Playing Fly Away Children

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from: abc.net.au

Since Angelina Jolie adopted her daughter Zahara in 2005, the number of Americans adopting Ethiopian children has quadrupled.

A pop-media obsession with celebrities adopting children in Africa has resulted in a queue of adopting foreigners dealing with opportunistic adoption agents in operating in a regulatory vaccuum. In Ethiopia - and beyond - its creating a heartbreaking mess.

International adoptions may seem like an ideal solution to the dreadful deprivation among the young in Ethiopia and the often impossible circumstances confronting parents trying to feed and raise their children.

The reality though, is far from ideal.

Some adopting parents suspect or discover the new child they’ve taken in is not an orphan as they’d been assured. The child may also have a litany of health problems that has been covered up by corrupt officials.

Also many ‘relinquishing’ Ethiopian parents or carers may have been duped into giving up their children through a heartless process called ‘harvesting’ and can’t hope to re-establish contact with them.

Ethiopia has 5 million orphans needing homes and the United States has millions of homes needing babies. Africa Correspondent Andrew Geoghegan and producer Mary Ann Jolley, discover it’s not a simple mathematical equation or zero sum game. There are virtually no government regulations or policing of the process. Many international adoption agencies flashing Christian credentials are taking advantage of the situation. Corruption, fraud and deception are rife.

Foreign Correspondent follows a Florida couple in their mid fifties as they travel to the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, to pick up their three adopted children, aged three, four and six. It’s a gut wrenching moment when they meet the birth mother who has come to the orphanage to say a final goodbye to her children. This transaction appears above board but it’s all too common for Ethiopian parents to give up their children for international adoption after being coerced by adoption agencies.

Foreign Correspondent investigates the activities of one of the biggest American agencies operating in Ethiopia. In a remote village in the country’s south, the agency openly recruits children with parents. Each child offered for adoption is then filmed for a DVD catalogue which in turn is shipped out to potential adoptive parents.

A world away in California a mother of one - looking for a brother for her son - chooses from a CWA DVD catalogue. The agency’s sales pitch promised a healthy, abandoned child, but that could not have been further from the truth. Her story is tragic and disturbing and exposes the callousness of the profit oriented international adoption business

A group of grieving mothers who have given up their children for international adoption gather at an orphanage to tell their stories. All claim they were told by adoption agencies they would receive regular information about the whereabouts and wellbeing of their children, but have heard nothing.

It’s a thought-provoking edition of Foreign Correspondent and a must watch for anyone considering adopting a child from another country or who has celebrated the apparent social consciousness of Hollywood A-listers.

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"I would never have brought home a child who had a mom"

"Never". [Spoken part within the first minute of the video]

But many do... and these adoptive parents keep these children, too.

Many adoption agencies set-up camp in specific areas of the world with a single purpose.  Their job is to sell/transfer children from those without (a spouse or money) to those who have said tangible "things".  The message being sent is clear:  Parents with "less" are not as good as those who have "more".  This sales-tactic takes place in foreign countries, where clear effective communication is limited (at best) and this sales-tactic takes place in America.  [See Demons of Adoption Awards, and how many agencies nominated promote maternal relinquishment.]

Such is the working practice of "saving orphans" through adoption.  Orphans, who have fathers and mothers and other extended family members, are being sent to America, (and other areas of the world), because it's become a Christian Belief that God has called people to adopt.

The cultural practices of separating mother and child though adoption MUST change.  [After all, what did Mary choose to do with her son, Jesus?  She agreed to flee with Joseph, (the man chosen for her), so she could keep her child.]

If only more Christians would work to keep families together and help them become strong.  If only more Christians would not think harvesting children, for their own reasons and purpose, was what God really wants Man to do.   If only more people would GIVE, and not TAKE.

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As an imported adoptee, (who had two living parents from two very large families),  I believe it's critically important to know our own roots, as it relates to the Family Tree the adoption industry has issued itself.  For many of us "foreign" adoptees, we were not brutally abused or neglected by "bad parents".  For many of us, we were not "left" with no living family.  In many cases our mothers and father (and extended family members) needed help, and that help came with a very high price.

Some of us got lucky through adoption.  Some of us got thrown to the wolves.

It just so happens as celebrity adoptions are being celebrated, another celebration is taking a place in various parts of the world.  This celebration of Life is being shared by those who did not see the whole truth behind the young and developing "Christian" adoption system. [They were blinded by "faith" and did not know how many were being deceived.] Below are bits and pieces of a featured story that features quilts, family, and history:

To deal with growing poverty rates at the time, European governments felt the best option was to remove children from their homes and send them to Canada -- some were adopted, but nine out of 10 became indentured servants, said museum curator Penny Morningstar.

