Family photo 2013

Family photo 2013

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

To Speak in Terms of Redemption

It wasn't our Christian agency that told us there were child harvesting allegations associated with the orphanage in which our children were living. It was the US Embassy staff member who initially denied Flint's visa due to to suspicion his relinquishment may have coerced. That woman (who happened to be a US citizen) told us more in a few minutes than we learned during the entire year we were smack dab in the adoption process. Coincidence? I don't know. But without question it begs a pause - some serious consideration about what exactly it was we purchased with our benevolence.

In hindsight, I can see that like sheep following a shepherd they trust, we allowed our agency to guide us through each step of the procedure required to acquire these kids. I know now, I should have done more of my own research, I should have been better informed. It's just that once we committed to the process, once the faces of those Ethiopian children became etched in my mind's eye, once so much of our money was invested, we were desperately eager to push on through. We longed for the results of our labor, adopted children to call our own.

Any adoptive parenting can tell you the waiting game is one of the hardest parts. We want "our" kids and we want them "home" now!

Looking back, it reminds me much of building our house on the bare plot of acreage we had purchased. We entrusted the details to a company who knew about these sorts of things. We facilitated the construction loan and divvied up the finances to this man as he informed us they were due. He oversaw the digging of the well and the pulling of permits and the contractors and the myriad of tasks that were necessary each day in order to make this a home in which we could live. It wasn't until the very end, after months of daily interaction, when it was becoming clear that things weren't adding up as they should, that we threatened legal action and  insisted on seeing his private paperwork. Then we knew what we had suspected. He was pocketing more than his share, using his own personal contracting company. It was unjust. (He did repay all that he owed. We moved on and have love, love, LOved living on the prairie for many years. All negative juju has long since washed away. Although, it took some time....)

The point is, we entrusted him because we were ignorant of the process and we need the assistance of someone who was not. It is very, very reminiscent of the confidence we bestowed upon our agency - the guides throughout our adoption steps.

Words can hardly express how grievous the knowledge that our son's father may have been persuaded by someone in the adoption community, someone who had a profit to gain in the business of international adoption, to place his boy for adoption.

**Please allow me to be clear, I am not saying I believe our agency participated in child harvesting. Only that they were working with an orphanage who perhaps had. We were the last to pick up children from there as they terminated ties with that orphanage. But they did not divulge the reason they were no longer working with them to us.**

Watching his Lifebook video and seeing his brothers in their home, I can imagine Tamene fitting right in - running on the southern rural Ethiopian countryside with them, feeding the cows and gathering firewood. I'm not sure that would be an entirely bad thing. Meadow was from the same region. Was her father coerced? Did he surrender her entirely of his own volition? I hope so. I pray so. Please, let it be so.

Our kids both supposedly had HIV and were placed in an orphanage for + kids, yet they do not. Were their parents told they have HIV and are in need of medical attention? We'll never know for sure. No one was able to come up with an explanation regarding what happened. It was simply labeled, "miraculous!" For a + to become a - in both Meadow and Flint individually, would indeed be miraculous!

Both our kids' fathers remarried their deceased wive's sisters. So, there is a mother and a father living together in their homes, along with Meadow and Flint's siblings. The knowledge of this - that her father and brothers and sisters are there, living their lives as they always did - is really, really hard for our kids, most of all Meadow.

As I tell our story, I feel there is a certain pressure to say, "adoption is redemption! Amen!" I have absolutely no doubt that in many, many cases (hopefully most!) it's true. That adoption can be a wonderful, beautiful, ashes into beauty redemptive plan for children who need families.

But for those that already have families, I also have no doubt that adoption can be unjust. It can be corrupt. It can be filling the demands of waiting, western or European parents who want to adopt kids. It is undeniably business. It is not always in the best interest of existing families and children. There is a great deal of money changing hands. Any lack of ethical purity that presents itself is not entirely a surprise.

Is it uncomfortable to bring this type of thing up? Yes. Because we can tend to hold such generous images of adoption in our minds. I want people to think I did a kind deed and I am a good person as much as anyone! But, if I'm not sure it was optimal for my kids, and if I have a strong feeling it would not be touted as God's will if the situation were reversed and it was Ethiopian families raising American children, is it easy to call it redemption? Not so easy. So, I believe it needs to be said. It must be said. There is nothing wrong with saying it.

I would have wanted someone to say it to me. 

Because I want my actions to be not only as pure as possible in motivation and intention, but also in result.

Believe it or not, I hope to one day again adopt. But I will gather my research first, and do everything in my power to ensure that the parent(s) of any kids welcomed into our home have a fully fair shot at raising their own children.

It's the only way my torn conscience that can never forget Meadow and Flint's fathers and siblings will allow me to participate in such an affair. That it may, indeed, prove a true measure of redemption.


Dawn said...

I just wrote something of a similar note on my blog. I am thankful for voices like you that are willing to stand here with me.

JennR said...

Thank you for sharing this perspective. We are at the beginning steps of the process of adopting 2 kids as well. I am praying that we can adopt and that God will have His hand in the whole process. I am praying for you and your family. We too agree that the best place for a child is to be with his or her biological family whenever possible. Thank you, thank you for being so open and honest. Hopefully this information can help someone else in maintaining a healthy family unit.

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