Thursday, April 15, 2010

One Woman's Struggle with Adopting from Ethiopia

Continued from yesterday, Adoptive Mom Here Searches for Birth Mother in Ethiopia and written by a woman who desires to know if the children she adopted from Ethiopia were truly free to be adopted, and without parents. She prefers to remain anonymous:
Once we know the desires of the birth mother and father, we can move forward either way. I feel in my heart that she (the girl they adopted, who is between six and nine) should be with her birth family. Being in America is not the answer to a better life or happiness. Sure she is having fun...it's like she is in Disneyworld, but she doesn't have her family, so she is not really happy. Even though we live with modern conveniences, she misses her life the way it was there, she was happy with it because what makes a home is "where your family is". This is what I told my biological eight-year-old son to help him understand.
"These people are being deceived and their ignorance, culture and poverty are being taken advantage of. The Lord has showed me more and more that the best life for her is to be with her birth parents. I will soon find out.

At the same time we adopted the little girl, we also adopted a little boy who is four. He is not related to the girl. His situation is a bit different, but my daughter will also be checking with his grandmother to find out what she was told. When we met her, we gave her a framed picture of him and she took it and kissed it and hugged it. I don't know what she thought at the time, if she thought he would come back???? If he is to go back too, this will be even more difficult because he has bonded with our family more so than the girl.

If his story is the truth, his birth parents died and his grandmother was trying to raise him, and he was not in good shape physically due to malnutrition. Once we brought him home and put him on a healthy diet, he grew 7 inches and gained 12 lbs in less than a year. I do feel I have to give her the opportunity also of being reunited with him, just in case she was deceived so that she can have peace and understand that if he stays here, she might not ever see him again. We would like to have the luxury of flying back and forth, but it is a difficult and expensive journey to Ethiopia that our family cannot handle right now. We really didn't have the money to adopt and it set us back financially. Our daughter raised money for her mission trip, she is in the air right now on her way there.

I would like to help others if we go through this process, I just don't know what it involves right now. I have heard of a family from Australia who returned their child and they even go back to visit the child in Ethiopia, but this is a story I have heard second-hand, and don't know who they are. It scares me to think of what might happen, I am sure we will be attacked personally, but I don't really care. I just hope it doesn't turn into a big legal battle and cause our family more stress.

If this had happened to me as a mother, I would hope that somebody would show me mercy and grace and return my child. This is assuming that the birth family of this little girl has regret. If not, then we will have peace that we have to move on and help her deal with this emotionally.
To be continued. Tomorrow we will post the conclusion of what her daughter found, and how the family is dealing with it.

Then I found this story on another blog: Human Traffic 2: Ethiopia's Baby Trade written by an adoptee herself who spent ten months in Ethiopia. It is dated from 2007, but considering what we have learned about international adoption from poor countries, it is largely still relevant. The writer, Kate Jongbloed, then a student at the University of Toronto, begins:
The going rate for a baby in Ethiopia is $10,000 USD, through legal channels. I’m not sure what a black market baby will run you. It’s sometimes hard for me to wrap my head around a baby with a price tag....

Here in Addis Ababa, a new flock of mostly American adopters takes over the Hilton and Sheraton hotels every 6 months, staying a week before exporting their new children back to the West...Perhaps I sound overly harsh, and as an adoptee myself, I can’t be completely critical of the adoption industry....But it’s important to think about the overall impact of massive adoption from developing countries from a wider perspective.

Take, for example, Ethiopia. One of the five poorest nations in the world, Ethiopia faces brain drain of its wealthy and educated, creating hubs of diaspora in places like Washington, D.C. or Edmonton, and undermining the country’s potential for growth. I see mass adoptions to the West in a similar light. By exporting a chunk of the future generation of Ethiopians, we are only addressing the symptoms of the problem and perhaps mining the youth that will carry Ethiopia out of poverty. I also question why the children have to be taken away to the West, when it is entirely possible to successfully sponsor a child (and its community) without taking it away from its society and culture.
Then there's this: Media: Ethiopia revokes licences of nine charitable organizations from the Parents for Ethical Adoption Reform, dated only a few weeks ago:
Ethiopia revoked the license of nine orphanages (charity organizations) who they claim to be involved in ‘illegal’ activities of child rights abuse, APA learns here on Wednesday.

The nine charity organizations have been working to adopt children for the past few years to Europe and America. However, the office, which is in charge of registering charity organizations at the Ethiopian Ministry of Justice refused to give details as to what kind of illegal activities the organizations were involved with regards to child rights abuse. Child trafficking is high in Ethiopia where a good number of children are reported to be adopted illegally annually.The decision to revoke the license of the nine organizations was made while the government was undertaking re-registration of charity organizations and other NGOs that are operating in Ethiopia.
 As long as there are people who are desperate to adopt, in today's culture of adoptamania, there will be corruption, there will be child trafficking, there will be abuse. I frankly do not know how to stop it. But reading one woman's journey to find out the truth of the children she adopted--and open her mind to the possibility of returning them--gives us all hope. There must be more like her. There must be.--lorraine

1 comment:

maryanne said...

I do not understand why the options that the anon adoptive mother with the two kids from Ethiopia sees are either returning the kids to birthfamily or having no contact, that they "never see them again." Whether the birthfamilies were lied to or not, it is more complicated than just sending kids back, or so it seems to me.

I can understand being unable to travel frequently to Ethiopia, but "never" is a long time, and even the poorest people can write letters and send them snail mail. I do not see why some kind of contact with the Ethiopian family, if found, cannot be maintained in this era of mass communications. Immigrants kept in touch with their families for centuries by letter alone. It is not impossible.

I would worry about the little girl that she may have a fantasy about her birthparents and the country she left that could be shattered by the reality. I hope that this family is very careful about how they handle this and honest about what their true motives are.

The whole Artem disaster has made me very wary of adoptive parents who want to return children to their country and birthfamily while they are still little kids, for whatever reason.