In other words, the answer to a growing poverty rate was: send/sell the children away.  So private/religious groups, charities and organizations were created.  One such leading pioneer in child placement was Barnardo.

"The people who ran these organizations, I'm sure in their heart they felt they were doing the right thing ... but when you have that many children under your care, things can go wrong and things did go wrong."

"All these promises were made," she said

Promises were made, as there were documents to create and keep.

A lot of those documents about the families would report things like the family was worthless or drunkards. Whether it was true or used by the agencies to justify their actions, no one will ever known for sure, she said.

Many of the children came from large families.

It isn't hard to image a single mother with 13 or 16 children being convinced by authorities to give up some of her children with promises for a better future.

Most, said Morningstar, likely thought this was a short-term solution and probably didn't realize they may never see their child again.

Problems began to arise.

Some children, she said, were returned to the agencies by the temporary families.

"It's really heartbreaking when you see the letters. Some of the reasons they were returned was too shy, too weak, too fragile.

"Of course they are, they are six, seven or eight years old, not from here, without any family. Can you imagine being these children and never knowing if they were going to see their families again? It just shows you the strength of the human spirit."

Today, such problems and issues come with a label that says that child has an attachment disorder!  [Quick!  Call the adoption authorities!]  See:  Some adoption specialists spew misinformation.  Meanwhile, I strongly recommend readers refer to The Ryan Report, and learn how "good" the care was given to children, as it was given in the name of God.

While their childhoods may have been difficult, many of those British Home Children grew up, married, had children of their own and became productive citizens, she said.

"They may have never talked about being a British home child."

Through her interviews, Morningstar asked families if their loved one ever held resentment or anger because of their childhood.

All of them, she said, answered a resounding no.

Some, she said, were lucky enough later in life to travel back home and see relatives, like their siblings for the first time in years.

Some were lucky, indeed.  Those who were not "so lucky" knew better than to speak the truth.  Who would believe the stories of an unwanted bastard, anyway?  [We all knew and know our place.]

For those who want to read the story about a museum's tribute to the children who got sent away to have a "better life", by all means, please read the entire article, "Not our best moment in history"

For those who think international adoption practices have greatly improved since the 1800's PLEASE think again!

 

This is so shameful and sickening!

I watched the video a few times and want to share some of my thoughts, because I am still in awe and in a state of utter disbelief.

I was aghast to see how mothers are lied to by these adoption agencies and how the adoptive parents are lied to about the existing health problems their adopted children have. From an ethical stand-point, I have a few questions maybe someone can answer. What if the adoptive parents don't have the medical coverage needed to care for these children they adopt? Are they at all prepared by the adoption agencies that the children they are receiving may be severely ill and require a life-time of very expensive medicine? If an adopting couple says they do not want a sickly child, is that request honored? And why are these birth mothers not given the updated information they were promised by the adoption agency? The least an agency can do is live up to it's promise to a suffering mother. (Did anyone else see that poor mother's face when she learned the adoption agency she trusted went bankrupt!).

In addition, I was rather disturbed by the way harvesting was exampled. I saw in the video the one adoption agency worker telling a group of gathered families, those parents who want to send their children to America are to stay, those who don't want to send their children to America are to leave. Who is translating all this information to these parents so they understand once those children leave, they may never hear about or from those children again? It looks very obvious to me the kids and parents have no idea what the white lady is saying to them or into the camera. It saddens me to think the parents think if the kids look like good students, they will get chosen by a good American family and go to a good American school. Do these poor folks have any idea they are auditioning for people looking for children so they can fill their almost empty house? This is absolutely crazy! For all these Ethiopian parents know, the woman on the video could be saying "this child is an orphan who needs a family and a home", while the mother is probably standing right there, wishing she had more help raising her sick child with CP! It's a travesty. I never knew this is how some adoptions are created. I always thought children with no families needed homes because their parents died from AIDS or were killed in wars. I never knew children were recruited and sold through a third-party like this. I'm disgusted.

The adoption agencies featured in this video, are they considered respectable ethical agencies by those choosing to adopt and if not, have they since been shut-down?

