Sunday, March 6, 2011

Adoption Ethics.

This past week has produced some news that has left the Ethiopian Adoption community in a state of shock. This article was mass posted on nearly every social outlet - http://www.voanews.com/english/news/africa/-Ethiopia-to-Cut-Foreign-Adoptions-by-Up-to-90-Percent-117411843.html

Initially I was horrified. Cutting Ethiopian adoption by 90%? Why? What in the world! Immediately I was concerned for our daughter waiting for us in Ethiopia. Concerned for our friends waiting for court dates, concerned for the families waiting for their referrals. Yet above all of that I know God is sovereign and I'm choosing to rest there.

In the past 24 hours I've been mulling over this news and the article above, the reality of the potential changes that could take place and I wonder about the reasons. Why would MOWA seem to think that such a drastic measure should be taken? Is it simply that they are understaffed and overworked? It seems that could be an easy fix. Is it more then that? Are they seeing an increase of cases where children are wrongfully taken from their birth families? Papers falsified? Corrupt agencies? Those are things that we can't ignore. We shouldn't ignore. Things that MUST be corrected even if it means it directly affects us.

I can't help but think about the birth families who have had their children wrongly taken. Who have thought they were leaving their kids for a couple hours only to return and find their children gone. Gone for good. Taken by an agency representative and put up for adoption. It happens folks. Corruption abounds, children are taken, and birth families are left completely shredded by the loss of their children. Adoption is NOT about taking children from families. Yes, unfortunately this really DOES happen. To live in denial of that fact is uneducated and simply unrealistic. I wish it was different, however its a reality that money causes corruption. Adoption has an amazingly beautiful side yet for some it also facilitates the devastating reality of baby/child trafficking. Why? The almighty dollar.

I can't shake the fact that no matter how much I want my daughter home even if this process takes longer because Ethiopia is trying to make adoption more ethical I'll take it. If it means more children will remain in their first families loved and cared for I'll take it. God designed families and it has never ever been David or I's desire to break up what God designed, we simply want to be available to be a family for a child that would otherwise not have one. We want to help not only adopt children in need but support keeping children in their first families whenever possible. We absolutely do NOT support unethical adoption and feel that the agencies operating in this manner need to be shut down.

I think at times it is easy to forget about these things as we get caught up in the adoption world and the excitement of welcoming our children home. There are two sides to adoption and one side is heart breaking, gut wrenching, and at times horrifying. The decision to give your child up is a choice I wish no mother or father would ever have to make. To ensure that the process is done ethically and not because of a need for money, feeling there is no other choice is a must. At times giving a child up for adoption is the best most selfless choice a parent can make and I respect that. My concern is that adoption has been made into a money making scheme because of the corruption that goes along with the demand for healthy infants. The reality that there are MORE unhealthy infants and older children in DESPERATE need of families is so overwhelming, yet there are far fewer families willing to adopt those children. Now, please don't get me wrong, I'm not judging those adopting a baby, there is still a need it just shadows in comparison to the need for adoptive parents for older children and unhealthy infants.

The reality is the need for families to adopt older children is HUGE. There are children sitting in orphanages waiting for a family. Some have been there for YEARS. A child over 3 or 4 is considered "old" and dare I say possibly even "unwanted" by most. When we first heard this during Silas' adoption we were completely broken. It was that reality that caused us to say YES to a FABULOUS, AMAZING, and INCREDIBLE three year old boy. This time we figured three was a good age but knowing we were open to older we found our precious daughter on our agencies waiting child list. A FOUR YEAR OLD on a waiting child list. Are you kidding me?! There is currently another precious 4 year old WAITING on that same list. These are healthy 4 year old children just WAITING for a mommy and daddy.

My challenge is that while we're all waiting and watching to see how MOWA will proceed in the future in regard to Ethiopian adoptions maybe we need to look and see how we can help to STOP unethical adoptions and HELP some of the children already waiting. With hundreds of people waiting for healthy infants maybe part of the issue is the high demand. I know this may not be a popular post and I'm not trying to upset anyone I'm speaking from the heart as one who initially requested a 10-20 month old boy in our first adoption because I was scared of the issues that could come with an older child. Truth is after lots of research adoption is work no matter what the age is. Anything can happen at any age. I LOVE toddler/older child adoption, I wouldn't trade it for anything. I just know that ethical adoption in Ethiopia is a must and we all have a part to play in that. What that looks like for each of us I'm not sure.


No matter what happens I know that God is on His throne, this doesn't surprise Him one bit, He cares for His children and He cares for us. He is sovereign and so much bigger then any government agency.
Will you join me in praying this week as MOWA and the courts meet to discuss these potential changes. Our God is faithful and able to move even the biggest mountains.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
"The Lord is my portion," says my soul,
"therefore I will hope in him."
Lamentations 3:22-24

21 comments:

The Roberts Family said...

I really appreciate this post, my friend. Praying for God to work out much through this whole process. Praying for your fam as you wait. Love you! ~Shelly

B'sBabyFarm said...

Great post, you said it beautifully.

Ted and Lori said...

