Saturday, January 26, 2013

Foreign adoption may save 'one child' but hurts many

Jane
My post lauding the Russian government for stopping adoptions to the United States made Barbara Paden, an adoptive mother of two Russian children,   mad, really mad. Likely other adoptive mothers as well who didn't bother to comment. Paden, who blogs under "Babes from Russia," charged that my post is filled with inaccuracies and lies.

Paden, like many who adopt foreign children, defends the practice because "we can only save the world one child at a time." These parents tell inspiring stories of rescuing children from prison-like orphanages; it seems heartless to criticize what they are doing. Overall, however, foreign adoption does more harm than good.

BEST USE OF THE MONEY
First let me respond briefly to Paden's claim of inaccuracies and lies. I wrote that "the total cost to adopt a Russian child is about $50,000." Paden responded "my adoptions weren't that high, but let's assume they were higher. ... All in all, the court costs, lawyers, translators, and advocates are about 20K. The better part of it is travel, meals and lodging. Had we not adopted, our money ... would've gone to travel anyway. A round the world cruise sounds really good right about now."

Costs for lawyers, translators, and advocates may be higher now. Adoption requires several trip to Russia, Paden went to Russia five times to adopt two children. If Paden had adopted American children from foster care, it would have cost almost nothing and she would still have plenty of money for that world cruise.

Paden accuses me of making the heinous and incorrect assumption that those who adopt from abroad "are wealthy and feel entitled to another woman's child." I said nothing in my post about the finances of the adoptive parents. Paden, however, is wealthy. She wrote that she did not qualify for the $12,650 adoption tax credit because "we make too damn much money" which means according to the IRS, that her modified adjusted gross income was over $229,710.

Paden says that she donates to charity about "10 times what Al Gore and Joe Biden gave combined. Mostly to organizations that support first mothers in Russia." The money would be better spent supporting mothers so that they need not become first mothers.

It is true that we have written about the sense of entitlement that some who adopt have. We've also written that many adoptive parents including some who have commented here do not feel so entitled. I have close friends who have adopted foreign children and have known others socially and through volunteer work. They are fine people, devoted to their children.

SAVING CHILDREN ONE CHILD AT A TIME
Over 700,000 children live in Russian orphanages. At its height, about five thousand were brought into the U.S. each year; for fiscal 2012 (October 1, 2011 to September 30, 2012) the number was 748.* Even at the rate of 5,000 children per year, it would take 140 years to empty the orphanages and by that time another 7,000 would be in them. As a practical matter, the U.S. could not absorb 700,000 Russian children let alone the millions of needy children worldwide.

Being adopted into the U.S. helps only a handful of children. At the same time, it harms children who suffer abuse in their new homes, loss of culture, and feelings of abandonment. Foreign adoption fuels corruption and abets misogyny. China sends thousands of baby girls abroad because families prefer male children. Culture and economic pressures cause unwed South Korean mothers to give up their children. I have been to both China and South Korea. These are not impoverished countries, and if it were not for the low status of women, they would keep their children.

The availability of foreign adoption discourages countries from taking action to care for their children. Before the middle of the last century, the U.S., the United Kingdom, and other western countries had many orphanages. With the advent of welfare programs, orphanages either closed or reinvented themselves into adolescent treatment centers.

THE VALUE OF NATURAL FAMILIES
We agree with Paden as she acknowledges the benefits of children staying with their own families. "I not only think women have the right to parent their children, they have the obligation." She notes that "many adoptive parents I know spend thousands on birth family searches, travel, reunions. ...We're trying to heal our children's pain, not trying to hide them across the universe."

The best way to heal children is to avoid damaging them in the first place. All of us need to look beyond the sad faces of children in orphanages and embrace policies which keep families together.--jane
________________________

COMMENTS CLOSED

Outer Search Inner Journey
 
"A moving, seldom sentimental, always honest personal account--one that sounds a controversial alarm. Dodds forces his readers to look at international adoption in light of the issue of cultural displacement and asks if its worth it." --Tacoma Reporter,


Sources:
Babes from Russia
Adoption tax credit
*Foreign adoptions have plunger to their lowest level in more than a decade dropping by 62 percent to 2,697 from the high of 22,991 in 2004, a trend FMF welcomes. American Adoption from Abroad at Their Lowest Level in Years
Overseas adoption: child welfare or abuse
The problem with saving the world's 'orphans'

Also see video on left sidebar on international adoption.

From FMF:
First Mother From makes some people mad

 International Adoptions (Opposing Viewpoints)
"The viewpoints are selected from a wide range of highly respected and often hard-to-find sources and publications. By choosing from such diverse sources and including both popular and unpopular views, the Opposing Viewpoints editorial team has adhered to its commitment to editorial objectivity. Readers are exposed to many sides of a debate, which promotes issue awareness as well as critical thinking. In short, Opposing Viewpoints is the best research and learning tool for exploring the issues that continually shape and define our turbulent and changing world."--Amazon

COMMENTS CLOSED

78 comments :

  1. "So here's the bad news: to meet Western families' longings to adopt healthy babies, many adoption agencies pour disproportionately enormous sums into poor, corrupt countries - few questions asked - in search of healthy children ages three and under. Those sums can induce some locals to buy, coerce, defraud or kidnap children from their families. Traumatically, these children are deprived of their families, and families are deprived of their children."

    From one of the links you listed, Jane. Thanks for reminding us that there is more to saving the world than getting a nice infant to bring home

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  2. Jane, I ask you…
    Have you ever been to an orphanage? Have you ever spent time there, talking to the children in their native languages? Have you ever had a meal with them? Have you ever had those children beg, promise you everything, offer you their favorite doll or stuffed animal, just so you'd take them with you? Have you ever held a starving child in your arms, watching it labor for breath? Have you ever walked into an orphanage for special needs children and have the stench of rotting flesh greet you? Until you have experienced those things, I respectfully submit that you probably don't know what you're talking about. And I understand that this will probably won't ever get published, but at least you will question yourself. Because, Jane, in your heart of hearts you can't possibly be so cruel as to suggest leaving children in the hellholes we call "orphanages".

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  3. "...it harms children who suffer abuse in their new homes, loss of culture, and feelings of abandonment."

    Being abused is not exclusive to children who are adopted, neither is loss of culture, or feelings of abandonment. I experienced all of those things at the hands of my "natural" parents. Wake up and join the 21st century.

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  4. "And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world."
    - Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 4:8 (37a)

    Isn't one life worth it?

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  5. Here's the problem with closing or discontinuing international adoptions: many of the children age-out of the system and become indentured servants ( and are treated badly) or sex trade workers. To me, I would rather see a child be loved and flourish in an adoptive home than living amongst "its people/culture" and be given a minimal education ( if you want to call it that) and becoming a sex trade worker or lowly servant.

    Ladies, which one would you chose?

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  6. Vidyana, For every child taken out of an orphanage, hundreds of thousands are left in orphanages. Meanwhile thousands of American children languish in foster homes. It's a zero sum game.

    Read the articles linked to in my post. You'll see that most of the people who adopt foreign children take healthy infants, many of whom were taken illegally from their families. Older children, disabled children are left behind.

    As for children aging out of the system and entering the sex trade, that happens to American children as well. Prisons and drug treatment programs are filled with former foster children.

    Bringing children to the US doesn't assure that they will not be forced into the sex trade. Masha, a young girl was adopted from Russia by a pedophile. He not only abused her but used her for pornographic movies.

    And yes, children are abused by their natural parents but being an adopted child places one more hurdle before the child.

    I encourage our readers to read Peter Dodds' memoir, "Outer Search/Inner Journey." He was adopted by an American family from a German orphanage when he was three. He is one of the biggest critics of foreign adoption.

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  7. "As for children aging out of the system and entering the sex trade, that happens to American children as well. Prisons and drug treatment programs are filled with former foster children."

