Shattered Families

We’re the ones who have watched grandmothers sob when told their child is now in America.

We’re the one who have seen falsified documents with our own eyes. Documents that claim this parent is dead when they’re standing right in front of us.

We’re the ones who have sat with adoptive parents and begged, begged them, to reconsider. Because those children? Their mom is right outside and she says she wants her babies back.

We’re the ones who have seen an aunt pick her niece up from the orphanage after she was kidnapped and the orphanage was told she was a cut and dry abandonment case. The little girl was on the list to be adopted, and now she’s home with the aunt who searched for months to find her.

We’re the ones who have seen fathers cry with joy when reunited with their children who got lost in the system. Children who were already matched with an American family.

We’re the ones who have sat across from a mother who says, “I would have kept my baby if someone, anyone, had offered to help me keep her. I was just too poor”

We’ve seen children stolen and birth families coerced and money exchange hands and false documents written up. We’ve seen it with our own eyes.

And yet you don’t listen. You don’t believe us.

Us, who are on the ground. We are being called liars and cynics and exaggerators and ones who don’t really care about children.

I get it. I really do. You believe your adoption is different [and oh I so hope it is]. Your agency is legitimate. Your lawyer is honest. You want to believe what you’re told by them, and so you do. And you silence us. Because our experiences and our stories? They make you doubt. And you can’t doubt a child you’ve already birthed in your heart.

I believe in adoption with all my heart. I think it is an incredible and beautiful way to make beauty from the ashes. But this corruption? It’s eating away at the system, it’s eating away at birth families left childless, and adoptive families left in grief- adoptive families who were trying so hard to do it right- and children. The children. They’re always caught in the middle.

I want it cleaned up. I want the children who truly need international adoption to be the only ones leaving this country. I want birth families who can be kept together left intact. I want the corrupt lawyers and orphanage directors and government officials to stop making money off of shattered families. That’s why I speak out.

That’s why I wish people would just start listening.

Because, don’t you see? I’m not anti-international adoption. My actions and words are fueled by my belief in international adoption as an important option for children who have no other chance at a family. This corruption is going to get things shut down. It’s going to make it so that none of the children who need international adoption will be able to have it. It already makes it so that healthy babies that could be placed here and children with families that love them are flown to America, while the special needs kids and kids who really are orphans are left behind. If we are truly in this business to help kids, which I think many of us are, that should make us so angry.

Something needs to change, and I believe we can all be a part of that change.

See part two here.

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13 thoughts on “Shattered Families

  1. I am adopted into God’s family….and one of those ‘grandmothers’ who has personally gone through the heartbreak of seeing my grandchildren vulnerable, separated from family and in the ‘system’. I have lost one grandchild to the ‘system’ & not seen him since his birth, and have (& are raising) 2 adopted grandchildren out of the USA foster care ‘system’, one adopted child out of the Ugandan 3 year-foster-care/guardianship/ adoption process and also have adopted Grandchildren through international adoption.

    There is allot that I have yet to learn…but what I have learned through these years, and have re-purposed my life & ministry around, is the fact that..GOD has created FAMILY for children!

    It is His perfect design and therefore the very BEST and most desired place of ‘permanency’ for each child…
    I too see the gates closing, because of corruption, that will tragically close off the option of international adoption for the very child whose ONLY & last hope is for a family.
    We partner with the heart of your ministry here, as one of the links in the chain of support to that end.
    They don’t have a voice…but God has given us one and implores us to speak up for them. We do!

    looking forward with you to being part of needed change ahead 🙂

  2. Another concern I have with this: What are some of these families going to do once their children are old enough to google “Uganda [insert country of your choice]+adoption+fraud” and find so many of these stories, concerns and maybe by the time they are old enough more undeniable proof. Will they then believe that theirs is an exceptional case or will they among all the other teenage angst, hormones and uncertainty have to deal with the knowledge that their loving family ripped them from their home and poor but loving family (poverty is not even in the US a reason to take children from their families so why should one apply that criteria in one of thee poorest regions of the world), bought them like some new TV station because it appeared easier to deal with the issues of an African “orphan” than the issues of a domestic foster-to-adopt child. Is it really going to be enough that God “wanted” them with their American family?
    Also all these fraudulent adoptions will stop the practice of international adoptions in the not so distant future. This means that children that actually need to be adopted outside the country (because their need cannot be matched in Uganda for a variety of reasons) will never be given that chance to find permanency. The country will be closed and necessary support for the country will cease leaving children vulnerable to further exploitation once they entered the orphanage system. The situation in Uganda is not new. Guatemala went through a similar process (albeit on an even bigger scale) and nowadays nobody believes in the lies told about the “fair, humane, child-centred” process that supposedly underlined the Guatemalan process. It is accepted as fact that crooked lawyers and children´s home took part in a human trafficking scheme undermining the birth family´s rights to raise their children. The Ugandan state is as weak as other developing countries and thus should learn from other closed countries and the mistakes they made. Maybe, if corrective measures are employed at this time you can save the international adoption programme and improve it to really help not only one side in finding children but also save poor and disenfranchised families from being taken advantage of. At the moment it does not look like it. I am praying for the adoption programme even though I am not a big supporter of international healthy infant/toddler adoption but a big supporter for those true orphans who cannot find a place of permanency in their birth countries.

  3. Pingback: Shattered Families Part Two: What I Propose | pearl to be found

  4. Pingback: Making Sure an International Adoption is Ethical | Of Cabbages and Kings | Leslie Fain

  5. I just happened across your site and totally agree!!!
    My situation is a little because our adopted children come from 2 corrupt birth families in Ethiopia. Our girls have lived with us for 2 1/2 years and what a MESS!!!!!
    Oldest is legally 16 but now claims she is 21 (with a 4th grade education) and her younger sisters are her cousins and not her bio sisters. Bone xray results state she is 18. Dna results prove they are cousins. 16 yr Olds birth parents sent her to orphanage with cousins so she could get education and return to them with money. 16 yr old kept this lie all these years. Now we must contact an attorney to decide what we can do to change birth certificate and all other legal documents.
    We traveled to Ethiopia last year to adopt again and met with Dad (now who is Uncle) and the Uncle and Aunt (now bio parents) and brought them gifts along with money and pictures of the girls. Hired 2 social workers and a driver to travel to their region. Now I look back on all of this and fell like my family was a pawn in their sick scam.

    • Corrupt birth parents? Aren’t you just as guilty in engaging in corruption as they are? Why on earth would you return to acquire another child after this situation? …

      • I think that is pretty unfair. To me, Sherry made it clear in her comment that her family was tricked and scammed and that they were not aware of all this until after the adoptions. In my experience with IA, the adoptive parents usually are left in the dark. But the adoptive parents hold so much power to advocate, tell their stories, ask the right questions, and start changing the system. Thanks Sherry for sharing your story!

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