' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Mamalita: An adoption book I can't love, a story that isn't for everyone

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Mamalita: An adoption book I can't love, a story that isn't for everyone

Three generations, three blondes
How thoroughly adoptive parents are quick to push aside the thoughts that the children they adopt have other families was brought home last week when an adoptive mother sent me her memoir. At her blog, she wrote that she thought the primary opinion of the general public towards adoption was turning negative, based partly on the article in which First Mother Forum is mentioned as part of the new "anti-adoption" movement. I left a comment; she emailed and sent me her book about adopting from Guatemala, a country with one of the most troubled histories regarding the trafficking of children. I was interested, but immediately on edge because no adoption story coming out of Guatemala is going to be easy for me to stomach. I know too much.

Mamalita, the book, by Jessica O' Dwyer arrives: Cute native girl on the cover with native dress. Okay.

Copy on back cover: "Mamalita is as much a story about the bond between a mother and child as it is about the lengths adoptive parents go to in their quest to bring their children home...."[Emphasis Added]

Whoa! Their child was left on a mountaintop or in a deep forest somewhere and they had to go to great lengths to get her in Guatemala? She was their daughter even before they had her? Already I am having a visceral response--a negative visceral response.

No acknowledgement that maybe the girl had another mother, or even a "tummy mommy" and was born to another mother in another place, before this woman and husband decided that girl was their daughter? Okay, calm down, I told myself, maybe I am being over-sensitive. It's just hyperbolic flap copy, on a book published by a feminist press (that is, a white-female-upper-middle-class press.) But guess who has the first blurb right below that startling (to me) sentence? Re-homer Joyce Maynard:
“Mamalita is the story of a woman's fight to bring home her Guatemalan-born daughter, in the face of huge obstacles. But Jessica O'Dwyer has written more than an adoption story. Her book explores the nature of parenthood—the fierce love and loyalty that makes it possible for us to do more than we ever knew we were capable of, inspired by the presence of more love than we knew we had to give. It's a terrific adventure story with an unlikely heroine who discovers, through her fight for her child, that she is stronger and braver than she ever knew. I was rooting for her all the way through to the book's gripping and deeply moving ending.”
I did wonder if Maynard wrote that blurb before or after she got rid of her two Ethiopian daughters. 

Another blurb is from an adoptive mother who "recommends" it "to anyone involved in adoption." Like, really? Anyone? Like, uh, me, just another middle-class-educated woman like the author and the editor who wrote the back-cover copy? A poor Mayan woman whose daughter lives far away, speaks another language, and will almost unavoidably grow up with a certain disdain for her poor and undoubtedly uneducated mother? Would she recommend the book to her? To my husband, who by default is deeply involved in adoption?To any first mother?

The book apparently takes us into the bowels of how corrupt adoption is in poor countries, as one can learn from the reviews and descriptions. Publisher's Weekly:
 "...one person's experience in the frustratingly convoluted process of adopting from unscrupulous 'facilitators.' O'Dwyer had gone through an early divorce and menopause at age 32 before marrying Tim, a divorced dermatologist over 50. They put together an adoption dossier and found an L.A. agency that promised a quick adoption while cutting the bureaucratic red tape." 
Hmm...they wanted a "quick adoption" without a lot of "red tape." Hmmm. Like, what? Home interviews? Excess paperwork? There was little written about the corruption in adoption then, so their attitude seems to be, What, me worry? They were 44 and 50 when they began the adoption process.

A few pages into the book I discover that she found her daughter's picture on a website promising quickie adoptions from Guatemala (after having moved on from Russia and China) and the minute she saw the picture of a two-month old infant, she saw: "resolve and independence, a born survivor," in the face which convinced her: "Right away, I knew she was my daughter." That is as far as I have read. I have seen pictures of two-month old babies, and I don't know if they exude anything beyond their babyness. Resolve and independence? And of course, right away...she was this woman's daughter the minute she saw her two-month's old "resolve and independence." 

People desperate to have a child talk about "falling in love" with a child behind a picture, the way people fall in "love" with fantasies: a pony when we are little, a baby when we grow up and can't have or own, or don't have as many as we'd like. An adoptive mother who really "gets" what adoption is like, Jay Iyer, says this: "Sorry, O'Dwyer was not connecting with Olivia [the name of the girl she adopted] the human being, she was connecting with a means to fill a void. It is this engineered connection that gives many prospective adoptive parents the tenacity to pursue someone else's child without considering whether the child needs to be moved in the first place."

...whether the child needs to be moved in the first place. Certainly this was not on the mind of O'Dwyer and her husband, a dermatologist. They merely wanted a baby, preferably one that weighed at least seven pounds at birth, one sign of proper development. He also did not want a newborn, unlike many other couples, because potential health risks often reveal themselves after the first month. Okay, I can't blame them, but by now this is beginning to sound like a baby-to-order. Will I read further to find out why the first baby brought to them was not The One in the picture? Or why the "in-country facilitator" they met in a hotel lobby used to work in Romania, another notorious adoption mill that was eventually shut down? Did none of these seem like red flags that something was amiss?

From The New York Times I found that later, long after adopting, O'Dwyer did learn about the depth of the corruption of the adoption process in Guatemala, having read a huge dossier about adoptions there from 1987 to 2010. Not only did she learn of the corruption first-hand during the adoption of her daughter, she has educated herself on the subject, all of which sounded like a good thing. But then she exonerated herself and anyone else who adopted from Guatemala, and by extension, any country where lucre is the motivating factor, and wrote this at the end of her column:
"I now compare parents who adopted from Guatemala with soldiers who served in Vietnam. Soldiers didn’t cause the war, but they were misled into believing it was just. Because of that, history doesn’t blame the soldier.

"It’s time for adoptive parents to stop blaming ourselves."
Call me unusual, but the people who take the blame for being part of a corrupt system--such as adoptive father Prof. David Smolin--are extremely rare. Personally, I have never met anyone who adopted from a poor country owning up to the corruption and child trafficking in those countries, and I know a bunch of people who have adopted from places with big blots on their adoption practices--Nepal, Guatemala, Romania, China. If I bring it up, people look at me as if I am crazy, or just get mad.

But to encourage adoptive parents who adopted from countries where corruption was rampant to compare themselves to the young men who were ordered to go to Vietnam? Who, pray tell me, ordered the thousands and thousands of adoptive parents to go overseas to get a baby because the supply of infants at home was drying up? No one.

But by their silence and acceptance of the adoptions they are party to, they are complicit facilitators themselves in a system so corrupt, so inherently evil that we all ought to be ashamed. By their silence, they are saying...their own adoption is different, and besides, that happened a long time ago, and they love their daughters and it's too late to undo the past and so....Either knowingly or unknowingly, they were--they are--complicit in human trafficking and the corruption of all that adoption is supposed to be about and for: finding homes for children who truly need them.

