Open Response...

 July 25, 2011

The comments field wont allow me to post my entire response to a reader who left a thoughtful but critical comment on my post about the Empty Stroller March.

Rather than break up the message in the the comments field and hope it is read I'm responding here.

Zander I really wish you left a way to link back to you.  When you take that much space on my blog I think I should at least get that.  sigh


You are right THIS particular post is simple, meant to promote a particular action and to resonate with a particular group of people (my wonderful readers and fellow adoptive parents).  The post was simple but then again how many people really understand the nuances of the US health care system?  Not many, but they do know it is broken and needs improvement.  THAT simple emotion filled response is what forced health reform to center stage, not a sophisticated understanding of the economic details.
It is much the same here.

You suggested that by using strollers covered in tape we were somehow ignoring older kids...this is a wrong perception but I get it. The strollers are a dramatic tool intended to elicit an emotional reaction and (hopefully) bring much needed attention to the topic, not an implied preference for babies. (If you come here often you will know I have not adopted infants, my kids all had special needs and I advocate for older kids needing families.  BUT the reality is babies evoke emotion and a biological response to protect and that's what we are going for.)

Do not confuse marketing with substance.

Here are the initial goals for BEB taken from their website which I linked to my post.

    * First, BEB Solutions will conduct onsite visits in sending and receiving countries. In-country visits will undertake process mapping, root cause analysis and needs analysis. BEB Solutions will then develop process improvement plans and pilot with partner countries.

    * Next, we will host a Summit of Nations International Adoption Conference, which will engage global child welfare leaders in thoughtful dialog regarding best practices, problems and challenges, and potential solutions in order to compress the adoption timeline. Dr. Charles Nelson, Research Director, Developmental Medicine Research, Children’s Hospital Boston will be the key note speaker at the conference.

    * Lastly, BEB is currently supporting the production of a feature length documentary film that will serve as a catalyst in educating the world about the international adoption crisis. The project will reveal the full scope and complexity of international adoption today, showcasing the successes as well as the struggles in the modern-day efforts to find permanent families for parent-less children. Filming will take place on four continents and feature the key players in the international adoption scene: child development experts, policymakers, families, and the biggest stakeholders of all: children. The film is one of the many major projects planned by BEB to reverse the declining trend, by promoting a culture of adoption as a positive, expeditious alternative for orphaned children once attempts at family reunification and domestic adoption have failed. The film is tentatively scheduled for completion in Fall 2011.

BEB's nor my thoughts on the subject are simplistic.  Our mutual  goal is to INCREASE safeguards for children which include the removal of UNNECESSARY delays (red tape) in the current adoption system. The basic tenet of the program is the removal of commerce from the process of adoption. 

Red Tape benefits no one and the child is the one hurt the most. I do not suggest that rules and safe guards be removed but rather standardized.  I advocate for a standardized process for all sending countries based on best practices.  I want a process immune from corruption and inefficiency,while safe guarding all members of the triad.

A couple other thoughts on your comments

- I disagree, international adoption should not be a last choice...while I will agree family reunification and domestic adoption are preferred the last choice is starvation, life on the streets, institutions and waiting longer than one absolutely must to be placed in a permanent family.

-the over arching issues that cause children to become orphans are great and require much resource, political will and time to change.  These are important issues but I have chosen to focus my time and energy on what to do in the meantime with kids that suffer NOW and can not wait (or its too late to matter) for the big fix. (Would you criticize those who work for Make a Wish Foundation for not focusing on curing cancer?)

-regarding the allegation of colonialism/entitled rich Americans, well I guessed you're damned if you do and damned if you don't.  I'm erring on the side of "do"

-And, I DO want to make it easier for adoptive parents but that does not mean not fully vetting parents.  In fact we need to do a better job on that front to.  Unfortunately prospective parents today are mostly vetted by their  net worth and ability to navigate the inefficient and often corrupt process.  I would much rather focus on training and preparation of parents. Hopefully we will get there.

-regarding this notion that we are stepping over kids here to adopt kids there...honestly I find that to be offensive and racist, no different than suggesting I as white woman should only marry another white man.   Multiculturalism is not something to be feared. In our home it is celebrated and we are richer for it. We are a proud German, Portuguese, Swedish, Kazakh, Russian, Chinese AMERICAN family.

-RAD and the emotional consequences you mention are generally caused by the trauma of abandonment and institutional care, not adopting this case WE ARE THE GOOD GUYS.

Zander I sense you are an advocate for adoptee rights and I want you to know we are NOT on opposite sides.  We are each participants in an imperfect system needing major overhaul. And I'm trying to help make change for good....for all of us.

PS I would love to continue the conversation (NOT DEBATE) but please leave some direct contact info.  My email is  I want to understand.

Hey Zander, did you at least vote for me?

Vote for me @ Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

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