' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Refusing to help kids here while trolling for kids abroad

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Refusing to help kids here while trolling for kids abroad

Children in Nogales, AZ facility
About 40,000 accompanied minors and young children with their mothers from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras have crossed our southern borders illegally since October. Another 12,000 have come from Mexico. These children and their mothers, hoping to escape the violence and poverty back home, have been herded into warehouse-like accommodations awaiting reviews by governments officials. They are confronted by angry mobs, demanding they leave immediately.

One might think that the self-styled child savers, those eager to bring poor children from poor countries to the U.S. for adoption, would be bending over backwards to help these would-be immigrants. One would be wrong.
The champions of intercountry adoption, Sen. Mary Landrieu and Harvard Professor Elizabeth Bartholet, are nowhere in sight now that the tired, poor huddled masses of children yearning to breathe free are on our shores.

Adoptive mother Sen Landrieu is the chief sponsor of the Children in Families First Act of 2013 (CHIFF) which would condition aid to poor countries on making their children available for adoption. This appears to be a response to the fact that adoptions from other countries to the United States have dropped from just over 23,000 in 2004 to approximately 7,000 in 2013,  largely due to the closing of adoptions in countries where rampant corruption was the grease that allowed the adoptions, such as Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.* CHIFF is designed to stem the tide and reverse these numbers. The CHIFF Working Group Executive Committee includes the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, the Joint Council for International Children's Services (an umbrella organization for adoption agencies), as well as intercountrty adoption zealots such as Both Ends Burning, the Saddleback Church, and, of course, adoptive mother Elizabeth Bartholt's Child Advocacy Program at Harvard Law School.  CHIFF opponents include some intercountry adoptees and adoptive parents.

Now that unaccompanied children from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras are here, it's clear that while the "child savers" behind CHIFF want to change laws to make it easier to bring children here, they have no interest in devising laws to allow children who are here to stay. These sanctimonious do-gooders are not rushing to the borders to help these children stacked up like logs in warehouses. Of course there's no money in doing so for the billion-dollar adoption industry. Noteworthy is that opponents of immigration argue that those who break our laws to come here should not be allowed to stay, but are silent about illegal activities abroad that bring thousands of children here for adoption. The child savers' end game is usually adoption, and the kids coming here are most likely not adoptable. Not only are they too old to be attractive to those willing to pay $35,000 plus for a foreign infant or toddler, their parents have not surrendered their parental rights.**

The Obama administration has promised to "stem the tide" of accompanied minors while promising "to do right" by these children. It is requesting Congress to appropriate almost $3.7 billion for increased border security, care of unaccompanied minors, and immigration judges. It is also requesting $300 million in aid to Central American countries for controlling their borders and addressing economic and security concerns that may be driving the migration. It is anticipated that most of these immigrants will be returned to their countries.

Congressional leaders have not committed to any course of action whether increased funding or amending immigration laws to allow these "wretched refuse" to remain here. None of the senators and representatives who are pushing for CHIFF have stepped forward on behalf of these children. I suspect that Sen. Landrieu is just thankful that the Department of Homeland Security hasn't shipped them to Louisiana to join the poor children there in foster care. Embracing these foreign children would be a disaster to her re-election campaign.

We at FMF recognize that the U.S. cannot absorb large numbers of poor families in a short period of time. Neither immigration nor adoption can reduce violence and poverty in foreign lands. Those wanting to help--evangelicals, Harvard professors, U.S. Congresspeople, the Obama administration, anyone must work with governments in poor countries to improve conditions there.--jane
*Now that these and other countries have curtailed adoptions, the industry has turned to Africa for children and, of course, corruption soon followed. According to a recent ABC news report, a Georgia adoption agency, One World Adoptions, closed down after state officials suspended its license for ninety days. The state accused the agency of failing to provide documentation that an Ethiopian child was eligible for adoption, providing a prospective adoptive parent with a document which may have contained false information, and forwarding a letter from an attorney to a prospective adoptive family asking for $2,000 to "'motivate public officials to act.'" Georgia Adoption Agency Closing After Suspension

** Some individuals have shown an interest in adopting these children and have contacted Texas adoption agencies according to Abrazo Adoption Associates of San Antonio. Abrazo is encouraging these individuals to consider American children in foster care. There Are No "Alien Children."

