An American Adoption Plan: Made in China

The other day I was reviewing some articles about gendercide in China, the practice of forced abortion, and child trafficking, and I was thinking how these types of events help create complex adoption issues many foreign born adoptees have to face, especially if one was adopted from a chauvinistic society like India or China. It seems there is a sad irony that exists when foreign social activists fighting for human rights come to America seeking support and assistance from American politicians. While these politicians talk the talk about offering support to the defenseless seeking basic human rights, all too often the two major party lines are found at the root end of the pre-existing plight and problems that are bringing the oppressed to American and her human-right protecting politicians.

Case in point: in the May 18, 2012 article, Why Chen fights, and why U.S. abortion rights supporters should care, readers (and members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights) were given a glimpse into the life of the working class couple living in China. According to activist Mei Shunping:

... she and all other female employees in the textile factory where she worked were subjected to humiliating physical exams to document that they weren’t pregnant; otherwise, under China’s one-child policy, they weren’t paid. And when any woman not approved for childbearing was even suspected of missing a period, co-workers were quick to inform on her, because when one became illegally pregnant, all were punished.
On the worst day of Mei’s life, not only was she physically dragged to the hospital, she said, but she collapsed in pain after complications following the procedure. She had no one to lean on, either, since her husband had been thrown in jail for arguing with the doctors

Typically, in America, the politically correct pro-life stance to an unwanted pregnancy is simple: Abortion is wrong. Choosing life; choosing adoption is the right thing to do.  [Forget measures that ensure Family Preservation; such efforts are too costly, and there's no money or big profit in Family Preservation, like there is in adoption.]

In China, each pregnancy is not equal or the same. In China, only certain types of pregnancies are wanted, making the rest unworthy and unwanted. 

Enter the cost versus the value of an orphanage built in China. [Read:  http://poundpuplegacy.org/node/27751 ]

Enter the amount of money each American adopter gives to China each time an eager and desperate adult with an adoption plan decides it's time to have a child.  [Hint:  it costs more to adopt a child, than to buy a sex slave.]

Enter the role elected US politicians have in congress, and in ICA.  [Voter support matters, especially if one is up for re-election.]

Activists seeking US congressional support and protection, like Mei Shungping, need to be aware:  through natural consequence itself, America's anti-abortion/pro-life movement supports and condones China's One Child Policy.

In fact, America's orphan crusade relies very much on such foreign polices and reproductive restrictions, because American PAPs on a religious-based mission need as many foreign orphans as they can find, collect and take home.  It's this large gathered collection that makes the religious movement work so well for those seeking Higher Approval.   Sadly, the reality is, more orphans equals bigger profits for those working within the adoption industry.  This fact gives good reason to question China's need for ICA when it's as wealthy and as resourceful as it is, and it gives good reason to question USA's self-interest when it comes to involving itself in China's Rid the Female Child Campaign.   Remember, China does not have the economic problems other sending-countries have, like Ethiopia or Nepal have... so does China really need foreign financial aid to help care for it's forced-orphan population?  

Statistically speaking, since the turn of the century, (meaning, since 2000), 62,524 children have been sold to Americans via adoption services. Based on known adoption service fees and known forced orphanage donation costs, one can estimate the profit made by China from the American adoption system alone reaches the 5-10 billion USD mark. But this amount is a low rough guestimate, because much of the profit-making found in adoption "services" is often done via underground networks where unmarked cash is the only acceptable way to reach an objective.  In terms of total export numbers, since 2000, approximately 40,000 additional children have been adopted through foreign adoption programs elsewhere.  It's important to note about 91% of the export population is female

Where does all that money for females go?

Not to forced orphan care, that's certainly clear. 

As Americans spend millions of dollars each year to help China get rid of it's burden of unwanted female children, these same Americans are showing just how harmful and offensive the pro-life (pro-adoption) movement really is for so many women and children outside the United States.

With each child sold through international adoption services and Chinese orphanages, an enormous amount of money is being made... money that would not be seen or coming in if the government decided to close down the adoption option and continued with it's plan with forced abortions on the poor. After all, who wants to buy an aborted fetus?

 
Meanwhile, many American adopters flying into China to retrieve "a child that is waiting" see the One Child Policy as a very good reason and excuse to adopt from China, as opposed to adopting domestically, from the United States -- or sending aid to poor villagers stripped of their children, because those parents could not afford the government fees.
 
Making matter worse for those susceptible to forced adoption, there is the American adopter on a religious crusade.  It's as if these radical missionaries believe there are extra God-points if they participate in ICA.  Sure, on paper, it can read as if the American on a mission to remove little girls from China is heavily involved in stopping the slaughtering of the unborn... a bigger  humanitarian effort than helping one's neighbor.  But emotionally speaking, isn't assisting the breaking of the bond between mother and child, (a bond created by God), similar to terminating a pregnancy?
 