To her credit, both in writing about the corruption, and in traveling back to Guatemala so that her children (she has both a boy and a girl from Guatemala) have some contact with their mothers (I'm guessing her about her son and his first mother), O'Dwyer has done more than most. But now she seems to seek the approval of others in the adoption community. Her adoptions are what they are, and occurred during the time of much corruption in a country south of the border where the exchange of children infused great amount of cash into a depressingly poor economy. Her current blog post is about the adoptions now stalled there, and she vows "to stand shoulder to shoulder with them until the ordeal for each and every one of their families is over." Presumably that means until these non-Guatemalan families bring "their" children "home."

A recent AP story about the situation states: "Guatemala was once a top source of adopted children for U.S. couples, with more than 4,000 babies adopted each year. The government suspended adoptions by foreigners in 2007 following allegations of fraud and baby theft. The U.N.-created International Commission Against Impunity studied 3,000 adoptions and found falsified paperwork and fake birth certificates in several cases.” Several cases? From other sources, the number appears to be something like half of them.

My approval of O'Dwyer's adoptions and actions is withheld.--lorraine
An Adoptive Parent Won’t Take the Blame
Kidnapped in Guatemala, 'adopted' in America
UN finds irregularities in Guatemalan adoptions--no surprise there
Guatemalan Army Stole Kids for Adoption
Abuse in International Adoption, Part 2 with new commentary
Dark Ages Adoption Spewing over at Huffington Post
When adoptive parents meet the birth mother


  1. If it were not such a sad story, I would have to laugh, if only at the fact that she sent you her memoir. I wonder if she has ever read ANYTHING by you.

  2. Anyone who says they fell in love with a picture does not have the faintest understanding of the love for a child.

  3. I am torn. If the persons really did not know or understand, and if finding out would have been very very difficult, and if their thoughts of being helpful overwhelmed their feelings for the mother-and-baby who were already there, then I'd probably not "blame" them. But for the woman to wish to exonerate those who now, knowingly, would continue this---no, she doesn't "get it" and apparently doesn't dare to. Perhaps she should see the old Argentine film The Official Story, about the adoptive mom who begins to realize her very well-loved daughter may have been the baby of one of the "disappeared." Or perhaps she should read yesterday's SFGate article on a "rented womb" and her family in India and the (Bay Area) couple who go to India to pick the genetically-their baby up, even as the "carrier" goes into labor.

  4. I remember an adoptive mother sending me a book she'd written about her "adoption journey". I threw it in the bin after seeing she'd given the child's mother the title of "BIRTHER"

    I wondered if she'd sent it to me to be offensive or if she was just plain stupid.

  5. Clueless is the best I can go for.

    A friend once lent me "The Brotherhood of Joseph," which ends up being about why the couple went to Russia after a several years of trying to conceive via IVF during the late 30s for the woman. Why Russia? To avoid an open adoption.

  6. Paula: People who adopted when the rush was on in various poor countries really did not look under the table to learn what was going on--because they did not want to, and then they become convinced--because that is what the "facilitators" tell them, that they are saving a baby from a terrible fate. The couple in this book meet a guy in the hotel lobby who was recently working in Romania, and his office appears to be a hotel lobby. Little off, right?

    Who I give great kudos to are the people who thoroughly investigated when they noticed something didn't feel right and then reported it to the authorities. Some couples did. Most did not.

  7. Hi Lorraine, I am OK with attaching my internet "nom-de-plume" to the quote you ascribed to the "adoptive mother" in this post. I am adding this comment to give a bit more of my context.

    When my husband and I began our adoption journey, we were told, repeatedly, that we would just KNOW when we were shown our child. We would take one look and think, "This child is ours" and our hearts would be filled with parental love. You are fed the notion that the instant connection that forms between a parent and a child is identical, regardless of whether the child comes to you through biological birth or through adoption. It is a way to keep prospective adopters moving forward in this business, providing them this reassurance of instant, 100% parental love.

    In my opinion, the truth is that if you, the adoptive parent, can look past your desire and consider this child and where he/she comes from, you begin to understand that this child is not just a cute picture or even an in-person cuddly bundle of joy born to meet your desires, but a unique human being to be nurtured by society (yes, society – we ALL have a vested interest in children, the future of humanity) in the best and most responsible way. Little or grown, this child is his or her own human being, someone with his or her history, personality and identity, someone it takes time to get to know, someone whose interests must always be carefully considered by the village as a whole, someone who deserves more than a “I want that” reaction. How can we be so presumptuous as to look at a picture of a baby on the Internet and say, "That's mine?"

    I will say that the “I want that” problem can sometimes attach to the desires of a natural parent too. We have heard stories of teenagers who crave a being of their own to love, then go on to have a baby. While I understand how that could happen and I feel for the young parents in this situation, it is the wrong decision from a baby’s point of view.

    Anyhow, speaking from my own adoptive parent’s viewpoint, which is all I have as I was not privileged to bring my biological son into the world alive: I believe the idea that an adoptive parent will feel parental love at first sight, just like a biological parent, begins to take shape, especially for couples like my husband and I who struggled with infertility for years before considering adoption, when you yearn for that baby who is yours, all yours, to hold in your arms. The journey has been long and emotionally wrenching thus far, and this idea of instant parental love is readily reinforced, at least subconsciously, by everyone we work with as we move forward towards adoption.

    I am not against adoption. I have an adopted son and I believe that his circumstances made adoption the best choice for him. I suggest, however, that it is much, much healthier to approach the adoption, even when it is necessary, with the understanding that you will treat this child with the respect he/she deserves and you will each get to know each other to facilitate the development of that parent-child connection to the fullest possible extent, so that the CHILD benefits. I remember when I was pregnant with my biological son and was starting to establish a connection with him *in utero*, my mother-in-law said, “Remember, there is a little person in there that you will only start to know after he is born. He will be your son and you will love him – but take the time to get to know him.” I believe her words are even more important in the context of adoption, where your child comes with a family history of his/her own. Let’s not insult that by reducing what we feel for them to the allure of a picture.

  8. Regarding international adoptions, I found them to be too intractable. I did not feel comfortable enough or assured enough about everything being above board to move forward through that route. I am sure not all international adoptions are fishy, I just did not feel comfortable that everything definitely would have been on the up and up.

    I credit Jessica O'Dwyer with her resolve to have some contact with her children's birth families in Guatemala. I also feel that she is sensitive to issues of identity and loss. What bothers me is her willingness to see her adoption through to the end despite encountering clear questions of legality and ethics - and being willing to bribe someone to get her "photo beloved" child. While it appears, thankfully, that her children were not stolen or kidnapped from their families (at least in her daughter's case only found out after the fact), turning the other way in the face of questionable practices is complicit and not something to move past without making some attempt to correct. Here's where I too will give a shout out David Smolin, who along with his wife accepts that responsibility in full.

