It is hard to say I am an expert in something. Am I an expert in international adoption? No. Do I know a lot about it? Yes. I have worked in the field for 14 years. I have researched, taught, read, and written on the topic. I rub shoulders and mingle with professional and lay people involved in this area. I have traveled and worked with people on the other side of international adoption. My views on international adoption have changed about 95% over the years. It is my passion.
And when yet another agency is being investigated for fraudulent documents in placing children in the states, I get irate. When you are in the business of people, especially people who cannot speak for themselves or make decisions for themselves, you have to be held to an incredibly high standard. Decisions need to be made in an ethical, well educated, unbias and totally client centered way.
It has been said many times: “If money is involved in the adoption process, people will find a way to make money off of children”. There is way to much truth to this statement. When I first started my work in adoption, someone said to me: “So you sell babies.” Not a question, a statement. I was horrified. It took me years to realize, though, the truth of that. Because people do “sell babies” and children and young adults, and adults. People do this in the name of Christianity. People do this “in the best interest of the child” (But whose definition of Christianity and whose definition of best interest?)
I work for an ethical adoption agency. We have had to make very difficult choices for the sake of ethical adoptions. We have lost clients that we thought really supported us and believed in our mission, because of our focus. Because we do things right, we do not always do things fast. We do not always have the supply (young healthy babies) to meet the demand (adoptive parents wanting these children) *I say “supply and demand” sarcastically, but I have to say it often feels this way when we get inquiries… because we are in the business of people, NOT products.
So you have heard me rant about this before. This is nothing new in this little blogosphere… but the thing is, it keeps happening! People either do not realize who are the children available for adoption and the ethical dilemmas adoption holds, or they choose to close their eyes to it.
I am very good at turning off my brain when convenient. There are things I know, yet can push so far back in my brain that I can believe I forgot. I know I should not have eaten that 1/2lb bag of M&M’s in 24 hours… but I did. I know I should not have spent that extra money on that pair of boots I did not need, but I swiped the credit card fast enough that I did not allow myself time to think about it.
But when we do this with adoption, we are not just affecting our lives, but the lives of so many others. I have met people who found out that their child was not intended to be adopted, but birth parents were given misinformation. Or children were stolen from their homes. Or poor and desperate women were given cash for their newborns.
I don’t know a lot. But here are some things I know:
1. Children belong in families
2. Poverty should NOT be a reason children are placed for adoption
3. The USA and all it’s resources does not trump being in a birth family or a family in a child’s country of origin
4. If we choose to ignore a problem, or rationalize it away, the problem will only get bigger.
5. We can not be selfish when we are altering the life of another human being
6. I clearly have a problem with over eating M&M’s
Adoption is beautiful and needed. Adoption is blessed. Adoption is amazing and powerful. Adoption is needed. But, if it is not done ethically, it destroys and breaks and hurts.