Posts Tagged ‘politics of adoption’


November 10, 2011

Happy National Adoption Month!

My first thought is always about our family’s adoption experience.  My son came home from Russia on a VERY cold winter’s night in 1996.  He was a teeny, tiny, bald baby with huge blue eyes that seemed to see everything.  He was 11 months old and had never been outside an orphanage.  Our extended family was there at the airport with signs, balloons and lots of tears of joy.  My Grandma Nina loves to tell about the first time she held him.  She always talks about how he “snuggled right up” to her neck, remembering it as a sweet, trusting gesture by this tiny baby.  I don’t tell her that our family had actually freaked him out and that he was trying to get away as best as he could!!!!

15, almost 16 years later, he is an amazing young man.  I don’t talk about him much on this blog or in other aspects of my work because he is a very private person.  He is an old soul in a young body.  He has an incredible depth of thinking, sensitivity and interests that go beyond his age and is one of the few people who almost ALWAYS allow themselves to truly be their genuine selves.  He is often a contradiction–for example, he professes to dislike little kids, but is the kindest, gentlest big brother and older cousin you can imagine.  He is brilliant and can literally do anything he wants to do.  He is thinking of being a geological engineer but says his “back up plan” is to be a truck driver.  (he is only half kidding)  He very, very rarely has the typical teenager angst or anger.  He CAN, however make a person crazy with his stubbornness!   I just bought him a shirt that says “I May Be Wrong… But I Doubt It”.   

Long story short, he is amazing and I have no doubt that he will someday fulfill whatever purpose he is meant to.  He may change the world in big ways or small ways, but I am absolutely sure that it will be for the better.  None of this could or would be possible without international adoption.

We are some of the lucky ones.  There are thousands and thousands of children all over the world whose potential may never be reached because they will not have a family.  The statistics for children who age out of foster care or orphanage care are grim.  Their lives up to that point are sometimes even worse.

I want us all to remember all these little ones.  Whether adoptive parents, birth parents or adults who care about children, we owe it to the children who are still waiting for someone to be their own.   In particular, I’d like to ask you to remember and say a prayer for a group of children known as the “Bac Lieu 16”  They are not the only children needing our thoughts, prayers and especially ACTIONS., but looking at a tiny cross-section of the bigger problem can help us begin to comprehend the depth, scope and reality of so many children’s existence.

International adoption is not the only answer, but it should remain ONE answer.


How, When and Why to Phase Out International Adoptions?

September 13, 2011

South Korean Adoptions: The Canary in the International Adoption Mine? is an article written by Dawn Davenport that explores some of the thought processes, pressures and goals behind South Korea’s policies limiting international adoptions.  It does an excellent job of examining some of the rationales and policies based on research rather than opinion or rhetoric.

Most important, it brings to light the unintended consequences of imposing limits on international adoptions before the rate of domestic adoptions has caught up.

What Have You Done Since June 24th?

August 5, 2011

What has happened in your life since June 24th?  Take just a minute to look at the last two months of your calendar, scan through the last 2 months of your email or just think about what you and your family have done this summer.

Here at my house we’ve:

  • eaten well over 65 meals together
  • celebrated the 4th of July
  • enrolled our youngest daughter in kindergarten and our son for his sophomore year in high school

Since June 24, I have:

  • fixed our daughter’s hair about 41 times
  • hugged our son good night about 27 times (he went on a trip with his grandpa)
  • read at LEAST 82 books to our daughter, not including a couple of chapter books
  • almost finished writing and visually creating my section of our new online class for special needs adoptions

Why do I ask you to think about what you’ve done since June 24th?  Because that is the last time I posted about the “Bac Lieu 16” and every single one of these children are still waiting.

Take just a few minutes to watch this video… we all need to remember and be accountable.  If you haven’t signed the petition yet, please do so!  If you haven’t emailed about these little ones, please do so now!

Empty Stroller March from Both Ends Burning on Vimeo.

Keep International Adoption an Option (part 2)

June 24, 2011

The orphanage (a former jail) the children are currently living in.

I want to draw your attention to 16 little ones who are growing up languishing in a Vietnamese orphanage, even though they have families desperate to bring them home.

I’ve blogged before about the cost of stopping international adoptions in light of concerns about corruption.  No one wants to turn a blind eye to corruption.  As adoption parents and adoption professionals, we have to be a vocal and active part in helping to protect vulnerable individuals involved in the adoption process.  And yet, removing international adoption as an option for children who have no other opportunity to grow up in a family does nothing to solve problems–it simply shifts the burden onto the shoulders of the most vulnerable individuals involved–

the children.