  9. We are not responsible for what we didn't know, but once we know, we are responsible. This should be the motto of adoptive parents and those who work in the adoption industry. Once you have a slither of doubt about what you are doing or have done, you have an abiding responsibility to become part of the solution, which some may call the anti-adoption movement but which I call justice.

  10. Sorry to interrupt, but back to Dusten and Veronica.

    Let's put the pressure on SC Governor, Nikki Haley, to immediately drop all charges against Dusten Brown. The extradition has been dropped but the custodial interference charge still stands, meaning that Dusten cannot go to South Carolina without being arrested.

    I think Robin and Mrs. Alice Brown should go to SC together as long as Dusten is unable to enter the state. Open adoption, my a$$.


  11. Also, contact South Carolina Attorney General, Alan Wilson.


  12. Personally, I have never met anyone who adopted from a poor country owning up to the corruption and child trafficking in those countries

    Well, okay then. Hi, I'm Alex, and I think I participated in the trafficking of my child.

    You're welcome to email me for a review copy of my book, which you will probably also think is contemptible, just for different reasons.

    The unpalatable truth is that the corruption is hidden very carefully from APs until after the transaction, because that's how the financial interests of the people who bought and sold my kid are promoted.

  13. I guess we haven't met, although I've been reading your blog for some time.

    "Personally, I have never met anyone who adopted from a poor country owning up to the corruption and child trafficking in those countries..."

    My child was laundered and perhaps bought for adoption. Over 1800 other children adopted from Cambodia had their identities laundered, perhaps to streamline the adoption businesses working there and sometimes to cover up far worse crimes.

    Maybe this is easy for me to say because I preferentially chose to adopt a child I was told was orphaned in an extremely poor country. It took 12 years to find out that none of what we were told was true, and that can't really be put down to AP irresponsibility or desperation, at least not in my case. I thought I was doing something ethical, and I thought that because people with nothing to gain from my adoption told me so.

    You're welcome to a review copy of my book, which I'm sure you will find equally clueless, just for different reasons. My guess is that I too don't know what I don't know, but the book is about the process of finding out what we didn't know when we made some irreversable choices about our child's future.

  14. Alex, what's the name of your book?

  15. One of the things I appreciate about hearing other people’s viewpoints on adoption is that I always learn something. That’s why I read many books, articles, and blogs about adoption, including yours, Lorraine, and the reason why I sent you my memoir, Mamalita.

    Please allow me to clarify an important point you bring up in your discussion. You stress that the story of a child’s life begins before an adoptive parent ever appears. I agree 100 percent. In fact, I feel so strongly about this subject that in many scenes throughout Mamalita, I reflect, deeply, on the indelible imprint made on my daughter’s life by her first mother. Indeed, one of the themes throughout the narrative is my awareness that while I “gained” a daughter, my daughter’s birth mother "lost" one, and the absolute and profound complexity of that.

    For the past five years, we’ve maintained ongoing contact with my daughter’s extended family in Guatemala, and visit annually. Recently, we’ve met my son’s birth family as well. One of the reasons I wrote Mamalita is because I view these relationships as vital to the well-being of my children and their birth families, and to encourage other internationally adoptive families to consider opening their adoptions. This is a perfect example of how members of the community learn from one another. By reading essays and memoirs by adults who are adopted, I came to understand how critical it is for a person to feel the wholeness that comes by knowing her origins: who gave her life, who shares her blood.

    I appreciate being part of a community where we can share our views openly and without fear. I learn best is by hearing the thoughts and feelings of others. Thank you.

  16. David Smolin is an important and influential adoptive parent advocate for reform but his is not a lone voice in the wilderness. There are others who adopted from poor countries who have written about the corruption that is too often part of the process. These are all people who have faced up to the possibility that their own adopted children may have been trafficked and they have gone to great lengths to find their natural families. I call that taking responsibility.
    Brian Stuy of Research China (he has busted more than a few myths), Jessica Pegis (whose blog O Solo Mama Kathryn describes in The Child Catchers as "influential"), Malinda Seymour who wrote the informative blog Adoption Talk - and Julia Rollings who, when she read that the person who had arranged her children's adoption was corrupt, followed up on that information and discovered that they had indeed been stolen (by their own father) and subsequently trafficked. She facilitated her kid's reunions.
    Also PEAR, run by concerned adoptive parents and which features some of the poorer countries as part of their reform mission.

  17. There are undoubtedly even more people who are aware of the child trafficking that brought them their children than you mention; thank you for including them here. We try to be reportorial and fair, but our time and resources are limited.

    As for O Solo Mama, it may have been "influential" when Joyce was researching her book, but the blog was totally taken down long before "The Child Catchers" was published, and none of it exists anymore, so its influence is gone, and Pegis is no longer a voice. Pegis used to comment here also but no longer does.

    For someone as totally informed as you are, I am sorry that you did not leave your name.

    Yes, there are others who are aware of the corruption, and have spoken out about it, but considering the thousands and thousands of people who adopted from one poor country after another, they constitute such a teeny minority--certainly less than .001 percent. It has not been my experience to know any of them among the adoptive parents in my extended circle of acquaintances. As I said, bring it up, and they don't want to hear.

  18. I am learning a lot from this blog post and from the informative comments by adoptive parents who chose international adoption.

    Alex King, if you are the same person who adopted a little girl from Cambodia, your story intrigues me. I have not read your book, but it appears you never would have suspected there was possible corruption, baby selling and more involved in your adoption. Many adoptive parents, myself (and I am sure Jessica O'Dwyer as well) included, often are completely naive when we begin this journey. However, when we do find out about practices that do not seem right, it is incumbent upon us to disengage from them. If it is too late, then we reform our attitudes and try to inform others so the practices can disappear over time.

    Jessica O'Dwyer, I think it is clear that you are a voice for opening up international adoptions. I also think you embrace and educate others about issues of identity and loss in adoption. What I don't buy is your story being described as one of fierce love and a bond between a mother and a daughter. It was pure desire, fueled by a void and a cute photo, that led you to travel to Guatemala and to ignore questionable practices in that quest. In general, the selling of adoption stories as motivated by some sort of higher, more noble love is just as unpalatable to me as vulnerable birth parents being told their love is more selfless when they choose an adoptive placement for their child.

    I will be the first to admit that when my husband and I chose adoption, it was because we wanted a child. If, as a result of our desire, a child in need of a home got one, all the better - but it was our desire to get a child that began the journey. I feel re-educated in many ways now, thanks to some unexpected experiences, but I'd be lying if I called my journey altruistic or exemplary of parental devotion.

  19. Jay Iyler -

    You assume love and desire are not complicated, intertwined, and complicit feelings.

    Love is not a state to take lightly, nor do I assume that those who love do so with benevolent outcome or even with benevolent intent.

