Meeting the First Family: what are these AP's thinking?

I received an email expressing frustration and disgust over a developing trend in Adoptionland:

All the yahoo boards are lit up with APs on a frenzied search for the first mom, and jubilation on finding her. The APs want to financially support the first families (food, schooling, new home, $$$).... 

If the APs have met them, that has been the APs choice not the adoptee who is 6 years old. How freaking confusing for that child!  If the first families are so freaking great and wonderful, why did they keep all the other 7 siblings and had more kids afterwards and somehow the first mom is still WITH the first dad and father of all these kids, yet "mysteriously" was out of the picture during the week of relinquishment??? DUH! 

I still wait for some AP to tell me how happy their child is after meeting the first family. I get that the child is still processing the trip.
No shit Sherlock!

If the family is not living in the dire poverty that was in the social worker, why is that? If the first family are so wonderful and the AP is sooo enamored of them, why is the child with the Afamily instead of with this wonderful family???
This notion that the APs are wanting to financially support the first family, and assist with food, schooling, new homes, and money reads not like good wholesome 'charity', but like guilt-spending to me.  But let's discuss the nature of an ICA plan that takes a child away from a "great and wonderful" family-unit, and puts that child in a foreign country, with a foreign new family-unit, and then expects that child to adapt and assimilate.... and love both families!  This is a complex process forced upon a very young child, all for what, and for whom?   So four sets of adults can be happy and satisfied with themselves, and claim they did this so that chosen child will have a better future?
[This is, of course, is with the assumption that the chosen Afamily is NOT dysfunctional or abusive.]
Best interest of the child, or a bunch of shifty reasoning used to justify the strong desires held by adults?  [Do these parents know a thing or two about identity and adoption issues the child must process?]
Any thoughts from others?
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charitable purchase

This begs the question in what way the child involved is an orphan. For an inter-country adoption, the child needs either to be a real orphan, or should officially be abandoned by the parents.

So I guess this "great and wonderful" family officially abandoned the child in order to receive the help from the adoptive family, which really amounts to purchasing a child through charitable gifts.

I wonder how this adoptee will look upon the set of parents once reaching adulthood?

The child's POV, from an AP

Wonder more, because someone was kind enough to send me a story of adaptation, written by an AP.  Identifying information was removed, as what I'm about to share was part of a private discussion had between those not in contact with me or PPL.  However, these matters are being discussed, openly... in private.  I want to share with PPL readers what's being shared with me, not because I want to target and attack an AP, but because I so deeply believe these adoption issues need to be discussed more openly.  One must remember, actions made by adults in Adoptionland are affecting the emotional well-being of the so-called "orphan" child forced into an adoption plan. 
 
Below is an AP's perspective on a child's first-family reunion experience, and the emotional roller-coastering that ensues:

Our son is 8 and we just visited his birth family for the very first time. Even when we got our report and photos, he never focused on what they did or didn’t have. Only that we had finally found his Guatemalan mom. He met with them twice during our recent visit. I can honestly say he didn’t focus on anything about their poverty. He saw the photos from the search that showed dirt floors, lamina walls and roofs. I made him a photo book to share if he wanted about his family in Guatemala. He did mention concern at one point right after the search that he didn’t want to share the photos because “people might think they are poor.” I told him “they are poor, but they look like they have a lot of love.” “there are worse things than being poor, but we will try and help them.” 

At our meeting, he also only cared that they loved him and they were his family. My husband and I are both convinced that while many emotions were and are in play, this has been a very positive thing for our little boy. He yearned for years to find his G mom and he was in heaven at the sight of her. On our first meeting, he was a bit shy at first and by the second time, he literally ran up to her and her sister and hugged them for all he was worth. It didn’t hurt that they obviously love and cherish him. they played, tickled and hugged throughout the second meeting and he sat right between them. He ate up the affection they showered and it was a healing moment for him. 
Since coming home, he wonders why we couldn’t stay. He has cried at night, especially when tired... It’s all okay with us. I hate to see him hurt ever, but the truth is that you couldn’t expect to not see a roller coaster of emotions. That is what I told him before we met. I told him after (when he was crying as we were about to land in the plane) that we will always be there for him. That is was such an important thing to meet his family and how happy I am that we finally found them. I said he can always come to us with any questions or feelings and in our family that is okay. He has seemed reassured. I let him bring things up as he wants, I try not to prompt or interject my opinion. I am certainly secure enough as a parent to see that he loves his G mom too. 
I promised his G family that we will watch him grow into a young man together. 

Let's put this event in proper perspective, shall we?

You're a child; you're adopted; you're a little boy, and you meet your mom at the tender age of 8... and after meeting her, you discover many new thoughts and feelings about people and the way they treat others... especially if they don't live in houses like seen in the USA.  Among the lessons you learn is the one from your American adoptive mother:  she's going to open your eyes and introduce you to a variety of people, places and things... but she is not going to let you leave and go back to that... (dirt) home to the (poor) mom you miss.

I myself grew-up in a somewhat similar environment:  Love controls, and does not let go.  Message received. The lesson I learned was this:  it's a real kick in the pants when you realize all the tangibles in the world cannot fill the void of lost love, or replace what's longed for most.

There are indeed much worse things than being poor... but try telling that to an adoptive mother who doesn't want to lose her cherished son of X years to a woman who lives in another country, where the tangibles like beds and toys are less, but the love is equal if not maybe a little more because it was natural and easy.... automatic and free. 

<shaking head> 

I wonder if this boy will learn to block-out real emotions.... all because he will have to, for the sake of his needy Amother?

Do Amothers understand this blocking-out process so many of us adoptees have to learn to do and master?  "Effective" blocking-out is what many of us grieving adoptees do... we do it so we appear well-adapted, and we do it so we can pretend it (the pain, the loss) no longer hurts, because it's what our new parents want most.

Do Amothers understand what this blocking-out habit does to true honest heart-felt emotions felt in future relationships?

I wonder, if more Amoms knew what their expectations were doing to their adopted children inside, would they still say poverty itself is a good reason/excuse to put a child through an international adoption plan?

When I read stories about Aparents financially assisting the "great and wonderful" first-family, for the sake of the adopted child, I often think that child being is being used as some sort of collateral... and in my mind, that REALLY stinks!

first family contact

Being a regular silent reader of PPL (Pound Pup Legacy), in the recent weeks two threads struck me as particularly interesting; both have to do with the relationship between first and second family of (mostly internationally) adopted children. As an adoptive mother, I consider myself a guest on your website and I generally appreciate being informed and receiving food for thought; I normally wouldn’t comment on topics and views because this is a site developed from your point of view and I would like to show respect for that. In this particular matter, though, I feel the need to speak out on my disagreement. This is because I am an explicit advocate for the right of the child to have information about and ongoing contact with his or her family of origin. I could not refer to the last post with the example of a boy visiting his first mother, because my text was finished before I read it; but as far as I can see, this will be understandable without reference to it. I understand that there has been criticism of the "hype" of some adoptive parents who wish to connect with the first parents in so called “third world countries“. In the scenario you show, it is assumed that either the first family relinquished a child, as a consequence of fraud or not knowing what they were doing, or, on the contrary, because they were just expecting to be supported by future adoptive family. The motive for the adoptive parents, then, to offer the first family support at some point in their contact, would be a feeling of guilt and a bad conscience. In this picture, consequently concerns must arise that the child will suffer from great pain and confusion when he or she learns about the circumstances of his relinquishment, whatever they may be. Confusion is expected to come up when children are meeting first family members relatively unprepared. I respect that concern in this special scenery; even though have to admit I find the black and white painting here irritating. Please let me explain my point of view: To me, there is no doubt an adoption is always a second or third best solution for the children involved, and this is especially true when there is a first parent alive. If the relinquishment resulted from lack of family or community support, poverty, unwillingness to take responsibility, or a mixture of all these reasons, older children, who are more or less aware of such a situation, will undoubtedly have mountains of pain to deal with, probably during their entire life. It cannot be in the interest of the child to increase his or her pain (that was originally resulting from abandonment) by keeping him or her concerned, worried or guilty about the situation of his original family. Similarly, it cannot be his interest to be denied the information needed for medical or whatever other reasons. Only that much is said so far as that all information necessary to inform the child of the well being of the family left behind and to grant the opportunity to meet the family at any time chosen by the child, should be kept at hand. This does not touch in any way the question granting any kind of support to the first family, and it does not include an irresponsibly arranged, spontaneous “back tot he roots-tourism program“. And this „basic level arrangement“ is, at least as far as I know, the most usual way for first and second family contacts to be arranged and maintained. There is a second layer of this: That of ongoing birth family contact. It is my deep conviction that one needs to take into account the child's fundamental right to deal with all of the members of his family, be it biological or social, in cases when the child is old enough to remember them. In the case of divorce, in my country laws were changed a few years ago, so that the child is now guaranteed a regular and ongoing contact to both parents. This is not a simple arrangement, not even for children, at least in the beginning. A few decades ago, the fear of conflicts of loyalty to either parent were reason enough to give custody to one parent only and to restrict contact to the other. Today, most agree that the new rule is beneficial for the child. Viewed from the perspective of the children, it is their right to have ongoing contact, and if there are three or four parental figures, then it is their human right to be in contact with three or four parental persons. If a child has conscious memories of his parent and misses him or her, a personal visit of the child will be more probable than in other cases. If a child has no memories of the family of origin, under some circumstances it will make little sense to introduce a six year old to his first mother. In other circumstances, however, it may be just what he needs to find answers. The questions that will come up when a child deals with his particular first family situation, as described in your scenery, will most likely also be present as a phantom or fantasy, if the child has no factual information whatsoever. If he or she can receive answers, truthfully and respectfully submitted by adoptive parents and biological parents, she or he can at least learn to cope and deal with the facts. The problem with this is that the decision is left to the responsibility of the adoptive family, who may do better or worse. I am pretty certain that attesting to adoptive parents that they want establish contact with the first family to ease their guilty conscience, or to exercise their personal control issues, is rather far-fetched. I wonder whether this intention may be sufficient to carry people through the significant emotional roller coaster ride and the undisputed considerable effort to start this process. Call me naive here, but I tend to believe that this effort will generally be undertaken by people who are aware of the identity issues of adopted children, in order to help resolve them, rather than by people who suffer from guilt or control issues. Often, inquiries will be started in an acute identity crisis. Therefore, it seems to make little sense to keep referring to identity problems the children because of the contact to the first family; personally and only speaking from my point of view, I would tend to believe it is probably more the lack of contact, that is, being victim of fantasies or fears that cannot be verbalized. As to the circumstances of abandonment, I would like to focus on the more likely situation, a mixture of poverty, destitution, personal failure on behalf of the first family members, and maybe a portion of fraud in addition. In most cases, a simple black and white situation does not apply. I wonder how anyone can assume, even with a provoking intention, that a first family would relinquish her child in order to gain personal financial benefit. This thought strikes me as just as offensive as the (pro-adoption-at all-cost-advocate) statement that an adopted child was adopted mainly in order to be rescued from an existence in landfills and filth. Families of origin, in the most unlikely case that they should they be driven by financial motives, would obviously not be those who would be interested in ongoing contact with a child. Maintaining family ties for the sake of the child would then be useless, and I do not think anyone would aim at it in such a case. Knowledge of the medical information and living conditions, though, would still be the right of these children, as well as to have an address where they can comment on the circumstances of their relinquishment later in life, if they feel the need to do so. Let me now change perspectives. I will not prioritize looking at the individual child’s rights, but at the consequences of ongoing contact for society around the first families, especially with regard to incentives to future adoption plans. I would like to emphasize here that all the information I can relate to in the following comes from US-American public sources (blogs, boards etc.), because in my own country, there is practically no practice of ongoing first family contact, for a broad variety of reasons. Contact means, in most cases, contact on the level of adults. Only if this level seems secure, consideration can be given to whether the child himself wishes to continue personal contact in whatever form. Only with the individual child and his needs in mind, it makes sense to look at the greater systemic background. Yes, it is a scandal that there are children who were relinquished when their mothers were near death. It is also a scandal that parents were persuaded into giving their children to intermediaries, paid per child brought to an orphanage. It is a scandal that children were given up for adoption with reference to educational opportunities abroad. These cases make it necessary to review the current structure of international adoption and to introduce further control mechanisms and reforms, such as, for example, the Ethiopian Government recently did. For some people, it may also justify efforts to close down international adoption completely. This scandal does not justify to pay little attention to the rights of children, who presently need a good and safe way to grow up. I am sure no one would seriously want to deny them their right to information and, if applicable, ongoing contact on grounds of being concerned about fraudulent practices in the general circumstances of their sending country. There can be no doubt, on the other hand, that it would be very wrong if granting children their individual rights was bought at the price that first families were supported financially, in the irresponsible ways that are sometimes reported. If the first families’ status in their community is improved, so that other families could see it as an additional incentive to trust just another “Ato ... Recruiter”, who points to the beneficiaries as a shining example of what you can expect from the "rich relations" if you relinquish your little one – then something has gone very wrong. By the way, it would also be down right illegal. I will also accept that travel groups of white families who come to remote bush villages in a huge land rover, bringing with them large amounts of candy and other crap stuff, are to be criticized, even more, than any tourist on a “poverty sight tour”. Question is, however, if the dangers of creating these circumstances should lead to the consequence of talking bad about first family contact in general, or if they should rather be seen as something that needs to be prevented or overcome, by creating awareness and sensitivity and by working on recommendations and rules. The adopted children have fundamental rights, regardless of whether the adoption procedure was formally and morally without a flaw in it, and regardless of what specific interest groups, for or against international adoption, refer to as a "greater good”. This does not mean that I am fully rejecting the criticism here. I am certainly open to consider seriously all objections voiced from the perspective of an adult adoptee, if I can get the feeling that they relate in a considerate and personal way to the benefit and the welfare of the future adult adoptees, who are, now, my children. What I do not like is seeing their situation used to serve as an argument in a discussion that is located elsewhere (i.e., whether international adoption can be justified at all or should be terminated completely). Thank you for letting me sharing my point of view.