When looking at the facts behind corrupt ICA practices, Americans willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars in China for a young child are sending social activists tired of China's regime the following three messages, all at once:
  1. American adopters support the oppression of the poor by maintaining a demand for more "adoptable" orphans.
  2. American adopters show a measure of agreement with misogynists by providing a profit-making route that enables the people of China to get rid of thousands of unwanted female babies.  In other words, American adopters are providing a reward-system for those who maintain females are inferior and women do not deserve the same rights as men.
  3. American adopters, through their actions, say yes to the belief that only those with relative wealth deserve to have children; the more money one has, the more children that person deserves.

In my book, this collection of mixed messaging, coming from "socially conscious and sensitive" Americans, no less, illustrates just how embarrassingly myopic, incredibly self-serving and terribly ill-informed and misguided the modern-day American adopter-on-a-mission to save a child in China really is.

With all the excitement that goes with getting what is wanted, I doubt any of these child-seeking Americans find themselves thinking about the ways in which their decision to adopt from an oppressive society affects a specific group of people, like the working class or the poor. At the eleventh hour of a foreign adoption plan, how many excited parents-to-be are thinking about world history, what it means to be an American and what fleeing to America really means to and for so many people? Adopters fail to see how their freedom in choice - their Americanism - has put a profound burden and risk to those who fit among the poor and the working class -- the people who economically speaking, will never own a slice of the American Dream.   

One of the biggest arguments made to defend the pro-life pro-adoption movement is the belief that forced abortion is cruel and brings with it health risks and dangers to the mother.  The same applies to those forced to relinquish so a child can be sold through adoption.

Advocates for ICA need to recognize forced adoption damages the lives of the mother and child, and anyone else in the family that is given very limited choices and options, due to poverty.  Forced adoption not only hurts the parents, forced adoption also hurts and harms the child, putting that child at high risk for illness and injury.  Forced placement for adoption requires all obtained children must be living in an orphanage for X amount of time. How many very young children are put in dangerous over-crowded institutions, all so foreigners can feel good about saving a child's life through ICA? How many healthy children become sick because orphan-care is so poor and foreign adoption is such a lucrative business? How many children living in an orphanage have been raped, or rented out to pedophiles?  As I see it, there is more extensive and prolonged suffering and damage done to an entire family after a forced adoption plan than a forced abortion plan. Whether the loss of a child and family is done via kidnapping or abduction, or through forced labor and delivery, the pain mother, father and child experience is very real and the effects of that associated stress brings it's own list of future health risks and dangers. 

With this perspective in mind, I find myself cringing in discomfort when I see "proud" American adopters celebrating China and Chinese traditions with their China-born daughters... girls who were taken or left, and put away in an orphanage for future sale. I shrink in phantom pain as the happy transracial family celebrates various Chinese traditions, complete with authentic appearing decorative dress. I find myself wondering... does Operation Happy Chinese Heritage include factual information about the force used by Chinese officials?  Does educating the adoptee include teaching the way in which females are seen and treated in that given society?  How knowledgeable are American adopters when it comes to knowing and understanding the ever-lasting effects forced child placement has on the original parents, and the adoptee, as well?   

I wonder if the truth about man playing the role of God, and the practice of making money through the misery of others, is too upsetting for the American adopter who wants to believe their actions are in the best interest of a child.

APs of foreign born adoptees have to remember, the modern-day adoptee doing his or her own personal adoption research is not limited like the researching adoptee was 30 years ago. When the modern-day adoptee wants to learn more about a country and it's social history, that person will turn to the internet and not be limited to the information found in the books that get distributed to schools and public libraries, or supplied by family of friends. Adoptees have all sorts of private support groups and networks filled with cyber-friends and they are privy to an enormous amount of information adoptees from the era of closed adoption never had, or dreamed about. I would not be surprised if today's foreign born adoptee knows much more about their country of origin and the adoption process itself than the adoptive parents who claim they did exhaustive research about their sending country.  With this in mind, American adoptees born in China may not like the way in which America got involved in, and benefited from China's One Child Policy.  

Speaking of not liking what I see, an uneasiness felt by an adoptee leads me to something else adoptees can find on the internet: adoptive parent blogs.

Today's proud American APs blogging and bragging about their little ICA angels have to realize their little girls from China are going to be the older daughters and women who one day will be asking questions like, "Didn't you, (the AP), do some research about China's adoption program before you participated in it? Didn't you, (the second-parent who paid enormous fees for a child), read about the way so many children were kidnapped and stolen from first parents, all for the demanding adoption market? Didn't you, (the driven and determined parent-wanna-be), think there was something wrong about the way in which the poor in China were treated, all so the Chinese government could get rid of a large percentage of it's female population - and make a lot of money for doing so?  Wasn't there any other way to send financial aid to poor parents, so those parents would not be forced to lose any or all of their children?" 