    And that goes for everyone, myself included.

  20. Dear Jay Iyer:

    In 2002, when we started our daughter’s adoption, Guatemala allowed adoptive parents to visit as often as they wished. I held my daughter for the first time when she was four months old. Following that first visit, I flew to Guatemala for a long weekend every month for nearly a year. When my daughter was 15 months old, I quit my job, rented a house in Guatemala and fostered my daughter for six months, until her adoption was final. Was my original motive to adopt driven by the selfish desire to parent a child? Yes, absolutely yes. But from the time she was four months old, my daughter was not an abstraction to me. She was a living, breathing human being. Yes, I loved her. And yes, my love was, and is, fierce.

    As for being aware of corruption and responding to it. Like many adoptive parents, especially 11 years ago in 2002, we started out knowing only information that was readily available to adoptive parents. That is, every little. Moreover, we naively assumed everyone involved in adoption was kind and good and law-abiding. As time passed, we realized how greedy the players were, and how skilled they were at manipulating emotions. As I describe in my book, we pleaded with the US Embassy and haunted official offices in Guatemala, trying to understand the process. For us, it wasn’t that details didn’t add up, or that we suspected my daughter’s file contained untrue information. Our problem was that bureaucrats along the way requested more money, and refused to proceed without it. The response from US officials was, “This is a Guatemalan problem. We can’t interfere.” The response from Guatemalan officials was, “This is Guatemala. Things are different here.”

    With all that, I still didn’t understand the depth and magnitude of official corruption in Guatemala until I read Erin Siegal’s compilation of official documents from the files of the US Embassy titled “The U.S. Embassy Cables: Adoption Fraud in Guatemala 1987-2010.” The book details systemic corruption in all levels of government in Guatemala, including adoption. I recommend reading it to anyone who needs proof that corruption exists.

    I agree with Anonymous who said many, many adoptive parents are aware of corruption and do what they can to speak against it. We have ongoing contact with our children’s birth parents and know that adoption was their choice. I’m not sure how I would respond if I knew otherwise, and am grateful I don’t need to make that decision.

  21. Thanks, Jessica, for taking the time to write out a thoughtful reply. From this blog post and ensuing discussion I really have learned a lot more than I previously knew about how international adoption works.

    Regarding the love for a child, developing those feelings once you have met and held a child is easier for me to understand than a photo inspiring those emotions, although I confess I am skeptical about instantaneous (first meeting) parental love.

    Anon at 1:44 PM, good points about love and desire. From my perspective, I strive to separate the two, especially when it comes to my feelings toward my son. I want the love I feel for my son to be as weighted toward his benefit and as far removed from my desires as possible, because he deserves that. This doesn't mean I always (or even most of the time) accomplish my goal.

    My father's philosophy when raising us was to love with all his heart while minimizing desires of/for your child because desire leads to expectations and you don't want to burden your child with your expectations. I try to do the same with my son, but not always successfully.

  22. From what Jessica writes it seems that adopting her daughter was done ethically. The only thing missing in this adoption narrative is the natural mother's accounting of the circumstances, and players in the story. Would really love to hear her side of it as well before I make an opinion.

  23. If anyone cared to find out, corruption was obvious in international adoption. All people had to do was some investigating before they rushed abroad to get a baby, and in some cases--maybe not Jessica's--it was done to avoid an open adoption and not have to wait in this country. People who are desperate for a child do not ask a lot of questions. If they did, there would be thousands of fewer adoptions from countries where money talks and produces children. Let's start with Korea. Then China. More onto Romania. Guatemala. Russia. Vietnam. Now, African nations.

    Cast a cold eye is my motto.

  24. Alex King:

    We do have an email address that is plainly visible in the sidebar. We actually get quite a bit of email.


  25. It's hard to believe that someone would pay bribes and not be aware that something was not right.

    It's also a sad commentary on American chauvinism that adopters believed that mothers with darker skin would cast their infants aside willy-nilly without even providing identifying information for them.

  26. Viktoria, you said if anyone cared to find out, corruption was obvious in international adoption.

    Pray tell us, when did it become obvious and to whom?
    It can't have been obvious to David and Desiree Smolin in 1998.

  27. http://abcnews.go.com/International/story?id=4823713&page=2

    From an interview with Desiree Smolin, given in May 2008:
    "We talked to a lot of people and found a well-respected agency. We thought we asked all the right questions. In the nine months it took for the adoption to be completed there were some things that worried us. In retrospect, had we known more about how international adoptions work, we would have put the brakes on. We thought only ethical adoption agencies could be in business and we thought they had checked out everything. We had faith in the system" she said.
    "By the time the girls arrived we knew we had been lied to."

    To other potential adopters of children from abroad she advises "Don't blindly trust your agency. Don't blindly trust the Hague Convention. Do your homework. Dig for dirt. Love your kids."

  28. It's so easy to judge and presume adoptive parents pursuing International born children merely turned a blind eye to meet an end goal.

    Have you ever been presented reams of paperwork in a foreign country, far away from your support network, relying only on the overseas translator and team put into place by your agency?

    Have you stood in a courtroom overseas answering translated questions queried by a judge and prosecutor (translated)for over 4 hours, speaking from your heart, knowing your fate was in the hands of a stranger's whim?

    Many of you believe we should have known their was corruption in IA because we were asked to pay bribes; we encountered brides and threats from the moment we arrived in our child's birth country. Our luggage was held hostage until we gave a "gift" to the customs staff; we witnessed our driver routinely pulled over in traffic giving random "bribes" to police officers as this was common practice. We watched store clerks being given bribes by savvy shoppers to ensure they received actual working products/electronics. I know this is hard for some to imagine, but not every country works within the same ethical framework of America.

    In other words, you can do your due diligence and still be deceived.

    Fortunately we have found our children's birth families and have firsthand knowledge they were legally given up for adoption.

    I am not so quick as others though to judge those less fortunate.

    P.S. We did not adopt from Guat. but it was common practice for Foster Mothers to drop off children to their adoptive families in sometimes very public places like hotel lobbies, etc.; it ensured a measure of security for those involved and was largely dictated by the agency used. Just so you know that that, in and of itself, was not necessarily a red flag. Or would not have been seen as such by adoptive families.

  29. We recognize that people genuinely did not want to believe that the system was as corrupt as it was, or that children were kidnapped, stolen, or bought and sold to fill the many "orders" for children that the Western market was demanding.

    I have traveled in places myself where bribes or tips was how anything was done; but what I read among these comments from those who adopted internationally is a need to exonerate themselves from being the reason such a market existed. I suppose few can admit their desire for a child, repeated thousands of times over, is what fed this awful trade in children. But it was and is delusional to protest that one had no idea that the need for currency in these poor countries, and people willing to supply it in return for an infant, was fueling such a business. Certainly it is comforting to be able to find your children's parents, and know they were given up legally, but the system of moving poor children to "better" families is still a worldwide scandal and practice that turns poor nations into providers of babies for wealthier ones.

