Search This Blog

Sunday, April 11, 2010

International Adoptions

It was on the front page of my local newspaper Saturday morning. A woman in Tennessee adopted a seven year old boy from Russia. Less than a year later, she decides that he has too many deep psychological issues for her to handle. She also accuses him of having violent tendencies which make her (and her mother) afraid of him. Her solution? Put him on a plane back to Russia, with a note in his back pack that she's "giving him back."

Giving him back to who? The Russian authorities don't have any family for him. That's why they allowed him to be adopted by Americans! The news stories Saturday said that the woman had not yet been charged with any crime here in the U.S. I suspect the story would have been different if she had be in Russia. My bet is she thought that too; otherwise she might have accompanied him on the plane to Russia. (Sending a seven year old on an international flight by himself isn't what loving parents typically do.)

My take on this is that the woman ought to be arrested and charged with child neglect and abandonment. She should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Quite simply, there is no excuse for doing what she did. In fact, had she done it with an American child, even a birth child, she would be in jail right now already!

The woman claims that she "was mislead" about the boy when she adopted him. That could be. At the same time though, it would be hard for anyone to properly lead her in such an adoption. Who could know, for example, how the boy had been psychologically damaged in his first seven years as an orphan? Who could predict how he might respond to this woman's parenting? Who could guess how he might adjust to living in America, learning a new language, etc.?

Honestly, it's pretty naive not to think that things would be very difficult for the boy - and that he might have trouble acclimating. Said differently, the woman should have been more prepared. If she had done any homework at all on international adoptions of older children - or even domestic adoptions of older children, she would have learned that they often come with issues and baggage that must be dealt with. But she didn't. It makes one wonder if the adoption was about the child or about the parent.

I've gotten on my soap box before about international adoptions. I'm not a fan of them. We have literally tens of thousands of children languishing in foster care here in the U.S. These are children that nobody wants. We also abort millions of unwanted babies here in the U.S. Why is this? Moreover, how can we have such huge numbers of unwanted children in America and still have people spending big bucks to go chase them overseas?

The Russian government is angry about this particular incident. They're referring to it as quite possibly the "last straw" in a string of bad experiencing they've had adopting their orphans out to selfish and unprepared Americans. They are demanding a treaty with the U.S. that would enable them to have more accountability with the parents.

I think the Russian government making a reasonable request. If we're going to wade into these kids' messy lives, we need to be prepared to get our hands dirty. I suspect that if they get such a treaty though, the pool of people chasing these adoptions will shrink quickly. Why? Because I'm convinced that one of the key reasons we go abroad is because we don't want to deal with messy situations --- and we have some perverse fantasy that we won't have to if we get a kid from there.

Americans need to grow up, get a clue and start being responsible about the kids we have and the kids we throw away here. Only when we do should any other government let us adopt its orphans.

No comments:

Post a Comment