Monday, March 23, 2009

Den Haag

I came across this and had to post it.

It's in this month's Mother Jones, and tells the story of a couple in India whose little boy was stolen to sell to an American couple looking to adopt. It's hard for me to read, and even harder for me to imagine the lives of the parents, knowing now that their son is being raised by parents who love him, too. There's truly no "bad guys" here between the parents.

But there IS a "bad guy", IMO, and it's the same one I've talked about before; the pernicious "adoption fee" system that pays off people and organizations to produce healthy children for adoption. Especially when you put it in the context of the difference that $10,000 dollars makes in Cleveland versus Calcutta, or Canton. This is a horrific thing. It could be settled quickly and easily by simply putting an end to the fee system. If the countries involved in international adoption took a single fee to cover the costs of the orphanage at least the motives and opportunities would be centralized. As it is, the pay-the-orphanage practice practically drives the individual institutions to play snatch-the-baby and destitute parents sell-the-baby.

And the article points out that the Hague Convention on International Adoption "...isn't much help. It neither lays out whether kidnapped children must be returned to their birth parents nor considers the impact of such a reunion on a child with no memory of those parents." As usual, Brian Stuy has the goods on the exact same issues with China adoption.

I was terrifically uncomfortable with the money involved in our adoption and still am. I love our little Miss and hope like hell that her mom really did voluntarily give her up for adoption. And I hope like hell that we aren't the adoptive parents of a little girl whose mom is still searching, still grieving, for the sweetheart who was stolen from her.

All adoptions begin with a tragedy. For her birthmom to have had to give her up by poverty or desperation rather than cash doesn't make the story any less tragic, it just absolves us of being the agents of the tragedy. I sure hope that our story isn't even more tragic that that, and that all of us in the adoption community can work together to put an end to the nightmare that visits Sivagama every time she closes her eyes.

(h/t to Karthika at Alterdestiny, where I first encountered the MJ article.)

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