I fired off a letter to the S-J pointing out corruption was rampant in Ethiopian adoptions and the child may be a victim of kidnapping, not an orphan. (The complete letter is below). I pointed out that children adopted intercountry and transracially often have problems adjusting and
that $35,000 would go a long way to help his original family keep him, Finally I noted that 200 children awaited adoptive families in Oregon.
I don't know if the S-J will print my letter. Perhaps I am just spitting in the wind. On the other hand,
if I don't try to set them straight, who will? And if the S-J receives more letters perhaps someone on the editorial staff will realize that intercountry adoption is not all that it is cracked up to be, and that there is opposition to its unquestioning acceptance of it.
The adoption industry has far more resources than those of us who know the dark side of adoption. Writing letters to the editor or commenting on online media is a cheap but effective way to raise our voices.
It does little good, however, if only a few of us write; we're discounted: she's a sore loser, a neurotic birth mother, she can't get on with her life. But if more of use speak up, we have a chance. We encourage you to look for opportunities to send letters or comments. If you see a heart-warming story about a reunion, congratulate the parties, and then point out the laws need to be changed to unseal records and give more adoptees and first parents the opportunity for reunion. If an article extols adoption (common during Adoption Awareness month each November) point out the loss inherent in adoption.
A few thoughts on what you might include in a letter: Let them know your personal experience if it's relevant. Broaden the message beyond your situation and add some authority. (FMF has some quotations on its Favorite Adoption Quotes page which may be helpful.) Avoid inflammatory language but don't be wishy-washy. Always be polite (one my challenges). Compliment the subjects of the article and the reporter. Assume they are ignorant, not malevolent.
Be sure to stay with in the word limit the media requires. Ask someone to read your letter or comment to see if it makes sense to them. Check it for spelling and grammatical errors. Include your name, address, telephone number if requested. Above all, write and post at every opportunity. Your letter or comment may not be perfect (who's are?) but getting the word out is what's important. A final word: Gird yourself for a backlash. Keep in mind that words which don't ruffle some feathers probably aren't worth writing --jane
If people don't hear from us, who are they going to hear from? FMF's next post will be a look at what grown-up adoptees, adopted internationally, have to say about the experience. It's not pretty.
Here's the link to send a letter to the Statesman-Journal.
Note: Here's my (Jane's) letter to the Statesman-Journal.
"I commend the desire of Tom and Amy Gilson who are raising funds to adopt a 7-month-old Ethiopian boy to help a needy child. (“Helping with Both Hands” 11/8/14). Little Callen James, however, may well be a kidnapping victim, not an orphan. The rampant corruption in adoption in Ethiopia, fueled by the money of well-meaning Americans, is well- documented by investigative reporter Kathryn Joyce in The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption
Children adopted intercountry and especially those adopted transracially often have difficulty adjusting to their new families. Child welfare experts agree that children are best raised by their own parents. If that is not possible, they should remain with kin. The $35,000 the Gilsons will pay to bring Callen James to the United States could be far better spent helping his Ethiopian family where incomes may be as little as $500 a year.
Harvesting Children from Ethiopia for Families in America
Favorite Adoption Quotes
One Woman's Struggle with Adopting from EthiopiaMore Stench Coming from Ethiopian Adoptions through Christian World Adoptions
The Child Catchers exposes the stench of international adoption--and domestic adoption too
The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption
"The Child Catchers has its critics, of course, accusing Joyce of being "anti-adoption" and promoting a pro-abortion agenda, as we at First Mother Forum have been accused of. But it is an important voice for adoption reform and should be read by those who shape adoption policy and those considering adopting from abroad or donating to an international adoption agency or foreign orphanage. It's laden with facts and figures, but is never dull. FMF highly recommends The Child Catchers.--jane