    We--fellow blogger Jane and I--come out of the era when shame and current mores pushed us into giving up our children to their detriment, as well as ours. Getting children from a poor country is really no different-- except that now money instead of shame is the motivating factor.

  30. “I have never met anyone who adopted from a poor country owning up to the corruption and child trafficking in those countries.”

    Your average adoptive parent doesn't seem talk much about reform, period, and neither does anyone else. I think we need to start with that as the benchmark. At lunch recently with two long-time colleagues/friends, I remarked that international adoption is largely corrupt and neither one bit or asked why. It just isn't a subject most people are into. It's hard to remember that “adoption” is still something of a stretch for people. We all assume it's been normalized excessively because we think about it regularly, but for many people adoption remains an event totally outside their experience.

    One thing that should be mentioned, however, is that when a-parents are aroused to the corruption rampant in the countries from which they adopted, they are often formidable allies. The Smolins and the Stuys have been mentioned already but what people may not know is that the Stuys—Brian and Lan—have been the *primary* critics of the China adoption program and without their dogged research, we wouldn't know what we know today. Another person who should be mentioned is Richard Boas, who adopted from Korea in 1988 and later founded the Korean Unwed Mothers Support Network.

    As to the general criticism that if money changed hands or if there were bribes of any kind, PAPs must have “known” that something was amiss: it's not quite as simple as that. For example, back in 1997 when my daughter was born, the orphanage fee demanded by China was $3000US. When asked to hand over the fee in cash, most members of my travel group assumed corruption existed in the form of graft, and that probably up to 25% of the money was being skimmed off by Chinese officials. On the other hand, it looked like the money was being used to expand and improve the orphanages and foster care systems, so there really was incentive to fork over. Moreover, it would be naive to think that the system wasn't tainted by corruption when corruption was assumed to be part of nearly every other institution or transaction. However, no PAPs would have concluded that children were being abducted because the idea that orphans had to be manufactured was only advanced much later, around 2005. And in China, it was the `Dying Rooms` era, when it appeared that orphanages could not keep up with the children they were sheltering. It simply wasn't part of the knowledge paradigm. We assumed these children were abandoned, and many were. Talking and thinking about the subject led some a-parents to a deeper understanding of the factors involved in abandonment, and later revelations of child trafficking changed the picture forever.

    It's silly to suggest that adoptive parents never think about the subject or should have known better. Both characterizations are insulting and do not help the cause.

  31. I have found a lot of adoptive parents on-line who discovered corruption after the fact as well as some who did indeed walk away. They encounter the same hate from the prospective and adoptive parent community that adoptees and first mothers do when they speak out. I've watched it happen on forums and blogs where they are told they are traitors, satan lovers (the evangelical adoption movement), that they are horrible people because they got their children, and now don't want others to get theirs. They are shunned, thrown off forums, attacked on their blogs. I think it is even harder at points for them multiple reasons - they have to live with the reality that they are parenting children they shouldn't be, they were party to it even if they didn't know at the time, they have lost their support system, they have failed in preventing more children from being adopted who didn't need adoption. I do understand how they can go into it blind, how they believe what the agency tells them which includes telling them not to listen to others. They also may have gag clauses in their contracts. I just wish others would hear them.

    I have no interest in reading the book because "quick adoption" should have been the first red flag, and adoption has a history of bad illegal adoptions dating back to well before I was born. Even congress did hearing on Black Market adoptions so knowledge of corruption was easy to find at your public library before the internet came along. Now there is no excuse.

  32. JessicaPegis:

    So by your reasoning, and O'Dwyer's and others, adoptive parents who went overseas to get a baby (and thus created the market that led to huge abuses, and continues to) are above criticism because any criticism is merely insulting and doesn't advance the cause? And it's silly to criticize them?

    People are blind because they want to be. People buy incredibly "cheap" good jewelry because the price is unbelievably low, and wonder why, too. But they are not innocent or above criticism.

    It is good to know that people are talking about corruption in international adoption, but as far as one can tell, their numbers are few and far between. I reiterate, I know a lot of adoptive parents in my circle of acquaintances, and when I have brought up this subject I am persona non grata. People think I'm crazy. They don't want to know. I get angry emails from people I know. And yet I will never look at some of their children without wondering who was bribed to get them here. For instance, I am thinking of a particularly beautiful girl of about four from an Asian country other than China who was adopted by a wealthy single woman--a year ago. All I hear about is how beautiful the girl is.

    The Adopted Ones seems to have some knowledge of what happens when this subject is brought up on list serves serving adoptive parents.

  33. JessicaPegis:

    "later revelations of child trafficking changed the picture forever."

    Have they? *Have* they changed the picture forever? Why is there CHIFF, then? Why is there the same rhetoric about "saving orphans" echoing even more loudly? Please provide examples.

    And what's wrong with admitting culpability for something that happened in the past, and then moving towards a new path? If people crossed palms with silver just because "it was the way of the land," it still is clearly corrupt. It doesn't make it right, just a means to the child you want. Saying that you were complicit in corruption and regretting it, as do the Smolins and Stuys is brave. THAT'S what there should be more of. Not regretting the love of a child in your care now, but admitting publicly that questionable choices were made.

    There's no loud chorus of AP voices on the side of adoptees and against the wrongs of international adoption. It's a handful. The same handful.

    Kathryn Joyce still isn't a go-to person in "balanced" discussions about adoption practices.

    Current public discussion is as it's always been, focused on building up the industry, not reforming it, even with the wild "rehoming" abuses.

    I have seen the same things that TAO has. The thoughtful adoptive parents are vilified in forums when they speak out. I do regret that. But there isn't a surge of movement forward towards real reform, not yet.

    Too many PAPs still go in blind. People only see what they want to see: adopt now, repent later. It's the path of least resistance. And as long as they fuel the industry, there won't be change. Change comes when people speak out and question in numbers, and OWN what they did.

    Where's your army?

  34. "So by your reasoning, and O'Dwyer's and others, adoptive parents who went overseas to get a baby (and thus created the market that led to huge abuses, and continues to) are above criticism because any criticism is merely insulting and doesn't advance the cause? And it's silly to criticize them? "

    Lorraine, if you read her comment again, you'll see that Jessica Pegis didn't say that.
    What she said was that "it's silly to suggest that adoptive parents never think about the subject or should have known better."
    As far as knowing better is concerned, we first parents "should" have known better too. After all, even in the face of coercion, we had our natural instincts to guide us. But of course, in our case, we have the excuse that those instincts were overridden.