whose motivation?

I think a child's contact with his/her original family is much more complicated than a child's contact with "the-other-parent" after a divorce, especially in the case of inter-country adoption.

After a divorce parents may move to different places, but in most situations they remain within the same country, and often within the same social class. This is very different from inter-country adoption, where the original family, by definition, lives in another country, and with some exceptions, belong to a very different social class than the adoptive parents do.

After a divorce "the-other-parent" is usually just a phone call away, and when needed meetings can often be arranged at short notice. This is completely impossible in ICA, where meetings have to be planned months in advance.

So the lessons learned about joint-custody after a divorce may not equally apply to inter-country adoption.

Another important issue is, at whose initiative does contact with the original family take place? Are we talking about the adoptive family's desire to do so, for whatever motivation, or is it the result of a strong desire in the child to connect with his/her original family?

When children are still young, like in the examples here (6 and 8 respectively), it can be really difficult to discern between a child's true desire and the desire to accommodate the wishes of the parents. I would even say that this is especially true for many adopted children. Parental relationships are not stable for an adopted child, history has proven that, making the wishes of adoptive parents all that more important to accommodate.

The issue of contact with the original family in foreign countries is a mine field of mixed loyalties, cultural barriers and imbalances of power. I really wonder how most adoptive parents are capable of dealing with that in such a manner that the child (especially when still very young) doesn't get harmed. So much in Adoptionland is done under the cloak of the child's best interest, but very few actions are actually in the child's best interest.

Sharing POV's

I will admit, it will take some time for me to digest all the different nuances supplied in this extensive response. However, I was triggered by a specific theme... liking the adoption relationship to a divorce situation.

One of the most pivotal selling-points in Adoptionland is this notion that every child has a right to a family.

Well, far too many cases prove the so-called orphan adopted by a foreigner does in-fact have at least one living parent/extended family member living AND this person(s) is very capable of providing decent care, if given the support and chance.

So the question needs to be asked:  who has more rights to a child put in-care.... the one who is loving and 'great', or the one with money? [Doesn't the difference in foreign v. domestic fees raise a few ethical flags to PAPs investigating ICA?]

To assume the person with money is more trustworthy, more capable and less prone to neglect and abuse than the parent-figure with less financial resources  is dismissing a truth often overlooked in Adoptionland:  those with money and privileged are used to getting what they want... few questions asked.  Let us not pretend money talks like behavior does. 

Vice Versa?

Interesting. It seems that it is the AP that initiates the first family search, it is the AP that initiates sending a searcher to find the family, it is the AP that pays the searcher to take pictures of the first family for them and it is the AP that initiates the first meeting and it is the AP who initiates and decides if further meetings will take place in the future.

Just curious if this were reverse, would it be met with such positive reception from the AP community?

What if first families searched for the AP, what if the first family sent representatives to see if the child was happy and doing well, what if the first family wanted pictures of the child, the AP that they were living with and the home, what if the AP sent someone to initiate a meeting between the first family and the AP, what if it were the first family that decided what time during the summer they would come to visit the child in the AP home/state/country?

It would be in the best interest of the child.

Would have been okay with me

I, for one, would be quite happy with and welcomed any search, information, photo requests or visits that had been initiated by my children's first families.  Unfortunately, as the balance of power and information wasn't in their favour, it was up to us to initiate all searches and initial contact. Our children's overseas families had no identifying information about us, whereas we did have identifying information about them, so I can't see how they could have initiated a search.

Once we had established some communication with the first parents of three of my children, that communication continued without either party having to initiate it.  The timing of travel has been suggested by us to tie in with our work/school schedules but we would have happily fitted in with any visits initiated by our children's overseas families. 

Realistically, however, our children's first families were disempowered both within their own societies, as well as within the ICA system, and it would have been far less likely that they would have initiated a search or an overseas trip, even if they possessed the means to do so.

Open to communication

I'm a bit curious.... and maybe you can help answer my question, based on your own experience in Adoptionland and on adoption forums.

I know in your case, you were under the assumption the children you adopted were abandoned/orphans.  I can't even imagine what non-orphan status means to an AP who was led to believe otherwise, for many years.  So, to be fair, I think your particular situation differs quite a bit from the situation in which the AP knows/suspects the child is not an orphan, but chooses the ICA plan anyway, and then tries to avoid/delay immediate first-family contact because it will be "too traumatic" for the AP the young child who has been through so much, already.

With that in mind, do you find foreign adopters (non-American in this case) are more open to having "joint" contact ("shared relationship") with found first-parents?  And more to the point, because this next issue applies to the future of adoptees and future PAPs: would you have chosen that same adoption plan, had you known there was a mother/extended family members to include and consider?

I ask because ICA is not like it was when I was traded.  Back then, buying a white baby from another country meant you had cash AND connections. Today, ICA is seen as a "last resort" given to "orphans" with no hope of ever leaving institutional living.  In addition, orphan-status itself brings strong appeal to those who do not want to foster/adopt, domestically.  It has been mentioned, in media reports, “With domestic adoptions, there are a lot of times where the children want to eventually go back to biological families,”.... “So families that adopt internationally don’t have that happen as much.”.  [See:  Holt's take on orphans in foreign countries, for more on that quote/source.]

Indeed, for those who do not want the hassle that goes with living extended family members, ICA is the route to take, because that sharing/future contact thing can be a delayed adoption issue for the adoptee to resolve.... when he/she reaches 18, or when the AP decides the time is right.

Unfortuntaley, many "orphans" are children put in-care, (an orphanage/children's home.... the poor-person's version of modern "Day Care"), but not without parents/family.

So.. after decades of booming orphan sales, just how critical is "orphan status" to the PAP looking into ICA?  And with that question, are there any circumstances or situations during the adoption process that ought to make the hairs on the back of the unseasoned PAP say to their adoption agent/lawyer, "I'm not comfortable with this arrangement, as-is"?  For instance, we so often discuss the perils behind the lack of transparency within an adoption-plan... so, if an adoption lawyer were to be open and honest... more transparent, if you will..., how would the phrase "Joint Guardianship" read on an adoption decree?  (How many PAPs would still be willing to sign the bottom-line and be willing to receive the child, knowing the agreement comes "with family"?)

Any thoughts/feedback from your side of the pond? 

