Thursday, March 7, 2013

Why international adoption is actually a good idea

Adoption, already a fairly emotional issue, has become even moreso. For example, I wasn't aware there are lots of groups that are fighting "closed adoptions" - or basically the right of adoptive parents to not allow the birth parents access to their kids. This "open adoption" movement seems to make sense on its face - why not give the birth parent access to their kids? It's their kid after all, and maybe the kid will want to know about their birth parents in the future.

Except the problem is for that the adoptive parents, who often have been through hell with failed fertility treatments or other serious health issues. They, after tens of thousands of dollars, finally have a child to love. They are distinctly aware of the fact that the child is not biologically theirs, but they are intent are trying to create a seamless family that is as whole and supportive as any other. And that's hard to do if you have an open line to the birth family, who may want to stop by on weekends, or send birthday cards, and create an incredibly confusing emotional situation, perhaps against the wishes of the adoptive families who are doing all the actual parenting. So even though adopted kids may want to use Facebook to find their birth families when they get older, I can respect the adoptive parent's rights for secrecy.

But here's another issue: international adoption. Opponents will say, "Hey! We have kids without parents right here in the U.S. Let's help them first!" And that's valid. But there are other reasons why international adoption is ethically sound. While traipsing around on Fark I found a thread with this comment:

I lived in China for a while, and while there, I spent quite a bit of time at the local orphanage. There was one kid whose father had thrown her in a fire when she was born. Why? Because he didn't need another girl. Her mom pulled her out of the fire (obviously) and took her to the orphanage, but she lost most of her nose, a hand, most of the fingers on the other, and all her toes. Along with that little girl, there were profoundly retarded children who were strapped into metal potty chairs (i.e. chairs with holes cut in the seats) that were placed over sewage trenches, several other children with various forms of handicaps, and the baby room.

The baby room averaged 10-12 infants at a time, all girls. I was told that parents would keep their first girl, but not register her while they kept trying to have a boy. If the second child was a boy, the first went to the orphanage. If the 2nd was a girl, she went, since they'd already invested in the first born. By my count, the orphanage got 1-2 new babies a week, but never had more than 15 in the nursery, and did not have a single adoption the whole time I was there. The rest died, mostly of dehydration or starvation, since the workers didn't go in regularly to feed them or change their diapers. The workers mixed the formula thick, clipped the ends off the bottle nipples, and propped the bottles in the kids' mouths. If they could eat, they lived a while. I was holding one, trying to feed her, when she died.

So, while I'm sure there are needy kids in this country, I'm all in favor of whatever it takes to get those poor kids The. Fark. Out. Of. There.


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