    Yes,it's very sad and could have been avoided if the same children were able to be adopted earlier.

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  8. @Jonny
    How can a non-adopted child suffer "loss of culture"? That is one of the stupidest remarks I have ever heard. It is also symptomatic of the fact that you have NO idea what this even is, pertaining to adoptees, both foreign and domestic. And by the way, adoptees who are abused by their adoptive parents suffer EXTRA trauma, as they long even more for their real parents to come save them, or feel even more abused because they feel rejected by them which is extra stress, and extra grief, non-adopted children don't experience. All adoptees who have been abused at the hands of the strangers they are told to call mom and dad suffer serious PTSD and that is a fact.

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  9. Jane, Because your post appeals to facts, I feel compelled to speak to your statement about China. "China send thousands of baby girls abroad because families prefer male children." While this statement was true 10 years ago, it is no longer true today and is one of the biggest misconceptions/stereotypes about China adoption. Couples who adopt healthy baby girls from China today wait up to 6 years, because there just aren't many available for adoption anymore. The cultural stigma against girls has changed in recent years, and domestic adoption in China has risen dramatically which is a wonderful thing for Chinese children. Today 90-98% of the children abandoned in China and entering the orphanage system have special needs and 50% are boys. When I adopted my son (who was 7 1/2) from China in 2010, the US embassy official who did our adoption ceremony shared that today the majority of adoptions to the US are special needs. Amy Eldridge at the NGO LWB recently wrote a series of blog posts about the changing face of China adoption at www.lwbcommunity.org January 14-22. I would think that the U.S. State Department also has statistics which accurately depict China adoption today. Jane, I realize that this information doesn't change your position on international adoption, but your position needs to be based on fact, not stereotypes and common misconception.

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  10. @anonymous 9:11am...

    I am full blooded Native American. When I was 2, my "natural" parents left our tribe lands and moved to a small town in suburbia. In order to fit in, they changed my names and their names, forbade me from knowing what tribe we were from, and never allowed me the full rights of being a tribe member. It wasn't until they died that I actually found out my tribe. I suffered horribly at their hands. My mother was distant and cold, my father was abusive. I suffer from PTSD and a myriad of other "typical" adoptee problems. Lay off anonymous, just because your an adoptee doesn't mean that you're the only one who knows about pain and suffering.

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  11. "Meanwhile thousands of American children languish in foster homes. It's a zero sum game."

    Adopting from foster care is never a good idea. In fact, it's a horrible idea. The system is beyond broken. The social workers lie to you, there is no support, and the children are beyond damaged. How do I know? I adopted from foster care. Worst mistake of my life. My husband and I really wanted to adopt from the foster care system. We took classes, read books, joined the local support group, and spent hours volunteering at the foster care office. We developed connections and had a great relationship with everyone. Finally, after close to two years of waiting, we were matched with our daughter. She was 7 when we met her. After a year transistion, countless "consultations" with various "specialists" (referred by our social worker), she moved in with us full time. Shortly after that, we formally adopted her. It wasn't 6 months before how much we were lied to came to life. Our daughter was a violent sexual predator and had been severely sexually abused by her biological parents and her two former foster fathers (different homes). She was scary to be around. The social workers stopped taking our phone calls, our "support" team refused to meet with us, and even the specialists denied us appointments or canceled at the last minute.

    That was 4 years ago. We have spent close to 200k getting her help and she now lives in a special home. Her doctors are in awe of how duplicitous and mean she is, almost feral at times. We tried to sue the social workers and the state, but no lawyer would touch the case.

    We tried to do the right thing, and instead we got punched in the face. Both my husband and I are educated people (both have our master's in scientific fields), but we were conned into taking this little girl.

    Eighteen months ago, we finalized our adoption of our son from Russia. He was 6 when we met him, and now 8. He's a handful, but nothing compared to the very damaged child that our own state/county dropped on us.

    If I were you, I wouldn't tout the glories of adoption from foster care, it's not something so easy and wonderful as you make it sound.

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  12. Clearly no one on this site has ever spent time in a 3rd world country or with children in orphanages. I echo what Vidyana asks: have you met these children that you claim to speak for?

    I'm appalled at the level of self-righteousness and elitism that the author is demonstrating.

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  13. @Anonymous, loss of culture is quite common with foster children too, if their original and foster culture are very different.

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  14. Dana, Total adoptions from China have gone down as the Chinese government is taking action to keep children in their own country and stamp out corruption, both very positive actions.

    However, Chinese families continue to prefer boys. ww.cnn.com/2012/04/30/world/asia/china-forced-abortions/index.html

    The site you linked to noted that "it has always been rare for a completely healthy boy to be abandoned, though of course it does happen."

    Americans continue to abet the preference for girls through their adoption practices. Of the 2,587 children adopted by US parents in 2011 (the last year for which data is available on the State Department website),1888, 73 percent were girls and 1730, 67 percent were under the age of two.
    http://adoption.state.gov/about_us/statistics.php

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  15. Mom to A and P,

    I'm sorry to hear about your sad experience. Your state agency should have told you the truth and provided you the support you needed. If you haven't already done so, I urge you to tell your state representative about your experience. The agency needs to be made accountable.

    I know people who have adopted from foster care and got a gem of a child. I know others who adopted from abroad and had nothing but trouble. In some cases the adoptions have been disrupted. We've written about disrupted adoptions on FMF.

    http://www.firstmotherforum.com/2012/11/utah-agency-places-cast-off.html#more

    http://www.firstmotherforum.com/2012/04/joyce-maynards-adoption-disruption.html#more

    Other families who adopted from Russia have resorted to placing their children in special programs, including the infamous Montana camp.

    While states are supposed to provide financial, medical, and other assistance to those who adopt from foster care, there is no such requirement for those who adopt from overseas. These parents are on their own unless they can convince their children's school that the children are handicapped which requires that the school district provides special services.

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  16. "Adopting from foster care is never a good idea. In fact, it's a horrible idea."

    Wow...that cuts deep. Although I have nothing but sympathy for your situation, I cannot understand how it gives you the right to speak about those in foster care as not deserving of a loving permanent home. You were allegedly treated poorly..so you now recommend that all those in foster care stay there? Your personal situation, though horrific, does not warrant your short sighted solution.
    Suzanne

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  17. @Jane, maybe true for the Yankee PAPs, but he Chinese boys adopted into the Netherlands outnumber their female counterpart every year since 2009. In 2011 370 boys vs 197 girls.
    Though Chinese culture still values boys more, quite some Chinese parents do understand that with all those boys, girls will be very hot commodities in the marriage market, and raising a girl will not be that expensive...
    Really, girls are doing much better in Chinese domestic adoption now.

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  18. Wow. Just Wow. How could anyone, ANYONE oppose adoption? And does it REALLY matter WHERE a child comes from? There are orphans on every continent. And you know what? It is our God given right to be able to freely decide how to build a family. I get to chose how I build my family, whether domestic adoption, international adoption, or having a biological child. And as a proud mama of a Russian born son, I can tell you RIGHT NOW that he was NOT illegally adopted out to me. He was extremely emaciated and hospitalized from the neglect of his birth mother. No other Russian family would adopt him because he was so tiny and developmentally delayed. NOT that it is any of your BUSINESS, but seriously lady, think about how self centered and egotisitcal you sound. I'm with Vidyana-GO to this orphanges, see it first hand, before spouting off rude comments. I adopted because I was led by God to my child. I have NO idea why I chose Russia, I just did because I felt a stong urge that my son was there. Period. End of Story. Mamas know where there babies are. And regardless, if I adopted from Russia, Africa, China, the US, wherever, I still have the right to choose. And you know what? I saved a child... and that child saved me. I literally don't usually comment on these things, but you have just made me furious with your close minded remarks. I am just appaled at your cynicism regarding the lives of these children languishing in orphanges. And don't tell me that I don't know that the orphanages are bad. Excuse me, but I have been in one, and seen first hand the LASTING effects it had on my sweet boy. I will say, that I am praying for you Jane and whatever hurt you have pent up in you that you would pick these battles over something as miraculous as adoption.