Orphan status and support

Hi Kerry,

We have adopted six of our eight children. Now, all but two are young adults, and the siblings we adopted from Chennai (our children who were trafficked) are 16 and 18.  In Australia, children adopted from overseas do not need to be "orphans" as such, so "orphan status" isn't part of the process.  We cannot do a private adoption but we can adopt children who are either declared abandoned, orphaned or who have been legally relinquished by their birth parents for adoption, including children who are relinquished by both their father and their mother.  We adopted a five-month-old son who was relinquished in South Korea by his unmarried mum, a two-year-old son who was relinquished by his married Taiwanese parents, two brothers from India (aged maybe 10 and 5) who were abandoned at a railway station by their father, and our youngest two - whose story you know.

The first adoption we opened was our Taiwanese son's.  His mother had continued visiting him at the orphanage after he was relinquished for adoption.  I travelled to meet him with a photo I'd been sent from his Taiwanese agency - one of many they sent us during the adoption process.  I just had a hunch about a woman in one photo, based solely on the expression on her face as she crouched near our lad.  The agency confirmed that it was his Taiwanese mother and they told me how she'd continued visiting him every few weeks. When we heard that, I knew we would do what we could to remain in contact with her.  Ours was the first adoption where his Taiwanese agency facilitated contact between adoptive and birth family, and we exchanged photos and letters until he was 10 years old.

We have also made contact with our youngest children's Indian family, as you are aware.

We searched at various times for our other Indian sons' family and our Korean son's birth mother, but without success.

I know many families here who have made contact with their child's first family some time after adoption.  The first I'd heard of who did this were families adopting from Sri Lanka in the 1980s.  By the early 1990s all Australian states had changed their adoption legislation to allow for open adoptions and post-adoption information for adoptees, so our kids were growing up with openness being an expectation.  This, of course, is much more complicated when it applies to intercountry adoption as the amount of information varies so greatly, as do the circumstances of the children.  We haven't even been able to locate the village our Indian sons came from, despite information my older son gave us, so laws allowing for contact make no difference in their case. 

If I was considering an adoption where a child had an open adoption from the beginning, I'd need to know that there were extenuating circumstances preventing the first family from parenting the child - over and above poverty.  If poverty was the only barrier, I couldn't adopt a child who would otherwise have remained with his family. 

Contact with overseas birth family from the start does raise all kinds of ethical concerns. Should the adoptive family financially support their child's overseas family?  If not, how will the adoptee feel, growing up wealthy while knowing that their first family goes hungry, uneducated, without stable housing, etc...?  If the adoptive family do decide to assist the overseas family, are they creating a financial dependency or creating a situation where their grown son or daughter will be expected to take over this financial support?  Will this situation encourage others in the first family's community to relinquish a child for adoption, or will it encourage the birth family to relinquish a second child, in the assumption that they too will be financially supported by a foreign adoptive family?  Are adoptive families expected to adopt an entire family (extended relatives too?) rather than just a single child?

I know of an Ethiopian agency that does a lot of relief work in the local community, as well as arrange adoptions. However, any family who relinquishes a child for adoption automatically exclude themselves from ever receiving support for their family.  I like the way this will work as a disincentive to relinquishment!

I would not want any adoption program to depend on ethical behaviour on the part of adopting parents. I think many people will find a way to rationalise situations that are unethical, or ethically ambiguous, because they are so desperate to adopt. I remember one adoptive mothers saying to me, many years ago, that she didn't have a problem with adopting a child who was sold by his or her parents, because "any parent who would sell their own child isn't a fit parent to raise the child."  I believe it is too easy for many to convince themselves of the greater good if they continue a questionable adoption, so safeguards need to be imposed upon all.

orphan status, support

Thank you so much for sharing this information on the different situations of your children. This was so good to read. The ethical concerns you describe are those I really feel are very much worth debating:

"Contact with overseas birth family from the start does raise all kinds of ethical concerns. Should the adoptive family financially support their child's overseas family? If not, how will the adoptee feel, growing up wealthy while knowing that their first family goes hungry, uneducated, without stable housing, etc...? If the adoptive family do decide to assist the overseas family, are they creating a financial dependency or creating a situation where their grown son or daughter will be expected to take over this financial support? Will this situation encourage others in the first family's community to relinquish a child for adoption, or will it encourage the birth family to relinquish a second child, in the assumption that they too will be financially supported by a foreign adoptive family? Are adoptive families expected to adopt an entire family (extended relatives too?) rather than just a single child?"

I would like to add another aspect: There can be so many motives to start a search or a reunion. When I read your description, I get the impression that your wish was to provide ongoing contact for the sake of your children, and this is why my family decided for our way.

There are some families who start searches mainly in order to verify/falsify documentation and paperwork. This is where the necessary safeguards you are mentioning were not in their place.

In these cases, the difficulties are twofold: Trying to be very aware of what form and what level of contact is beneficial and ethical is difficult enough; if the entire life story of the child has to be re-written at the same time, plus, if parents have to realize first parents and/ or they were deceived, that makes the situation so much more complicated.

Here, one can only wish for more effective controls. And I think it would be quite useful to keep those two intentions of searching seperate in future discussions, because that could help focus.

The bottom line(s)

It is a grave disappointment to learn ICA continues to operate in such a way that people can adopt foreign children who are either declared abandoned, orphaned or who have been legally relinquished by their birth parents for adoption, including children who are relinquished by both their father and their mother.  It's just too easy to be involved in an unethical dilemma that mimics the child migration schemes that started in the UK.  [See: Britain, Australia saying sorry to child migrants ]  This type of placement scam just opens the Pandora's Box to corruption, making life much worse for those who could have been spared all the trauma that goes with orphanage placement and ICA and for all the older ('less desirable') children who are in fact legitimate uncared about orphans living in an orphanage.

I would not want any adoption program to depend on ethical behaviour on the part of adopting parents. I think many people will find a way to rationalise situations that are unethical, or ethically ambiguous, because they are so desperate to adopt. I remember one adoptive mothers saying to me, many years ago, that she didn't have a problem with adopting a child who was sold by his or her parents, because "any parent who would sell their own child isn't a fit parent to raise the child."  I believe it is too easy for many to convince themselves of the greater good if they continue a questionable adoption, so safeguards need to be imposed upon all.

I could not agree with you more, as I have a real issue with those Bioparents who use adoption more as a form of birth-control, or welfare service, than anything else. 

What amazes me is the many WRONG reasons and excuses both sides of the parenting side will use to adopt a child.... putting children in harm's way and increasing the risk of neglect and abuse both in and out of 'care'.

As far as an open ICA plan.... one sentence in your story would haunt me for a very long time, if the child in the photo were me:

 I just had a hunch about a woman in one photo, based solely on the expression on her face as she crouched near our lad.  The agency confirmed that it was his Taiwanese mother and they told me how she'd continued visiting him every few weeks.

Words would fail me time and time again.

Why does that sentence haunt

Why would that sentence haunt you, Kerry?  She obviously loved our son and I could see that in the photo, but she was unable to parent him.  I am very grateful we received that photo or I might not have known that she had continued to look out for him after placing him in an orphanage.

A mom who loved...

She obviously loved our son and I could see that in the photo, but she was unable to parent him.

If you were put in-care and then adopted, and then abused... physically, sexually, mentally... for years... you would understand why such an image would be very haunting to the sad adoptee.

That's why words often fail me.

I understand 'a vast majority of adoptees' receive good care from their APs.  However there is an unknown percentage of children put-in-care who would be haunted by the idea/fact that there was a loving mom who was not able to parent that child (who was abused post-placement) for X,Y, and Z reasons.

I find this fact very very sad.  Beyond sad, actually.

I can certainly see it from

I can certainly see it from that viewpoint, though it didn't occur to me as it is such a betrayal of everything adoption is meant to be. But yes, it would be dreadfully sad to have known another parent loved you if you had to spend your life with a subsequent parent who did not. We all continue to filter everything we hear through our own experiences, so thank you for explaining why my words triggered you.
For my son, sadly, there is no understanding of his other mother or that we had opened his adoption. His Taiwanese parents did not bring him home from hospital after he was born premature and totally blind. They never did learn that he also has other severe disabilities, including intellectual disability, autism and bipolar disorder, but his blindness alone was too much for them to cope with.
The only time I was grateful for his level of disability and his inability to understand anything except very simple and concrete concepts, was when his first mother chose to exit his life, for a second time, when he was 10 years old.

This proves to me ONE thing...

There is SOOOOOOO much sadness behind each and every adoption story.

I so strongly believe this is a fact that must never be forgotten, for the sake of the child.

"It is a grave

"It is a grave disappointment to learn ICA continues to operate in such a way that people can adopt foreign children who are either declared abandoned, orphaned or who have been legally relinquished by their birth parents for adoption, including children who are relinquished by both their father and their mother. It's just too easy to be involved in an unethical dilemma."

Without entering a discussion on any level of principle, I admit I am very sympathetic with anyone who feels the grave dissappointment that must result from a situation like this: When scandal after scandal is being unveiled, when facts are there, and undeniable - and still there is enough denial on so many sides, to continue the same practices, "business as usual".

The description of situation shown in the photo reminded me very much of the experience that "relinquishment", "abandonment" , and so on, are often used as a general description for so many different degrees of unwillingness, uncapability, influence of circumstances ... so many other factors, and a mixture of those, maybe. So that in the end, IMO, only looking at the individual situation would reveal a shade of "truth" that can become part of an individual child's life story.

parenting and money

First, sorry I wasn't able to format my first response properly - my apologies.

Second, I would like to emphasize that I am not trying to liken divorce and joint custody and their consequences for the individual child to those of an international adoption; I was just trying to say that there have been changes of view, after people have learned from experience, of what is beneficial and what is more hurting.

Next, I agree it would be both irresponsible and naive to deny reality of "cultural minefields". Problem is, at least in some cases I have come to know (when kids are adopted at an older age) kids carry their personal cultural minefield within anyway; I don't see how dealing with a problem in an open way should make this situation worse.

Then, I am getting a bit tired of the constant repetition of the argument that "those with money are priveledged and used to get what they want" in this particular context. Yes, you are right - absolutely right , and I could not agree more. Still, I don't see any use in being refered back to that fact when it comes to deal with the every day reality of the situation of internationally adopted children. It would be ever so helpful if these two subjects could at least sometimes be considered seperately, on behalf of these kids.