    You said "It has not been my experience to know any of them among the adoptive parents in my extended circle of acquaintances."
    That's not surprising, especially if they know who you are and what you stand for. It would be unusual them to take personal blame for the international child trafficking racket to your face. I'm sure they would perceive it as an attack and react accordingly.
    In the same way, it would be unusual for first mothers who relinquished because keeping their children would have meant social ostracism or interfered with their education or careers, to acknowledge complete personal blame for relinquishing to some acquaintance who told them it was their choice and they should take the blame for it.
    That has happened to me, and the person's attitude was so black-and-white that I gave her my best "educational" rant. We are now good friends and this woman understands the dynamics behind relinquishment for adoption a whole lot better.
    Honestly, I think that what we have here is a fear of nuance.

    When people travel to countries that are culturally very different from their own, there is room for a lot of cultural confusion. In many countries the concept of baksheesh or its equivalent is deeply embedded. Foreigners often don't recognize the difference between tipping, charitable giving and bribery (sometimes disarmingly presented as a harmless granting of favors). Even Desiree Smolin says that she and her husband only recognized the warning signs in hindsight, after the corruption in international child trafficking was brought home to them in a particularly shocking way.

    I do think it doesn't advance the cause to minimize the fact that only a few people who have adopted from foreign countries speak out about it. Don't underestimate the ripple effect. There are some influential voices out there. You may disagree, but in my opinion they have already making a difference.

    Anon said "But there isn't a surge of movement forward towards real reform, not yet . . . Change comes when people speak out and question in numbers, and OWN what they did."
    You may disagree, but in my opinion slagging and minimizing isn't any way to win support for a cause.

  35. I agree with TAO that there are a lot of adoptive parents on-line who have recognized corruption after the fact, and also that many of these people have been attacked for speaking out about it in much the same way as first parents who speak out. Some have even had to go so far as to withdraw from the on-line community because of abuse or threats to themselves or their families. Some of these attacks have even come from people in the reform community itself, just because they didn't agree on every detail. This is unfortunate because it sets the community against itself, which is exactly what the adoption business machine wants.

    TAO is also correct that there was information out there before the internet (There was also information available about the damage caused to children and families by adoption too, that pregnant women contemplating relinquishment could have accessed), but the fact is that people tend to put their trust in the "professionals", the agencies, rather than go to the library and do their own research.
    Basically, they trusted the "professionals" more than they trusted themselves. "Professionals" like Georgia Tann.
    Come to think of it, Barbara Bisantz Raymond who wrote about Georgia Tann in The Baby Thief is another adoptive parent who has made a difference. Now there's a book worth having on one's bookshelf, alongside Kathryn Joyce's The Child Catchers.

  36. "So by your reasoning, and O'Dwyer's and others, adoptive parents who went overseas to get a baby (and thus created the market that led to huge abuses, and continues to) are above criticism because any criticism is merely insulting and doesn't advance the cause? And it's silly to criticize them?"

    Not sure how that could be concluded from my comment, which focused on your statement that seemed to exclude a-parents as potential allies in international adoption reform. My point was that the record suggests otherwise. Everyday exchanges with people who are not part of the community may not be a good litmus test for who is likely to care or be roused to action (see my first paragraph in original comment). Criticism, especially of institutions, is often helpful. Impugning of motives or assigning to blame to one group in particular usually bombs.

  37. Speaking of minimizing, there was an article circulating about the need for reform and the lack of success in that effort. The reporter concluded:

    "Yet many of those making the appeals admit to frustration, having sounded alarm bells before, and they hold out little hope for prompt, sweeping responses that would strengthen international and domestic adoptions nationwide.

    A key reason is the nature of adoption in America — marked by inconsistent laws, incomplete data and the lack of any central authority. There are no authoritative statistics on the number of adoptions that fail, no reliable source of federal funding for post-adoption services. And there is a multitude of passionate organizations with often diverging views on how to maximize success stories and minimize tragedies."


    It's easy to minimize and say that most adoptions are successful, as did the reporter, when there are no agreed-upon tools for measurement. and if the majority (the public at large) is satisfied with the status quo: "Oh, such sweet orphans, saved from wherever by those lovely APs." People don't feel moved to push for change if it's only a few bad apples. In the larger story, what goes wrong (corruption, rehoming, etc.) are painted as aberrations, to be blamed on unprepared/mentally unstable PAPs, or really troubled adoptees, or whatever: but not the system itself that sucks in both PAPs and children.

    It always helps, moreover, when those with some finger in the pie can admit their part in it. Primary stakeholders (here the PAPs and APs) would likely be most powerful in bringing about change and reform (they are the buying market), but they have to look at themselves, too. If they're willing to adopt from an impoverished economy that relies on baksheesh, then the likelihood for corruption is very, very high. Turning a blind eye to it or saying, "Oh, everyone does it," still doesn't make it right.

  38. "Turning a blind eye to it, or saying "Oh everyone does it, " still doesn't make it right."

    I completely agree. That is why it is important that the efforts of those few APS and PAPS who do acknowledge the corruption inherent in the system should be encouraged and not alienated.

  39. Cops would have a very hard time assigning blame to gangs for gang murders and the like by the reasoning Ms. Pegis suggests. One should criticize the "institution" of gangs but then hold none of the gang members responsible because "What could any individual do?" Pegis's reasoning says criticize the institution, not the individuals, but what is an institution if not made of the people who created it? So, let's attack international adoption with the very few adoptive parents who have adopted internationally and are willing to own up to participating in a corrupt system--but the whole mass of adoptive parents with kids from everywhere can't be criticized, or held responsible, because that does no good and they can't be held responsible because "they didn't know this was going on." They were only doing what every one else was doing, and that is going along, paying the baksheesh and bribes, and coming out of the experience with a baby. That is the same mentality that exonerates the German people who stood silently by and by that participated in you-know-what.

    If there were truly a good number of people talking up the corruption in international adoption, bills like CHIFF wouldn't be in the hopper. Odd that not a single person has left a comment at the next blog post, which is about CHIFF. Where are those adoptive parents who are fighting corruption? It would appear from this very limited example that they are more concerned about not taking any blame than doing anything to stop more corruption elsewhere.

  40. Part of the reason for the lack of response to the blog post abut CHIFF is that it is a little late to the table.

  41. FROM THE LINK Anon provided"
    More recently, articles by the Reuters news agency in September detailed a phenomenon known as "re-homing" in which adoptive parents who've grown frustrated with a child — often one adopted from abroad — arranged through Internet sites for another family to take the child.

    The websites were not regulated by any government authority and the families taking the adopted children were not subject to any screening, in some cases leading to incidents of mistreatment. Advocacy groups are now calling for such child-swapping to be outlawed or subject to oversight by state child-protection workers.

    "It makes you wonder: Is anyone going to want to do adoptions with us?" said Susan Jacobs, the U.S. State Department's special adviser on children's issues and the Obama administration's point person on international adoptions.