Children In Families First
U.S. will 'stem the tide' of illegal immigration, official says 

Senate bill encourages more international adoption
Encouraging intercountry adoptions with hard cash

Finding Fernanda: Two Mothers, One Child, and a Cross-Border Search for Truth  (ABOVE)
By Erin Segal
"Over the last decade, nearly 200,000 children have been adopted into the United States, 25,000 of whom came from Guatemala. Finding Fernanda, a dramatic true story paired with investigative reporting, tells the side-by-side tales of an American woman who adopted a two-year-old girl from Guatemala and the birth mother whose two children were stolen from her. Each woman gradually comes to realize her role in what was one of Guatemala’s most profitable is an overdue, unprecedented look at adoption corruption—and a poignant, riveting human story about the power of hope, faith, and determination."--Amazon

The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption
by Kathryn Joyce
“This intricate investigation of adoption ethics and religion is an incisive, evenhanded corrective to the view of child adoption as benign and salvific….Grim but now downbeat, Joyce’s reporting also indicates signs of hope for reform….This exemplary study deserves a wide audience among all readers involved with adoption, from policymakers to prospective adoptive families.”-Library Journal 


Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal
by Aviva Chomsky
“Professional in her scholarship, Chomsky has written a book that will be relevant to those who do not share her position as well as to those who do.”Publishers Weekly
“Dares to call the [immigration] problem ‘manufactured,’ one that could be solved with the stroke of a pen.”

Ms. Magazine

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"


  1. They don't want to help poor mothers coming from other countries and their children. They want to help THEMSELVES to poor mother's children.

    If nothing is in it for them (being seen as saintly, altrustic do-gooders or satisfying their need to raise a child because they can't have their own), their true colors start showing. What colors, you ask? Cut birth control benefits, subsidized day care, food programs, medical programs, housing programs, et. al. They don't want to know you if you are a poor mother. They only want to know you long enough to snatch your child from you and leave you for dead.

    1. @Sam,

      Just add social mores and everything you wrote pretty much sums up adoption.

  2. It would also be helpful to have both (1) national standards for homestudies + (2) a ban on any and ALL fundraising for adoption.

    It would presumably cost much less than $15,000 - $32,000 to provide the (in all likelihood) short-term financial support to allow a mom to raise her baby... and even if it DID cost that much, the $$ is better spent keeping a little family together!

    It just kills me that SO many irresponsible, unprepared adopters succeed in raising vast sums of money to adopt foreign kids who HAVE FAMILIES and are not in need of a US family.

    The fact that unprepared PAPs like Jennifer Menges often succeed in raising the $15k they need to acquire a Bulgarian non-orphan KILLS me -- and serves only to reinforce reprehensible and horrifically bad behavior!!


    1. Kate,

      I agree 100% keeping mother and baby together is healthier for both. Unhealthy, to separate moms and babies because they don't get on internet to beg for adoption money. If these responsible adopters need money,,,earn it to buy a baby!
      I am against baby buying, selling, and any abuses of children foreign or domestic. I abhor those who adopt and then turn it into a pity party,,,after all they changed all diapers,,,got up nights....I would have cherished each moment with my son. I saw what my son went through even though he had an ok adopted mom she still did not put him first. Always, looking for security...guess that's what happens when your life is about money first and foremost. My life was being with my kids staying home, sacrificing so I could be there. My life would have been so different and better had I not become fodder for an adoption. My son was born 15 months before I was in a marriage. WE could have survived with help of state...oh, yeah welfare, but the weren't going to tell me that I could have it. Instead, my 17 yr old was beaten into ground by helpful adults. I survived, lived, found, reunited and love my son...forever.
      We are "forever" family not faux....made from blood, sweat and tears...

  3. FMF, thank you for writing about this. As an adopted person from another country, I take interest in policies and practices that affect adopted people and their communities and immigrant communities in the US. And like adoption, the media spreads lots of misinformation about immigration, race, US foreign policy. And like adoption, both populations are exploited for other people's gains (family/labor), careers, and wallets/purses. Shameful.

  4. We are trying to find a way to end the endless anonymous comments, which drive many of us crazy. Pick a name! Any name. Choose the NAME/URL selection. You do not need a URL. Your name does not have to be your name IRL though we appreciate those who do, and we understand due to the sensitive nature of our subject, many will prefer to use a nom de plume. Okay with us, but the endless Anons are tiresome for everyone. If you post as "anonymous" you run the risk of not being posted.

    1. Perhaps you can remove the Anonymous option. I have posted as Anonymous, and had no idea it was so irritating and tiresome. I have to say I feel a little attacked for something I had no way of knowing I was even doing wrong.