And last: Yes, there is a difference in that the biological parents in most cases will not be able to inquire after their children (even though there have been cases like that happening, and I personally would be more than happy to answer all inquiries). And yes, there is a difference in the natural way that they relate to their children, and there is also the reality of abandonment. I certainly agree that these are facts. The question is how to deal with them, expecailly when it comes to the situation of the children now interationally adopted.

It would be so beneficial for so many people if they could have been informed on these realities before their decision to adopt internationally, and not after (and by) their experience of adopting. It would be so beneficial if parents of internationaly adopted children (who are, to my experience, generally making huge efforrs in trying to understand their children's needs) could find advice on how to go about certain questions relating to first family contact.

Sadly, there is a wide, wide gap which nothing and noone seems to be able to bridge, between the slogans of the "adopt a poor and needy orphan"- people who say "love will heal it all", and those who tend to reduce the concept of adoptive parents, as a species, to that of "buyers of commodities". I suspect that it is one of the basics that people do not like to accept advice or even enter a conversation when the focus is on accusing them; so unfortunately, lots of the very necessary and valuable information gets lost along the way.

Enter third-party interests

So far, we seem to be very much in agreement.  To this I would like the address the most important element you touched upon, at the end of you response:

Sadly, there is a wide, wide gap which nothing and noone seems to be able to bridge, between the slogans of the "adopt a poor and needy orphan"- people who say "love will heal it all", and those who tend to reduce the concept of adoptive parents, as a species, to that of "buyers of commodities". I suspect that it is one of the basics that people do not like to accept advice or even enter a conversation when the focus is on accusing them; so unfortunately, lots of the very necessary and valuable information gets lost along the way.

Actually, PPL often dives into the gap; it's simply what we do when delving into the dark-side of adoption.  Abysmal depressing work, BTW... but you are correct... a bridge needs to be built to help facilitate more open and effective communication.

Let's try....

In the past, hasn't it been the adoption agency's responsibility and role to help fill in that gap, in a responsible and caring manner.... for the sake and best interest of the "adoptable" child?

Ah yes, the footing and the foundation to the next phase of open communication!  The adoption industry, complete with adoption advocatesadoption agencies, adoption lawyers, and the ever-so-necessary adoption facilitators.  I'll be blunt and honest -- this subject-matter is the stuff that gets me most confused and angry.  All too often those working for or with a <cough, cough> "not-for-profit" adoption agency are working on behalf of the parent with money, not the child - orphaned, or not.

So as much as I would like to not belabor the role money plays in unethical/illegal adoptions, the money-topic must never be overlooked simply because it's old and annoying, like grandpa slurping soup.

Then, there’s the money gained from foreign adoptions. The adoption fee for foreigners is US $ 3,000. This amount is shared by local party officials, adoption agencies and the orphanage.

[From:  Children on sale, 2011 ]

But we all know there is more than one lump fee that needs to be paid to a third-party participant, don't we?

"There's absolutely no reason why these fees should be $30,000, $40,000, $50,000 to get this child out of a government-run orphanage," Drummond said.

Her trip was organized by the Winnipeg agency UAS Eastern European Adoptions, whose fees average $30,000 to $35,000. A consular official with the Kazakh embassy in Ottawa told CBC News those fees were, "crazy" and "fantastically high."

But UAS said the money pays for translators in Kazakhstan, medical bills to have the child examined and legal costs, among other things.

"You're pretty safe once you're there," said agency spokesperson Kris Condon. "[You go] from one secured area to another. Our staff meet the families at the airport immediately upon their arrival."

The agency also advises clients to bring part of the fees to Kazakhstan in cash in order to pay the Kazakh co-ordinators arranged through UAS.

Lindsay took $22,000, stuffed into extra pockets she sewed inside her pants. She was required to pay several additional fees for a whole host of reasons, including questionable "gifts" requested by the Kazakh orphanage.

The provincial government regulates Manitoba's international adoptions but has no control over fees paid outside of Canada.

Other adoption agencies told CBC News that Kazakhstan's adoption program is too expensive and unpredictable. China's program, by contrast, is much cheaper — and potential parents get to see the child before they travel to the country.

[From:  Manitoba government looking into adoption concerns, 2009 ]

Sadly, more often than not, a PAP  -  who may or may not get to see the child - will gladly pay these outrageous fees, not fully recognizing what sort of consequences these cash payment will bring in the future.

<thoughtful sigh>

And yet, for years, PAPs ARE and have been warned about the roller-coastering of emotion that goes with an ICA plan.

"Parents looking to adopt can expect a roller coaster kind of life," said Lenore Grabel, director of Adoption Journeys of Arizona, a private agency that helps with the international process. "Things may be a certain way at the beginning, but it may take longer if things change."

Overall, international adoptions have gotten more difficult.

Some countries including Vietnam and Guatemala closed their doors, if only temporarily, Grabel said.

Others, such as the wildly popular China, increased restrictions.

Grabel said the wait time for an adoption from China has increased from as few as eight months to as many as four years.

The Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoptions, designed to prevent illegal trafficking of children, began April 1. It has set higher standards that translate into hurdles for agencies and prospective parents.

Under the convention, accreditation was denied to 15 agencies across the nation, including Commonwealth, which operated out of Tucson and three other locations, the U.S. State Department said.

Commonwealth's closure leaves 340 families, including 44 from Tucson, in the midst of the international adoption process with no immediate end in sight, said the Arizona Department of Economic Security, which handles adoption agency licensing.

Commonwealth President Marina Mayhew said Commonwealth will transfer open cases to other agencies. Commonwealth has also submitted a transition plan to the state agency.

Meanwhile, some families are left with frustration and fear.

"This is the money we saved, our adoption money," said Amanda Peppers, 31. She and her husband, Jerry Peppers, 29, who live in Alabama and were dealing with Commonwealth's Florida office, invested thousands and received a partial refund when news of the closure hit. It's not enough to start the adoption process over with another agency, the family said.

This is after the couple spent nearly $20,000 on fertility treatments.

"We're just a common family," Amanda Peppers said. "Adoption is just not affordable."

The Stevenses said they had a problem with Commonwealth in 2006, well before the Hague accreditation became an issue.

They wanted to adopt a child from Colombia, which requires an extensive psychological evaluation.

Tom Stevens said the evaluation came back with statements that were not true, and he brought it to his caseworker at Commonwealth with the hopes of talking it over to see how the evaluation could be refuted or redone.

Instead, he said, the caseworker submitted it to Colombia, and the adoption was denied.

Stevens, 64, took the agency to court in 2006 and was awarded $1,100 in a partial refund of Commonwealth fees, records show.

He took his business to Adoptions Avenues, a private agency he found online, and began to explore adopting from Ethiopia after reading an article about widespread starvation in the country in Time magazine.

"I just think these children are in worse shape than the American children," he said of his decision to adopt internationally.

In addition to difficulties in China, Guatemala and Vietnam, local agencies said, once-popular Russia is rife with delays, as is the Ukraine.

Countries gaining in popularity include Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Ethiopia.

Domestic adoptions remain an option, but more single mothers are opting to keep their babies rather than automatically relinquishing them, as the stigma of the unwed mother has largely been erased.

Domestic adoptions are more open to the less traditional family unit, with more single parents and same-sex couples granted custody in recent years.

Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona, which runs the St. Nicholas of Myra Adoption Center, places about 400 foster children in permanent homes annually.

With most foster children adoptions, the fees are subsidized by the state and usually cost tens of thousands less than private agencies or lawyers. Private adoptions can easily cost $25,000 to $30,000, experts said.

All the children placed through St. Nicholas come out of the state's foster system, so the babies are usually taken by relatives before they are available to strangers.

Short waits are in store for parents willing to take adolescents or sibling groups.

"When families first come to us, they have this vision of those little girls about 2 years old who don't have lots of issues," said Nancy Larison, associate director at Catholic Community Services. "When children are a little older, they have endured a little more trauma and have behavior that reflects that trauma."

"A lot of people go into adoptions with the 'Gerber Baby' as their initial expectation," said Tucson lawyer Scott Myers of the desire for the blond, blue-eyed infant. "There's not enough of them to go around."

Myers handles about 200 domestic adoptions a year.

Jackie Semar, director of the International Child Foundation, a private agency that offers adoption services and support, went through the foster care system to adopt her son 23 years ago.

"Like so many other single women," she said, "I gave up waiting for Mr. Right. Going internationally didn't even cross my mind."

Semar first requested a preschool-age daughter. She ended up with a 9-year-old son.

"That was a pretty big detour from my fantasy," she said. But she knew the minute she saw the boy she wanted him as her son.

Whatever the choice, those in the field strongly urge families to do research before making decisions.

[From:  Riding white-knuckle adoption roller coaster, 2008 ]

Something I found the other day showed me just how removed and profit-minded goal-oriented some agency directors are when it comes to the adoption experience, after the required fees (for service) have been paid by those who may become obsessed with their desire for a (specific-type) child.  I posted the following in my comment, "CYA damage-control"  :

Just today a statement was issued by the president of an adoption agency in Boca Raton, an agency that stopped operating in 2009.  The president of the non-profit organization had the following to say about parents looking to sue the adoption agency:

The family employed two of the top physicians in international adoption (Dr. Jane Aronson and Dr. Dana Johnson) to help them decipher records. They alone made their decision. Once done, they chose to adopt Peter, and advised us which child they cared to adopt. We knew nothing about the child, and the family was well aware of that fact! We simply helped them file court papers at their request. They traveled personally and were there to take as many photos and videos themselves.

They came home and discovered the boy had severe problems and filed a lawsuit against our not-for-profit agency, and every employee who ever worked for us, including our bookkeeper! A clear case of making an emotional decision in a process reap with risks, and then blaming everyone but themselves.

Adoption is a wonderful thing, but it has risks. Families read the warnings, but at times make decisions they later regret, then look for someone to blame. Agencies do their best to serve children and families, but nobody can ever guarantee the health of a human being nor see the past pain and suffering borne by an orphan.