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  19. Anonymous @ 5pm...

    Don't waste your time or your breath. The people here let the hurt from years ago infuse every reaction and interaction. I'm relinquished my daughter 9 years ago, and it was the right choice. I keep reading here to remind myself what wallowing in sorrow does to a soul.

    I doubt any of them will ever live to be truly happy with the gifts and peace God has offered to them.

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  20. Oh please, Sandra: You read here because you are so well adjusted and so happy that you relinquished? Let me sell you a bridge, the Brooklyn Bridge.

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  21. I "bothered" to post a comment to your previous blog post. YOU had already shut off open comments, and chose not to post it. I did not use my name, because of this reason. YOU ATTACK. YOU, the epitome of all things perfect in motherhood, PERSONALLY ATTACKED, BY NAME, an adoptive mother that chose to defend HER children and set the record straight. And yet, adoptive parents are the bad guys. SERIOUSLY? This is my post, again anonymous, because, really?? Grow a conscious. "So, adoptive mothers that chose to raise the drug addicted, hep c positive children that were LEFT by their FM's parents at the hospital moments after birth and never heard from again are the enemy. those same children are then KEPT in a hospital for EIGHT months, detoxing from the drugs their FM's were kind enough to pollute their unborn bodies with. those parents who then have to deal with YEARS of therapy for PTSD, food aversion, social interaction modeling, not to mention trying to explain to that child WHY, WHY did their perfect FM's do this to them? I plan to let my child reunite with her FM...IF she is still alive by then. I trust it will be a VERY interesting meeting, since my daughter knows now, after specialist and medications and therapies, what happened to her. But I still try to hold that 'woman' as a light and dear person to her. (I will add now that I CHOSE not to create a vile and disgusting picture of WHAT she did. I hold that silently. And will forever. I tell her that her FM made choices, but that the RIGHT choice was knowing she could not care for her, and that living in an orphanage of 7000 other kids was not any kind of future. I tell her, even though I have no proof and highly doubt it, that her FM probably thinks about her on her birthday. Because there is enough hatred in this world already.) Never dis an adoptive parent for doing what those magical FM's were unwilling to do. At least someone bothered. Unwelcome or not, don't judge if you have never lived it. Oh, and this will never be approved, because OPEN INTERACTION with adoptive parents is only something WE are expected to do". PS. This WASN'T posted. because there WAS no open interaction.

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  22. http://www.sheispriceless.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Russia-Young-Mothers-Program.pdf Here's the link to how you also can help first mothers in Russia become "only" mothers. And without Russia allowing international adoption, no one would be aware of their plight. Also, thank you for clearing up one of the inaccuracies that you like to perpetuate; that every adopter is rich, and we all receive the tax credit. We're either rich, or get the tax credit, but not both. I chose international adoption because the children already had their parental rights severed, as opposed to the children in foster care who were our "options" here in our state. And I certainly wasn't going to take a newborn. Again, I believe if you give birth to a baby, it's your responsibility to take care of her/him. It's great that you try to educate young women as to the damage they are doing to their children by abandoning them, but you are so clearly misinformed about Russian adoption that you come off sounding like a Peter Dodds parrot. When the only people you can find to support you are Peter Dodds (with his narcissism and RAD) and David Smolin (who never learned the language or traveled to the country to meet the children he was trying to adopt) we all realize what small company you're in. Attack me all you want. I'll continue to work for the orphans in Russia, while you continue to adopt your houseful of foster kids.

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  23. Oh, and anonymous, I really don't care if Jane attacks me by name. I'm incredibly proud of all of the choices I've made in my life. I've never had to look in the mirror and wonder "what in the hell did I do?" Attack away. But practically dancing on the graves of little children, just because they had the misfortune of their circumstances of birth (well it is their heritage, after all), that's despicable.

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  24. Until you have been adopted, adopted internationally, or adopted domestically, you have NO right to say anything on this subject. I have all three. If you think it's better that my emaciated son lie rocking in a crib his whole childhood only to be turned out into the streets at 16 years old with nothing, no place to live, and have a 20% chance of committing suicide is a good solution then you need to seriously think about what you are advocating. What is your solution?

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  25. This blog continues to prove that you can't fix stupid.

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  26. Sarah,
    I'm sorry, I thought this was a forum for all first moms, not just the ones who are full of vim and vinegar. Yes, I made the right choice. And yes, I come here to see how regret can eat people alive. It's the same reason my husband drives past his favorite bar every night. It reminds him of the path he could have gone down before he became sober.

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  27. Hmmmm, Jane I would like you to explain to me how our adoption of a Russian child hurt her? If she had stayed in her country she would have stayed in an orphanage until she was 16. Then she would be given a few dollars a few clothes and nothing else. Oh yes, she would also get her ID stamped "orphan". So leaving the orphanage she will forever be labeled and will not very likely get any job or assistance to go to college, because of that label. She will have known nothing about the "real" world. She would be extremely naive and gullible and an easy pray for drug dealers, and pimps. She would live where ever she can find a couch to sleep on. She won't understand how to budget her money, she won't understand how good relationships work (therefore she will be taken advantage of) she won't have enough food to eat, she will be vulnerable to sexually transmitted diseases, She will become pregnant and most likely the baby will be taken from her (if she doesn't abandon it)and placed in the very orphanages she once lived at. Wow, why did I ever "save" our poor girl from that "wonderful" life after the orphanage? By the way,I have held many of these orphans. I have looked into their eyes and seen their longing. I have seen the crushed look of children, when they realized you were there for another child and not them. I have seen their desperate longing for acceptance and for love and a family. And our daughter, was in one of the best of orphanages. But an orphanage is not a home nor a family. But our daughter was rejected over and over again and it was testified in a court of law that she had 0% chance of being adopted (in her country) because of her age, ethnicity and minor medical need. Yes, she had to give up her culture. But we are doing our best to instill in her a pride for being Russian and American. We want her to retain her language. But most of all she deserves to grow up to be a productive adult contributing to the world something only she can give because she has had the love and instruction of a stable family. I agree wholeheartedly that children in the US deserve to be adopted (wish the system was geared to help them find stable famlies). And I hope you have done just that, as have many of your readers. But interestingly enough I know several families who have adopted both internationally and domestically. Children everywhere need families. Why should it bother you where they come from?

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  28. Barbara,
    I did not attack you. I simply responded to your allegation that I was a liar and I tried to correct your more egregious misstatements.

    You say you didn't adopt from foster care because you wanted children whose parents had had their rights terminated and your state offered only foster care. I find it hard to believe that your state had no children whose parents had had their rights terminated. If no children were available in your state, you could have gone to AdoptUS Kids which lists children available for adoption from all over the country.

    You criticize me for speaking out because I have not seen children in Russian orphanages. (I have seen poor children in bad circumstances in many countries including the US and I understand the strong desire to want to help them.)

    Seeing children in orphanages did not cause you to adopt. You had already made that decision before you left the US, likely hooked by slick adoption industry marketing.

    Thanks for the link to the Children's Hope Chest. It looks like a good program. I can't help but noticing that it serves 45 young mothers a year for $106,425, just a little more than you spent on bringing two children to the US.

    You seem to assume that Russian mothers willy-nilly abandon their children. More likely poverty and abuse drive them to leave their children at orphanages.

