Thursday, August 4, 2011

Full Throated Rant!!

I try to keep this blog mostly as a memory journal for my daughters future....BUT today I am so it is actually a stronger emotion than peeved for which I cannot quite put a name that suits ...about a discussion that is in full flames on one of the adoption forums of which I am a member!
 It all started with the publishing in US papers today about the ruling made by a judge in Guatemala regarding a case that has been brewing since November of 2006. A ruling in which the Guatemalan judge ordered an adopted child returned to her biological parents by her Missouri adoptive parents.....

To say this is every adoptive parents nightmare would be such an understatement! Except that the article left out A LOT of details. It has been known since at least 2008 that this adoption had 'irregularities' as the jargon calls possible negating factors. Ah adoption jargon....

Back when Patrick and I decided to pursue adoption as a means to have a family we were so NAIVE! We just wanted to be parents. Then came our first adoption....can you say emotional train wreck?!?! After weeks of jumping through every hoop the social workers and birth mother asked we were handed a beautiful little girl in the nursery of the hospital where she had been born only moments earlier. We spent a blissful week together and then reality crashed through the glass ceiling and we found our selves driving to an attorney's office to hand her  back into the arms of her birth mother who had found it just too impossible to complete the plan she had initiated. Our hearts and souls were so scarred that we backed away from the idea of adoption...until our social worker with an extremely well known and 'reputable' agency lulled us back with promises that seemed like a perfect adoption....where the birth parent rights are already terminated and the adoptions are closed before you even go to meet YOUR CHILD....this big brown eyed innocent looking back at you from the computer screen! Yes, the agency always uses that irresistible hook...YOUR CHILD is waiting for you to come and bring her home. Safe and above board especially because Guatemala and the United States required the birth mother to present at a lab to give a DNA sample to prove she was willingly placing her child for adoption....UGH!!!! You cannot even imagine the number of times I told that to friends and family who questioned why we chose Guatemala and if we were sure we weren't getting a "stolen baby"!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'd like to think the vast number of Americans who elected international adoption were like myself. Scarred victims of failed fertility and adoption attempts who put on blinders so we could focus on that beautiful child in the picture who was going to fulfill our dream for OUR CHILD....who with the tincture of time and an level of intellectual curiosity was able to see the murkier edges to the sunny adoption landscape. By the time we were in process with Julia's adoption we had personally met and knew of children adopted from Guatemala who's "stories" were very clearly just that STORIES. We tried as best as we could with the knowledge we had to authenticate our daughters' stories. I cannot exactly say just what it was about Patrick and my upbringing that put us both on the same page but we both knew that we would have to return a child or end an adoption that was not moral or ethical. But how are naive Americans to really know all the right questions to ask or how to ferret out the deceitful answers from the truth? Were these two women who claimed to Guatemalan social workers that they were too poverty stricken to raise another child...really just poor or were they being coerced by money or threats?

The little girl in the news story today...was kidnapped at 2 years of age from her family's front yard!! Her birth parents have been pursuing her and the kidnappers from moment ONE. The adopting family have known this adoption was not right from the moment the DNA test came back as not being a match in 2007...and they looked the other way while the attorney took the child to a 'friendly court' and had her declared abandoned and the US Embassy accepted the court finding and let them bring her home in 2008. The family took the gamble that the birth parents were too poor or too incompetent to find the child and when it was made very clear to them that there was a very likely chance that their new daughter was a kidnap victim how did they respond??? They refused to have her retested by the DNA labs suggested by the Guatemalan authorities OR the ones encouraged by the US government and they went to ground. She was THEIR CHILD who was assuredly 'better off' with her wealthy [by comparison] American adoptive family than with her poor Guatemala birth family.....sigh.

Today the forums were filled with adoptive mothers vehemently supporting the adoptive families actions! One woman even went so far as to say she would "Go Branch Dividian" to hide her child from Interpol [whom the judge has called upon to find and return the child to Guatemala] because "I am the only mother he has known since he was a baby and he is MINE now"....really? I cannot even believe the number who are of the opinion that the grief of the biological mother at having her child kidnapped was NOT of equal value to the grief they would feel at having the child returned. REALLY?!?!!? How long can you keep your head in the sand? How long before you open your eyes and see the number of children kidnapped to satiate the desire of wealthy foreigners? More so, at what point do you EVER acknowledge that just because a birth mother showed up to court and DNA appointments is not an absolute assurance that she was WILLINGLY participating in the adoption? I can state with personal knowledge that at least TWO children of which I am more than just an acquaintance were placed by birth mothers who were blackmailed into completing the the threat of having bodily harm done to family members! Yet countless adoptive parents deny the possibilities and claim absolute rights to THEIR CHILD.