Every document that the family signed spoke of the warnings and advisories about the risk. We feel terrible for the family, but to point fingers of blame at this stage of adoption just hurts everyone involved. This family made their own choices, advised by the top physicians in the world, but fate was not in their favor. No one is to blame. They could easily have come home only with the little girl, and nobody told them any different. They were only obsessed to adopt two children at once.

Why is it that the 1,500 other cases from our agency do not make headlines? Only the sad story. I am an adoptive mother and adoptive aunt of children from the same orphanage, and I have had my own joys as well as difficulties, but would not change anything. Our children are our children, whether through nature or adoption, and parents must deal with the issues our children present with. How many biological parents deal with severe issues with their children, but who can they blame and sue?

I am sorry that this family made their own decision and now point the finger of blame at everyone but themselves. It only hurts the tens of thousands of children who need to find their families through international adoption. I personally, would do it all over again.

[From:  Adoption agency: Family ignored warnings, advice in adopting troubled boy, May 31, 2011 ] 

The agency claims "testimony will prove in this case that our agency had nothing to do with the referral of the male child the family adopted", but makes no mention about it's role in AP screening and approval and how such an "obsessed" couple can be given a child through adoption, in the first-place. 

This brings me full-circle to the gaps found within an adoption story, and the grief an adoptee will feel, no matter how good or bad the APs turn-out to be:

In a re-enactment, Beesley learned that Noh, now 51, did not willingly give him up for adoption. She left baby Sungwook with her husband and his family while she went in search of work.

The paternal grandparents took Sungwook to her parents' house, leaving him on the ground on a cold winter's day.

Details blur a bit here. Noh's family apparently decided she must not want Sungwook and took him to an orphanage. But after she returned from her job search to claim her baby, they would not tell her where he had been taken.

She spent years thinking he was living with a rich Korean family, she says in the documentary.

Beesley has visited Noh and her daughter, 12-year-old Hyojung, several times since then. Because he relies on a translator to speak with Noh, Beesley is hesitant to probe too deeply.

"They're apologizing left and right. To this day, my grandmother is extremely guilty," he says. "I'm not mad. I'm not that type of person (to hold a grudge). It's in the past. You can't do anything about it."

When Beesley returned from the reunion, he decided to involve himself with the Korean adoptees' community. Estimates place the number of Korean children placed for international adoption since the 1950s at 200,000.

It was on a public forum that he learned filmmaker Tammy Chu was preparing a project about birth mothers and wanted adoptees' perspectives.

Beesley contacted her to indicate he would help.

"She emailed back, 'funny you just emailed me because I just got done interviewing your mother, and I was going to contact you anyway,' " he says.

Eventually, Chu decided to focus on just Noh and Beesley.

One of Beesley's incentives for participating is a desire to start conversations about adoption.

"There's so much money involved in adoption now," he says. "It's understandable you're going to have some expenses whether the child is in foster care or an orphanage. But where's the other money going to? Should it be a profitable thing? I don't agree."

[From:  Jill Callison: Filling gap left by adoption, 2011 ]

My experience with ICA has always been with two core-questions nagging at my heart, mind and soul.  "Why did my mommy get rid of me?"  and "How much did my new parents pay for me?"

It's VERY difficult processing all other adoption/abuse issues when an adoptee comes to realize those two core questions are rooted in a system that has no ethical issue with a practice that will profit from the misery of others.  This is why adoption issues for the adoptee obtained through ICA cannot be resolved by the time a child reaches ten...or eighteen....or thirty....

Third party interests

I will readily agree that a system that allows private entities to process adoptions, even if these entities are run in a non-profit model, is subject to the supply/ demand structure and therefore other models, that are ideally totally independent from financial interests, would be much safer and beneficial, in many respects.

I also share your point of view that screening, parents' education and assistance after the formal adoption process should be the responsibility of the agency that faciliates adoptions. Unfortunately, this is not always the case in real life.

There are numerous entities from all sorts of different backgrounds that are working to promote reform or change, or complete shut down of the current adoption system, and I have respect for their commitment regardless of their "political" convictions.

My intention in writing to you, though, was not to enter a discussion on general issues of ethics that a lot of people from different backgrounds are far more competent to participate in.

There is a large group of internationally adopted children currently growing up in Western countries, and it is easy to find sufficient information that shows that there are few support systems to assist families when in crisis. And it is also pretty obvious that there currently the views towards openness in adoption are changing, internationally. Questions raised in this context are important because they concern individual children; discussing them affects their well-being, because an open discussion may help parents to avoid making mistakes.

I just feel that it would be such a great loss if all these issues, questions and developments would only be used as additional point in the long list that is written down to proof again and again what has been in the center of people's core beliefs anyways.

Orphan status?

Am I missing something? How can the child even have been qualified for ICA? It is clear that in these stated cases in this thread even though the mother, or in some cases the whole family, is poor, they are providing for other siblings.

A child is qualified for the I-600 orphan adoption process, if he has no parents due to death or disappearance of, abandonment or desertion by or separation or loss from both parents. A child is also considered an orphan when his sole or surviving parent is unable to take proper care of the child and has released the child for emigration and adoption. However, if both parents of the adoptee are alive, the adoption can not be classified as orphan adoption under I-600.

orphan status

Regulations seem to different in different countries; I am not familiar with any requirements for a I- 000 regulations, unfortunately, so I can only answer in a very general statement, and only from heresay and experience.

With respect to the sending countries I know of, I have heard of families who adopted fully orphaned children, or abandoned children, or children who have one living parent who cannot care for them as a consequence of destitution and additional other circumstances. There seem to be sending countries that allow IA for children who are reliquished by two living parents; but different regulations in different countries should be subject to detailed inquiries.

In general, there are different possibilities that could lead to the situation that a remaining parent and siblings stay as a family unit after abandoning / relinquishing a child. These circumstances are, as a general rule, first inquired on and verified in the sending country, and then either by the visum granting body, or by a judicial body in the receiving country - at least as far as I know. That is the theoretical framework; as to the practical problems that can occur within this, they have been documented widely with respect to the specific circumstances in specific sending countries.

Inquiring minds want to know

Yes "b" inquiring minds want to know...please share. Thanks.

"And last: Yes, there is a difference in that the biological parents in most cases will not be able to inquire after their children (even though there have been cases like that happening, and I personally would be more than happy to answer all inquiries)."

Sorry ..

This seems to be a misunderstanding - sorry, English is not my first language and sometimes this makes it hard to express my thoughts as clearly as I should. I ment to say that I personally would have been open for inquiries at any time in the past.

Who are these searchers?

Who are these searchers? How does one get in contact with them and......... who are they?

The Searchers are...

To anonymous- To answer your question the searchers in Guatemala that find the biomother after the child has been adopted are those that were involved with the adoption biz.

The searchers range from former foster moms, former jaladoras (those that found and took pregnant mothers to the attorneys), former directors or those that worked in orphanages, and former adoption attorneys.

These searchers go by first initial only, prior to contact. They can be found via the internet and in AP chat forums. After you email them they will send you a "contract" which includes their services and fees, along with types of contact desired.

The adoption attorney turned biofamily search agency, advertises on AP sites, but lately I think they are defunct.

Glad to see

.. this conversation is going on. Having my little (adopted) brother in mind, I can only agree: Adoptive parents have to find ways to deal with the situation of  possibly "adopting an entire family", if they take in one kid. We wish we could. We would if we knew how to find them.
As to us, we are still searching.

Jared

Adopting the whole entire family?

Though it sounds very altruistic to adopt the WHOLE entire family, at the same time ...why? Most APs adopt a child and hopefully that child was placed because the biofamily could not care for them, not just due to poverty, but due to parents that cannot parent and for the safety of the child, the child was placed for adoption.

Buying groceries, educating half the family and buying a home for the biomother reeks of buying the child. This "charity" has been the choice of the AP not the adoptee to do so. It is a tremendous burden to put on a child, especially if it was not the adoptee's choice in the first place. One has to wonder why the biofamily would ask for groceries and a new house from the AP? Keep in mind, why would someone reinstate a relationship that was not healthy to begin with?

In cases that the biofamily is wonderful, one cannot help but ask...why was that child placed in the first place? That is a reality that the AP has to face.

A voice of sanity

Finally we are getting to the meat of the matter, as it applies to adoption.

In the past, adoption was used as an alternative to abortion.  All of the relief that goes with getting rid of the unwanted child, without the church-imposed guilt.  In some, (very few), cases, this placing the child in another person's care and guardianship was done to protect that child from harm.  The story of Moses is such an example, which is ironic, since it seems, according to one poster, his mother was the woman who nursed him, post "adoption placement". 

This leads me to the perils of outsourcing help for the sake of the parent too afraid or too ignorant to understand the nature of  supply and demand and how the mother-child relationship really functions and operates, over time.

It's interesting to note the way in which the wealthy would get rid of their kids - the unwanted noise, mess, and responsibility - that sex and coupling brings.  Rather than use the god-forsaken orphanages or unsavory/questionable adoption schemes, the 'well-bred' and wealthy would simply put their unwanted-at-the-time offspring -- full of rich blood -- into the care of others, via wet nurses and boarding schools.  But an interesting theme would develop in the form of parental attachment and child abuse.  Lloyd deMause wrote a very compelling read titled, The Evolution of Childrearing.  He observed and wrote:

Throughout history, parents were quite casual about entrusting their babies for from two to seven years with wetnurses. Agents would "stop the first peasant woman he might come across, without examining her health or her milk [or use] a placement office [who would] get rid of him cheap or hand him over to the first person who comes along..."210 The child-peddlers who hawked their services in the streets or by newspaper ads were not expected to know anything about the wetnurse, only to take the infant off the mother's hands. Those few parents who tried to find a good wetnurse were usually disappointed; one diarist wrote of his own life: "Four different wet-nurses were alternately turn'd out of doors on my account...The first...nearly suffocated me in bed...The second let me fall from her arms on the stones till my head was almost fractured...The third carried me under an old brick wall which fell [on me]...while the fourth proved to be a thief, and deprived me even of my very baby clothes."211