Gabriel Loc--referred to his family at 5 months of age, now 3 1/2 years old.

Sure, if international adoptions are stopped, we’ve stopped potential problems with corruption.  But, we’ve also denied these babies and children one of the most basic human rights, the right to grow up in a family.  Even the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child  allows that if a child does not have a family (birth or adoptive) in their country of origin, then international adoption is an acceptable alternative to growing up without a family.

All of this sounds theoretical, but we cannot lose sight of the real impact, the burden of which is borne by the children who wait and continue to wait…  and wait… and wait… in conditions no individual could ever, with a clear conscience, condemn a child to.

This photo is of 3 1/2 year old Thomas and was taken in May of 2011. The children are losing weight.

      •  inadequate nutrition (approximately 1 cup of rice per day; very little protein or vegetables)
      • no medical or dental care (1 child died in 2008; all of the children have extensive tooth decay)
      • frequent skin disorders (scabies, heat boils, ringworm)
      • oppressive heat and humidity (heat indices regularly above 100 & no air-conditioning)
      • cramped living conditions (15’ x 20’ concrete room with 11 children in a room)
      • sleeping and eating on unsanitary and filthy floors
      • little stimulation, toys, play time, or education
      • inadequate supervision (often 1 caregiver per room and left long periods of time unsupervised

Source–“Bring Home the Bac Lieu 16” Facebook Page

For three years the families who were adopting them at the time of the

Nate during a visit with his mommy.

shut down have done their best to “parent” from afar.  They’ve made many visits bringing supplies like food, milk, clothing–things that we tend to take for granted.   In January, officials barred further visits, making the children’s situation even more precarious.  Even so, these folks are still “parenting” by advocating for these children.

You can help.  Here’s how:

Sign an online petition.

Email and request action on behalf of these 16 children and the families waiting for them.

Little Claire Yen running to greet her daddy on a visit he made last August. Please help make this a permanent reality for all 16 of these precious little ones.

Martin Luther King Day and International Adoption

January 17, 2011

The sermon at church yesterday was focused on some of the principles that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stood for.   During that 20 or 30 minutes, I was struck by how parts of it are relevant to the state of international adoptions today–not in terms of race, (even though it is, of course!) but in terms of human rights.

Our pastor spoke of two particular evils that Dr. King fought against and that we all need to continue to fight against:  Intolerance and Indifference.  He pointed out that these are really just two sides of the same coin and here is how I see them playing out in the area of international adoption. (more…)

Adoptive Families are REAL! (Just ask my fourteen year old!)

April 25, 2010

My 14 year old has become an indignant defender of positive adoption language.  Of course this tickles me to death.  The best part is that she is actually quite fearless in whom she will take on in this debate.  Check out the situations she has found herself in just during middle school. (more…)

Julie’s Thoughts on Hansen Adoption Mess

April 13, 2010

Katie offered the rational professional thoughts about the Torry Hansen adoption case.  Of course she is right, and yet I’m still left needing to vent or scream or SOMETHING!

This case is quite frankly making me crazy.  Maybe because I spend every day of my professional life trying sincerely to educate adoptive parents, or maybe because I am MOM to a now grown child (adopted at 6 from a Russian orphanage) that but for the grace of God could have been this little boy, I simply cannot stop thinking about this case!  The mother bear in me is loud and strong in my head. (more…)

Looking for Answers–Hansen adoption disaster

April 12, 2010

Like anyone connected to the adoption world, I’ve been sickened, shocked, saddened and thinking a LOT about the horrific news story about Torry Hansen who (with her mother, Nancy) put the son she adopted on a plane and sent him back to Russia.

No matter which version of the story you read, you’ll find a common thread.  Horror, yes.  Disbelief, yes.  But also many questions that basically all ask, “Who is to blame?” (more…)

Different Perspective on International Adoptions

March 8, 2010

“The primary consideration should be the welfare of the children in question. Where will they have the best chance at happy, fulfilling lives? How best can the global community ensure their health and safety?” Jeneen Interlandi, The Benefits of International Adoption, Newsweek.

A well-written article that discusses the positives in international adoption–something not often heard in the media these days, it seems.  Why is this?  Is there really that much bad news about international adoptions?  Or, is it a function of bad news selling quicker than good news?  Or is there another reason?

%d bloggers like this: