International Adoption: Child Saving?

After coming from my Child, Youth and Society lecture and learning that international adoption is a problematic market exchange of children, I became rather curious as to what might be so problematic about something that involves nothing but good intentions. While reading through some articles, I had encountered one entitled “International Adoption and Human Trafficking” which had given me a whole new perspective regarding the concept of international adoption. While I had always believed that children put up for adoption were orphans, I had come to learn that this is not always the case. This article went on to address the issue of child trafficking by using examples from Africa and Eastern European countries where it became apparent that many of the children in orphanages are not orphans at all. In fact, these children actually have families who had no other choice but to give up their child.

In the poverty stricken country of Africa, parents struggle to support their families, especially their young, developing children. For this reason, these impoverished families are forced to give up one or more of their children to the orphanage to ensure those children sent away as well as those that remain at home will be provided with food to eat. In the case of Eastern European countries, mothers who give birth to children with disabilities are advised by their doctor to give them up to the orphanage so that they could be properly cared for. In both situations, it is not that these parents do not love their children; they just do not have the resources to care for them and to provide them with even the most basic necessities to ensure a decent quality of life.

Aside from families who are knowledgeable of the fact that they are giving up their children, other cases exist involving parents who are unaware that they will never see their children again. When looking further into this topic, I had come across another article entitled “Kidnapped and Sold: Inside the Dark World of Child Trafficking in China”. In China, thousands of children are adopted each year through the International Adoption Agency. Although adoptive parents may have good intentions, they may not be aware that the “orphan” they have adopted is really a child who had been taken away from their biological family and sold to an orphanage. It is horrifying to know that such corrupt adoption agencies exist where individuals are paid to recruit children for an American Adoption Agency.  I had come across a short video that perfectly displays the corrupt country of China as child traffickers sell babies to government orphanages who are then adopted by oblivious foreign families (VIDEO).

Children from these underprivileged countries are being taken away from their families and are sold as a profit where orphans are “created”. Depending on the country, a family can purchase a child of the nationality of their choice for $10,000-$50,000. Imagine what all this money could provide to struggling families in developing countries! It would mean families could keep their children and provide them with the necessities of life that are essential for their survival and ensure that they live a happy and prosperous life as a family.

Children Are Not For Sale

Majority of international adoption is based on middle-class families who cannot have a child of their own, or celebrities along with other families who want to “change the world” by adopting from a Third World country. With the knowledge of what really goes on behind the process of international adoption, I believe there are other efforts that can be put forward in attempt to change the world for the better. The price to adopt an individual child should really be used towards making a difference in hundreds of families’ lives!

There are wonderful stories of real orphaned children being adopted however, that does not change the fact that a great deal of children in the orphanages around the world would be better rescued if they were provided with the ability to return to their own loving families back home.

Amanda

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6 responses to “International Adoption: Child Saving?”

  1. Ashley Nicollette John says :

    I was also completely oblivious to the underlying truth of third world adoption agencies. I had a feeling that not all good comes from taking a child from their home country to a whole new cultural environment that they are unfamiliar to could always go hundred percent according to plan. However, I did not realize that some parents who had no intention of separating from their children entirely were having them taken away and sold without consent. I do not believe that just because a family is in poverty, means that they do not have a right to having a family. In my perspective, it is morally wrong to tear a family a part because another’s option says otherwise. Not one individual can predict that a parent will not do everything in their power to provide the best that they can or label them as an unfit “mother” or “father” based on income. Money may be a main determinant for success but it is not one for happiness. Can you imagine a family member being taken away first because doctors advise you to or the government selling someone’s child as a ploy to gain a profit but trying to pass it off as if they care and stating they are “saving the children”. If people like celebrities really want to make a difference in the world, they do not have to publicize it by having a child they brought over to America walk along side them in pictures but actually contribute by sending over money to the family so they have the means to raise and support their own children. A child and their parents should be able to live together and grow within their own traditions, rather then having no choice in the matter. The government should be discovering new ways of making resources available to families in need by using funding to open services directed to those who struggle to make a living. If people want to adopt over-seas they should be made aware of the background story behind the child they are adopting and the reasoning for why they are there in the first place before hand. Then let them make a decision whether they agree or not to adopt the child and support what is happening behind the scenes of these organizations.

    – Ashley John (5257340)

  2. Ashley Nicollette John says :

    I was also completely oblivious to the underlying truth of third world adoption agencies. I had a feeling that not all good comes from taking a child from their home country to a whole new cultural environment that they are unfamiliar to could always go hundred percent according to plan. However, I did not realize that some parents who had no intention of separating from their children entirely were having them taken away and sold without consent. I do not believe that just because a family is in poverty, means that they do not have a right to having a family. In my perspective, it is morally wrong to tear a family a part because another’s option says otherwise. Not one individual can predict that a parent will not do everything in their power to provide the best that they can or label them as an unfit “mother” or “father” based on income. Money may be a main determinant for success but it is not one for happiness. Can you imagine a family member being taken away first because doctors advise you to or the government selling someone’s child as a ploy to gain a profit but trying to pass it off as if they care and stating they are “saving the children”. If people like celebrities really want to make a difference in the world, they do not have to publicize it by having a child they brought over to America walk along side them in pictures but actually contribute by sending over money to the family so they have the means to raise and support their own children. A child and their parents should be able to live together and grow within their own traditions, rather then having no choice in the matter. The government should be discovering new ways of making resources available to families in need by using funding to open services directed to those who struggle to make a living. If people want to adopt over-seas they should be made aware of the background story behind the child they are adopting and the reasoning for why they are there in the first place before hand. Then let them make a decision whether they agree or not to adopt the child and support what is happening behind the scenes of these organizations.