The trip to wetnurse began the infant's traumatic life experiences. "The infants were bundled upright in groups of four or five in pannier baskets strapped to the backs of donkeys. Those who died on the journey were just thrown out en route."212 Once there, their parents "seldom inquired about the survival of their infants and were often uninformed as to their whereabouts."213 Mothers sent each newborn to wetnurse "despite the killing off, one by one, of their children...Neither poverty nor ignorance explains such infanticide-only indifference...Mothers on learning of their child's death at the nurse's console themselves, without wondering about the cause, by saying, 'Ah well, another angel in heaven!'"214

The wetnurse herself was usually an infanticidal mother. The common practice was to require that she get rid of her own baby in order to nurse the stranger-termed "a life for a life" by parents in the past.215 Montaigne laments "Every day we snatch children from the arms of their mothers and put our own in their charge for a very small payment."216 Society thought this system fair, since "by the sacrifice of the infant of the poor woman, the offspring of the wealthy will be preserved."217 It is not surprising, then, that wetnurses were universally described as "vicious, slothful and inclined to drunkenness,"218 "debauched, indolent, superstitious,"219 guilty of "gross negligence...leaving babies...unattended when helping with the harvest...crawling or falling into the fire and being attacked by animals, especially pigs,"220 "hung from a nail like a bundle of old clothes...the unfortunate one remains thus crucified [with] a purple face and violently compressed chest."221 The wetnurses' superstitions included a belief "in favor of cradle cap and of human wastes, which were thought to have therapeutic value,"222 so infants were rarely washed and lived in their own feces and urine for their entire time at nurse: "Infants sat in animal and human filth, were suspended on a hook in unchanged swaddling bands or were slung from the rafters in an improvised hammock...their mouths crammed with rotting rags."223 Even live-in wetnurses were described as unfeeling:

When he cried she used to shake him-when she washed him she used to stuff the sponge in his little mouth-push her finger (beast!) in his little throat-say she hated the child, wished he were dead-used to let him lie on the floor screaming while she sat quietly by and said screams did not annoy her...224 

His observations continue with complaints made by physicians.

wetnurses let infants die of simple neglect were legion: "While the women attend to the vineyards, the infant remains alone...swaddled to a board and suspended from a hook on the wall...crying and hungry in putrid diapers. Often the child cries so hard it ends up with a hernia...turkeys peck out the eyes of a child...or they fall into a fire, or drown in pails left carelessly on doorsteps."225 Children were described as being "kept ragged and bare, sickly and starved...in terror of their nurse, who handed out blows and vituperation freely" or who "tied them up by the shoulders and wrists with ragged ends of sheets...face down on the floor...to protect them from injuring themselves while she was away...Never played with or cuddled...it is a holiday when they are taken for a walk around the room by the nurses..."226 Infants who are sent to "killing nurses" are described as being fed while the nurse croons, "Cry no more! Soon you will go, deté drago, soon...'Tis truly better that you go, dear infant...onto the lap of Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus."227 The destructive Mother of Jesus, who gave birth for him to be sacrificed, was never far away from the child. It is no wonder that well into the nineteenth century many areas had a two-thirds mortality rate of infants sent to wetnurse.228

In may ways, this reminds me of the type of care given by a poor foster-care-giver, quickly approved because a need was being met.  The following report shows more similarities in past and present child-in-care situations.

Since their parents seldom visited them, the children were total strangers when they were returned to them years later. "If they returned home alive, they often came back in a pitiable state: thin, tiny, deformed, consumed by fevers, prone to convulsions."229 The mother has by then nearly forgotten her baby, since, as physicians complained since antiquity, "When a child is given to another and removed from its mother's sight, the strength of maternal ardor is gradually and little by little extinguished and it is almost as completely forgotten as if it had been lost by death."230

Lloyd deMause then describes the return home to mother from wetnurse as, "often like going from the frying pan into the fire"... meaning for the child, matters would go from bad, to worse.

Given all we know now about bonding and emotional attachments, one can now try to fill in the gaps and pieces, and try to imagine how such a childhood experience can easily lead a person to engage in only empty unfillfiling human relationships, in the future. 

As history proves, this theme of abuse and lack of caring oversight, for the sake of the child, would often continue as the child grew and would be sent away to school/apprecticeship.

When children went to school, the beatings continued with increased ferocity. Beatings were considered the basis for learning, since, as one educator said, "fear is good for putting the child in the mood to hear and to understand. A child cannot quickly forget what he has learned in fear."307 Augustine recalled the regular beatings he received at school and described the use of "racks and hooks and other torments."308 Children were beaten for every error, such as "being flogged for not marking the ablative case,"309 and since sexual sadism was rampant among teachers throughout the centuries the floggings were often described as being administered to children "stripped in front of the whole community and beaten until they bled"310 and beatings were often described as being made by teachers "with a gloating glance of sensual cruelty."311 Schoolmasters were often described as taking "the most pretty and amorous boys...into his lodgings and after a jerke or two [a blow with a rod or a whip] to meddle with their privities..."312 Many books and articles have been written detailing the "erotic flagellation" of British schools,313 but the erotic content of school beatings was well-known everywhere since early times.314 Children wondered why "We are taught during our first five or six years to hide our buttocks and shameful parts; then...along comes a teacher who forces us to unbutton our trousers, push them down, life our shirt, show everything and receive the whip in the middle of the class."315 Girls were equally flogged. Hannah Lynch's beatings in the nineteenth century were typical: "The superioress took my head tightly under her arm, and the brawny red-cheeked lay-sister scourged my back with a three-pointed whip till the blood gushed from the long strips and I fainted."316

No child in antiquity and the middle ages can be found who escaped severe physical abuse-at home, at school , in apprenticeship, all suffered from "battered child syndrome," from infancy until adolescence. The Old Testament not only demands beating children, it says children who curse their mother or father "shall surely be put to death" and of stubborn sons, "All the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones."317

[And so we now see in PPL's abuse case pages, and in PPL discussions, like featured in the comments here, how discipline is used to "train" an adopted child, in some horrifcally abusive ways.  This is an on-going travesty, if I ever did see one.]

So.... somewhere down the pike of human history, 'child welfare' became an issue, and certain "educated" members of society saw there was a strong link between abusive ("bad") behavior and environment.

The theory for a very long time was simple:  poor people have no class; they are heathens and therefore incapable of good moral behavior which includes proper parenting... of course many would forget the simple the fact that children of wealthy parents were often more severely beaten, by both their caretakers and their parents, creating it's own family tradition in raising and caring for a child.   Nevertheless, in the 1800's new poor laws were created, giving rise to emigration/migration schemes.

It was proposed that orphans between the ages of fourteen and eighteen, who were of industrious habits and good character, free from all disease, and having been vaccinated against smallpox should be considered for emigration. They would also be required to have a sufficient knowledge of reading, writing, and arithmetic, and the principles of the Christian religion. Orphanhood was defined as having lost at least one parent. Female orphans were much preferred as candidates for emigration because males greatly outnumbered females in the population of these colonies.

[From: Pauper Emigration under the New Poor law]

This gave rise to more "child welfare programs" that put the so-called orphan in 'orphanage', and the 'poor orphan' into an sending-receving plan that put a lot of money in very specific well-lined pockets.

The way I see it wealth itself does not equal civil moral behavior, as history has proven this time and time again.... so it's good to read a voice of sanity, one that touches the most over-looked issue in all child placement programs, especially those that focus on the adoption-option:

the biofamily could not care for them, not just due to poverty, but due to parents that cannot parent and for the safety of the child

Prevention programs are what we need, because such instruction and guidance is what so many parents/parents-to-be are lacking.  But let me be specific.  We do not lack or need more prevention of pregnancy programs; we do not lack or need prevention of poverty programs... we lack and need prevention of child abuse programs.  The question is:  WHY are these types of programs so scarse?  Why would a quality prevention program, for all walks of life, and all social classes, be so rare to find, especially since so many of us now know depression (related to loss) in a parent (that infamous mother of all "mental illness") puts a child's well-being at risk?

If we want better care and a better future for our children, (and their children), we need to look outside the adoption-option as being the one, the best, the only great white hope that will "provide better care" for a child who needs it.  Out-sourcing "staff" or "role models" itself does not solve core issues that are burdening a particular group, especially if those role-models happen to be child abusers, too .  Adoption itself has not and will not cure the social ills that have plagued almost every society throughout time.  What needs to be done is far more simple, and yet more complex, because it requires a LOT of education and teaching, and restructuring.  We need more educational programs that help males and females understand the human body and male/female roles in society.  We need more educational programs that teach the value of the family unit, and how each person plays a part in achieving and maintaining harmony and well-being in the home.  Most of all, we need pre-natal programs that address core needs and problems related to the female, as she is the one who needs the most help and support adapting to pregnancy and motherhood.  This is especially true if the pregnant female/adoptive mother has no long-term healthy, loving 'mothering' example to follow.  

Most mothers in history and a majority of mothers even today experience post-partum depression, which badly affects their ability to take care of and show love and empathy for their babies. It is bad enough that child care is itself so demanding: A study of 900 American mothers found that they most enjoyed "socializing, praying, eating, exercising, watching TV and cooking" more than "taking care of my children." Even more crucial are the studies that show that 80 percent of mothers experience either (1) mild "baby blues" for months after birth, (2) postpartum depression for up to several years, or (3) puerperal psychosis: "They feel low, anxious, tearful, and irritable. They have rapid mood swings…feel hopeless…experience panic attacks...feel worthless, inadequate…have suicidal thoughts and thoughts of harming or killing their children." They regularly think: "I had Holly in a carriage, going onto the escalator, and I remember thinking, 'if I let go of this carriage, she'll probably be dead at the end' or 'I could drop Jamie right in the lake and he'd be drowned.'" They confess they are "afraid to be alone with my baby." Depressed mothers are "about 40 percent of the time unresponsive or disengaged, whilst much of the rest of the time they are angry, intrusive and rough with their babies." Some psychiatrists call postpartum mood disorders "the biggest complication of birth today. Yet despite the epidemic proportions of such illnesses, they fail to receive the attention they deserve." It is understandable that careful studies have found that "those children whose mothers had been depressed in the months after childbirth were more violent than other children." And, since mothers are the main caretakers in the family, it is not surprising that mothers or mother substitutes are still today responsible for more of the cases of violent physical abuse of children than fathers or father substitutes.