    Active critics of foreign adoption include UNICEF, adoptees Jane Jeong Trenka and MI OK Song Bruining (both adopted from Korea) Joan Shyumack (adopted from Greece)and Peter Dobbs (adopted from Germany). Additionally adoptive parents Dave Smolin, Johanna Oreskovic and Trish Maskew, and journalist E. J. Graf are critical of the way foreign adoption is practiced which includes child-buying, coercion of vulnerable birth parents, weak regulatory structure, and profiteering.

    Most serious thinkers about adoption that I know including adoptees, adoptive parents, birth parents, adoption attorneys, and social workers either outright oppose foreign adoption or want to see severe restrictions on it. Since they have not spoken or written publicly, I'm not going to name them.

    Barbara, I understand your anger. You feel attacked for helping children in need. Let me suggest that you direct your anger at those who have caused the problems in foreign adoption rather than those of us seeking to shed some light on what's happening.

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  29. Jane, I am a both biological and adoptive mother. I am also a daughter in law to an adoptee whose records were sealed until very recently. I saw the pain that my mother in law went through and would wish that on no one.

    My oldest was born when I was just 19. I understand, as a once 19 year old mother, how lucky I was to have the educational and social resources that I did. I can only begin to imagine the pain I would struggle with if I had not been able to have my son in my life every day for the past 14 years. I truly am sorry for what you have been through.

    I understand - and even agree with - many of your points. Yes, Russia should reform its social, mental health, and economic systems to enable mothers to parent their children. No question; I don't believe anyone would disagree with that. Yes, perhaps some of the money spent on adoption could work toward reforming/bettering that system. Again, I agree with that. To that end, many adoptive parents make (ongoing) donations to their children's baby homes and to other charities that support aged-out orphans.

    But the reality is the kind of change that is needed is systemic change - and you know, I am sure, that this type of change takes years and a willing government and having the public on board. I truly hope that the Russian government will follow through on this reform. Truly, I do.

    But, in the interim, Jane, I ask YOU - what should become of the children who sit there now? Children who right now are sleeping on cots with overwhelmed caretakers doing their very best? Should they remain and wait it out?

    I truly am curious what you recommend - you have passed judgment on us - on me - as an adoptive parent. I am open to hear your solutions for the children who wait.

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  30. To the righteous indignants who point out your child is much better off adopted into your home than left in an orphanage, please note the title of the piece -- "Foreign adoption may save 'one child' but hurts many."

    Of course some children benefit but at the expense of others.

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  31. I have never come across a blog that has filled me with such utter anger. I do not know you and do not want to know you. I am a mother of two sons adopted from Russia. I was open to adopt from anywhere in the world, anywhere. But God was the one who directed me towards Russia, not some slick advertising compaign. We are all Gods children, His word instructs us to take care of ALL orphans. I was comfortable with international adoption as I have seen others have children ripped from their homes after birth mothers have suddenly had a change of heart. I HATE that cost comes into factor here. These are not items to be bought. These are lives that we are investing in. I am in NO means rich, I am a single adoptive mother who is an administrative assistant. I have HUGE debt from my adoptions, but I would have it no other way. Take a look at all the idiotic stuff that people spend their money on nowadays. I have made an investment in a life and in doing so my life has been changed forever. I don't understand why you are so CRITICAL and HURTFUL. These are innocent children who deserve to be loved - all children deserve to be loved. Please stop this needless banter...it is pathetic and shameful.

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  32. I have never come across a blog that has filled me with such utter anger. I do not know you and do not want to know you. I am a mother of two sons adopted from Russia. I was open to adopt from anywhere in the world, anywhere. But God was the one who directed me towards Russia, not some slick advertising compaign. We are all Gods children, His word instructs us to take care of ALL orphans. I was comfortable with international adoption as I have seen others have children ripped from their homes after birth mothers have suddenly had a change of heart. I HATE that cost comes into factor here. These are not items to be bought. These are lives that we are investing in. I am in NO means rich, I am a single adoptive mother who is an administrative assistant. I have HUGE debt from my adoptions, but I would have it no other way. Take a look at all the idiotic stuff that people spend their money on nowadays. I have made an investment in a life and in doing so my life has been changed forever. I don't understand why you are so CRITICAL and HURTFUL. These are innocent children who deserve to be loved - all children deserve to be loved. Please stop this needless banter...it is pathetic and shameful.

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  33. I'm sorry, but how is it beneficial for orphans to have even more orphans in the beds next to them? That will just mean less food in their mouths since resources will be spread even more thin. It's completely illogical.

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  34. I will never cease to be amazed. To quote my friends at Saturday Night Live.... "Jane, you ignorant ....", well most of you know the rest of the quote. I have no idea why ANYONE would ever oppose adoption - regardless of the geographics of the child's birth.

    So you claim that most international adoptive children are STOLEN from their birth mothers??? Really.... that's interesting. The woman who gave birth to my mother had to be BEGGED at the hospital by docs/nurses to feed her. BEGGED. That's the literal words used in court. With her absolute ZERO pre-natal care, my daughter was born @ 4.5lbs a month early. She was taken from the hospital, without being discharged by her "FM", so the Russian version of CPS were sent after her. They found her 3 days later in a house in Russia, in December with no heat, no power and no water. She was cold, hungry, thirsty and overall neglected. So her FM's rights were terminated. But I assume all this was made up and LIED about in a Russian court of law. Because they take that whole lying thing so lightly. Russian authorities attempted to find ANY family member who would take my daughter in. No one would do it. No grandma, no aunt, no birth father. NO ONE.

    So tell me, Jane -- who is hurt by all this? It must be the Russian orphanage system. Her FM's wages were to be garnished in order to pay her way through the system - so with her gone, they'd loose that $. WRONG -- no wages were ever made to be garnished.

    So it must be my daughter who has been hurt. I have taken her from her motherland, and deprived her of her culture. A culture that would brandish her lifelong as an orphan. A culture where she would be kicked on the street at the end of August after her 16th birthday. A culture who looks down on orphans. *MY* family is Eastern European. Not so different from where my daughter was born. Are all families that originally came the US harmed because of their decision to come here? According to you, yes. Just because she doesn't still live in Russia doesn't mean that we don't embrace and carry on Russian traditions/cultural activities, etc. It's not like she was born on MARS - I feel in LOVE with the country. There are many Russian neighborhoods and ways for adoptive parents to help their children learn and embrace their culture.

    So really... again, what's the problem here?

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  35. Anon at 9:40 pm hit the nail on the head. She wrote:

    "I understand - and even agree with - many of your points. Yes, Russia should reform its social, mental health, and economic systems to enable mothers to parent their children. ... Yes, perhaps some of the money spent on adoption could work toward reforming/bettering that system. ... To that end, many adoptive parents make (ongoing) donations to their children's baby homes and to other charities that support aged-out orphans.

    But the reality is the kind of change that is needed is systemic change - and you know, I am sure, that this type of change takes years and a willing government and having the public on board. I truly hope that the Russian government will follow through on this reform. Truly, I do.

    But, in the interim, Jane, I ask YOU - what should become of the children who sit there now? Children who right now are sleeping on cots with overwhelmed caretakers doing their very best? Should they remain and wait it out?"

    First let me say that many foreign adoptions are not based on helping needy children but in getting children to meet the needs of would-be parents. This is particularly true in infant adoptions from South Korea and China. i believe it's less true in Russian adoptions where many of the children are older and in orphanages.

    Even though it sounds harsh, I think the best course is to let children remain and wait it out with an exception for children with serious medical needs which can't be addressed in their home country. This has been our position in previous posts.

    I don't see reform occurring as long as money is to be made in adoptions and corrupt or irresponsible officials use adoption as a way to avoid their responsibilities. The adoption industry has convinced many Americans that adoption is the preferred way to help children, detracting from natural family-centered solutions.

    The number of children actually adopted compared to the number sleeping on cots or on the hard ground throughout the world is so small that it makes little difference. Of course, if it is your child, it seems like a great difference.

