Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Thoughts on adoption ethics...

I've been trying to find a way to broach this subject, and today I came across this post that sums up what I've been thinking and worrying about since we began Wynray's adoption process. Let me preface the link by saying we continue to wholeheartedly support international adoption, and IF we do walk down the adoption road again, we will look to Ethiopia and use the adoption agency we previously used.

I have seen first hand an orphanage with babies upon babies languishing in cribs, in a region in Ethiopia where adoption is not an option for them at the moment. I know they are not there because their birth parents were coerced, lied to, or misled.  There is no demand there, no waiting lists for babies from eager do-gooders (like me) in America. Those babies need families. However, I have heard story upon story of families (birth and adopted) living the nightmare of finding out the stories they were told by their agencies were completely false. Not just a few, but MANY. So many that one starts to believe in the adoption world that an ethical adoption is the exception not the rule. I feel overwhelmed with guilt that just by adding our name to a waiting list for a child, we in some way contributed to the DEMAND for babies.

But as I said, I have seen the need first hand, and I am not willing to throw the babies out with the bathwater. I am not willing to turn my back on those children I met in Awassa who still keep me awake at night. Despite the sad state of adoption ethics, they still deserve a family. An institution is not a proper substitute for a family. I have also seen first hand the PRECIOUS older children who have been waiting and waiting. There are no waiting lists for them.

We had a really good, if not long, process with our agency. We switched agencies in the middle of our paperwork when we saw some red flags with our previous agency. This slowed us down tremendously. But truthfully, we would have waited much longer to ensure transparency, or even walked away from the process if we sensed anything that seemed unethical.

We didn't NEED to adopt, we wanted a child. And we wanted a child who NEEDED us. I don't know if it was luck, or hoping and praying, or finding the right agency, or asking a million questions, or meeting the birth father, or sending an investigator to our son's birth village. But we feel completely confident the process with Wynray was transparent and completely ethical...and that he NEEDED us.

Let me be clear, we are not heroes, and Wynray is not lucky (that's right nurse in the pediatrician's office who kept telling Wynray he had won the golden ticket. *&^*%!!). We are just a family who wanted another child, willing to open our hearts to the adventure and blessing of adoption. We participated in an industry. An industry where big bucks are being moved around, and there is a great deal of corruption.

While I believe everyone comes into your life for a reason, I don't subscribe to the magical thinking Wynray was "meant" to be our son. We are Wynray's plan B. We will rise to the occasion and make his plan B the very best plan B we can be. But if I could turn back time and give his birth mother the medication she needed, I would do it in a heartbeat. It would probably kill me, because I love him more than I could have ever imaged. But I would do it because babies are meant to be with their mothers. There is magic though, and the magic is the tremendous love that grows and flowers, and seeps in through the cracks of your heart to find places you didn't know exist. The magic is making a family, an unlikely family, work and thrive and love.

Wynray's history and culture have become precious to us. But so have the lives and families of all Ethiopians and all humans. It is VITAL that we work on keeping families together first and foremost rather than offering up sending children away as the quick fix. As adoptive parents we must demand transparency, we must ask REALLY hard questions of ourselves, of our agency, and of the birth parents, we must be willing to walk away if it doesn't look or feel right, and we must verify with our very own hearts and eyes.

And we must educate our friends who might be considering adoption.

Please friends, read.

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