Or do APs have a difficult time finding information about that sort of stuff? 

<adoptee waits for AP response....> 

Here's what the adoptee will know, and not always share with the adoptive parent(s): When paying so much for an unwanted girl in China, APs are making the threat of forced abortions even more confusing because not every adoptive home is loving, safe, and nurturing.  [See: cases of child abuse in American adoptive homes]. In addition, to make matters worse, nothing makes the torturing of women more insulting than knowing people are getting paid and praised to do this torturing.  THIS is how some are earning their living.  There is rampant reproductive exploitation in one of America's biggest adoption exporting resources, and American women who are adopting from China are saying nothing about this crime against humanity.  How and what is an adoptee to think or feel?  

I find world history very interesting because in the whole big scheme of things, human behavior really doesn't change all that much. If it did, we wouldn't see history repeat itself over and over again. Whether we are in the 17th or the 21st century, bullies will bully; thieves and hostage takers will make threats; and the oppressed will either die and go away, or they will fight, and become heroes and leaders for the next generation.

As far as I'm concerned, the relationship between China and the USA is both logical and insane, and ICA only makes that relationship all the more complex. I think it will be interesting to see what, if anything, will happen to China's One Child Policy and  ICA child export program once the oppressed finally decide they have had enough, and they are ready to fight a good fight. I think such a battle will be scary to see, as well. After all, if women are tortured for carrying an unwanted child, what sort of harmful threats will be made to those who want to put and end to the era of amoral adoption?

0

"I would not be surprised if

"I would not be surprised if today's foreign born adoptee knows much more about their country of origin and the adoption process itself than the adoptive parents who claim they did exhaustive research about their sending country. With this in mind, American adoptees born in China may not like the way in which America got involved in, and benefited from China's One Child Policy."

I would honestly say that with China, it is one couple--adoptive parents--who have been at the forefront of exposing corruption, trafficking, incentive-based relinquishment, and other forms of child procurement in the adoption system. Adoptees did not uncover this. However, I agree with you. Most adoptive parents are not listening. They have a private list with about 300 names on it of folks who are willing to hear just how bad it is, all searching for original family too. The latest is China coordinating "homeland" trips where they make oodles more money off the a-family and the adoptee while parading them around to show people how happy and adjusted the adoptees are and how IA is a good thing. Most of the stuff they tell us about these girls is total fabrication (finding location, finder's name, reason for entering the orphanage system, birthday) but the people who go on these tours just suck it all back, including the "information" they receive about their daughter's heritage. The entire thing is a dog and pony show.

Excellent point

it is one couple--adoptive parents--who have been at the forefront of exposing corruption, trafficking, incentive-based relinquishment, and other forms of child procurement in the adoption system. Adoptees did not uncover this.

I totally agree with the point you make. Truth is, outside of a few notable names in the blogosphere, it seems most adoptees prefer to lick their own primal wounds, than get involved in modern-day adoption reform.  I find this both frustrating and sad.... but it is what it is.  Adoptees are encouraged to say how GREAT adoption is, not fight the many wrongs the adoption system really has.

So when it comes to breaking the news about bad adoptions, we really DO rely on those who see and experience it all, first-hand.

I know when it came to exposing core problems in India and Guatemala, (just to name two popular sending-countries) several APs were behind the scenes, spreading the news as fast and as efficiently as they could. It was their anger and concerned outrage that motivated them to go to the media, imploring there is a real need to get these disturbing stories out there.  Who knows, maybe, if enough are aware of what's really going on out there, maybe.. perhaps....(?)... enough voiced outrage can and will put a stop to specific corrupt acts..?  But so far, we haven't seen much in terms of shutting really bad practices down.  In fact, it's interesting to note how those brave APs, (who did and DO come out yelling and screaming about the wrongs being done throughout an adoption plan), are treated by members of the adoption community.  They are blasted, attacked and shunned by fellow adopters and adoption agency reps.  Their names are black-listed and their stories are criticized or mocked; minimized, at best.  It's almost as if they are treated just as badly as many of us abused adoptees were treated, back before PPL existed, and some of us would take the risky plunge and share snippets of our own stories on various pro-adoption forums... the kind of stories that show not all is sweet safe loving bliss in an American adoptive home.   [I STILL have a measure of fear and trauma from the things adopters would say about abuse in the adoptive home, and the angry abused adoptee.]

This all makes me want to ask:  What is wrong with these APs who want those with valid complaints to shut up and quit???