But I'm not done. As bad as the adoption lady was and as bad as it was seeing the mothers talk about their regret, the absolute worst for me, was seeing the abject poverty on the streets, then seeing the hotel the visiting foreigners are in, and listening to the amount of money these adoptions generate for this poor country. This basically says the Ethiopian government is making millions of dollars a year by selling lies to foreigners, and loving it because it brings more business and revenue. Fancy hotels are being built so the many foreigners visiting for just a few days have a decent place to stay. And when the paying visitors leave, they're taking away one or more of the children being sold at the orphanages, almost like keep-sake souvenirs, but with hidden medical problems. The government can't take care of it's own people, but it sure can cater to the desires of short-term visitors.

Sickening! Absolutely sickening to see how some of this operates, and yet how does any of it improve? If a country does not have good health care and the people don't have money, what are they all to do? Die?

I never really thought about what a poor country has to do to survive, but I never thought it had to do with telling lies and selling children to foreigners with expendable incomes. After a while, maybe the government is hoping the locals will get modest paying jobs at the hotels, and local shops, and work 80 hours a week so they can afford to keep their families and not have to send their children to orphanages, in the first place. If that's the case, it's just a matter of time before Ethiopians will know what it's like living in America with their own version of poor health care!

Agency Accountibility

The least an agency can do is live up to it's promise to a suffering mother. (Did anyone else see that poor mother's face when she learned the adoption agency she trusted went bankrupt!).

Yes, I saw that scene, and it really hurt me, deeply, knowing the adoption agency involved in that case was recently "redeemed" because PAP''s agree to pay an additional $4000 per adoption from Ethiopia.  [See:  Imagine Adoption ]  Whether that agency will honor a mother's wishes has yet to be seen.

However, a significant point needs to be made in regard to an agency's so-called responsibility to first parents.  If the mother/father loses her/his legal parental rights, that person essentially loses the right to have contact with her/his own children.  As such, (as I believe this to be true), no adoption agency is obligated to do anything that would benefit the mother OR father.  This is indeed, very confusing and misleading.... especially if one does not speak the same language! 

The question, therefore, must be asked:  Do these parents understand once their child is gone, that child is no longer considered legally "theirs", and as such, do these parents, (agreeing to adoption), understand they will lose all legal right to maintain frequent contact, because they are no longer seen as the legal parent?

Is this "small legal detail" being explained to parents agreeing to legal relinquishment?

I have to add, as one who has friends who "agreed" to an open adoption, they have admitted to me they got all sorts of photos and updates, but only for one or two years.  After that, the sense of "obligation" from the AP seems to have disappeared.  This lack of update upset many-a-friend.

Mothers are reliant upon other mothers.... and not all mothers comply to the wishes of first-mothers.  I find this to be very sad in the age of so-called "open adoption".

a little background on CWA

The adoption agencies featured in this video, are they considered respectable ethical agencies by those choosing to adopt and if not, have they since been shut-down?

Christian World Adoption has a particularly sordid history and that has never put them out of business. One of their most notorious employees was Mai Ly LaTrace, a reknowned child trafficker, who worked for CWA from 1995 to 1997. Mai Ly LaTrace's mother Marie LaTrace, was a facilitator for CWA and My Ly LaTrace's organization Project Faith also worked as a facilitator for CWA.

Another notorious facilitator AMREX was a known business partner, a relationship that didn't end after the demise of that organization. AMREX at the time lost millions of dollars, no one really knows how or why. Its owner Sergey Zasyatkin was not only known for delivering children from Russia, but also for creating a software system for adoption agencies. After AMREX went bankrups, a new organization popped up, Software for Adoption Management LLC, which is run by Dmitriy Zasyatkin, Sergey Zasyatkin's son. On the website of Software for Adoption Management, CWA is listed as one of their customers.

Another dirty name associated with CWA is Yunona USA, an adoption facilitator in California, for whom CWA umbrella'ed in Russia. Meaning, Yunona, which was not accredited in Russia, used the status of CWA to obtain Russian children for their customers. Yunona customers therefore had to lie to Russian judges that they were CWA customers. This procedure is illegal according to Russian law.

CWA also umbrellas for the notorious agency Building Blocks Adoption Services Inc., which is not Hague accredited, but uses CWA to obtain children from China.

Add to that the practices of CWA in Ethiopia and it becomes clear this is not a respectable ethical agency, but it remains one that has not been shut down. As a member of both the National Council for Adoption (NCFA) and the Joint Council on International Children’s Services (JCICS) they have enough lobbying power not to be confronted with pesky issues like ethics.

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