    The foreign adoption system depends on the whims of government authorities and consequently often ignores the neediest children. Thousands of children come from relatively well-off South Korea but none from impoverished North Korea.

    Helping American children is manageable and that's where we should put our efforts. I agree that the foster care system needs improvement. I was heartened to read recently that officials in my state, Oregon, are proposing significant reforms.

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  36. You say the children should 'wait it out'. What exactly are they waiting for? No one is coming. For most of those kids, my daughter, included, NO ONE is coming. And yet they wait, and wait, and wait. Looking out the window, hoping a family will come. Our daughter had been passed over by 5 Russian families. There are too many orphans there and not enough families. We have plenty of families here and not enough available children (as in free to be adopted).
    Yes, there are countries we are not adopting from. Why don't you put your efforts into correcting that instead of bashing the people who are doing what they can to help? The reason people don't adopt from those countries because they're not open to international adoption. We do what we can. What are you doing?
    We have 2 biological children and could have more. We did not adopt for our own needs although she has been a huge blessing to us. We adopted because God told us to and because God gave me the capability to imagine myself in an orphan's shoes. No, I can't save them all, but that doesn't negate the fact that I can change the world for one or two. If everyone did that, there would be no orphan crisis. Please try and imagine yourself as an orphan. Wouldn't you want someone, anyone to come? I can tell you I wouldn't care whether my parents were from Russia, America, Spain, Italy, or the moon. Just as long as they loved me and wanted me.

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  37. So Jane, with all the statistics given to you, you prefer DEATH for the Russian orphans "Even though it sounds harsh, I think the best course is to let children remain and wait it out with an exception for children with serious medical needs which can't be addressed in their home country."

    Thank God, most people are not like you!

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  38. Rain's husband has voiced his opinions:

    http://mcruger.wordpress.com

    He has some good points.

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  39. Rain's husband (above) responds to FMF.

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  40. You really think it is better to let the kids wait it out? So while they are waiting if they happen to age out and wind up on the streets unable to care for themselves and taken advantage of, no problem? That is better than adoption? And how does adopting one child harm the others who were in the orphanage anyway? BTW many children in Russian Orphanages are not eligible for adoption since their parents or other family members visit them. My son who is an adorable 11 yo now, very handsome would probably have been molested if left in an Orphanage. That would have been okay by you? Just collaterol damage. Instead he is a happy 6th grader here with lots of friends who still thinks girls are icky and totally appalled by what his health teacher told them about sex. Are you aware of the Russians protesting against the new law in Moscow and St. Petersburg? He was so happy to see "people standing up for the kids." And while his FM took him home for the first 6 months, he was removed by the Militia (Police) for neglect and put in the Hospital. One of her neighbors turned her in. She had Syphillis and HEP C (thank god he is okay-although he does have HEP A antibodies) and was turned down by Russian families due to that. His FM never visited him once he was taken and his grandmother did not want him either.

    We were drawn to Russia due to our Eastern European heritage and found our small agency through friends not advertising.

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  41. Anon @ 9:40 here:

    Jane, thank you for your response. It saddens me greatly that you believe children should suffer in the name of reform. As I mentioned, one of these children is now mine, loved fiercely with my mother's heart. I can not imagine her living out her childhood alone, without her family, under what I believe is the misguided idea that it will hasten reform.

    International adoption is not the primary cause of delayed reform in Russia. Rather, it is the ongoing social stigma among the Russian people around orphans/adoption, combined with the nation's (and thus individual's) economic struggles, that cause such a lag in adoption policy (as well as a similar lag in policy creation/reform that would equip and enable mothers to keep their children). As I mention in my previous post, Russia has great work to do in its efforts to better prepare expectant parents, including establishing complex social and economic structures and a comprehensive and ongoing public relations campaign to change public perception of adoption.

    However, it doesn't have to be an either/or situation. We can advocate for broad and large-scale reform, both at home and within Russia, while also working to ensure that the children of the here and now don't suffer and continue the cycle. We have to address both aspects in order to solve the problem.

    Just as in the US, Russia has far from a perfect system. You advocate for reforming within the US foster care system while also ensuring those children are able to find homes; I agree wholeheartedly. I also believe the children of Russia deserve similar rights and advocacy. If you follow your logic that the children should wait until reform occurs, then we should stop adopting from the US foster system until the issues are fixed.

    For my family, we selected Russia because we knew there were waiting children and we already had children in our home. As you mention previously, our primary goal should be to avoid trauma for children. So, for us, bringing a child into our home, when I could not be 100% sure that this child would be staying, was not a risk I was willing to take with my existing children - and it is a risk inherent to the foster system.

    I don't expect I will change your mind...but I've said my piece.

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  42. I'm just curious b/c you mention Korea and China not being impoverished countries. Is that the meter you go by to determine if a child should be allowed to be adopted internationally?

    What about countries like The Democratic Republic of the Congo where there is an upward of 5 million orphans with close to a million of them orphaned b/c of AIDS?

    They too should be left to die?

    I am pretty sure that MY GOD would want me to do something more than waiting for reform.

    Just curious?

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  43. I wasn't going to comment, but I can't keep my mouth shut after reading this post...Firstly, I am no great fan of international adoption. I think there is so much corruption in the system. Major reform needs to happen. However...while reform is happening, there are children growing up in institutions, with no family, and no place to go once they age out. Right now, there are children who need homes. For you to say, Jane, that they should "wait it out" sounds more than harsh. It is heartbreaking.

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  44. 'Seeing children in orphanages did not cause you to adopt. You had already made that decision before you left the US, likely hooked by slick adoption industry marketing.'
    'You seem to assume that Russian mothers willy-nilly abandon their children. More likely poverty and abuse drive them to leave their children at orphanages.'
    Barbara, I understand your anger. You feel attacked for helping children in need. Let me suggest that you direct your anger at those who have caused the problems in foreign adoption rather than those of us seeking to shed some light on what's happening.

    Good God, Jane you poor woman. I don't feel attacked at all. Anonymous posted that I was attacked, not me. You make up nonsense like the above quotes, then try to pass yourself off as a "serious thinker". The fact that you even think you're trying to shed light on the topic is absurd. The only anger I feel toward you is that you make things up apparently in an attempt to sway the opinion of the minions who follow you. The absolute rage I feel is toward people who allow such horrible facilities like Russian orphanages to exist in the first place. It's an absolute holocaust and no one should be content to live in a world where these exist. "Slick advertising campaigns" indeed. I'm sorry you fell for a "slick advertising campaign" to abdandon your first born, but to confer such superficial impulsiveness to the rest of the world is revolting. And yes, I support the HopeChest, and yes to help young Russian mothers, and yes I've gotten two kids out of the hell hole and convinced more than a hundred people to do the same. If it angers people like you, then I'm obviously doing the right thing.
    Lord, what law school did you go through that taught you to debate in such a shallow, non-fact based fashion....

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  45. I would like to see a discussion of the reason why the Russian government passed this law in the first place. They claim they did it for Dima Yakolev and other children who have been adopted to the U.S. and then killed, sexually exploited or returned.
    Beacause however many of you want to claim this is a political maneuver, the reality is that kids have died.
    Let's take this to another level. Say it was your child. And you had asked your neighbor to take him to school. And your child fell asleep in your neighbor's car and your neighbor forgot about him and left him for 8 hours in a hot car to die.
    Wouldn't you want something to happen to your neighbor? Some kind of consequence?
    And then, your neighbor is NOT prosecuted, and is in fact released back to his home and family and life, a life your child will never have.
    Can you imagine?
    And you have another child, and your neighbor offers to drive her to school. The neighbor who killed your other child and walked away free. Would you trust that neighbor ever again? Would you trust the system that let him walk away with no consequences?
    I wouldn't.
    I wouldn't let that neighbor within 100 feet of any child of mine.
    The truth is that too many Russian children have been adopted to the U.S. and have died and the U.S. court system does not seem to care.
    I have heard the claim that not that many Russian adoptees have died at the hands of their adopters to make it matter. That it's only 19 or 20 documented cases.
    It shouldn't even be one child. Not one.
    Perhaps if the U.S. court system had responded more appropriately to Dima's case, Russia would not have closed their adoptions to us. Perhaps not.
    But I think we all need to take a look at ourselves and our part in the closure.
    And remember Dima.

