A failed adoption

I was horrified when I saw this story on the news this morning. It involves a child aged seven who was adopted in the US from Russia and his adopted mother put him on a plane on his own back to Russia complaining that he was ‘mentally unstable’. Now Russia is considering suspending adoptions to the US.

This is beyond heartbreaking. I have a lot of difficulties with international adoptions to be honest. I wonder if it is ever the best thing to take a child away from their home environment and culture and while I can accept that there may be some circumstances that it could work and be favourable and that there are some wonderful individual adopted parents – there is something of the ‘baby trafficking’ imperialist feel. Especially when they have their names changed to something ‘American’ with such impunity and may find themselves in smaller towns, isolated from contact with their own culture and with fears that the native background and culture might be whitewashed.

I think the key is proper checks, preparation and aftercare if these types of adoptions are to take place and so a lot of questions need to be asked (and are no doubt being asked) of the agency in particular and perhaps, just perhaps, the process is actually too short rather than over-lengthy.

Being able to pick a child with less care than one might pick a puppy is incredibly uncomfortable and immoral. Putting a child on an aeroplane – urgh. Beyond urgh.

I have no expertise in the field of adoption and I say that straight out but it seems a lot more common in the US for international adoptions to take place. I wonder if it is due to a more decentralised system of agencies which exist. I honestly don’t know the answer.

But whatever the answer is, this is not it.

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8 thoughts on “A failed adoption

  1. It’s really become quite the news story here, and all my networks and both formal and informal adoption/adoptee friends and colleagues have been talking about this non-stop. It’s a tragedy. Everyone is trying to point fingers and while I think how the adoptive parents handled the situation is horrific, it speaks to (to me anyway) a systems failure all the way around.

    What concerns me is that this particular story was public by the nature of the adoptive parent’s handling of the disruption/dissolution, but most people have no idea of the scope of how many adoptions are disrupting and dissolving. No central place in the U.S. is keeping statistics and there are some going underground. It’s been tough for folks who want to understand the scope of the problem to find any good statistics.

  2. You’ve nailed a good deal of the problem. The UNCRC and UNICEF both recommend international as a “last resort.” First all efforts need to be focused on helping families in crisis. When the nuclear family fails, the extended family is the next step in seeking safe care for children. When that fils, the community and then the nation.

    But what we have instead is a worldwide redistribution of children for profit, not their best interest. Russia has been criticized for not taking sufficient care of its orphans. But the pot calling that kettle black is the U.S. with half a million children in foster care – 129,000 of whom could be adopted. We use these kids as incentives to get congress to increase tax benefits for adoption every year when virtually none of those funds go toward adoption from foster care which is virtually free. Instead our tax dollars support cultural genocide to meet a demand.

    Yes, it is child trafficking, imperialism and ethnocentricity in its ugliest form.

    Why else would an adoption agency allow a single mother to take on t=the challenge of a 7-year-old who had bene institutionalized without making it clear the difficulties she must expect? Why, because sealing the deal and collecting their fee is more important than the welfare of the child (read: commodity). Even non-profit agencies, as this one was (WACAP) depend on the fees made by the transfer of children to pay their expenses and stay in business. Children – the most vulnerable of all human lives are, sadly, merely a means to their end; a product being exported and imported.

    Mirah Riben, author, “The Stork Market: America’s Multi-Billion Dollar Unregulated Adoption industry”

  3. Thanks for your inputs – I have to say I agree with the points made. I don’t really know too many of the details but for me it’s about agency support and preparation/vetting as much as anything.

  4. The situation is so horrible to even begin to understand fully, especially by the general public who knows little about fostering or adoption. I am a foster mom, hopefully soon to be adoptive mom, of children in the US foster care system. So many children here and abroad that are in an adoptable situation suffer from severe emotional issues. Few people outside our line of parenting understand the issues of RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) which I am guessing to be a huge underlying cause of the situation. I feel that I, having had to train for so many hours for so many years as a foster parent, plus real-life experience, would have a much better understanding of how one of the RAD kids function. I have often felt that international adoptive parents do not get such training or experience. I am guessing that the adoptive mother did not have a very good support system available with her agency, plus she was probably never told the severity of the child’s issues. This by no means excuses her from her improper and illegal behavior with her legally adopted son, but perhaps this will open the eyes of these adoptive agencies.

  5. I respectfully disagree with you. I have had first-hand dealings with RAD kids. If you don’t want to call it RAD, call it something else, but problem is that it is children who oppose a close relationship with anyone and act out accordingly. These children can be charmers to the outsider, but impossible to live with.

  6. My great grandma put my grandmother and greatuncle on the Liverpool boat from Halifax, Nova Scotia, without telling anyone. She sewed tickets to their lapels. The captain took them in.

    Been happening for donkey’s years.

    Bloody sad though.

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