naïve to cultured

with eyes open wide

Let’s Talk About International Child Adoptions

If there is one topic that gets me riled up more than any other, it just might be child adoptions, specifically international child adoptions.

There are many things wrong here:

1. The adopting parents do not understand the full consequences of the adoption. It seems they expect the child to have some culture shock, but otherwise be a perfectly normal Western child. When the child starts misbehaving and acting in unusual and violent ways that the parents don’t know how to manage, they prefer to give the child to another family and wipe their hands clean rather than own up to the fact that this is THEIR child that they willingly adopted and promised to provide and care for as if he or she were their biological child.

2. There is no system in place to help adopting parents when they run into trouble with their adoptive child, which inevitably will occur given the circumstances. There is no post-adoption support. Unfortunately we don’t have statistics on the amount of international adoptions which turn sour (see #3), but we can estimate that it is not a very small number. Therapy is usually “too expensive”, no one else understands why the child is behaving in such a manner (and not responding to typical punishments), they can’t talk to the State or they will be deemed unfit parents, etc.

3. There is no group collecting statistics on the outcome of international adoptions. Nor anyone actively monitoring how the adoption is going (though some countries, such as Russia, routinely follow up). Though apparently when an adoption is finalized in American courts, there should be a State representative following up with the family. Not all adoptions are finalized in American courts and in these instances, no third party is required to follow up on the adoption.

4. The adoption system is broken. International adoption agencies approve families who NEVER should have been approved. They are not provided with any sort of post-adoption support. Essentially all responsibility is in the hands of the new adopting parents once the parents are all signed. When adoptions go wrong and these parents search for new homes for these children, many eventually end up in the U.S. adoption system. There are way too few foster families to take care of all of the orphans in the United States; it’s ludicrous to add international adopted children to the number too.

Of course you feel for the parents in these situations, as you also feel for the children. It’s hard when there are so many misunderstandings through culture, painful pasts, language barriers, etc. One account said the child was physically abusive to other children in the house, urinated on toys, and broke windows. Another child would put spaghetti in his pants pockets, in socks or thrown in hidden places. Clearly these are children who need special care.

But it’s really appalling to me that these parents are so weak. Instead of toughing it out through thick and thin (this is YOUR son or daughter now), they instead seek other adoptive parents to rid them of this “thing” that they no longer want. They say they have “no other option”, but I just can’t believe that.

Personally I think Americans are incredibly naïve and soft. Most of us live comfortably with plenty of money. We always made the right decisions and are reaping the benefits of a perfect life. We are generous and our hearts break for the poor adorable children suffering in orphanages in developing countries. Some of us are infertile and long to have children to raise. We are smart enough to put two and two together… big house + money + big heart = I Can Adopt!

WRONG WRONG WRONG

Is it the adoption agencies’ fault? I would certainly blame them. Are they really so dumb to not realize that these children need special care? That these adopting families have no idea the extent of these children’s psychological problems, simply from their unfortunate circumstances (many from a very very young age)? I need to investigate how these adoption agencies are monitored…

I’m not an expert in this field and I don’t have a sure solution. I think the adoption agencies need to STOP international adoptions and only allow them in very extreme cases where the family is judged on very very strict standards. It’s not a good situation for the family nor the child when an adoption goes bad. Authorities need to do everything in their power to prevent this from happening.

So what about the poor kids in these orphanages all over the world? I would definitely argue that they are not ANY better off here in America being tossed around to multiple families, none of which really cares anything for the child, even less trying to tackle the root cause of the child’s problems.

If America, the world’s great saviour, really wants to lend it’s helping hand, they should focus more on helping these countries develop better orphanages and a better adoption/foster family program in-country. They could put together teams of child psychology experts to work with governments and orphanages (who solicit the help) to create better in-country solutions for these children.

Believe it or not, the United States isn’t the holy grail and is not always the best place for children to be raised.

Reuters Investigates – The Child Exchange.

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This entry was posted on September 18, 2013 by in Women and Children's Rights and tagged .
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