    2. Ed: I don;t know if you will see this, but if you click the box indicating you want to be notified when there is a response, you will get an email saying so. I am unable to remove the "Anonymous" selection without making it hard to most people to leave a comment. They would have to be "members" of the blog in some fashion, and that seems too exclusionary.

  5. Sometimes, before hitting "publish" I copy my message so that I still have it in case it is somehow erased. This time I didn't...and this time it was lost. So I will grudgingly try to recreate my message, LOL.

    I think some people might be confused by NAME/URL. It is somewhat official-sounding, like the person posting should be coming from a website or blog type-thing. People might not realize that all they have to do is fill in their name, or even nom de plume.

    Also, some people go down the list of choices, not recognize or understand most of them, and finally just settle on the simple solution of clicking on "Anonymous." After all, we have seen Anonymouses that actually put their names at the bottom of their posts.

    Finally, some people might click on NAME/URL and get confused when both options come up together. They might not be sure which one to write in, or if maybe they write in both.

    Of course, I recognize that most of this is in Blogger's hands, not yours. (Speaking of which....I am about to publish this. But this time I will definitely copy and paste first).

    1. Steve:

      That is exactly right, but the endless anonymice make it difficult to follow what is going on. and Jane and I are quite tired of people who want to comment but can't figure out how to do it without being anonymous. If I could shut down that option and not make it difficult for everyone, I would.

    2. 'anonymice' - hehehe!

  6. Lorraine, don't think I told you how much I enjoyed "Blood," the essay by Anthony Brandt you linked a couple of posts back. (I'm on an iPhone or I would provide the link.)

    Please thank Anthony for that simply spiffing piece of writing!

  7. Ladies, thank you so much for sharing your stories as painful as they are. I stumbled across this site and have been totally CONSUMED for days now by reading and learning about the pain of adoption.

    My husband and I have 3 kids and were naively thinking about adoption and just starting to research it. I just thought it was a good and pro-life thing to do. I am totally shocked! Thank you for opening my mind to this. We will not be pursuing an infant adoption for sure now and agree that there needs to be major reforms to the process. YES take the money out of it.

    Maybe an older child or from foster care - but we don't want to bring a dangerous situation to our other children. Will need to research more. Anyway, I just wanted to stop "lurking" and just thank you.

    1. Therese: Thank you so much for your comment! We never know who reads our posts and it is wonderful to hear that you found us and learned more about adoption than most people ever do. Again, thank you for leaving your story here.

    2. @Therese,
      Thank you for your comment. It is heartening to read about someone who is really willing to open her eyes and ears and listen to what we have to say and to not immediately dismiss us as bitter or insist we are anomalies. We can't all be cranks! I commend you.

      Now I have to ask you a favor. Please go and tell everyone you know that adoption is not what people think it is; that it is not the beautiful, wonderful arrangement that most people assume. Tell them that adoption leads to enormous pain for too many people who 'choose' adoption and most of them never see it coming. Tell people that adoption doesn't always lead to a better life for the child, it just leads to a different life (which in some cases is even a worse life). And that adoption comes with a lot of psychological baggage for many (though not all) adoptees.

      Please keep reading and encourage others to let their eyes be open to the truth about adoption, too.

  8. Jane,

    At least for me seeing how vicious you all are it's hard to want to post under any name. I believe if you were more welcoming to others coming from different backgrounds that people would be more willing to post with a name attached to themselves.

    1. Oh give me a break. I read nothing but vicious dehumanization about natural mother/ families all over the internet. How dare we have a voice, eh?

    2. All of you bashing all adoptive parents and lumping them all into the same selfish/rich/etc. category is no different. Just saying.

    3. Actually, that is not true. We have some wonderful adoptive parents--Jay Iyer and Tiffany, 2nd Mom--who read the blog and comment here. If you come back often enough, you will find them. We know not all adoptive parents are not understanding of the great emotional blow it is to be given up for adoption, and that all the love in the world does not quite make up for that initial and intense anguish.

  9. Therese, as a foster parent who adopted from foster care, I was really thrilled to see your post. I am a proponent of fostering - and, only if absolutely necessary, adopting a foster child. I understand your hesitancy in exposing your children to a situation that might be dangerous or otherwise unstable. Also, if a family successfully rehabilitates and is able to reunify with their child, while that is a very satisfying outcome, it could be hard on your children to have to say goodbye to their foster brother/sister. As adults, we are better at processing such losses than our children. Doesn't mean you should not consider this route, it just means you will have to prepare your children for different possibilities.

