Of course there are extraordinary circumstances which make raising your own child impossible but if it's possible, my advice still holds: raise your child yourself. Adoption is a lottery, as John Sales portrayed in his excellent 2003 film, Casa de los Babys.
Tory and Quinn Carlson and their sister lost that lottery. The boys, 18 and 16 respectively, were shot dead in a chicken coop, along with their mother, Lana, and a neighbor who happened to be there, by their step-father, David Wayne Campbell. They had been adopted from Russia by Lana and her first husband who
had died of cancer. After shooting his family and the neighbor, Campbell called police. He ended a three-and-a-half-hour standoff by shooting himself in the head. The boys' sister, adopted from China, escaped the carnage. She is now with child welfare officials.
|Intercountry adoption ain't so pretty|
The fact that the children were adopted somehow makes this tragic story worse. Adoption promises a better life, not only better than the children would have had if they had stayed with their natural family, but a life better than most children will have. Adoptive parents are screened by skilled social workers; they often pay thousands of dollars for the privilege of raising the children of others. Many think of them as warm and generous, financially comfortable with wholesome values, good educations, current on the latest child-rearing theories, and devoted parents.
Maybe Lana Carlson and her first husband fit this profile. That first "forever family" Ozzie and Harriet existence--if that is what it was--did not last long: the adoptive father died and Carlson married a homicidal man. The media reports don't tell if there were warning signs, whether she had any way of knowing she was putting herself and her children at risk.
|A film for us|
But most importantly, could the parents have kept their children with a little help, a few hundred, a few thousand dollars perhaps--a fraction of what the three adoptions likely cost the Carlsons.
No one will probably ever know about the background of the boys, or their sister. The general view in public perception that there is no difference between being adopted or being raised in your family of origin, and the media typically reflects that bias. The reporters, and their editors, most likely share the view of many Americans: once the children left their arms, the natural parents went on with their lives, and the children's lives began anew.
As a natural mother myself, I know that was most likely not the case. Do the natural parents know the tragedy that has befallen their children? Since it was an intercountry adoption, almost certainly not. The adoption agency should be able to contact them, or at least authorities in their hometowns. But whose responsibility would it be to see that this happens? No one's. Have the agencies done this? It could hurt their business if the story got out in the home countries of the children. That aside, perhaps the agencies believe the the natural parents are better off not-knowing. I think the natural parents are better off knowing what happened to their children, as horrific as it is. At least they will not spend their lives hoping for a letter, a phone call, a knock on the door. They will know that reason their children did not contact them and not be left to think theor children don't care. What do readers think?--jane
Lorraine here: A good example of how adoption in families is reported is the recent case in New York of Dean Skelos, once the leader of the New York Senate. He and his son are awaiting sentencing for selling influence in the Senate for the re-enrichment of his son--his adopted son, Adam. That he is adopted was almost never mentioned in any stories about their relationship, as the one below, which is only about their close relationship, shows. The only time I saw the fact of his adoption included in a story was in a New York Times piece as the trail began in the fall. Skelos's legal team wanted to bring it in, obviously as a ploy to gain sympathy; the judge would not allow it. Skelos was part of the stumbling block for any bill at all that in effect repealed the sealed records statute of 1936. Go figure.
Though numerous stories were written after that, Adam's adoption was never mentioned. But all you had to do was to look at a photo to realize they were almost certainly not related by blood.
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RELATED POSTS FROM FMF
International Adoption: The Abuse Continues
Adoptive Parents: Not a Breed Apart?
'Re-Homing': Dumping unwanted adopted kids
The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption
by Kathryn Joyce
"....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 at FMF
Casa de los Babys
...gives a very gritty feeling of being in Mexico waiting to adopt a baby. The women who play the main characters do great acting. They play a cross section of very genuine personality types. No plot, just the drama of daily life in an emotionally volatile situation. Brings up all sides of the issue of adopting babies in foreign countries, including a very moving portrayal of the life of homeless street children."--W. Lang on Amazon