<shaking head at the absolute absurdity of some people>

And so, as the days pass, we do find ourselves watching the dog and pony shows, speechless, as the fog-infested APs follow the commands and steps they are encouraged to take, as exampled in Heritage Trips, where the sending county can squeeze MORE money out of an adoption plan.  [See:  China invites children adopted to US to return to their roots and my own snarky piece about special marketing for the AP going to China for a child, Barbie, as advertised in Adoptionland ]

From this side of the adoption experience, as an angry adoptee, all these offerings made to APs comes off as one big pathetic joke.  <shaking head>

Hey... do you think American adopters following a foreign adoption plan will ever truly wake-up and smell the rot that's been festering for generations now?

Question Answered!

Kerry asks: "Hey... do you think American adopters following a foreign adoption plan will ever truly wake-up and smell the rot that's been festering for generations now?"

The answer to that question Kerry is a big NO.

Take the below entry, which is interesting from Finding Fernanda Facebook page and is a fine example of the polarization of APs. Seems that some APs have taken offense at the book and feel "villanized" (the AP means... "vilified"), so thus they are commenting on it on a.com and refusing to read the book. No surprise there. Below are comments from the FF site from other APs who feel otherwise:

http://www.facebook.com/findingfernanda

http://forums.adoption.com/guatemala-adoption/404321-revisiting-finding-...

Blacklisted APs

Quote:
"Guatemala, (just to name two popular sending-countries) several APs were behind the scenes, spreading the news as fast and as efficiently as they could. It was their anger and concerned outrage that motivated them to go to the media, imploring there is a real need to get these disturbing stories out there. Who knows, maybe, if enough are aware of what's really going on out there, maybe.. perhaps....(?)... enough voiced outrage can and will put a stop to specific corrupt acts..? But so far, we haven't seen much in terms of shutting really bad practices down. In fact, it's interesting to note how those brave APs, (who did and DO come out yelling and screaming about the wrongs being done throughout an adoption plan), are treated by members of the adoption community. They are blasted, attacked and shunned by fellow adopters and adoption agency reps. Their names are black-listed and their stories are criticized or mocked; minimized, at best."

Do you see any of those APs able to post on any AP site? How many children would not have a laundered identity, how many APs would have not been fooled and money stolen by dishonest agencies and attorneys, how many mothers would not have lost their children to ICA? If only other APs listened.

I am an AP that witnessed the the near tar and feathering by other APs of several APs who spoke up, who shared what they uncovered about kidnapped and sold into ICA children, of laundered paperwork, of fraudulent DNA testings.

No you don't see Jennifer Hemsley, nor Elizabeth Emmanuel, nor Marie Slattery posting or able to post on AP sites. Your efforts are well appreciated dear friends. They will thank you one day, when the children ask, they will know that there were a few brave souls that stood up against corruption.

Hi - I was wondering if you

Hi - I was wondering if you knew that there is (according to what I've been reading recently) a change currently in Chinese adoption policy - basically, at this point, from what I can gather, it is still possible to adopt "special needs" children from China, and it is still possible for couples of Chinese ancestry to jump the line and adopt an infant from China, but for anybody else seeking a healthy infant, the wait is now estimated to be approximately eleven years.

I'm in the process of becoming an "aMom" and I have to agree, the commoditization of infants and toddlers is disgusting (which is just one of many reasons we're adopting a "waiting child"). But I can't go all the way to the idea that the primary mode of thinking for everyone involved is transactional. A person can choose to make a living matching adults who want to parent with children who need parenting without that being an exploitative choice (and judging by the office, cars, and clothes of the agency we're working with, these people could be doing other things that are a lot more lucrative if the work itself wasn't so important to them).

I know that when you're hurt and in survival mode that it can be difficult to understand motivations that go beyond survival - believe it or not, I'm a fellow survival mode survivor - but reading your stuff here is heartbreakingly sad. There are undoubtably some people who get into this who do it for the money, but really, there are a lot of easier ways to make a buck than by placing or caring for children (honestly, children are not only undervalued, they're also grossly underpriced). I hope that in time you find the healing that will let you see the motives of I hope at least some of the people around you that are not about using the people they're near, but are about making their time in this life more worthwhile and meaningful, by helping the people around them. What is indescribably sad about reading your posts is that it seems like you work overtime to explain away love, and to deny it as a motivating factor in the actions of other people. And I know I've never met you, but all of that just makes me want to bake your favorite cookies for you and watch your favorite movie with you and sing stupid, silly, sentimental songs together until we both cry. Sending you hugs and the absolute assurance that it CAN get better.

Looking with both eyes open

I want to thank you for your thoughtful written piece. It's obvious a lot of emotion is felt. I think messages like this reflect the mind-set of MANY PAPs and adopters out there, adopters who are, to be blunt, naive about the realities behind an adoption-plan. 

I get a lot of mesages from angry APs and the bottom line for them is:  they had a limited idea and very little insight as to how ICA really operates.  They were optimistic and they trusted their contacts.  They were encouraged to believe "love cures all" , but they were missing huge facts and with these gaps, they found themselves totally unprepared for the child/children they received. 

