How do we create reform in the adoption industry? Wow. Talk about being put to the test. I gave it so much thought yesterday I thought my head would explode. I even let all of the chores around here go to hell in a laundry basket. Think think think.
The essence of the problem is easy, the solution….well that’s not so easy. Do we look at this picture globally or domestically? Do we simply look at it from a human perspective? Because after all a child without a home here is the same as a child in another country without a home. Or do we just try to work on our own problems? No, that won’t do because the US adoption industry has become increasingly more dependant on international adoptions. We know there needs to be regulations on adoption but then we are talking about involving the government. A government which has proven it has very little concern regarding adoptee rights. The government holds our identities hostage so how can we trust them with the even more important task of our futures? We all know the adoption industry is becoming increasingly corrupt because of one driving force: MONEY. This creates an entirely different set of problems to be addressed.
You can see my dilemma. Each question brought about a million more. It became necessary to dissect it completely. I guess when you begin the climb to the top of Mt. Everest you have to start at the bottom and take one step up.
SOOOOO I figure we have to start somewhere. It might as well be here:
Here is the first thing I realized which Rob was correct about. Some things about adoption cannot be fixed. I was reading Abebech’s post about what it means to have adoption be an AP’s second choice.Here’s the thing…..adoption is EVERYONE’S second choice. We can’t make AP’s own this, it belongs to all of us. Adoption was my second choice and even though my own natural mother willingly (without coercion) chose adoption – had her circumstances in life been different it would have been her second choice too. I mean even parents who chose adoption over having biological children would probably rather have the institution of adoption be completely unnecessary…. in a perfect world.
The problem comes in when we decide we will not only completely ignore this aspect of adoption but actually go to great lengths to PRETEND it isn’t so, that we all run into problems. So step one is that we all have to quit pretending adoption is something it isn’t. AP’s should not let this frighten them because when you tuck your child in at night there is no need to say “goodnight my sweet little second choice”. It is a willingness to love and appreciate the gifts we were given (for who and what they are), not pretending the gifts we were given have morphed into what we originally wished for. See? It becomes an understanding between parent and child. These are the children that will feel free to come to you and ask questions about their other parents and you aren’t going to feel like you were shot in the gut, because everybody’s keeping it real. It’s a part of adoption that can’t be fixed but it can be dealt with better and worked through. What does this have to do with reform? We cannot effectively create change in something we are not looking at honestly.
Regarding money and it’s effect on adoption-
What you chose to sell your home for is not regulated by the government. You can charge a million dollars for your house if you wish. You may not GET a million dollars but you can try. So the adoption industry has decided they will charge thousands of dollars for their services. They do not DO thousands of dollars worth of work but they can CHARGE anything they like….no regulations. And just like the homeowner, if they can GET a million dollars why wouldn’t they charge a million dollars?
My husband and I have often talked of adopting a child. Surprised? I’ll bet. The thought of a child aging out of the system without a home base……..well that kicks me in the gut. The problem is when we begin thinking about the cost involved we begin thinking about our current family unit and……..honestly………the money becomes an issue and we get lazy about the whole thing. I’m being honest. Look, we have everything it takes just like any PAP. We have a home, food, clothing, and we have an unlimited supply of LOVE to give another child. Then we start to think about our responsibility to our current family unit and the money goes elsewhere. Then there is dance recitals and soccer games and football and ………we get lazy about adoption in our world of chaos. I am ashamed but it is the real deal.
Many infertile couples have no such financial boundaries, nor do they have the distractions. This is a profoundly sad fact and the driving force behind their actions. They can easily justify spending that kind of money even if they think it is exuberant. So they do. And it doesn’t matter how much agencies raise their fees infertile couples will find a way. Longing for a family is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Not a PAP, not an orphaned child, not an adult aged out of the system all alone in the world, not anyone. An agency will charge as much as they can get because they are a business and an infirtle couple (able to) will spend whatever it takes to make the pain go away.
The more money that is involved the more the world of adoption becomes an industry filled with corruption, black markets, child theft, coercion, manipulation and fear. This isn’t something a PAP is exposed to though is it? No, they pay the money, they are told everything is peachy and at the end of the day they have a baby. If you don’t see the tree fall……..
Your adoption may not have included such horrible aspects but they happen every single day in the adoption industry. You may also argue that profiles and open adoption is a solution but it’s not. I have to talk about that another day though. It’s an entirely different step. The bottom line is we are ALL responsible for adoption reform……….. as the only action that will work toward a solution is a collective one.
So you want to talk about the first step up Mt. Everest we have to climb? The first step is always the hardest. Try convincing PAP’s that if we ALL quit paying that much we wouldn’t have to EVER pay that much. If we quit spending all of that money, all of the despicable practices currently going on would virtually disappear. If the guy wants to sell his house he will have to lower his price because NOBODY is going to PAY him a million dollars for his house! Eliminate the BILLIONS of dollars up for grabs in the adoption industry and you have VASTLY changed the face of adoption for the better. Any ideas how to get PAP’s to quit spending all of that money? Me neither. It’s asking a lot because it would mean waiting for change and it would mean the very strong possibility of adopting an older child. Which brings us back around to keeping what adoption is and is not………real.
I could have eliminated all of those paragraphs and replaced it with one sentence: Quit buying babies. But that would have gone over like a lead balloon.
Everyone has their mountain they chose to climb. This is mine. I won’t give up trying. Ever. There are MANY more steps to take before we get to the top of the mountain but this is a start.