August 22, 2011
Today's post is written by Melissa a fellow adoptive mother and friend who asked if I would permit her to guest post on my blog. She wanted to add to the recent discussion on the "politics of adoption". Though I have not done it before I agreed to let Melissa post here because I think it might be an interesting way to share multiple perspectives on the complicated (and often contentious) subject.
To that end, if you would like to share your thoughts on an issue of importance to the adoption/orphan discussion I welcome you to submit a post for consideration. While this is generally a blog written by and for adoptive parents, I personally would welcome insight from adoptees, birth/first/natural families as well as other stakeholders. I remain hopeful that we can learn from one another.
Send your submissions to email@example.com
Prelude to the Main Message
I wanted to write about the how the US government must grasp the dire urgency facing the plight of
children in orphanages around the world due to the numerous bureaucratic slowdowns in processing
international adoption paperwork. But before I even start my thesis, I know that I will be confronted
with comments about domestic adoptions, corruption in international adoption, and the discussion
about fostering and/or sponsoring. So let me address those before I get t what I believe is the root of
the current crisis in international adoption. (Note: I’m assuming here that Lori will permit me to guest
First of all, some ground rules. Address your comments, criticism, debates, and arguments to me. My
name is Melissa. I can take it (although not as well as I take praise but nonetheless.) Do not flame, spam, or drag Lori or anyone else into this dialogue. These are my words and my opinions. If you disagree with me, fine. Tell me why. And if I don’t see your rebuttal, that’s fine as well. Let’s agree to disagree.
Some things are set in stone and can never be changed. I can accept that and I hope you can too. Just as we’ll never convince a Red Sox fan that the Yankees rock (or vice versa), or that University of Michigan football is far superior than Ohio State, or that Lee Majors as the Bionic Man was far dreamier than David Soul in Starsky and Hutch. Moving on…no cussing, no name throwing, and don’t attack on the personal level. Let’s have this dialogue as adults. You may learn something and I may learn something. Or maybe not. And that’s okay.
And finally, if you are making a statement as a truth, back it up with facts, don’t make general assumptions.
So here we go.
I get it. I heard all the arguments and I get what people are saying when it comes to the pros and cons of adoption and international adoption but the pendulum swings both ways.
Argument #1: It is beneficial for the child to foster them as opposed to adopting. You are not taking them away from their biological families. It is less selfish as it is more about meeting the child’s needs than the adults’.
My response: Fostering is a tough and caring job but there are also non-altruistic motives involved in
some cases as well. Unlike adoption, domestic or international, the US government pays families who
foster. The child’s insurance is covered by the government until the child is 18. The average payment
foster families receive is $300 per month per child. (Source Link Here)
According to a 2003 survey not only were companionship and community stated as reasons for fostering but “among some parents, to supplement family income.” (Source Link Here)
Argument #2: The international adoption world is corrupt with children being sold on the black
My response: True and undeniable, hence changes do need to be made to ensure the perpetrators are
punished and not the children. Fortunately, there are tools and resources to help prospective parents
research ethical and legal agencies and how to spot red flags. The US embassies in these countries also
have methods in place to help determine the validity of each adoption. Some of these methods are
faulty and outdated and need to be updated but a system is currently in place.
Needless to say, domestic adoption isn’t immune to black market baby selling either. Just last month a
woman in Washington tried to sell her baby for $500 at a Taco Bell. (Source Link Here) Last summer a couple tried to sell their baby at Walmart for a mere $25. (Source Link Here) In some cases in the US, pregnant women are scamming prospective adoptive parents by seeking financial aid from numerous couples only to disappear. (Source Link Here)
In the cases where kids are being stolen from biological families, it’s happening here in the US too. Some unscrupulous people are stealing babies out of hospitals minutes after they are born. (Source Link Here)
Argument # 3: There are many kids in the US in need of homes – no need to look overseas for kids to adopt.
My response: That’s true. There are kids EVERYWHERE in need of homes, love, and families. However, in the US, there is governmental support in place for ALL kids in the foster/adopt realm such as free health care, education, and a place to live. (Source Link Here) This is not always true overseas in many countries where the basic necessities are not provided by the government. In essence, those are the kids that are in dire need because there are no safety nets for them.
Argument #4: Adoption in general is evil and a gateway to abuse since blood is thicker than water. People cannot love an adopted child as a biological one.
My response: Blood is like water – transferable and can be bought at a market, but unlike water, it’s
gross when you step in a puddle of it. Not all adoptive parents are like Terry Hanson of Tennessee who
put her adoptive son on a plane back to Russia nor like the woman on the Dr. Phil show who put hot
sauce in her adoptive son’s mouth when he told a lie. The majority of us adoptive parents (international
and domestic) do good. We love are children more than life itself. I would give up my own life for my
By the same token, biological parents have faults too. Not all but some. Remember Susan Smith who
drowned her three biological kids in a lake in order to woo a guy? This summer an Ohio woman was
found guilty of cooking her biological child in a microwave. (Source Link Here) . A Louisiana dad beheaded his seven year old biological son with a meat clever last week. (Source Link Here)
Argument #5: If Americans want to help a child overseas, they should sponsor the child’s family.
My response: In theory, not a bad suggestion but the reality doesn’t always work this way. In some
countries, pregnancy (even from rape) is not only taboo and ‘shames the family’ but is cause for death
for the woman. (Source Link Here) So in cases like this, when the woman most likely values her life, a sponsorship or even knowledge of the pregnancy would do more harm than good. Sometimes, in lieu of pregnancy termination, the woman goes into hiding until she gives birth and then puts her child in an orphanage for adoption.
Argument #6: Not all kids in orphanages are true orphans.
My response: That is true. In fact, this is a universal truth, meaning it also applies here in the US. Not
all kids available for adoption or live as wards of the State or County are true orphans. Yet these kids as well as those in orphanages, all of them, would thrive in a family setting.
Argument #7: Adoptive parents tend to be baby collectors.
My response: Two words: Michelle Duggar. (all biological on top of that)
The list here can go on but I think I’ve made my point.
In no way, shape or form do I mean to belittle, dismiss, or bemoan anyone’s personal experience. I understand there is a lot of pain involved when it comes to adoption: some children are adopted into less-than-loving families; some children have come into families by unethical and immoral means; some parents regret their decisions to relinquish, and so on. There is also a lot of pain in the biological family structure: abuse, shame, and disrespect. My goal was simply to point out some of the more common arguments I’ve heard against international adoption and to address them. I wanted to show that international adoption is not the root of evil and the alternatives are not always as rosy. The end result is that children need parents and where anyone comes from shouldn’t be the issue.