What to do now? I'm no King Salomon...but I do know that an adoption that starts with such a crime as its foundation is forever flawed! Everyone is a victim to varying degrees...but we adopting parents do really have to face the fact that just because we sat through hideously invasive psychological testing, FBI background checks and fingerprinting, life savings and world wide searches does not always mean we get to claim the full rights to call them OUR CHILD. I am in an uncomfortable place right now on this topic...we have found Mari's birth family and have been assured by BOTH birth parents that while they adored their daughter they just could not see any scenario by which they could raise her and they willingly made the conscious decision to place her for adoption in the hope that she could find a family who could raise her.....but we have yet to find Julia's birth family so we wait....with our hearts very near the surface hoping against hope that we hear the same assurances. Even as I try to stuff the fears down deep I simply CANNOT justify any adoption that comes as a result of kidnapping....PERIOD! Knock on wood, prayers to St. Gerard, and every other possible actions that we do not find this with our Julia BUT I could not deny another mother's grief in deference to my own and I would sincerely hope that I would have the support of friends, family, and mental health workers to sit down with this other scarred heart and find a path that we could walk together that would really be in Julia's best interest....and not just my own while 'claiming' it was for Julia.

I am no longer the naive adoptive parent....and I still have much to learn I'm sure but I am the parent of a teen and a tween and I do know they can Google their own name and read! How can any adoptive parent hope for a solid loving relationship with a child who reads that they have biological parents who have been begging for their return and that they took actions to hide you from your first family? How does this child develop any self image...any sense of who they are, could have been, should have been when so much was done in deceit? For those that believe in a God and a here after....just how do you stand before him knowing that you could have righted a wrong and you chose to be selfish instead?....and this is only today's story....there are 17 children from Vietnam now living in Italy as a result of fraud and kidnapping that was in last week's news...the stories of Ethiopian adoptees kidnapped and placed for adoption are mushrooming...karma is strong stuff...just saying...

Now to reward the reader who made it through that whole convoluted tirade I offer the following visual treats....

They seriously grow up too fast!!!

Who needs Disney World when there's a lake, a dock, and enough fishing poles for the both of you?


  1. The whole thing is very sad indeed. yes, your Mari is growing up. she is a lovely young lady. ((as if Julia)). what a beautiful scene you captured in the fishing picture. back to school in a couple weeks!

  2. Naive, you can say that again, its hard not to be until you are in it. Does Julia know about this, as a child I would be terrified that my parents (you and Patrick) would give her back. Morally right or wrong I woul dhave that fear in me as a child like no other. I of course have fears even though I know that Maya's birth mom never wanted her back, still it is scary because they do need money so I'm always scared of blackmail. We did try and find her again a couple of times but now I'm just letting it go for now.

    In other news Maya has been wearing over and over the different dresses you have worn. We did my grampy's ashes Monday and she wore day of the dead (fitting I thought) then Halloween hello kitty, then littlest pet shop etc etc etc.

  3. Leah,
    Julia is too young to be included in Patrick's and my discussions of this nature so NO she is unaware of this potential. ALSO, Julia has pretty profound reading issues and by the time she would ever get to the point of looking at a post which is so 'wordy' this will hopefully be a resolved issue. After 10 years I also would hope we would not be even remotely talking about a straight "give back"!!! Seriously, we have discussed how we could handle a joint custody with us moving to Guatemala and similar HYPOTHETICAL solutions to a theoretical problem....I envy those of you who were able to foster in Guatemala so you could gain a more honest insight into how the process was handled! My intellectual brain tells me the likelihood of Julia's adoption being based on fraud is very low [especially as she is not the only child her mother placed!!!] but until we hear it from her own lips my emotional brain has concerns....

  4. Violet and I haven't talked about this case specifically but we've talked aobut other cases and potential problems of corruption and trafficking in adoption. It's scary to think about for parents and children. I'm glad you were able to talk it through with your girls.