[From:  The Psychology and Neurobiology of Violence ]

We have become a world-society that fails women time and time again, and with that failure, there comes a failure in families and with children.  This is a pattern I'd like to see changed.... but such a change needs public interest and support.... and must not be dependent upon an adoption plan.

What are you suggesting?

Adopting an entire family is the way to go?

Reads to me like a privatized 'social welfare program'... one that can get real ugly, real fast. 

Heart and brain

Yes, if I think about it that makes sense.

Guess I wrote that because we have been trying to trace my brother's natural family for years,
because it is his wish. And we don't know if we will ever find them.

I should probably be quiet in this discussion about searching and supporting ... I am too emotional here.

Jared

Good intentions

The problem with such a plan is it reflects a level of naiveté.  I find those who have been protected from the harsh realities of the world are more likely to see the good in people, and not the bad.  This itself is not a bad trait, but it can and does get a person used and abused, if a more cynical eye is not watching out for you.

For instance, let's say adopting the family IS an option given to the AP.  Can you imagine the lies and corruption that would ensue?  Can you see how a child would be used to get into such a "venture"?  In addition, how soon would it take before the 'great and wonderful' biofamilies become not so great, once the bio-members start looking into travel visas...long-term visits... to your neck of the woods?

 

Search 'angels' in Adoptionland

I have a  few questions...

  1.  These searchers... searching for living family members, on behalf of an Amom with a desire to learn more... do these search 'angels' (as they often call themselves) search on behalf of first-mothers and adoptees, as well? 
  2. Do these searchers get paid a standard lump 'service fee', or does their fee vary/follow some sort of sliding scale, depending upon information given and information requested?
  3. How is family identity confirmed - through DNA, finger-prints, or the honor-system in which it is assumed all that the other person says is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?
  4. Are there others like myself who find this whole search angel stuff just a wee-bit too easy to fool hopeful individuals, and all too typical of the "let's profit from someone's loss and desperation" mentality that's so rampant in Adoptionland?  [Personally, I believe 'search services' like this should be free to ICA adopters and adoptees, simply because ICA adoption fees are just so damn expensive in the first place... but that's my own humble opinion, based on personal experience.]

searchers

Personally, I believe 'search services' like this should be free to ICA adopters and adoptees, simply because ICA adoption fees are just so damn expensive in the first place... but that's my own humble opinion, based on personal experience.

I couldn't agree more - also based on personal experience.

Each agency should be responsible for keeping files open and available for all family members, and they should be responsible for offering all the services related, including the DNA-testing, if required.

Jared

One-step further...

Each agency should be responsible for keeping files open and available for all family members, and they should be responsible for offering all the services related, including the DNA-testing, if required.

I'd like to add, it's not enough for an adoption agency to have such records or services.  In the case where an agency has to close - due to impropriety or other reasons - all adoption records should be kept and saved by a government agency, one that can be contacted should an adoptee want access to adoption records.

I myself found it very frustrating to be told "Almost all adoption records were lost in a fire".... knowing no fire existed.  [For more, read: The miraculous inflammability of adoption records/documents ]

Your questions....

Kerry- To answer your questions:

Q: These searchers... searching for living family members, on behalf of an Amom with a desire to learn more... do these search 'angels' (as they often call themselves) search on behalf of first-mothers and adoptees, as well?
A: Searchers search on behalf of the (ICA) APs, but there are some incidences that the biomoms have contacted the searchers to search for their child. The searchers have listed the messages from biomoms on their blogs, mailing lists and on Yahoo Boards.

Q: Do these searchers get paid a standard lump 'service fee', or does their fee vary/follow some sort of sliding scale, depending upon information given and information requested?
A: Depends on the searcher. There is a sheet detailing the amount and for what services, ranging from finding the biomom, taking pictures, providing contact, setting up an account, providing monthly financial support, etc. Also the fees depends on the distances that the searcher needs to take into account in finding the biomom. {Please note: now some adoption agencies are also providing these services}

Q:How is family identity confirmed - through DNA, finger-prints, or the honor-system in which it is assumed all that the other person says is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?
A: Identity is confirmed via the info that the AP has, which is the photo of the woman in the DNA test that was taken at the time of being in-process, the photo at the time of relinquishment, national ID numbers and photo. {Please note: some woman have not matched the ID photos, so thus some families are finding that they have fake documents, or the person had exited the country prior to the child's birth}. Most families even though they have this info are doing the search to verify the reason for relinquishment. Some searchers are asking for the social workers report, but that seems to defeat the purpose. Jmho.

Q:Are there others like myself who find this whole search angel stuff just a wee-bit too easy to fool hopeful individuals, and all too typical of the "let's profit from someone's loss and desperation" mentality that's so rampant in Adoptionland? [Personally, I believe 'search services' like this should be free to ICA adopters and adoptees, simply because ICA adoption fees are just so damn expensive in the first place... but that's my own humble opinion, based on personal experience.]
A: Agreed, but that depends on each individual AP. Most ICA APs from certain Latin American countries do have a detail report on the biofamily. Again, it seems that searching is a way to verify the relinquishment story and/or to re-establish contact with the young child and their biofamily. It is interesting to note how some APs have found the biofamilies wonderful and also raising younger and older children. It does make one wonder why the adoptee was relinquished in the first place? One hopes that the child is not being used for as a meal ticket by the biofamily, sadly when one reads on Yahoo Boards of biofamilies asking for the AP to build them a house, one cannot help but wonder.

Here's another example of

Here's another example of your typical American Adopter, and the adoption groups that support these self-congratulating saviors.  I'd like you to see what's being posted in private groups on the internet.

First, a little history.  The information I want to share comes from a support group for mothers.  The host of the group is adoption agency ilken.  I want people to pay particular attention to the American mother's calm description of the birth mother's story and the way she was treated.  (if it were me, you'd see hysterical punctuation all over the place!!!)   Remember, what's being done to many mothers around the world is all done so foreigners can have children, and these stories are coming out of the woodwork, but only if you belong to a private (not-for the general public) group.  As an insider, I can attest, the members of this particual support group not only sympathize with the adopter, but they refuse to acknowledge corruption, pre and post adoption, and they refuse to be highly critical of their own adoption agencies.  Because many adoption agency reps post on these sites it's almost impossible to get appropriate support and direction for legal recourse.  And just try to get or post information about specific names and associations made between agency affiliates and founders! 

I don't know where else to turn.  I hope this story disturbs those who follow PPL.

"We just met face to face with our son’s Guatemalan family for the first time in May/June of this year. Without going into too much detail, there were some negative things we found out. As Lisa said, you just prepare yourself and deal with what comes along. His mama in Guatemala was happy to see him and so proud of how big, strong and handsome he was. She kept telling us that even though she was sitting there with him, she had to pinch herself because she just couldn’t believe it was real. She is happy to see that he is well loved. She told us many things that made my heart sad as a mother, mostly for the way she was treated by the buscadoras and our facilitator. She came back to try and reclaim O because she feared his father if he found out about the adoption. She tried to come back and get our son from the facilitator and was threatened. They not only did threaten her but also to harm her remaining children. All I could do/say was to give her a hug and tell her I am so sorry she was treated in that manner. No one deserves to be treated that way. It was wrong and although we had no idea any of it occurred, I was sorry to have been involved with such people. This was/is very emotional to me and she obviously felt the same way. To this day, I blame our American agency who knew full well who they were dealing with, that he was banned by the US Embassy a full year before we got our referral, and that he had no problems with unethical behavior. We, as the APs had no clue at the time. So much for the Guatemalan system of having the mother’s signature at 3 points along the adoption to show her agreement. Still I will have to say that our relationship is off on the right foot. Both sides are coming from love and concern for what is best for “our” child. He thought that the meetings went well and he was as happy as I have ever seen both at the meetings and afterward at home. We are so blessed to have a relationship with his family in Guatemala "

How can anyone feel blessed knowing what's being done to mothers -- mothers who want their children back?   My small group of friends agree, KEEPING the child AFTER finding out that the BIOMOTHER wanted the child back but was THREATENED is WORSE than what the criminals did to the biomom in Guatemala in the first place.  But try posting that on one of these private forums.

Response-Reaction

I have read my share of unbelievable in various adoption forums... but am I really to believe there are people who actually praise adopters who offer only a sad hug to these mothers?

I mean really, let's imagine the outrageous insanity of this situation, if it happened to a single American mother.

Can many imagine such a scene, if it were covered by the media?

Hell, something far less traumatic happened not so long ago happened to an American dad; all it took was a letter to Hillary Clinton, and she AND the media were all over it. [See: Dad fights for son taken to Brazil]

From what I understand, many of these adoption support sites are owned/hosted by directors/founders of private adoption agencies, or lawyers. As such, some protective censoring is to be expected. So... what IS the typical response/reaction from these individuals? Do they ever express a measure of remorse or wrong-doing? In cases like the above described, are industry affiliates obligated to report any of these findings to a federal agency, and if so, what US agency/department needs to know about these crimes against women and children?

PAPs who bully first families - in hopes of adopting their kid!!

PAPs who feel it is acceptable to pursue a NOT LEGALLY available child and merrily post the (illegal) steps they intend to follow in order to do so on their public blog – and the fact that it will cost US$30K -$50K to do so. He even brags that he has hired a facilitator for this SPECIFIC purpose (I only wish I was kidding):

This PAP adopted 2 Ukrainian girls last year; here’s now he is plotting to adopt their UNAVAILABLE for adoption half-brother:

http://huittshub.tumblr.com/post/35903975369/chapter-3

Why the boy is not adoptable:
“Our girls have a different biological father than their brother. The mothers’ parental rights were revoked but the boy’s father still retains his parental rights. Here’s the kicker: the father is in prison right now and according to Ukrainian law, the rights of a parent can’t be revoked if they are serving time in prison. That means that the boy is stuck. What we are trying to do is find some creative ways to work through all of this. So here’s a quick run-down of what we have to do and what we’re up against:”

Why he has hired a presumably unethical, expensive Ukrainian facilitator to assist him:
“To our knowledge, something similar has only successfully occurred once. Our translator talked to the man who helped to facilitate that process, who informed him that what we are setting out to do is impossible and if it does happen, we need to be prepared to spend anywhere from $30,000-$50,000 to make it happen.”

