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  #1  
Old 10-29-2008, 12:59 PM
pamcita pamcita is offline
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The Lie We Love: new article on IA ethics

I didn't see a link posted yet for this important, difficult article about the ethics of International Adoption, published in the current issue of the journal 'Foreign Policy,' and which I found through via a yahoo adoption group. The author is a journalist who was herself a PAP in process to adopt a child from Cambodia, just before they shut down in 2001.



"The Lie We Love"




Worth reading, no matter where you're coming from...

-- pamcita
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  #2  
Old 10-29-2008, 02:03 PM
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celticsunshine06 celticsunshine06 is offline
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Wow - that was tough to read. One day our children will hear about these allegations, what will we say? Is there a way to really prove our adoptions were completely ethical? I am interested in hearing other folks' reactions and plans for future conversations with their children.

Peace,
~Eva
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  #3  
Old 10-29-2008, 08:54 PM
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I also saw this article from a Yahoo group. Somewhat unsettling to me. Thanks for sharing.
Amy K, NJ
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  #4  
Old 10-30-2008, 04:11 AM
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Gatos Gatos is offline
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That's an intense article, and the last line is certainly a kick in the gut, to say the very least.

My instinct, of course, is to be defensive. And on that note, here is what I am left wondering:

Does the U.S. (and other countries) provide more than money and opportunities for corruption? I know that many women in Guatemala have no chance of giving their children a better life. I know that the infant mortality rate in Guatemala is staggering. The motivation for a woman to place her child for adoption is desperation to give her child a better life, and, in approximately 50% of the children, life at all after 5 years old. No, they are not orphans. My children were not orphaned. However, I met their mother, and she wanted them to have opportunities. She wanted them to have an education. She told me this.

The term "orphan" is, in part, what is wrong with the system. These children are not orphaned. They are placed for adoption because their parents know exactly what their fate will be if they stay in a country that cannot give gainful employment to them. It will not educate them. It will not give them medical care. And, if they are murdered, it will not even send the police out to look for their killer. Many birthmothers are seeking a way out for their children of a life they have found so unbearably difficult. That is part of the reason why when adoptions shut down in these countries, the available children "disappear". They don't disappear. They live with their parents. And by 5 years old, almost half of them have died.
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  #5  
Old 10-30-2008, 05:06 AM
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bromanchik bromanchik is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatos
The term "orphan" is, in part, what is wrong with the system. These children are not orphaned. They are placed for adoption because their parents know exactly what their fate will be if they stay in a country that cannot give gainful employment to them. It will not educate them. It will not give them medical care. And, if they are murdered, it will not even send the police out to look for their killer. Many birthmothers are seeking a way out for their children of a life they have found so unbearably difficult. That is part of the reason why when adoptions shut down in these countries, the available children "disappear". They don't disappear. They live with their parents. And by 5 years old, almost half of them have died.

First, I would like to know where you got your statistics. I always like to see those numbers myself.

Secondly, the author did not say that there were not legitimate adoptions, but that the system does breed corruption. She gave enough examples of it. Do you believe that these examples were fabricated?

BTW, I work with the "working poor". Many of the people I work with cannot find medical care or gainful employment. I know a family of six trying to live off minimum wage. One in 4 children in the US are living below the poverty line. The problems you cite are happening in communities all over the US too.
The Anne Casey Foundation put together the following from statistics gathered by the US government.

"The following statistics, based on information presented in the Data Book, describe what happened in a typical day in 2001 (except where noted).
• 846 low-birthweight babies were born
• 76 infants (under age 1) died
• 33 children ages 1–14 died
• 18 teens died from accidents
• 5 teens died from homicide
• 4 teens committed suicide
• Almost 400 children were born to females
ages 15–17
• In an average day, between 2000 and 2002, 750
children were added to the poverty population
• In an average day, between 2000 and 2002, 1,680
children were added to the count of families where
no parent has full-time, year-round employment.

The US has the highest number of children living in poverty among "First World" nations. Social assistance programs account for 2% of the US budget. Yet, in the US, it is considered unethical for a child to be separated from his or her family only for financial reasons. People in adoption reform are fighting to increase options to woman in crisis.

While I respect your children's birthmom's decision, I find it horrible that she had to make it. It reminds me of a remark one adoptee had when his adoptive mom told him that his birthmother placed him because she did not have enough mo ney to raise him. He said, "Why didn't you just give her some money?"
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Last edited by bromanchik : 10-30-2008 at 05:09 AM.
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  #6  
Old 10-30-2008, 05:37 AM
hscott hscott is offline
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There are so few infants in orphanages at this point because they have been adopted before they got to that point. Without international adoption, I guess everyone will really get to see how many infants end up in orphanages or on the streets. Then the true value of international adoption will be shown.

I agree that the fees and the money exchanged are out of hand, and that there has been corruption, but to say there will be no infant children abandoned now that there are no IAs is just dilusional.