I don't think the average (uneducated) adopter can begin to grasp and fathom the profound depth, scope and measure of disinterest and emotional distrust an angry and abused adoptee has towards others, untill they see and experience the deatchment themselves.  I also don't think the average (uneducated) PAP is prepared for what's ahead; I think very few PAPs have any idea how difficult, and unsupported patient adoptive parenting really is for the trusting and trustworthy adult entering an ICA plan, complete with really great private adoption agency contacts with 24 hour hotlines.  AND I think very few AP's are prepared to be dropped as they often are, by their 'agency friends', once trouble at home begins.

Please don't take my tone or message the wrong way...  this has nothing to do with negating the power of love, or accusing your chosen agency of specific wrong-doing.   As much as I can and am able to believe there are a few adoption-stories that go swimmingly well, and as much as I am able to enjoy a day filled with cookies and hugs with the very few I love, I also openly admit the wounds caused by betrayal within an adoption story are more than skin deep. 

The adoptee is not the only one who can get hurt and feel betrayed in an adoption plan.  Naive wishful-thinking birth parents and adopters get betrayed and hurt, too.

I truly do not believe PAPs are being told a fraction of what they need to know, once adoption facilitators take control. I strongly believe far too many PAPs are told "little white lies" and are purposely kept in the dark because if they knew the truth, the adoption plan would be aborted.  Last, but not least, I strongly believe those who adopt very emotionally and physically traumatized children from another country do not understand or comprehend what the adoption industry itself is doing to contribute to the mess these adopters are expected to clean-up.... without much helpful support or knowledgeable guidance from those paid by the money received for adoption "services".

Therefore, as an advocate for a very select group of adoptees and parents, my ability to trust another person's word or intentions should not matter. What matters is the way in which today's "orphan" population is treated, especially once the labeled child enters Adoptionland's amusement park of promised hope and dreams.... first step being a prolonged visit at the not-so-local orphanage.

You mentioned you are interested in China's "special needs".

As far as I'm concerned, ALL adopted children have "special needs".  Their needs go well beyond the normal average healthy infant/child who is kept and loved at home.  Parenting an adopted child is different.  It always was, and it always will be.

But Special Needs in Adoptionland is different.  [I believe more is expected from the adoption agency, and the support/educational services they provide.]

Special Needs children are often so retarded, no normal person could miss there is a delayed difference in cognitive ability, and SN children often have one or more costly medical conditions.  In theory, these children are identified and labeled ASAP, and the paying PAPs are given the additional information they need to care for the child with "special needs"

But not all Special Needs are obvious and recognized by agency reps OR PAPs.

Lots of times the processing orphanage will have birth facts and child histories fabricated and made-up.  A PAP may be expecting one type of "special needs", but once that child gets home, the AP discovers the child has suffered from severe neglect and trauma not mentioned in agency reports, and even birth facts, like age, were incorrect.

How well and equipped is an AP to deal with this, especially if there is a parent-child language barrier?

<sigh>

So when I read "Special Needs Adoption", I cringe.

I cringe because I see ALL adoptees as having many special needs, but not all PAPs are prepared and educated as they need to be.  And I see SNA as being a false humanitarian effort.  ICA itself enables corrupt sending countries to deny the mere basics for any child put in-care; SNA enables there to be more kids to be sold -- so more profit can be made.

I realize that reads cold and mean... but I myself have received the unprepared AP's version of life at home with a sexually abused "special" child.

The stories are HORRIFIC...beyond most people's wildest dreams or nightmares.  And there's no help -- not from the vast majority of adoption agencies or pro-adoption forums.

With that, if you are new to PPL, after checking out our Child Trafficking and wrongful removal sections,  please read our abused adoptee pages.  Take special note if the abused child has a disability. 

After reviewing that very disturbing section, take some time to peruse the way in which a sub-set of "adoption specialists" are paid to help frustrated APs to "train" (control) their "special needs" adopted children... the kids with severe attachment issues.  See:  Attachment Therapy.  If you still can, (stomach it), and you have the time,  spend some time reading about disrupted adoptions, and the role approved APs and adoption agencies have in this added twist to an adopted child's sense of life, people, forever and love.

Calling it interesting stuff is an understatement.  I myself find it all so very overwhelming.

My point is, if you're going to see adoption - and the adoptee -  through emotional eyes, then you need to see as much as you can, with two open eyes.  Turning a blind eye to facts - like heartless concern and self-serving financial greed - will not help any child put in and caught-up in this mess the pro-adoption community has created for itself. 