How he plans to try to adopt the boy anyways:
“First, we have some key figures that we have to work with that really aren’t too fond of us. I don’t want to get into the specifics as to why, but suffice it to say that since day 1, we’ve not been well liked. That puts up a major barrier right from the get-go. The fact that I’m even traveling to Ukraine has been a Herculean feat in and of itself. I can’t even imagine what trying to adopt the brother is going to be like.
- Next, we have to meet with the regional inspector, tell her what we’re trying to do and see if she’ll help us. The silver lining here is that I think this lady likes us. She helped us out a lot with the girls, so we’re praying that she will be willing to help out with their brother also.
- The father. We need to find out what prison he is in, convince the prison officials to let us see him, and then try to convince him to sign over his parental rights to us. We’ll see how that goes.
- We also have to find the regional inspector from the village that all 3 of the kids were born in and convince them to go along with all of this too. That could be a wild card.
- Next, we need a judge who will sign off on all of this craziness. Again, this is a wild card. Some judges are friendly towards adoptions and some aren’t. We need one who is not only friendly towards adoptions, but is also open to our creative approach to all of this.
- If and when this all goes through and the boy becomes available for adoption, by Ukrainian law, he has to be available to Ukrainian citizens for one year. After that one year is up, he will be available for adoption by foreigners, so…….
- During that time, we have to convince him to not agree to be adopted by anyone until we get back. In addition, we’ll need some help from the key figures that hate us to protect him, lie about him, or do whatever they can to ensure that no one gets to him.”

Even worse!!

I didn't think this PAP could do anything more awful and unethical, but he's proved me wrong. Again. This is the latest from the unethical PAP who is paying an unethical Ukrainian facilitator US$30-50k to help him adopt a not legally adoptable boy (who is the half-brother to 2 Ukrainian girls he adopted last year.

PAP straight up asked the UNADOPTABLE (because his biodad has NOT relinquished his parental rights) the boy if he wants to be adopted:

" Alyosha (half-brother) if he thought that he’d like to come back to America to live with me (PAP) and Hannah (PAP's wife) and his (half) sisters. A shy smile spread across his face as he said, “Da (yes)”.

So. Very. Wrong. Unethical. Horrible. You don't do this to a kid!!!!

"Then the serious part of the conversation started. We (PAP) explained to him that we were trying our best to get him back to America, but that the process was going to be long and difficult, so he’d have to be patient. We also emphasized that under no circumstances was he to leave the orphanage with any other family."

So very wrong! So wrong!!! Even if this kid becomes eligible for adoption at a later date, Ukrainians have the right to adopt the kid for a year (after which point an unadopted kid becomes eligible for international adoption).

International adoption is a last resort! If this boy cannot stay with his biofamily, it is WAY preferable he stay with his language and culture in Ukraine!!

So. Wrong. Unethical. Particularly since this kid might not even be adoptable ever!!!!

" If that happens, this is all done. "

Read: the selfish PAP doesn't get the kid he's paying an unethical facilitator big bucks to acquire!!

"(PAP)I asked him if he remembers what I told him on the day that we left the orphanage with his sisters. He said, “Da” and proceeded to say that he remembered me saying that I’d be back to see him. I said, “And now look. Here I am. So you know that I keep my promises and I’m promising you that we are going to do whatever we can to get you back to America to live with us and your sisters forever.”

Gaaaaaaahhhhh! This is a promise he MAY NOT BE ABLE TO KEEP!!!

"He didn’t say anything, but he didn’t have to. The big smile that spread across his face said enough."

Someone, somewhere stop this overentitled cretin!!

Who can this awful man be reported to???

http://huittshub.tumblr.com/post/36451334523/moving-forward

PAPs who bully a first family to adopt their Ukrainian kids

PAPs who bully first families into allowing them to adopt their (not available for adoption) kids in Ukraine:

This PAP (now AP) wanted to adopt 2 Ukrainian girls they’d “hosted” in the US… who were not available for adoption. Or in need of a new family – the girls’ grandmother and aunt worked at their orphanage. Both girls spent every weekend with Grandmother, i.e. NOT at the orphanage.

The girls initially said NO to adoption:

“[Grandmother] was the one that worked at the girls' orphanage and made it clear to the girls before they visited two years ago that they "are not to go find a new mom and dad in America". She was the one with the influence on our girls at the time and she was the first one to almost prevent the adoption (of course others followed in her foot steps but that is another story). She ultimately came around after we shared our hearts with her in a letter. The letter and our facilitator were finally able to convince her that adoption was what was best for the girls”.

The PAPs/APs ultimately flew to Ukraine to lobby the girls, their Grandmother and Biomother to allow them (American host family) to adopt said girls. Worst part is they succeeded.

http://martitimes.blogspot.ca/2012/06/babushka-is-coming.html

"Host Programs", the adoption lobbyist, and my own response

Wow.  I'll have to dig and re-read, but after my first surface-read of both comments/situations, I could not help but think about the response I got from some who did not like my Host an Orphan, (and mess with a child's head), Program,  (featuring Kidsave International ):

You are upset with the fact that kids have a chance to be "showcased" in order to be adopted. I get it. But did you think for a minute, but kids not only get showcased, they also explore your culture, some may be first time in their life experience a normal family relationship. Why it upsets you so much they will be showcased? How kids are harmed? I asked 11 kids who came last year from different program in Italy. None of them had regrets, none of them felt they are being subject of transaction. All of them were very happy, all had memories for the lifetime. And if some of them will get adopted, it is a bonus, don't you think.  [From "ask an orphan" ]

Yes. and No.  Yes, host-programs upset me, and no, I do not think adoption is a bonus when the plan is made through a service that works with an orphanage in another country. 

ANY program that puts the adoption ticket on any activity or travel that enriches or improves the lives of children put in a care-system raises red flags and these red flags concern me.  I simply do not like how the adoption lobby/adoption industry operates, for good reason.  Here is the reason:  orphanages do no provide care for orphans, only.  [However, thanks to the adoption lobby/industry, orphanages are known to create/manufacture orphans, simply by messing with a child's documents.]

Ah yes, the adoption lobbyists.  Great defiance and ignorance found in that group....

All of this behind-the-scenes-activity is pure insanity, and it's made worse if examples (like the one just presented), go without comment:

This PAP (now AP) wanted to adopt 2 Ukrainian girls they’d “hosted” in the US… who were not available for adoption. Or in need of a new family – the girls’ grandmother and aunt worked at their orphanage. Both girls spent every weekend with Grandmother, i.e. NOT at the orphanage.

The girls initially said NO to adoption:

“[Grandmother] was the one that worked at the girls' orphanage and made it clear to the girls before they visited two years ago that they "are not to go find a new mom and dad in America". She was the one with the influence on our girls at the time and she was the first one to almost prevent the adoption (of course others followed in her foot steps but that is another story). She ultimately came around after we shared our hearts with her in a letter. The letter and our facilitator were finally able to convince her that adoption was what was best for the girls”.

I suppose it will be very hard to prove the "host family" bullied the aunt or grandmother into an "adoption plan".  But what does the 30k-50k (USD) adoption fee say and suggest to the two women who work at an orphanage and take the granddaughters home, every weekend? 

How is an older women, with 2 young girls to care for - (with full-time weekend-visits), and a job at an orphanage, supposed to respond to the offer being made, by a person who can afford such outrageous lavish fees?

The image of Madonna and what she did in Malawi, "for Mercy's sake", comes back to mind, like a tsunami. 

If nothing else, this is the bottom-line, as it relates to Host Programs:   money is being used to coerce, convince, and manipulate those in a desperate situation so they will agree to an adoption plan.  And in the end, this agreement is to be seen as an act of altruistic humanity and in each child's best interest.  [And we, the children who have put put in the care-system, and have suffered the ills that go with neglect, and abuse (which often is sexual), and then have been sold to foreigners, (with money), who may or may not neglect and abuse some more.... we are to be eternally thankful and grateful, especially to the adoption lobby and industry?]

Gee.... how many wrongs can we find in the solution that is, in-theory, going to help reduce the number of orphans living in orphanages?

<shaking head... feeling sick>

I am...

speechless...

and sick.

I'm sick about it too. These

I'm sick about it too. These PAPs/APs are brazenly purchasing children who are not in need of new families. Kids who HAVE families that love them and spend time with them daily.

My heart breaks for the 2 little girls who were coerced -- and it IS undeniably goers ion via buckets of $$ -- adopted by the Marti family. I can't help but think if **I** was one of said girls, I'd so much rather still be in Ukraine, with my biofamily, even though it involves stayeg at the orphanage as boarding school and Granny's presumably small and cramped house at the weekend (vs way more material goods that come with being adopted by Americans).

But I also know that if I was just six years old (like the younger of those girls), I might not be strong enough to say "no" to the American host family that spent a whole summer buying me expensive gifts and taking me to Disney.

The final price

As bad as some of us Closed-Era adoptees have it, in terms of adoption aftermath and unresolved adoption-issues, I can't help but wonder if today's foreign adoptee has it so much worse.

But I also know that if I was just six years old (like the younger of those girls), I might not be strong enough to say "no" to the American host family that spent a whole summer buying me expensive gifts and taking me to Disney.

AP's ought to know, for most adoptees, the more personal adoption issues, (like what does "family loyalty" and "commitment to a relationship" really mean?), these self-identifying questions don't hit (and bug) until the adoptee is an adult, and facing adult-situations, like marriage and what it takes to start and KEEP a family.

Imagine being the adoptee who chose Disney over a first-family who loved and really cared, but didn't have the money to provide such photo-centric holiday vacations.  Now imagine the abused adoptee who did the same.

I was once told guilt and shame are useless emotions; that person didn't know me, my Afamily, or how it feels to REALLY hate.... deeply and profoundly.

FWIW, it warms my heart and brings me hope there are others who find such adoption practices as toxic and sickening as I do.   While I myself hate such updates and reminders, they serve the public well; with each year that passes, so very little is done to clean-up this horrible mess done in the name of "charity".... thanks to PAP's determined to put their own desires to be a local hero, rather than a people who truly care about the issues children put in-care are forced to face, and a child's best-interest.

Thanks for giving us this unfortunate update.... and sharing your own personal opinion.  <sad smile>

Pound Pup Legacy