Heather
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  #7  
Old 10-30-2008, 06:02 AM
jose'smom jose'smom is offline
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I agree that there is corruption and changes need to be made but I also agree with Gatos about using the term "orphan". In the US, adoptions are legal and no one questions a woman placing a baby at birth by making an adoption plan rather than trying to keep the child in the home as long as possible. Why is it that when a mother in a foreign country makes an adoption plan, it becomes scrutinized? Well, I know part of the reason is due to $ and that is sad but the reality is that if the woman makes an adoption plan and places her child for adoption, the likelihood of the child being adopted in-country is not very high and therefore, the child will be adopted through IA. And I know that many people have issues with women placing their children for adoption simply due to poverty but unless you live in that poverty it is difficult to understand. Yes, we have poverty in the US but it is NOT the same. We also have many programs in place to help families stay together and to help mothers care for their children. I dare say Guatemala has no programs that even remotely compare. There is a need for change but at the same time, I think we need to give both sides a fair understanding. JMO.
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  #8  
Old 10-30-2008, 06:07 AM
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cbmstephanie cbmstephanie is offline
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Don't women in the US create adoption plans for their children for several reasons:

1) Because they are young
2) Because they are not financially able to care for a child
3) Because they want their child to have a better life than they are able to give him or her
4) Because they are not married and they want their child raised in a 2 parent home

I fail to see why these reasons are viable and honorable in the US and yet they are deemed to be not viable reasons for an IA adoption.
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  #9  
Old 10-30-2008, 06:12 AM
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I find it interesting that opponents of international adoption always seize on the cry "They aren't REALLY orphans. Their families are just poor!" Then they suggest that the truly socially responsible thing to do is to just 'throw money at the problem' -- support a poor family instead of adopting a poor family's child.
No one ever suggests that the children adopted domestically are not orphans either. They are from foster care (where presumably the government has already 'thrown money' at the problem to enable the parents to take classes, finish their education, etc.) or they are signed over by single mothers who feel unable to parent despite the large number of available government assistance programs.
So maybe they should re-film the ending of Juno and instead of a loving couple taking the baby into their home, they could just pay the daycare bills while Juno finishes High School and maybe the tuition when she goes to college. They could use all the money they would have lavished on their baby to buy Juno a car and put a down payment on her first apartment. By the time her child was six or seven, she would be financially ready to be a parent. Wouldn't that be so much better? (Sarcasm intended.)
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  #10  
Old 10-30-2008, 09:30 AM
KarynB KarynB is offline
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Hello,

Can someone repost the link for me - I'd love to read the article but either the link is broken or I can't access it for some reason. Thanks!
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  #11  
Old 10-30-2008, 10:04 AM
Melissa M Melissa M is offline
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"The Lie We Love"..seriously..who would love to learn that the child they adopted was done unethically.

Melissa
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  #12  
Old 10-30-2008, 10:10 AM
Melissa M Melissa M is offline
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Quote, "Secondly, the author did not say that there were not legitimate adoptions, but that the system does breed corruption. She gave enough examples of it. Do you believe that these examples were fabricated?"



True, she didn't say that there weren't legitimate adoptions but she didn't focus on it or give any examples. I believe there are corrupt adoptions but were were the statistics of legitimate adoptions compared to the unethical adoptions??? This article leads the reader to believe that the majority of IA are corrupt.

Melissa
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  #13  
Old 10-30-2008, 10:24 AM
SKL SKL is offline
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I haven't read the linked article, but having been on this board for nearly two years now, I've seen a number of articles showing the extreme bad side of IA.

I do not deny that the extreme bad side exists. However, my concern is that it may be overgeneralized. And this does a lot more harm than good.

The more upsetting a story is, the more important it is to present it in a balanced way.

As far as any theory that suggests relinquishments by poor women are less valid than those by women of means, I find that insulting to everyone in the adoption triad of every adoption. Especially to poor birth mothers, who, by that logic, have no right to choose this avenue for any reason; because they are poor, both they and their children must become still more poor.
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  #14  
Old 10-30-2008, 01:43 PM
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As a parent, my job is not to "fix" third world economies to make it possible for women to take care of children they cannot afford - and that likely may die from malnourishment or preventable illness.

I am a mom. There are governments to take care of those issues. I will not apologize for adopting my child. Could the process by which she came into my home have been better? Duh, yes. But I do not lose ONE wink of sleep at night. Because my child is LOVED. She is happy. And she is ALIVE. The first two I assume she would have been had she stayed with ehr birth family, but the last one - I don't know.

So while it's great and wonderful to read these kinds of articles, I'm not running for President. Or looking to get appointed to the UN, or sit on the board of the World Bank. Or the Hague Committee.

Nope. I'm just a mom. And I will never apologize for how my daughter came into our family - and I don't care how much I get flamed, because it's not ADOPTIVE PARENT'S responsibility to "fix" the system. It's not.
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  #15  
Old 10-30-2008, 04:53 PM
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This is hard because I do agree with reform in the international adoption world. I hope that the Hague will bring some of this reform while still allowing children to be adopted.

That said, my children were born in Kazakhstan, not mentioned in the article but a country where lots of Americans and Europeans are now adopting from. Having spent months (yes months) in 2005 and 2007 in an orphanage in Kazakhstan I saw A LOT of infants. Not all were healthy and more importantly not all were available for adoption, but there were A LOT that were available. My travel partners adopted two toddlers that had been available for adoption since infancy but had never been adopted. I worry about the author's use of the word "majority" in her article.

I have one child that was born to a teenage mother, I have the hospital records and a letter from her to prove it, her family disowned her unless she put the baby up for adoption, at 15 she didn't have a lot of other options. I unfortunately have another child that came into care under sad circumstances and I have a police report and hospital records to prove that.
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