    With regard to your concerns about possible dangers, I wouldn't worry excessively. If you go this route, before you are placed with a child, insist on obtaining as much information as possible about the family, the child, the dynamic, etc. from the social workers. Ask lots of questions. Let your intuition guide you as well, and if something does not feel right (including if the social worker is not very forthcoming), you can simply say No.

    I will end by suggesting that if you are at all able to find ways to assist a family to stay together, it can be very rewarding - a more satisfying feeling, in some ways, than adopting from foster care. I know of at least a couple of situations that warm my heart. The first one is my former adoptions social worker, now retired and a dear friend. She is helping to raise a teenage boy in her home. While he is still in contact with his parents, there was another family member who was subjecting him to abuse. Getting away from the abuse has really helped this child blossom, while not having to relinquish his family ties. The second situation is a recent one involving my mother. She befriended a little boy in her neighborhood and would help him with his homework from time to time. One day the boy's mother came over and asked my mom, "Will you adopt him? I really don't want this child." Rather a shock to my mother and there is a back story to that, but the current situation is that my mother is helping out a lot with this boy - he stays with her most days and goes home nights and weekends. And his family situation has stabilized with the support my mother is providing.

    Anyhow, regardless of where your journey leads you, Theresa, I wish you well and hope there are children/families who will benefit from your understanding.

  10. I have been lurking here for several months, and it has been an eye opening experience to learn about this dark side of adoption. It is heartbreaking to read all the stories of loss and missed opportunities. My husband and I are in the process of adopting two sisters from foster care, aged 6 ½ and 8 years old. They have been in care for five years, and with my husband and I for two of those years. We are very open with the girls, and they are comfortable discussing their sadness and sense of loss with us. We work hard to be supportive, always speak positively regarding their natural family and while their parents are currently not in a healthy place for visits (drugs and jail), we assure the girls that we will support and facilitate visits when they are ready. I feel very conflicted about my situation when I read this blog. I recognize that this is a forum for first moms and adoptees foremost. In our situation, it’s hard for me to reconcile the anger towards adoptive parents with our situation. It seems as though it is very difficult for adoptees to grow up to be happy and satisfied with their lives, and that there ends up being so much anger towards the adoptive parents. I want so much for our girls to grow up to be well-adjusted and to hopefully have fulfilling relationships with all of their family, including their adoptive one. Our situation is further complicated because the girls have reactive attachment disorder, oppositional defiance disorder, and are so afraid that they will never be adopted and therefore secure in a home with no fear of removal (their parents’ rights have been terminated). Is it wrong for me to hope that we can have a loving, secure adoptive family while leaving room for a relationship with the natural family? I’m truly in earnest, and I appreciate your input. Thanks.

    1. Georgia, We've always had the greatest admiration for folks who adopt children from foster care. We know many fine people who have adopted infants and we are aware that many of these adoptive parents are unaware of the exploitation that goes on.. Our anger is directed at the adoption industry which exists, not to find homes for children who need them, but to make money by finding children for folks who want them.

      Certainly in the situation you describe, adoption is best for these sisters. I hope that the state will give you the help to need to deal with their attachment issues. Yes, you can have a loving, secure adoptive family while leaving room for a relationship with the natural family. In fact, it's more likely you will have a loving secure family if you leave room for e relationship for the natural family. Trying to cut out the birth family can be damaging to the adoptive family.

      Thanks for writing and let us know how it goes.

    2. Georgia wrote: " It seems as though it is very difficult for adoptees to grow up to be happy and satisfied with their lives, and that there ends up being so much anger towards the adoptive parents."

      I don't think that's true, Georgia. I do think that almost any child will have issues (to a lesser or greater degree) with the fact that his or her parents did not step up to the plate and take proper care of them. But if you read the adoptee blogs and comments you will find that the majority of adoptees are very close to and love their adoptive parents very much. Most do go on to build satisfying lives and make whatever peace they can with being adopted. I believe that almost everyone would rather be raised in their own bio-families and for that reason can only support adoption in certain situations.

      It sounds like from your story that adoption really is necessary and a positive step for the sisters. (Btw, sisters should definitely be kept together). Do I think your family will have as easy a time as two sisters raised in a loving original family? No. The girls have already suffered too much trauma and growing up adopted is different than growing up in one's bio family. Just as raising adopted kids is different than raising bio-kids. But from what you write, what they need now is stability and security and it sounds like you and your husband are able and wanting to provide that. Adoption can be the best of a bad situation when it is really warranted.



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