinquish their children if they do not abandon them or leave them out for the Hyenas? RAPE. INCEST. HIV/AIDS. PROSTITUTION. STARVATION. What in the hell is an orphanage going to do for these catastrophic situations? Nothing. And believe me, the odds are staked against an orphan (usually considered 3rd class citizens as they have no father or inheritance to carry on) who has been institutionalized (look up the effects of institutionalization on a child's brain development) and sexually abused their entire lives becoming some great leader.

    Come on. Until there is no rape, incest, murder, HIV/AIDS, Prostitution, poverty, ect then their will always be orphans needing families and unfortunately due to the widespread poverty in Africa, those families are NOT looking to add ANOTHER child to their own struggling to get by families.

    How about these people GO ASK THE ORPHANS WHAT THEY WANT...A FAMILY OR THE SUPER AWESOME "CULTURE" THEY ARE EXPERIENCING IN THEIR ORPHANAGES. How about that. I love when people aruge about the lives of others and dont even stop to ask the PERSON THEMSELVES what they want.

     

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