I'll be honest here, I know I'm not very PC when it comes to rendering my opinion.  When I think about the millions of children waiting for their turn to leave "the care-system", I wonder how many wish they were dead, or never even born. And as an adult adoptee, who was abused in the "ideal" American home, I wonder how many adoptees - just like me - would agree, even though there ARE great people out there doing miraculous things with their adopted children, that doesn't make the horrible and horrific being done to the "unlucky" any better or easier to accept and swallow.

With that, as we hear more and more about AP's demanding adoption reform, (in the form of shorter waits), let's take a moment to recognize the fact that very little has been done to ensure child safety within the child placement system and how this may affect the actions and behaviors of those looking to earn a living (or make some extra money) from the adoption option.  Consider this, as you ask yourself questions like,  "Do I want a special needs chid who has already been sexually abused?"   "Am I prepared properly -- to take care of this child who has been waiting?"  "Will this child miss his parents or family because he was stolen?".... and keep this in mind, the answers to the questions you ask your agency rep may not be based on truth or facts, but on finances, instead.

Disturbing, isn't it?

To date, nothing removes the biggest disturbing fact about Adoptionland, a fact that was created by and through eager (and often "desperate") adopters and their demand for more adoptable children. The fact is, there is an enormous amount of money being made from the sexual exploitation of women and children, especially the poor.  From that point, more money can be made by collecting and selling "the unwanted" babies from unwanted pregnancies by sending them to places where the conditions are poor and overcrowded and the treatment will be just as bad for a child's development. From there, the chosen adopted child can end-up anywhere... including the sex market... all because few really care about the entire picture -- whether or not the adoption process is monitored, checked and double checked AND transparent, not just before an adoption plan, but well after the child has settled in the new home, as well.

In short, the USA (and it's adoption agencies) does very little to ensure the ENTIRE adoption process for the unwanted child is safe, and I find even less is done to ensure final placement for both child and family is good. From this foreign adoptee's POV, the adoption process is full of rotten apples slipping through the cracks.  Unfiltered rotten bits here and there can, and do, ruin the entire bunch, making the few really great adoption stories, in the whole bigger picture and scheme, not all that common OR good.

First Anon here. Kerry, I

First Anon here. Kerry, I agree with you that special-needs adoption is another way for nations to avoid their responsibility and make money. However, I think the two things--promoting respect for people with disability and offering services to parents plus IA--have to be working in tandem with the goal of gradually eliminating the foreign adoption. In some eastern European countries there is a real push to do this. On the other hand, life for a child with serious special needs in most orphanages in China isn't going to be great, unless it's in a designated group home. Clearly, attitude-wise, there are advantages to living with a disability in a western country and if the a-parents are well-prepared and willing to foot the bill for all medical . . .I'm not sure that it is ethical to remove that option from the table. I'm neither pro- nor anti-adoption, but I think a shot at a family can be a good thing. If it's wrong because the adopters are ill-prepared or fanatical or because they live in Whitesville and don't think "it matters" and a whole host of stuff, then fine: those people need to be eliminated from the queue because they're ignorant, but the option doesn't need to be eliminated entirely. But when money makes the system go round, scrupulous inspection of adopters is never going to be in the cards.

Tossing the coin, and looking at all sides

A big thanks for those commenting... it's great to see calm  discussion like this.  <crazy face>

A very interesting point has made, and I think it deserves more attention:

special-needs adoption is another way for nations to avoid their responsibility and make money. However, I think the two things--promoting respect for people with disability and offering services to parents plus IA--have to be working in tandem with the goal of gradually eliminating the foreign adoption.

And then you have countries like China, where the government doesn't care about extending services so all can be equal.  Truth is, all are NOT equal.  Countries like China demonstrate an ideal of sorts... the government wants CONTRIBUTING members of society, not people who will take from others, like social-leeches.  Case in-point, as it applies to not wanting those who are poor:

Chai Ling [was told] that she had to give the family planning officials 10,000 RMB ($1,570) in order to leave the hospital---a "deposit" that she can only recover if she returns for an abortion by Saturday, June 16th.

 Ruyi said she is unsure what will happen if she doesn't come back to the hospital for an abortion before Saturday. "I'm afraid the officials will return to get me while my husband is at work, when I'm alone," she said to Ling. "They might force me to abort then."

 Officials said that Cao Ruyi and Li Fu, her husband, would have to pay 150,000 RMB (about $25,000) of "social burden fees" if they carry their child to term in four months. That's at least four years' worth of wages for the couple. If they cannot pay the fine, they will be at risk for a forced late-term abortion.  [From an email sent by All Girls Allowed, June 11, 2012 ]

China wants parents to prove they can cover the costs parenting demands.  China wants future children to be well educated and talented enough to become assets, not liabilities to its society.

It's clear China's bully-system is in place, and it works.  Whether Americans adopt or not, Chinese officials win... they rid themselves of the unwanted ilk in society, and they make a profit by doing so.

