Somewhere in the World a Child is Crying

Although this poem references war it can just as easily apply to orphans.  I haven’t written yet about this awful crime against children as I was hoping against hope that Putin would not sign the bill.  But he has put politics over the needs of children, many of them disabled or suffering from other disorders, living in orphanages, waiting and hoping for forever homes.  Not to mention the families here who are in the process of adoptions but now may never see their kids come home.

I have a big dog in this fight as I am an adoptive mother of three kids from Korea.  (I probably shouldn’t say “kids” as they now range in age from 28 to 34 but they’re always kids to their mom.)  And I know what these families and their waiting kids are going through as, when we were in the process of adopting in 1989, the Korean government got miffed at the U.S. and announced their intent to cancel all pending adoptions and terminate the adoption program.  Eventually they relented and, after six months of limbo, we got the call that the kids (who are biological siblings) were being thrown on a plane before the government changed its mind and be at the airport on Tuesday!

23 years ago that was and I still remember the misery of possibly losing our kids, whose pictures we had, who we’d written to, who we were already deeply bonded to, so intensely that I broke down and cried when I read that Putin had actually signed that cruel bill.

Children should not be pawns in political games.  Period.  Putin and the Russian legislature should pick on someone their own size.  I don’t know exactly what the best course of action is.  When we were waiting we were advised not to try and get our Congressional representatives to interfere as the issue was “sensitive”.  But in this case the Russians have made it clear that the decision is political retaliation for recently passed U.S. legislation dealing with human rights abuses.  Funny that you would express dismay over being called on abusing human rights by trampling on the rights of children to have a loving home.  So maybe, if anyone is so inclined, writing your Congressperson and/or Senators is a good idea.  If I get any other information I’ll put it in an update.

And thanks for letting me vent.

Posted by marindenver on 12/28/12 at 03:15 PM • Permalink

Categories: PoliticsEditorials

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What you said.

We adopted from India in 2003. Incredibly tortuous process. If bureaucrats had pulled the plug at the last minute, I don’t know how we would have survived it.

I’ve said this before and I’ll repeat it again—I consider adoptive parents some of the noblest human beings on earth.

Of course, it’s personal for me, growing up with neighbors who adopted (and fostered) several children and even closer, my two San Diego nieces are adopted.

That’s nice of you to say HB but the fact is, and I think most adoptive parents would agree with me, it’s a 2-way deal.  We needed to be parents and they needed to have parents.  Win-win.

I’m going to get in trouble for this, I think. I started to write an email to Putin, because I agree that his ban on US adoption of Russian children is a tit-for-tat action that hurts children. But I got tied up, because I wondered how many children in the US need adoption/fostering - there <must> be children in the US that need a family to look after them! It felt weird asking Putin to loosen adoption standards so that US citizens could adopt Russian children, when there are many impoverished families in the US. So why the wave of adoption from Russia, China, India, Korea, etc. Are the US adoption rules for US citizen-children more difficult than adopting a child from another country? Like I say, this question is asked in all sincerity, since I live abroad.

@greenergood - adopting domestically is extremely difficult if you are dealing with children in the social services system.  For some reason it is OK to let kids bounce around from foster home to foster home but not to terminate parental rights (in cases where the parents are clearly not capable or willing to care for the children) and let them be adopted.  That said, many, many 1,000’s of children here are adopted every year.  But it can be a years long & costly process.  My feeling is that any child who needs a home should get one whether they were born here or somewhere else.

My wife and I have worked abroad most of our career, especially Southeast Asia and Indonesia, in particular.  While we have a child we created ourselves we decide to adopt an Indonesian baby to give back something to the country that we so loved to work in.  Our daughter was adopted right during the early part of revolution that brought the end of the Suharto regime and the beginning of democracy. Indonesian orphanages tended to be well-run and not warehouses though no orphanage is an ideal place for a baby/small child, of course.  Also baby girls were often difficult to find since they tend to find their way onto a black market for sale basically to be raised as permanent house servants. Our baby girl’s adoption proved to be relatively straightforward.  The main stipulation was that we would teach our child about Indonesian culture and tradition, which was hardly an issue for us since we are both fluent in the national language and still go there regularly for work.  Our daughter is a never-ending joy of discovery and her star soccer prowess is literally something that would never have been developed in the country of her birth.
Since then, foreign adoption has become more difficult since influential Muslim fanatics claim that foreign adoption is an attempt to reduce the number of ethnic Indonesian Muslims (yes, this is crazy but fanatics are fanatics). The assumption is that all adoptive families are not Muslim, which is actually probably true.

I heard a story on NPR today about Putin and this issue; one of the many interesting facts mentioned is that the US is by far the largest adopter of children from other countries.  Also, that many countries need these kids to be adopted because their own societies have extremely low rates of adopting non-biologically-related children.  Without the demand from the US, a lot of these kids would never have homes. 

Greenergood, other reasons that Americans go for foreign adoptions is that conventional adoptions here are fairly restrictive.  Some friends of mine adopted an ethnic Russian child from Khazakstan because their being married less than 1 year and the fact that the husband was over 50 made them ineligible for a typical US adoption (they really wanted a baby, and babies are in high demand so they had zero chance of being ‘selected’). Other friends who were also considered to be too old at age 45 went the “open adoption” route, and were lucky enough to be selected to receive a newborn from a mother who didn’t even want to know the gender, much less keep in touch with the adoptive parents, so they were given full rights.  Open adoptions can sometimes end up being a mess of competing biological and adoptive parenting; my friends were willing to risk that outcome, but got lucky and received complete parental rights.

Also, that many countries need these kids to be adopted because their own societies have extremely low rates of adopting non-biologically-related children.

True that. Many Asian countries operate under the Confuscian model in which only the father is responsible for the children.  If something happens to the father then nobody is responsible.  So widows with children have virtually no chance of re-marrying if they do not give up their kids for adoption.  Mainly to other countries because the same belief pretty much precludes adoption in their cultures.

South Korea is actually trying to change this sociological perception so that kids can and will be adopted by families there (obviously the best solution) but they’re not quite there yet.  Lots of kids over there living in orphanages still.

Putin is a real creep, using children as pawns in an effort to retaliate against efforts to improve human rights... so much wrong, there.

Also, kudos to you for adopting.  One of my co-workers adopted three kids (lost one, 12 years old, to cancer).  My landlord and his wife just adopted a baby.

Thanks for explanation, Mar and StringOAS. Email to Putin sent!

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