    Some adoption advocates worry that the negative developments will result in fewer adoptions — and thus consign more children to lives in foster care or foreign orphanages."

    Here we go all over again. Let's give credit to all those APs who do something, but what are they doing? I don't see that they are making an impact.

  42. "Let's give credit to all those APs who do something, but what are they doing? I don't see that they are making an impact."

    Well, you wouldn't, would you?
    A couple of decades ago few people would have predicted that adoptees and first parents would make any impact. But they have.

  43. I find it a bit more than self serving when adoptiors say that "they didn't know." How could they NOT know? The topic of corruption and fraud in international adoption has been in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Foreign Policy Magazine, Brandeis University, The Harvard Law Review, even TIME magazine for the last six years. Not to mention David Smolin's body of work on this topic.

    How could people not know?

  44. Some adoption advocates worry that the negative developments will result in fewer adoptions — and thus consign more children to lives in foster care or foreign orphanages."

    Some adoption advocates worry that the negative developments will result in fewer adoptions — and thus consign more children to lives with their natural families, BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT ORPHANS WHO NEED TO BE ADOPTED."

    rewrote that to reflect reality

  45. Wow .......what a lot of justification of adoption....of why you adopted..of why your neighbour/friend/acquaintance adopted.......how you lead perfect lives and are far more important than the families of the children you won.....( Typo? own )

    Quote "Our problem was that bureaucrats along the way requested more money, and refused to proceed without it. "............so you obviously paid it and blithely went on your way .......not even a backward glance? or even a twinge of guilt? Not a single thought about what that money was actually paying for?

    I dont believe it when people say " adopters don't think about these things " and then try to justify why they don't think about them? far far easier to stick your head in the sand and ignore the truths that are presented to you on a PLATTER......I am sure you put far more research into buying a fridge than a baby.........because there can be nothing underhand about buying a fridge can there? unless it " fell " off the back of a truck.......unlike a baby.......they have to be taken of the back of the truck......and you wouldn't buy a stolen baby would you? ...well not if you know it was stolen...but then you haven't looked very hard have you?....see where I am going here?

    The whole thing is supply and demand........why dont people own up to being the demand part of the business? If you were not actively looking for a child then some dodgy person would not feel obliged to make a quick quid from you and supply you with one.....any one....doesn't matter where it came from.....no one seems to really care where that child comes from.....they make noises about "visiting annually the country of origin "..........well whoopy do...

    and then this statement......."We have heard stories of teenagers who crave a being of their own to love, then go on to have a baby. While I understand how that could happen and I feel for the young parents in this situation, it is the wrong decision from a baby’s point of view"......from the baby's point of view? huh? why would it be wrong? 2 people have created this child.....they are its parents......they love it........what more do you want? Does the white picket fence and older parents make things perfect......I dont think so....

    another quote "when I was pregnant with my biological son and was starting to establish a connection with him *in utero*," You would do well to remember the child you have taken has already established a bond with its mother...for around 9 months...until its birth when that bond was traumatically broken.

    I mean really duh ......are you all particularly stupid....naive ...or live in a vacuum? Where has this conversation changed in the last 30 years.......I see paps abusing mothers and adoptees daily...I see paps telling other pas....go overseas....then you dont risk a pesky BM showing up.....I see agencies diddling fathers out of their children......I see children advertised on facebook with neat and tidy price tags.....because the ap couldn't handle them......
    Adoption in its present form is wrong.......it is blatant child trafficking...wake up

  46. Jan Louise,

    Unfortunately it is comments like yours that effectively close off all communication between those who adopt and those who lose their children to adoption. Adoption will sometimes be needed. If you disagree, then we must simply agree to disagree.

    Next, if you use people's quotes, please address the person making the statement and use the quote in its proper context. The first quote of mine that you excerpted had to do with a teenager having a baby because she was lonely and desired someone to love. When desire overtakes a child's best interests, regardless of whether that child is biological or adopted, it is the wrong reason to have that child. I stand by my statement.

    The next quote of mine, randomly thrown into your post, had to do with me talking about establishing a connection with my biological son in utero. It had nothing to do with my appreciation of the in utero bond between a "child I have taken," as you word it, and his biological mother. You need to shed the anger and be more cogent if you are hoping for progressive discussion and change.

  47. Kidnap said...
    "The topic of corruption and fraud in international adoption has been in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Foreign Policy Magazine, Brandeis University, The Harvard Law Review, even TIME magazine for the last six years. Not to mention David Smolin's body of work on this topic."
    How could people not know?"

    I fully agree that people who have adopted from abroad over the last few years should have known. If they didn't there was something wrong with them.
    But such was the sales pitch and the faith in adoption as a sacred cow, that most of those who adopted from abroad before that probably didn't even consider the possibility. I knew a couple who adopted twin boys from a Guatemalan convent orphanage in 1983 and I am sure it never entered their heads that their kids might have been trafficked (The chances of that were less in those days, but the possibility was still there)
    The Smolins didn't realize until after the fact and neither did the Rollings.

  48. " I knew a couple who adopted twin boys from a Guatemalan convent orphanage in 1983 and I am sure it never entered their heads that their kids might have been trafficked"

    What American did not know about the Dirty war and the Disappeared Kidsin 1983?

    What American did not know about the babies being smuggled out of China and dying in suitcases?

    In my opinion, what you have here is serious selective perception, driven by emotional need. My question is, should peopel in that condition be adopting, at all?

    We strip women of their children based upon all sorts of fantasies about them as people...but we do not examine adoptors very closely.

    The sheer amount of documented post adoption abuse, and the appaling delusions that spout from adoptors mouths are enough to convince me that the screening has to do with the size of the wallet, and not the mental stability of the adoptor.

    Pre- adoption screening needs to be much, much more meticulous than it is, in order to screen out people who are not dealing with things as they are. There needs to be preadoption psy screening with instruments to determine risk for abuse, violence, and other antisocial behaviors, as well as jus, you know, basic reality testing

  49. "What American did not know about the Dirty War and the Disappeared Kids in 1983?"

    In 1983 the general public belief re. adoption from Guatemala was that these were orphaned or abandoned children whose safety was endangered by the civil war. See Karen Dubinsky: http://www.queensu.ca/research/societies/dubinsky
    Also her book, Babies Without Borders: Adoption and Migration Across the Americas (Toronto: University of Toronto Press and New York: New York University Press, 2010)

    However, as Erin Siegal's investigative report reveals, the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala had evidence that trafficking was going on: http://www.brandeis.edu/investigate/adoption/US-embassy-cables-reveal-adoption-fraud-in-Guatemala.html
    "For the first time, cables between U.S Embassy officials and the U.S State Department provide conclusive evidence that as far back as the 1980s officials with the U.S Embassy in Guatemala communicated with the State Department that Guatemalan children were being bought, sold and kidnapped so that American families, believing the children were orphans, could adopt them."
    The full report is available for download here:

    "What Americans did not know about the babies being smuggled out of China and dying in suitcases?"
    In 1983? It would be most interesting to the see evidence for that.