It just so happens, by using the threat of abortion, and using ICA as a 'moral alternative', China's particular bully-system is working VERY well.  It's damn well brilliant, if not so morally debased and cruel to both women and children.

As for myself, I was told never to give into bullies because they will always raise the stakes.  Of course, I was given this lesson way too late in life because I learned the hard way  bullies make life much harder with their cruel threats once their chosen victim gives-in.  But I know this:  as long as bullies are given the power they crave, they will continue to do what they do, and they will win great power over others, especially those much weaker than them, and too afraid to not give-in or fight.

The AP's comment continued:

 In some eastern European countries there is a real push to do this [gradually eliminating the ICA option]. On the other hand, life for a child with serious special needs in most orphanages in China isn't going to be great, unless it's in a designated group home.

In China, I think that ideal scenario is unlikely to happen.  But in other countries, who knows? We saw the change and differences made in Romania, but then the call to re-open ICA forced a re-consideration.

Again, as long as ICA brings in great profit, and the word "orphanage" instills images of angst and despair, there will be no strong reason or motivation to change poor care-systems that rid the bad and bring money in.  Change, in this case, has to be based on a sense of morality, and a sense of cost and loss, as it applies to a society, as a whole.  So whether a foreign country decides to improve it's domestic care system, much of that has to be based on knowing small basics, like knowing a thing or two about healthy child development and whether it's more fiscally responsible to invest tax money in social programs in the early years, or the later-years.   [See:  Leading article: A substandard care system only reinforces disadvantage and How To Fail A Child - The American Foster Care Way ]

I think all too often, adopters think in the here and now, forgetting there is a future to seriously consider.

Enter the comment written by the other AP about SN adoptees that come to the USA.  [Keep in mind, most APs don't or won't know their child will be classified as SN until it's too late -- meaning the chld is already an American, through adoption, and living in their new American home.]

You may be able to arrange playdates when they are little, but I assure you that when they are 11 years old, a parent cannot make their child "play" with a special needs child or be their best friend. It ain't gonna happen. So friends start to disappear, they are busy, they have other plans, it becomes apparent that kids don't want to be around your kid. The invitations for sleepovers and parties end. Even sadder is that your child desperately wants to have a best friend and you cannot give that to them. If this is painful to your child, it is doubly if not more painful to you as a parent seeing your child hurt by this. Any dreams one had for your child just slips away and fades. After six years in the US, our child still cannot speak English well, has a limited vocabulary, suffers from depression and still cannot fit into our family, our lifestyle, our town, our country

As a mother to four healthy "normal" children, this comment/visual really hit home.  I would be devastated if I learned any one of my four was labeled retarded.  [I agree, those who accept this challenge deserve a halo, because it's a life-long burden/responsibility that would break my heart and kill me from worry.]

This is why I am grateful for PPL.... over the years, I have been able to hear from genuinely concerned parents who adopted.  It took years for me to grasp the real difference between those who adopt for selfish reasons, and those who adopt because they were led to believe adoption, [bringing a poor "orphan" to America] is/was a real charitable gift.... the gift of more options and better opportunities, especially if you're a girl.  So, in my mind, there IS a real difference in APs and why they choose to adopt and parent. 

With that, I try to imagine what it's like to adopt, and not know the child you received is SN.  As a mom, myself, I can see how much alike ALL children are, in the early years; there is no real difference in demands, needs, and routines... and that creates a sense of normalcy. 

Then children develop, and things change. 

When I look back at my own brood, I can say without doubt, the early years, (before 4th grade), were the easy INEXPENSIVE years.  After the age of 9 or 10, the differences between "normal" and "not normal" become more clear.

I try to imagine the horror an unknowing AP goes through when they realize just how damaging a country's care-system really is to a child, and how that damage translates into future medical costs and personal relationships, especially if the child was drugged overmedicated  while in-care.  [In such cases, all these APs better have excellent health insurance, or they will be screwed... or forced to relinquish parental rights so health care can be paid by the state via medicaid.]

When you take the time to think about it, it becomes clear:  most of these already damaged "special" children coming to America will be lucky to graduate the 8th grade; and many, if not most, will require a responsible adult's care and guardianship -- for life, not just until the child turns 18, (or whenever the parent's health insurance no longer covers the child)..

Then what?

Are there really enough Walmarts in the USA to hire these adoptees who have been taken-in to become America's social burden?  What will happen when these "saved orphans" have to compete with aged-out American foster-kids, when it comes to jobs, assistance, and health-care?

In other words, how many stead-fast pro ICA advocates are thinking about future life in America, especially when it comes to medical needs, health-costs and how medical costs are going to be paid and covered?

China is not looking so stupid, is it?

The Reality of adopting a Special Needs Child.

