Monday, December 08, 2008

New report shows painful truth of international adoption

It's hard to write about adoption, sometimes. There are good and wonderful aspects. Yet, there are some very, very dark spots. Please, do not turn away from adoption, but by all means - make yourself look at and acknowledge the dark realities. We have a responsibility to the children of the world - all of us. As women, we have a responsibility to one another - even if we live oceans apart.

From E.J. Graff's, "The Lie We Love" (emphasis is mine):

Westerners have been sold the myth of a world orphan crisis. We are told that millions of children are waiting for their “forever families” to rescue them from lives of abandonment and abuse. But many of the infants and toddlers being adopted by Western parents today are not orphans at all. Yes, hundreds of thousands of children around the world do need loving homes. But more often than not, the neediest children are sick, disabled, traumatized, or older than 5. They are not the healthy babies that, quite understandably, most Westerners hope to adopt. There are simply not enough healthy, adoptable infants to meet Western demand—and there’s too much Western money in search of children. As a result, many international adoption agencies work not to find homes for needy children but to find children for Western homes.

Since the mid-1990s, the number of international adoptions each year has nearly doubled, from 22,200 in 1995 to just under 40,000 in 2006. At its peak, in 2004, more than 45,000 children from developing countries were adopted by foreigners. Americans bring home more of these children than any other nationality—more than half the global total in recent years.

Where do these babies come from? As international adoptions have flourished, so has evidence that babies in many countries are being systematically bought, coerced, and stolen away from their birth families. Nearly half the 40 countries listed by the U.S. State Department as the top sources for international adoption over the past 15 years—places such as Belarus, Brazil, Ethiopia, Honduras, Peru, and Romania—have at least temporarily halted adoptions or been prevented from sending children to the United States because of serious concerns about corruption and kidnapping. And yet when a country is closed due to corruption, many adoption agencies simply transfer their clients’ hopes to the next “hot” country. That country abruptly experiences a spike in infants and toddlers adopted overseas—until it too is forced to shut its doors.

Please take time to read the entire article. I know this stirs up a lot of complicated feelings for many of you, especially if you are considering international adoption (or you wonder if your adoption was handled ethically). If you need help doing your homework and research, shoot me an email. Talk to someone as you work through these emotions. You can't change what is done and children need stability, but you can certainly have a huge impact on the future of mothers and their children.

Also, check out the interactive map, "Where Do Babies Come From ... and Where Do They Go?" The Shuster Institute will be updating their site, with adoption information on countries across the globe.

Learn more about special needs children. These are the kids that ARE available and that DO need forever homes that are trained and committed. Spend some time learning more today. You'll be helping parents and children all over the world.

(photo by Reuters)


Amanda said...

awesome post! I look forward to reading it!

Brenda said...

Interesting. I am planning on talking about the trauma of adoption sometime this week. This is important information. At the same time it brings up a lot of questions. If these kids are in the orphanage do we just refuse to get them and leave them there? I feel horrible for families who have had their children kidnapped or basically ransomed from them but what about the kids? Very confusing.

Christine said...

That's where more openness can come into play. I actually know the birth family of my kids. I know their story. I know, that I know that I KNOW that they understood and they made this adoption plan.

A common practice is that some parents will be told to sign a paper so that an orphanage can care for their children and give them an education. What they are really doing is signing away their parental rights. They use their illiteracy against them.

You should report these places so that birth families are identified and can remove their children ... find other help. Those children need to be returned to their families, so that they can make a very educated decision and know exactly what is going on.

Yell it from the rafters ... or the world wide web ... whatever your platform. :)

Tammy said...

We considered intercountry adoption for a time when making our decision whether or not to adopt. This article confirms for me at least, the many, many things that made us unsure of this route, most notably not knowing exactly where the children came from and whether or not this was the wish of their other parents. That alone, alongside issues medical, were huge factors in our decision.

We chose adoption, but did so in a way where we could confirm, actually talk to the parents, to make sure this is what they wanted for their child. And we continue, occasionally (although not nearly ENOUGH for us) to have conversations about their decision and how it has affected our child and how it has affected them.

One of the biggest crises I ever had on this adoption journey was when I first read a quote something similar to what this article said in that "adoption can often be about finding a child for a family who WANTS one, not a family for a child who NEEDS one". It definitely changed our direction.

Thanks for posting this...

Anonymous said...

I read the study recently & it reactivates that pit in my stomach. My daughter was adopted from a country recently shut down to IA. Not only that, she is from the province first 'discovered' to be corrupt.

I never thought I'd have to deal with this kind of stuff. IA has surrounded me my whole life. My sister & a number of cousins were adopted from either Korea or Vietnam in the 70's & we always believed their adoptions were necessary.

I wish I knew what to do with all this info. I wish I knew how to prepare my daughter for the reality that her adoption may not have been necessary for her well being. We are currently supporting a missionary in our daughters province & hope through him to find someone to help us investigate the authenticity of her story. The question of what to do if... is just too hard to contemplate right now.

For a while now I have been telling PAP's that ask me for info to proceed with great caution. I have begun to refer to this study as well.

Thanks for publicizing the study. I mean to write about it as well, but as you can read, because of the whole ethics question surrounding our adoption, my ramblings don't always make sense.

Christine said...

threekidchaos, as you discover information, you share it truthfully in age appropriate ways (whatever that may be) ... and you just keep loving through any confusion or pain. You involve a therapist, if needed.

And you keep spreading the word so that it happens to fewer and fewer children.

You're an amazing momma'.

Ericka said...

This scares the sh*t out of me. Honestly. I know the kids where we are adopting from live in O's and I'm completely open to an 'open' relationship to our child's family (if possible), but I have to say our agency opened up these pilot programs because Guat shut down exactly as you stated.
I'm on this path, but am waiting for confirmation from above with each step.....

Kristen said...

That map is fascinating. I wonder if Haiti is dark blue? Too small to see.

I fear that many parents keep their mouths shut about unethical adoptions because they don't want to "mess things up" for others in the process. But this stuff needs to be exposed.

Essie said...

Really interesting/ horrifying stuff. I have wondered about some of those exact issues. I know a couple who were on the cusp for Guat and just barely squeaked their son out in time. But they have no info on where he is from. Same with an African country, family in the US adopted 2 children and found out there is a full family waiting for them to come back with an education and speaking english so they will be able to support the rest. But AIDS orphans are very real, and article does not mention this.
Anyway, thanks for the link, I would not have seen this otherwise. Now, I have 2 kids on a snow day here, so no more reading for me. Will finish other articles later LOL!

Sara said...

that is quite scary. And awful.

CC said...

Yes, these are hard, hard truths.

Charlotte said...

I have really appreciated your recent posts about adoption...your information has helped me more than I can say!