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  46. The cases like Dima's are awful, and yes, one too many. Just as one child in an institution is one too many. Sadly, horribly, the parent caused death rate among Russian adoptees in America is lower (much lower) than the parent caused death rate among biological children in both the US and Russia. That's not an excuse, and it doesn't make it ok, just facts.

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  47. Jane,

    There are many points I would like to respond to but will limit myself to just this one: your belief that it is better for children to languish in foreign orphanages to force systemic change and stop the flow of overseas money via AP's and adoption services.

    Except, have you done your homework on countries that have closed to International Adoption? Have you visited and taken in the meaningful change when American and European families no longer come or are allowed to adopt?

    I have. I have been to Romania, closed for many years now. The orphan problem remains. They have grown and are staggering. Children are still being abandoned and left to languish in Orphanages that now have fewer resources and are bursting at the seems.

    And now of course there is no hope for those children, many of whom are ethnic Roma and considered an undesirable minority. ( Previously many were adopted by overseas families.)

    Romania is not alone. Guatamala, Cambodia ( closed to U.S.) and more still fill their orphanages or foster care homes with the most vulnerable.

    Sometimes, despite how much you may wish it so, results simply are not causal. The prospective parents were sent away: THE NEED REMAINED AND GREW WORSE.

    AND the only groups still trying to help and send aid long after others drifted away? Adoptive parents who previously adopted from those countries and Religous groups. Not arrogant blog authors: not adoptees: not First Mothers.

    How interesting that you feel entitled to suggest whole entire social programs and wealth redistribution for another country: to presume you know best how to handle and remedy systemic problems in another culture. Be it gender based, social inequities, biases against children raised by only one parent, etc.... Oh but that's right....you are a First Mother, therefore you have the right to speak on and be considered an expert on any subject concerning children and/or adoption, including International Adoption despite having no first hand experience with it or the countries and indiginious peoples you speak of.

    Sue

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  48. So you didn't like my comment ... you would rather see them DEAD! You leave them in the Russian orphanages and that's what happens to them ... that's the reality.

    SHAME ON YOU! No child should DIE because of your narrow mindedness. If you can't grow up and move on, let those that can adopt do so without this drivel to contend with.

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  49. Amazed at the righteous indignation. Seriously, what about the american children? They don't count? Ot are they to "disturbed" and you just might have to deal with "birth families" eww...that would be to hard! It easier to take a child out of what they know(BTW...I have heard their are some very good orphanages run by very loving people in Russia). As much as you all are so indignant at the reform attitudes and pat your selves on the back at being so wonderful for saving the children, your not really looking at the child's at all. If you were the AMERICAN children would not be in foster care, the AMERICAN children that are being abused athis very moment would be "saved". Does God not care about the American children?

    Your all VERY naive if you believe that American children are better off in foster care then their counterparts in orphanages in other lands.

    Sorry, I don't buy the save the children, love, love, love attiudes...there is something in it for you all and the child had just better be grateful for being able to exist in your world.

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  50. Regardless of what action we take on Russian adoptions, in the short run, children are going to die or suffer severe abuse. Nineteen Russian children have perished at the hands of their American adopters and many others have been abused. There is no reason to believe that if things go back to the way they were, murder and abuse will not continue.

    We can reform the US foster care system without stopping US adoptions because we can elect people committed to reform. We have no control over the Russian child care system other than putting pressure on the government by stopping adoptions.

    If people wishing to adopt cannot go abroad, they may be willing to take a second look at an American child.

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  51. Yes Barbara, Dima's case is awful and the worst part of it is that the man who killed him walked away a free man with all charges dropped.
    This isn't about statistics and the facts that some biological children also die at the hands of their parents. It's about the fact that this man who swore to give Dima a better life committed manslaughter and walked away free thanks to our court system.
    Can you really blame the Russian government for closing adoptions to the U.S. when we all but sanction manslaughter against one of their children?
    Maybe instead of complaining about the mean old Russians closing off adoptions, we should look at ourselves and decide that someone should be held accountable when an adoptee dies at the hands of his adopter.

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  52. As a former foster child of the United States, to those of you that felt you needed to talk about how broken and worthless we are, Thank you. You have validated every ugly thing ever said about the children of our foster care system..... we are garbage. Not worth the trouble to help us.

    As for adopting in foreign countries... have you bothered to think that maybe if you adopt from this country and deal with the issues, you might have that special child that you always wanted to worship you?

    Pathetic.... truly.... you dream when you think they won't resent you one day. Good luck with that.

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  53. Yes, another Anonymous, Dima did die at the hands of his adopter. Blame the attorneys in the US that there were no consequences. Our country is full of the scum of the earth lawyers who worry about getting criminals off rather than worrying about what's right. I never said anything about blaming "mean old Russia" for not letting us adopt their kids. I don't care if they let Americans adopt their kids. I do care if they tie them to beds and let them rot. Some people turned a blind eye to the murder of Jews during the holocaust too, because, well, we needed to worry about OUR people here at home. So, ok, let's just agree that Jane is right. Let's just let the kids rot in hell and hope someone else decides to take care of them. What a great world. Let's take no responsibility for anything. Hey, get pregnant, get an abortion or abandon the child for someone else to care for, tie handicapped kids to a bed in an orphanage and turn your back and hope for the best....you folks keep cheering about how that's all for the best; I'm going to keep trying to help the orphans, their biological mothers, all the NGOs that care when their governments don't.

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  54. Once again Barbara, you have missed the point. This isn't about who gets pregnant and who is cold hearted and who is scum of the earth. And comparing those of us who disagree with the American court system giving a pass to a man who committed manslaughter with Nazi's is just hysterics on your part.
    Unlike you, I do care about what happens to these orphans once they are in the U.S. and I hope that perhaps Americans will wake up and change the way they treat these children. 19 deaths is too many. Russia thinks so and it's their choice who they deal with when it comes to adoption. And they don't want to deal with Americans taking their children home with empty promises and then leaving them in cars to perish. You compare life in an orphanage to rotting in Hell? What about Dima and his day spent in a 120 degree car? Is that the life you want to promise? 19 is too many. 19 is enough. We can do better for these kids.
    And btw, you still haven't explained to me how "rescuing" one child from an orphanage helps all the rest you didn't take home. How does that work?

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  55. Regarding the child Chase Harrison/Dima Yarkolev and his case, many of the Russian adoptive families that I personally know were OUTRAGED by that case. Regardless of country of birth, cases of children left in hot cars happen every year. I have no comprehension of how this happens, but alas, it does. No child should be killed at the hands of their parents. However, the issues there are with our legal system -- and that's a whole other topic for a different thread. During the same period of 20 years, it is estimated by a Russian journalist, that over 1200 Russian adoptive kids were killed at the hands of their Russian adoptive parents. However, this doesn't receive the same press as the horrible Americans. Abuse is common in Russian families, sadly. So tell me that the 19 cases int he US have not been politicized? Relations between our two countries are not great right now - in fact their President wants to pass a ban on Russian govt workers not being able to marry US citizens. Yup - no political issues there.