    – Ashley John (5257340)
    aj12fi@brocku.ca

    • dm11xy says :

      Similar to you, I was surprised to learn how frequently child adoption agencies wrongfully took children away from their parents and families. Although it’s common knowledge that parents give up their children to ensure a financially sustained family, and bring in a means of production, I was surprised to learn that doctors would send away children with disabilities to other families for growth and development. Regardless if the child would receive better care, which in some cases would be questionable; this notion creates an extremely negative stigma for any child with a disability. This notion deems all disabilities as undesirable and useless in that particular society. Parents would start to assume that it is the norm to send away children with ‘defaults’ and therefore would not participate in the role of a parent to nurture and protect their child. Even if the family could provide care for the disabled child, there would be little to no children in that society with similar circumstances, which means that the child would be seen as even more of an outcast and incompetent figure in society. Also, if a society regularly sends away children with disabilities, that particular community would have no means to provide medical care for those disorders, and therefore the problem would never stop. Children would not be able to live in a society without medical help, but no medical help will be provided because these disabled children, continuously get shipped away. Ridiculous! Sad to think of ways to help this problem too… It is sad to think that people only trying to help by adopting children are actually doing damage to them and their families. However, if the knowledge of this trafficking is so well known, why are these agencies continuing to sell children. Said otherwise, if we have this knowledge, why isn’t there more awareness to prevent Western countries from adopting them in the first place? This article seemed relatively easy to find, and with a quick Google search, I just found many more. But why aren’t agents and policies being put into place to protect these children when we so willingly know what they are going through? I feel like this topic could be investigated more. Great blog! Really got me thinking.

  3. ed12ss says :

    Those were some really interesting articles that you discussed Amanda! After reading your blog, and learning about transnational adoption in a Child, Youth and Society course I felt similarly confused and shocked about the adoption process. It is hard to wrap my head around the fact that in an attempt to “save” children and give them a safe and loving home, Westerners have taken away these children’s rights to be cared for by his or her own parents, a right that is even outlined by the UNCRC! The problem is, like you mentioned, that there are international adoption agencies taking the children and considering them “orphaned” when they are not and putting them up for adoption instead of providing their biological parents with the opportunity or financial means to care for them. Your suggestion to use the money intended to pay for adopting the child and instead giving it to the child’s parents to support and raise their family is a wonderful idea. I believe it should be something that is more commonly implemented in these sorts of situations, rather than sending the child to another country, far from their home culture and family that, in many cases, still cares for them. Your blog also had me thinking that it could also be detrimental on the child’s social development to grow up in a culture that is unfamiliar to them and they may not be able to feel the same sense of belonging that they could acquire by living in their home countries with their biological families. Imagine if in Canada people had their children taken away from them and sent far away across the world to be raised by a completely different culture with different values and customs that we do not regard as highly as our own? It would seem unfair and unheard of, and yet, this is what appears to happen to these families all the time. Being part of the dominant, developed world we tend to see our cultures and customs as ideal and that a poor, orphaned or neglected child from a developing country would be lucky to be “saved” and adopted into one of our homes. However, their families and even the children being adopted may not see it this way. They have their own values and cultures that I’m sure they would like to instill into their children and I don’t believe they should have that right taken away just because they are not able to support their family. The child’s best interest should always be a first priority but there has to be a better way to improve the children’s family life rather than taking them away from it completely.

  4. alexandriia2 says :

    It’s sad but true about these adoption agencies. What’s even more sad is that if we were not in these classes, or in University, we would probably go on being ignorant to these brutal truths. Unfortunately sometimes people cannot have their own child and want to adopt a child from a different country, this may be seen a selfish act on their part but by adopting a child, but they have no other choice and in their mind they are bettering the life of a child and providing them with necessitates that perhaps would be impossible for their biological family. Though they are taking the child away from their biological family, their heritage will be taken away and the child will be forced to conform to Canadian or American (for example) norms. This topic relates to what we learned in lecture 2 about child saving, how Bernardo was “saving” these children but some of them had a family and did not need to be saved. Its important to understand that sometimes it is not okay to take a child away from their families and move them across the world to grow up in a home and not knowing the truth of what truly happened. Families seeking to adopt, (I HOPE) would not know that these children are being taken from their loving families against the families/children’s will, agencies like you mentioned should be under strict watch, though its hard to implement laws that will change this because its difficult to control the whole world and create a law that every country will follow. Children shouldn’t be sold, and bought… Adopting parents should do their research and find an adoption agency that they feel most comfortable with. Not the cheapest, easiest adoption agency, those types should be a red flag on its own. People should want the best for innocent children, its disgusting to hear stories like this and hear what truly happens to children who do not have voice.

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