As an AP of a Special Needs child with disabilities, I urge any PAP to read up and educate themselves into what they are getting into.
This PEAR alert was issued too late for our family: http://poundpuplegacy.org/node/50214
but I hope that others read it. I am being brutally honest here about our experience, so please don't attack me.

We did not know our child was Special Needs when we accepted her referral. We knew that any adopted child has issues, aside from abandonment issues, malnutrition and neglect that we thought a loving family could correct. Our child was not an infant, but the 6 year old sibling of our newborn referral. We had concerns when we met her and when we told our agency, they assured us that all the child needed was the gift of time and a family to feel a part of.

Well, after years of medical appointments, exams, testings, meetings with teams of doctors, teachers, speech therapists and psychologists, altercations with other children and their parents, my husband and I were not prepared for the diagnosis that we were given of Cognitive Delays, also known as mental retardation. Our daughter's behavior issues, stealing, hitting, limited vocabulary, grimaces, depression and needs have affected our lifestyle, our relationship with friends/family and what we had hope would have been a happy normal life. It at times is frustrating and embarassing. You give and give and give and get nothing back from this child. I have the support of a caring loving husband and some extended family members, but others have not been supportive. I need not mention the large amount of time involved in helping a child adjust to a new life and the toll it takes on the family. Add to that the medical expenses that are not covered by Health Insurance, that of art therapy or psychologist therapy, there is also a cap on other types of therapy. It is not something that can be fixed nor helped, especially when you have a child attending therapy with limited speech, there is just so much a therapist can do. Therapy may be helpful to this child, but to your other children they are put in a disadvantage because so much of your time and energy is spent on this one child. The numerous medical meetings and appointments take you away from your other children. You wind up just coming home with little hope and knowing that all your love won't fix this, never. Many sleepless nights are spent as how are you going to deal with this as you get older, where is the money going to come from? This is a child who is going to be a life long dependent and then your other children will have to care for this child when you are too old or die.

If you hoped that you would enjoy the every day ins and outs of parenting with Girl Scout meetings, cheerleading, gymnastics or sleepovers and that your child would have alot of friends or be popular, date and give you grandchildren, then a special needs child is not for you. Other kids are not going to want to play with a special needs child nor be best friends with a mentally retarded child who can't speak well or has anything to offer. You may be able to arrange playdates when they are little, but I assure you that when they are 11 years old, a parent cannot make their child "play" with a special needs child or be their best friend. It ain't gonna happen. So friends start to disappear, they are busy, they have other plans, it becomes apparent that kids don't want to be around your kid. The invitations for sleepovers and parties end. Even sadder is that your child desperately wants to have a best friend and you cannot give that to them. If this is painful to your child, it is doubly if not more painful to you as a parent seeing your child hurt by this. Any dreams one had for your child just slips away and fades. After six years in the US, our child still cannot speak English well, has a limited vocabulary, suffers from depression and still cannot fit into our family, our lifestyle, our town, our country. Tell me how ICA has benefitted our family and especially this child?

I know that all children need a home regardless of special needs or not, but the reality is that not all families are equipped to deal with the long term commitment nor the reality of having a special needs child. There are wonderful people out there that CAN do this (to me they have halos), but for the majority it is not. In the US with our educational standards this child is diagnosed as Mentally Retarded, but that would not be the case if the child would have stayed in her birth country. She was happy in the orphanage she was in, she would have worked in her teen years, had relationships and children and had a life. Not sure if bringing this child to the US was in her best interest. Where are all the adoption advocates now?

School issues

To "Another AP", thank you for sharing your story. Let me assure you that you are not the only one, though at times it feels like it.

I would also like to add that people who think that schools are going to be of assistance with a special needs child are delusional and not well versed in the educational problems and cutbacks that schools face today. One has to be an advocate for their child, and even then only to get the most minimal of assistance. No one is going to run to you with the help that you think you are going to get, especially if you do not have a clear disability (and even then it is minimal). If you want your child to progress and continue therapies during the summer months, the parent has to foot the bill. Sometimes these therapies are out of one's county and the transition for the child is not easy. What happens to the kids when they reach 21 years of age? Who is around to help then? I doubt that my agency is.

This is something that goes beyond agencies "weeding out" families that cannot deal with special needs kids, many agencies do not tell PAPs the full story about a child and many unsuspecting PAPs enter into parenting a child that they are not prepared for.

APs, and American Schools

I think your point about inept/unprepared  school-systems explains why so many AP's decide to homeschool.... a real problematic issue if you're an adoptee and your parents follow the advice given by paid "therapists" who teach parents how to train and control a child's unwanted behavior.

See:  Abuse cases that involve forced confinement and torture.

These children are going to be America's future adults.... who may date, and have kids of their own.

Unless, of course, they are force-sterlilized.

Isn't that future looking super great?

<deep sad sigh>

Pound Pup Legacy