    As far as the poster who came from the US foster system - I have read and re-read this thread and I don't see ANYONE rallying for the rights of these Russian children EVER calling US Foster kids worthless and damaged. We are PRO adoption advocates who simply choose Russia as the country we adopted from. No one ever said the children are damaged -- but the SYSTEM is broken. And before you crazy anti adoption ppl start thumping that adoption is horrible, I don't believe any of us want to see a child ripped away from their FM -- but let's face it, there are many FMs who CHOOSE, of their own will to proceed with a birth plan.

    The agency I used did not have slick campaigns. SHE -- yes, one woman, has a website, that isn't updated very often. She's passionate for children and the fact that they deserve homes and not orphanages. Finally -- on that note, I LOVED the comment "I have 'heard' that there are many oprhanages that are nice and run by ppl who care" - LOLOL again, you HEARD -- go travel and find those orphanages. Many of the ppl who work there DO care about the children, but at the end of the day, nothing can replace a HOME with a mom/dad.

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  56. So, 19 children adopted from Russia have died here. Okay. What about the (average) 5 children per day who die of abuse and neglect in America (mostly by their "natural parents")? What about the 695,000 children who victims of maltreatment?

    For those of you who say 19 deaths is too many...what about those American children? Do you know what the most comment "consequence" for child abuse in America is? Probation and child-rearing classes, if anything at all is done.

    For those who said that abuse is common in Russian families...abuse is just as common here in America. S

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  57. Does it occur to any of you frantic adoptive parents of Russian children that Jane does have a larger point? You are all so enraged that your personal choice has been criticized that your overlook her point--that the whole system of international adoption is rife with corruption, there is little to no oversight, and each adoption fuels the continual dumping of children because some nice wealthy American couple is going to come for them.

    None of you can see beyond your blinders.

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  58. From a transracial adoptee, I must say that even when adoptive parents have the best of intentions, have a loving home, and raise the child well, there is always this sense that these parents did not "have" to adopt this child.

    These parents did not "need" to adopt. They were not "obligated" to save a child via adoption. No one "expected" them to do it.

    So the child is seen as having been "saved", even if it was merely based upon a desire to parent and love a child.

    There is no getting away from that.

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  59. Also... I can't believe Jane implied she would rather have "orphans" wait it out in orphanages.

    I get where she is coming from, but still...

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  60. I feel like I have to comment on this post. As a firstmother, I can only imagine that if I was in an orphanage, I would certainly want to be adopted by some good people. I agree that when large sums of money are involved some people will do anything-kidnap,coerce whatever-to get the babies to sell,er, provide for adoption,In some places there are even baby "farms" set up to provide the supply to fill the demand. In the end, I am not that extreme,however, that I think babies shouldn't be adopted from orphanages. I personally know 3 who were adopted from orphanages-1 from Guatemala, 1 from Vietnam and 1 from the US(a long time ago) All are doing well Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

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  61. I think Jane's point is that trying to solve the worldwide problem of abandoned and neglected children by adoption is like trying to contain the ocean in a thimble. The more I learn about how children are horribly mistreated throughout the world, the more ashamed I am of the human race.

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  62. America has the right to decide how many deaths are too many in their country. Russia has the right to decide how many deaths are to many for them to trust the U.S. with their children. Looks like they decided 19 was enough. Especially since the U.S. treated Dima like trash by not prosecuting his murderer for manslaughter. The decision has been made. Now, are you going to act like the typical American entitled adopter and whine about it or are you going to work on reform and rebuild the trust that was lost when Dima died and nobody could be bothered?
    The choice is up to you because I don't think your entitled hand wringing is going to change Russia's minds.

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  63. Thanks,Robin,

    Yes, that is exactly what I meant. Focusing on the few leaves the many ignored.

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  64. Jane said " Focusing on the few leaves the many ignored."

    Not that "If it saves one, it will all have been worthwhile", but it is difficult, if not impossible, to encompass the many.
    I do find the "waiting it out" comment a cold-hearted response to the situation of institutionalized children in Russia.
    I suppose that in a way, and perhaps in the minds of those who oppose international adoption in any form, it turns those who are actually doing the waiting into involuntary martyrs. But even martyrdom requires a degree of compliance with the circumstances, a certain understanding and anticipation of the instrumentality leading to events. These children have no such agency. Not that children ever do.

    I would like to have been able to believe thsat the Dmitry Yakelov act was a right deed for the wrong reason, but it seems to me now that neither deed not reason have much rightness about them. Russia has known for a long time that its support system for children and families is inadequate:
    http://www.rferl.org/content/
    Russias_Medvedev_Urges_Action_Against_Child_Abuse/
    1511570.html
    Medvedev said "We need a normal system of childhood protection in the most accurate sense of this word. Today there is no such system in the country, and these deplorable figures prove this,"

    Regardless of its eventual outcome, which I hope will be positive, I believe the Dmitri Yakelov act was a cynical maneuver timed to distract from the Magnitsky affair, the trial for which has just been adjourned. To read more: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/
    9831930/Absurd-Sergei-Magnitsky-trial-adjourned.html

    And, oh look: http://www.spotlightnews.com/news/2013/jan/25/police-child-left-freezing-car-eight-hours/
    Almost identical situation to the Chase/Dima tragedy, father taking child to day care on way to work, forgetting child who is left in car for eight hours. Difference being the father is the kid's REAL daddy, and the kid didn't die.

    I only hope that Russia will eventually sign the Hague convention and cooperate with other nations to ensure its directives are being followed.

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  65. To anyone comparing children raised by their bio-parents being abused and adopted children being abused, you need to understand this. Adopted children are PURPOSEFULLY PLACED in their adoptive homes to get a BETTER LIFE. There are supposed to be oversights, there are home studies, criminal background checks, attorneys and social workers are involved in the case. No adopted child should be abused EVER. It is not the same as the crapshoot of being born and raised by sh*tty parents who are abusive.

    As an adult adoptee, I am offended by the comparison. If you do not understand the difference then you do not understand adoption at all.

    International adoption is a very complex issue. It is not the same as the BSE where all white unwed mothers were forced to give their children to strangers just because they were single. Being an international adoptee would be incredibly difficult. I can't even imagine losing my homeland, culture, language, and being raised halfway around the world by people with a different religion, race, etc. Would it be preferable to life in an orphanage? In the majority of cases, yes.

    As for foster children, I can't believe someone had the nerve to say don't adopt these children because they are too damaged. Talk about blaming the victim. It is not the child's fault that s/he was abused, abandoned, neglected, whatever the case may be that landed her in foster care. It is enormously cruel to paint all foster children with the same brush. And to then punish them further by saying that they don't deserve a loving home.

    Maybe you need to tune into "The Bachelor" on Monday nights. There is a lovely young lady named AshLee who was a former foster child, adopted at the age of six. She is beautiful, intelligent and seemingly kind-hearted. I am sure she is far from the only foster child to make a success of her life.

    At this point I don't think I've added my 2 cents. I think I've added my whole $12,650 adoption tax credit :)

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  66. Thank you, Robin, for a jolt of sanity here.

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  67. Anomymous, Russia SIGNED that convention in 2000.

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  68. I am a firstmother 30 years ago I knew someone who grew up in an orphanage(never adopted) We were rommates in a psych ward Her little boy was sick and needed heart surgery She had trouble with the the stress I had trouble dealing with the stress of not knowing where my baby was. I haven't thought about this in a long time Funny how this blog triggers so many memories and feelings We spent our time together for the few weeks we were in the lonny bin except when her husband visited and I disappeared into the music room and let them have the room to themselves. Eventually she recovered and went back to her life as a suburban wife and mother and I recovered(sort of) and got a job in the city as a computer programmer, saved up some money, and hired someone to find my son.

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  69. God this, God that. If God really was good or even existed he would of let you infertile bitches get knocked up so you couldn't steal other women's children and abuse so many of them...

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  70. Foreign adoption may save 'one child' but hurts many still has me curious as to what the solution is?