Great thoughts, Erica. I feel the same way. The thing that breaks my heart the most is knowing that these delays could potentially lead to the deaths of medically fragile children whose adoptive families are waiting to bring them home where they can receive life-saving medical care. A friend of mine in NY has a son in Ethiopia who was severely malnourished, and there are many other kids like him, kids who aren't going to make it though this wait. I pray that these sick kids are somehow "grandfathered" in. Heavy heart.

Dave and Angie: said...

Great post Erica!! My prayer is that corruption and bribing would be exposed and eliminated, and that children who are in need of families would find them.

Alida said...

Loved your post, Erica! And I agree, adoption, no matter what age, is not easy and the raising is a work in progress, like with any child! My Nyla was 4.5 years old when we brought her home and I can tell you, that many fears that I had as she was "an older child" never materialized! I would not trade our decision for nothing in the world! There are so many advantages adopting an "older" child with the biggest being instant feedback as the child knows how to communicate and give you instant feedback and the second being the immune system. What I mean by that is if a child survived the living conditions there it must have a strong immune system, so under "normal" US conditions it can only strive!!! I am absolutely for "older" child adoptions ... And truthfully, a 3 or 4 or 5 year old is really not an older child! It breaks my heart seeing them on the waiting list .... Praying that soon you can bring Zahra home and that MOWA finds a reasonable resolution to the issue.

Lara said...

Standing on my couch applauding you for saying the things I'm too wimpy to say. Maybe if a little more thought was put into healthy infant adoption and it was the exception, not the rule, we wouldn't have this creepy demand situation going on. Love you girl.

Cindy said...

Thank you for this post Erica. There is a lot if hurt out there. There is a lot of concern about the children who will be stuck in care longer ( and for the children who are medically fragile as Lori pointed out). There have been vey few people willing to consider the children who have been and may continue to be trafficked. What that looks like as the children grow up with lies. Sigh
Just so complicated :(
I hope that a solution can be found that will best serve he children caught in all of this.
Thanks again for the post.

Lyndsay said...

Thank You Erica! I am with you sister! I am in full agreement of everything you have said. I have been struggling with this SO much these past few days especially.

*Overflowing* said...

Well written my friend.

Jennifer said...

What a great post...well said. AND, it is almost eerie how close this post is to the conversations in our home the last couple of days. It is sad (and scary) for those of us who are waiting, but if the changes decrease or rid corruption in our childrens' birthcountry, then who can argue?! I know God will show us the next step and intend to be on my knees for adoptive families, the MOWA, and especially the precious children waiting in Ethiopia. I also pray that the rest of your process goes ridiculously smoothly!!

Shannon said...

Beautifully written Erica! Thank you!

Leigh said...

I totally agree with what you are saying. It still breaks my heart into a million pieces to think that my 4 1/2 year old might sit in a transition home much longer than I ever thought. He has seen so many families come in and get their children already and I know he is wondering where his family is. It does worry me, it does keep me up at night hoping he is getting enough love, hoping that it won't cause more problems down the road, praying it won't break his sweet little spirit. Obviously I believe in "older" kid adoptions, and I agree that 3, 4, 5 is not old at all. But I also believe that the US should be holding adoption agencies to a higher standard than they do, or at least than it looks like they do. I think that would help the problem and it would hopefully prevent countries from having to make dramatic changes like this could possibly be. Hope that all makes sense... :)

jessie said...

I linked to the same article yesterday.but you hit on something I didnt even think of-the fact that the demand for babies is so great and the temptation for wrong because of the vast amounts of money coming in . Its really hard because we are requesting a baby girl 0-18months. It really breaks my heart that all this is going on. I cant imagine what those birthparents and families are going through. thanks for your perspective

Kim said...

Perfectly written post!

Family said...

Praying God moves this Mountain!

babysteps 2 where we want 2 be said...

thanks for your post. very beautifully written. praying praying praying this week for ET and for all the families waiting. Also praying as to what this means for my family (we had the paperwork filled out and found out i was pregnant... so we are on hold for a bit)

Audrey @ The Brown Brigade said...

Praying for God's will above man's.

Kait said...

This is the best, most honest post about the issues in Ethiopia that I've seen. Brilliantly done.

Reece & Jenny said...

Great post but I have to comment that few people "give up" their babies for adoption...it implies a sense of failure and selfishness on the part of the birth parents...rather, so often, it is the most selfless sacrificial gifts a mother could give her child...In a modern context "giving up" your child is harder to do than terminate..."lovingly placing your child in a family" suggests more of the truth and power of adoption...

because HE first loved us said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
La Dolce Vita: The Sweet Life said...

Just followed a lonk over to this post.

We are in the ET process, and I have seen links to your blog all over after attending the Created for Care retreat.

I love this post. We are in the wait for ET. We have a daughter from China, but also felt God clearly call us to ET. (We fought it, so I know it was a God thing.) We just haven't felt peace though, and all the lastest news has added to that. We aren't freaking out, but just trying to figure out to where/what God is leading us.

This was hard to hear, but much needed. I am trying to do my research, and this post helps.

Thank you!