Let’s play a little word association. Remember how that works? I say (type) a word, and you think about all the things that come to mind.
The first word is: Adoption.
Cue Jeopardy music.
If you’re like most middle/upper class Americans, the thought of adoption fills your heart with joy. You think about poor needy children going home to families that can provide a better life for them. You think about birth parents that were either given a tough hand at life or were just too irresponsible to raise kids. You think about adoptive parents as kind, loving, big-hearted people that make great sacrifices to help children in need.
The second words are: Child Trafficking.
If you’re like me, your mind is filled with the opposite images it just thought of in relation to adoption. You think of foreign countries with loose laws. You think of innocent children going through things no child should even have to think about, let alone have to go through, ever. You think of dark places, evil people. You think of hell.
Adoption and Child Trafficking. Should be miles and miles apart.
But they’re not. Way too often, children are trafficked so that they can be adopted. The people that adopt these trafficked children are not dark, cold, evil. They are kind, loving, big-hearted, good-intentioned. But they are ignorant.
48 Hours on CBS did a special this weekend on corruption in international adoption. You can watch it here. If you are considering international adoption yourself, this is a must see. Given our current situation this was a really riveting show.
In a future post I’m going to talk about why we are quite sure our children are not victims of trafficking and what measures we are taking to make that absolutely, 100% positive sure. Child trafficking does exist. It exists in Ethiopian adoptions. It is not a matter we take lightly at all and we could never live with ourselves if we found we were playing any part in that. But I’ll get more to that in a few days.
Today I just want to talk about what a sad world we live in.
How does trafficking happen?
In order to survive financially, adoption agencies must place kids with families. There are many good adoption agencies that play an essential part in placing the world’s neediest kids with loving families. But there are also many bad agencies. The bad agencies do things like work with “child finders”. These child finders find poor families and lie to them. They tell them they will take care of a child temporarily to relieve a financial burden. Or they tell them their child will go to school. These kids are then handed over to agencies- their families will never see them again. The adoptive families are often told that the child was “abandoned”. They have no idea they were actually kidnapped. In one case covered on the CBS special, they even drugged a pregnant mother, delivered her baby by CSection, then took her baby and gave it to an American agency for adoption. The poor birth mom never even saw her baby.
These things are, unfortunately, not that uncommon in international adoption.
So often people have asked us “I just don’t understand, with all the world’s needy children, why adoption takes so long?”
This is why. When kids are being adopted from countries with poorly run governments and poorly kept records, all efforts must be made to ensure the kids truly have no other option than adoption. The long waits are frustrating for parents, and not great for kids that truly need adopted, but they are necessary to ensure adoptions are ethical.
I’m writing this because we’ve learned so much about foreign adoptions over the past few years and they’re things that need to be discussed. I know several people who read my blog are considering adoption themselves and I feel a responsibility to make sure they know what we’ve learned. Adoption is not always pretty. Next time I’ll share things to look for when looking at adoption agencies, and then I’ll tell you more about our specific case.