    Now we know Jane's solution is that people should just stop adopting all together and hopefully the collateral damage won't be that bad b/c hey: "Even at the rate of 5,000 children per year, it would take 140 years to empty the orphanages and by that time another 7,000 would be in them"

    So really why bother trying right?

    And of course: " Regardless of what action we take on Russian adoptions, in the short run, children are going to die or suffer severe abuse."

    So once again why bother? If it's going to happen anyway why would one even try? That attitude is indicative of where we are as a society today...why bother...

    And most of this post is pointed directly toward Russian adoptions but what about severely impoverished countries?

    Places like The Democratic Republic of the Congo where there are an upward of 5 million orphaned children. Children that death is imminent if they aren't adopted.

    Could we use the argument that adopting children from the Congo will only cause, create or aide corruption? A place where all there is, is corruption?

    And let those children die b/c "Hey we could never save them all any way!"

    Places like Kenya that have "The Abandoned Baby Center", yes a center set up exclusively to provide some form of care for babies that have lost their parents to AIDS or that have literally been left on the side of the road.

    Their goal is to place the children with Kenya families but there is literally "No more room at the Inn" and are trying to get the government to change international adoption laws to give these children a chance at a home.

    So what is the answer? What is the solution?

    And how would "saving one" from these conditions hurt many?

    I don't see any statistics represented that shows how it hurts?

    I see a lot of generalized statements: " First let me say that many foreign adoptions are not based on helping needy children but in getting children to meet the needs of would-be parents."

    But no real proof. How can you say "many"? How do you know this? Does "many" have a number associated with it? Like a couple is two and a few is 3 or more? Are there any stats? Or are you just projecting? Where is the research that says "Why yes, yes indeed those looking to adopt do so in a foreign land so that they can eradicate the first parents!"

    You feel that "many" do but do you know that for sure?

    Without facts it is just an opinion. Like the Op-ed section of a newspaper and sure it is okay to have an opinion and write an Op-ed and read an Op-ed but you can't present that as facts. Another practice indicative to many issues in society today.

    1,500 people die per day in DRC because of the conflict. A day!!

    And yes I have also seen your list of international adoptees that are against international adoption but where is the list of those that are for? Is there statistical information to support this.

    See that is where I am curious? I am curious as to the legitimacy of this claim for all circumstances and I am curious as to concrete solutions based on facts.

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  71. @Curious
    AT (Attachment Torture, I mean Therapy) is PROOF that AM's (Adopting Morons, I mean Adoptive Mothers) ONLY care about themselves. So is letting an adoptee get labeled with ADD (when they only want their real mothers) and get put on toxic drugs for it. So is putting an adopted teen in a psych ward when the teen doesn't belong in one because(and can suffer permanent damage from the "therapies" there)her Royal Entitledness doesn't want to deal with the normal rebel years teens go through (which AM's see as ungratefulness). So does calling an adoptee or foster child who gets food in the kitchen after dinner because they are still hungry "stealing" and a thief". I could give you 100 more examples. Babies and children are adopted for the adoptive parents ego trip and so adoption agencies can make money. End of story and I agree with Jane on all she has said.

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  72. Theodore said "Russia SIGNED that convention in 2000."

    My mistake, Theodore. I meant ratified. The Russian Federation are signatories to the convention, but have not yet ratified.
    So the agreement is not officially valid.

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  73. Robin, I think you must mean there are supposed to be NO oversights. Yes, adoptive parents should be held to a higher standard. I don't think and didn't say they shouldn't be. They should also be vetted thoroughly before being allowed to adopt. Perhaps if the Harrisons had been properly vetted Dima might have been spared. It was without doubt a flawed system that put him with these people - what, for instance, was he doing in daycare? He had only been adopted three months before his death! I also agree with you no that adopted child should be abused EVER. Actually I don't think *any* child should be abused EVER. There's no excuse for abuse, whatever the circumstances and whoever the abuser.

    Although Dimitri'ss death was a tragic accident, Chase Harrison was guilty of extreme negligence and should not have been acquitted of involuntary manslaughter. I don't understand why he was acquitted. He also deserves to be included on that infamous list of adopters who caused the death of the child under their care. Nevertheless, there have been far worse (in the sense that the abuse was deliberate and ongoing) cases of abuse of Russian adoptees by their American parents. But the Duma made the political decision to name the act after Dimi, perhaps because the adoption had not yet been finalized and he was still a Russian citizen at the time of his death. Maybe also because of the way the American media glommed onto the tragedy. But it is a fact that last year there were at least thirty-one deaths of children in the U.S from being left in cars in hot weather, and over 400 during the last ten years. Tragic though it is, it would be odd if none of these had been adoptees.

    "It is not the same as the BSE where all white unwed mothers were forced to give their children to strangers just because they were single." While it is certainly true that many, maybe most, white unwed mothers lost their children to strangers during the period from the end of the Second World War to the '80's, it didn't happen in "all" cases. "All" is a bit sweeping. I know two women who, with support from friends and family, managed to raise their children through the early years. Both of them later married. Of course, if help hadn't been forthcoming they wouldn't have been able to manage.

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  74. Yes, Curious, children all over the world are dying from malnutrition, war, and natural disasters. US adoption agencies could shift, and maybe are shifting, their businesses to new countries.

    What will we get? More corruption, kidnappings, the sale of babies just as we have seen in Guatemala, Cambodia, Ethiopia, China, and other countries where US and foreign officials stopped or curtailed adoptions.

    Regarding my statement "First let me say that many foreign adoptions are not based on helping needy children but in getting children to meet the needs of would-be parents."

    The simple answer that if the primary reason for adopting was to meet the needs of a child, those who adopted from abroad would have adopted an American foster child.

    Those who posted here, mostly those who adopted older children from Russia, and others I've known who adopted older children said they did not adopt a foster child because (a ) the child might be returned to his natural parents or (b) foster children have more severe behavior problems.

    People whom I've known and read about who adopted infants from abroad give as their reason that it was quicker than adopting American infants and that they did not have to worry about natural parents wanting the child back or coming into the picture later.

    These are not child-centered reasons.

    In fairness, I should add that some people I know who adopted from abroad or commented here now know the value of children learning their origins and support their children in trying to find their first families.

    For those who want to help children in poor countries, I recommend "Half the Sky" by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn to learn about ways of providing meaningful help to children at risk of starvation and abuse.

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  75. I guess I am just not getting the blanket statements:

    "The simple answer that if the primary reason for adopting was to meet the needs of a child, those who adopted from abroad would have adopted an American foster child."

    You can't want to meet the needs of a starving child in another country?

    I know many adoptive parents. One in particular comes to mind. They have 2 bio children, plus a foster child, plus a child adopted internationally and to generalize that as " those who adopted from abroad would have adopted an American foster child." just doesn't make sense to me...so b/c out of their 4 children, the one they adopted internationally is b/c they were not looking at the needs of that child?

    "People whom I've known and read about"

    Still a blanket generalization so maybe you should meet more people b/c people I have known and people I read about that have adopted internationally reached out to an area they felt touched by and felt compelled to (by whatever driving force that you want to call it).

    Though I will say that the Op-ed from Pastor Kim Do-hyun presented a governmental problem and issue that needs to be addressed and he did this without assuming (and we all know what assuming does...I always think of Felix Unger from the Odd Couple when I think of assumption - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KEP1acj29-Y) that those "who adopted infants from abroad give as their reason that it was quicker than adopting American infants and that they did not have to worry about natural parents wanting the child back or coming into the picture later"

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  76. The point, Curious, that if the people who commented here had altruistic reasons for adopting foreign children rather than ignoring American children, they would have stated the reasons.

    Spending fifty grand to go halfway around the world for a child when that money would help many (there's that word again) girls escape the sex trade and ignoring children here in the US is putting the wants, if not the needs, of the adoptive parents before child welfare.

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