  50. No sugar coating here. Corruption STARTS with the adopter. Their hearts, souls and minds are corrupt and until they can admit that, they are of little value to stopping it.

    It is corrupt to believe you are entitled to another woman's child. It is corrupt that you do nothing to question how you can preserve a family, village, country. It is corrupt that you exploit others for your own gain. There simply is no other way to look at it. Adopters exploit others to gain a child that they can pretend is their own.

    When adopters can admit they participated in social engineering and human trafficking they are just playing lip service to the idea of corruption. Corruption doesn't start with shady agencies or governments. Corruption starts and ends with adopters. It is the sick and twisted thinking that the world owes you a child that is the problem. Again, not agencies, not governments, not anyone else but the adopter creates corruption.

    It isn't rocket science - this is the law of supply and demand. Adopters and adopters alone are corrupt and anything that follows is directly their fault. Simple. Adopters confess and you may be listened to. Until then, you are the driving force and 100% responsible for it.

    You aren't fooling anyone with the I didn't know speil. You knew you were destroying another extended family to selfishly create your own.

  51. @ Anon Oct. 8, 4:31 PM,
    Are we to assume, from the tone and content of your comment, that you believe that there can never be any circumstances under which a child may be abandoned or in need a secure permanent family?

    If you are willing to accept that as a possibility (however remote), what do you suggest should be done to meet the needs of such children?

  52. Anonymous said: "No sugar coating here. Corruption STARTS with the adopter. Their hearts, souls and minds are corrupt and until they can admit that, they are of little value to stopping it."

    Oh good grief are you serious? That the millions of adoptive parents are all terrible people? Should we assume the same about all first parents (you know because they all have the same title) - because that could look pretty damn ugly as well.

    Your statement offended me, and, angered me.

  53. Did I stutter? Adopters ARE corrupt, in their thinking, hearts and souls. Make no mistake, it takes a narcissistic ego to use whatever means necessary to justify taking another woman's baby. Are there circumstances when a child may need the care of another? Sure, does this mean we treat them as chattel and slaves which is what adoption does? It is the corrupt adopter that thinks YES! Remove them from their culture, heritage, extended family, wipe out their identifying information and slap on new names on the ownership/birth certificate. It is identity theft.

    By the corrupt logic of one of the posters above mothers shouldn't be discouraged from drinking alcohol during pregnancy. It is the same logic - not EVERY child will end up with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Granny drank while pregnant with uncle Billy and he seems ok so what's the problem? The narcissist is incapable of compassion or empathy and will use every excuse they can find to say it wasn't their fault. It is their fault and their's alone. Sorry that I don't mirror your delusion back to you 'the adopted ones'. Could your next argument be that not ALL slave owners were terrible people? SOME were quite nice to their property. It is the same argument.

    If you are an adopter you participated in human trafficking. There is no way around it. You are corrupt. Yes, some awake, repent and ask for forgiveness. Others will spew their garbage and self justify their corruption.

  54. Oh good grief - do you even listen to yourself? Stutter? no, just blown away that someone could be so black and white to be prejudiced against an entire group with no basis in reality.

    no you probably don't listen to yourself...

    you have nice day now...

  55. Anon @ 9:32 am, I think I see your point although most won't even try when they see such an inflammatory diatribe (something for you to think about if you are trying to effect change and not simply vent).

    You believe adoption shouldn't exist at all, although you acknowledge that some children "may need the care of another." That is a rather glib statement to make, without proposing how we would effect such "care." I would like to see you propose a solution for children who need homes, where they grow up with a sense of security, stability and permanency. The way society is currently set up, even legal guardianship rarely provides that stability or gives children who need homes the full set of rights they deserve.

    I have a lovely friend who, while extremely poised on the outside, is deeply tormented on the inside because nobody "wanted" her - not her birth family, nor any of the several foster families she got bounced around in. As a vulnerable 8 year old, she would pray for permanency, for a forever family, and she would ask God why her birth family didn't love her enough to keep her and why none of the foster families loved her enough to adopt her. To this day, she feels "defective" and not lovable. I can tell you that the "care" she received as a child didn't work out very well for her.

  56. Anon,
    I have known many adoptive parents and the overwhelming number are kind and thoughtful. They spent a considerable amount of time exploring adoption as well as a fair amount of money. They truly believed they were doing what was best for the child although their primary reason for adopting was because they wanted a child.

    Narcissistic? No. Misinformed, Yes, frequently. Empathy for the first mother? Mixed, some yes, some no.

    The adoption system is this country is severely flawed. The answer, I believe, is to work with those who want to see adoption done right to make changes in the laws and practices.

  57. I have also met numerous adopters and adoptees that have given first hand experience and the overwhelming majority are narcissistic. If you understand the dynamics of narcissism you would see that they can very often appear kind and sympathetic. This does in no way diminish their narcissism and sense of entitlement to covet other people's children.

    What you clearly fail to understand Jane is that adoption is human trafficking. Could you explain to me how you can have ethical slavery? There is a reason for abolitionists - you can't pretty up human trafficking and the exploitation of women and children. How convenient for you to utterly dismiss the rights of the child. You see, if you actually believe children have rights then you would understand that adoption is never the right thing to do. If they become adults, want to alter their true identity and sever all familial relations with their true family - that's fine. Until then - adoption is social engineering and human trafficking. It is pretty simple. But, hey, you think their is a nice way to pretty up slavery - go for it. Thing is, the slaves will revolt. Not all of them, as there is always a percentage of Stockholm Syndrome sufferers in every trauma but you will be standing on the side of oppression and exploitation, little better than the b mommies. Shame on you.

    Until we can understand that adopters are corrupt there will be little progress. You may argue that society made them that way, etc. but the plain truth is adopters ARE narcissistic and corrupt. There is no other way to convince yourself that you have the right to destroy families, villages, countries and take children to pretend they are your own.

    Perhaps you can take comfort that North American women are less likely to lose their children to adoption and instead we've placed the burden on our sisters overseas. I don't.

  58. @ Jane

    You said "They truly believed what they were doing was best for the child although their primary reason for adopting was because they wanted a child"

    Adopting primarily out of charity would be rather creepy though, don't you think? I think wanting a child isn't all bad, so long as the adopter doesn't conspire to get a child who could with a little help be raised by the biological parents.
    Also not all adopters pay large amounts of money to adopt.



COMMENTS ARE MODERATED. Our blog, our decision whether to publish.

We cannot edit or change the comment in any way. Entire comment published is in full as written. If you wish to change a comment afterward, you must rewrite the entire comment.

We DO NOT post comments that consist of nothing more than a link and the admonition to go there.