"We are going to focus on LIFE for Katya. I believe, one day, she will amaze the world."

Dr. Ben Carson on Katya Dueck

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Adoption Ethics

Ethics in adoption.

What do those words convey to you? Do you think ethics in adoption are important? Or do you believe that all is permissible in love and war--and getting a child home?

We happen to believe that all is NOT permissible in getting a child home (or in love and war, either, if you want to know!).

That belief has made us not very popular with a segment of the adoption community.

When we discovered that there was vast corruption going on during the course of Katya's adoption, and spoke up about it, we were un-friended--and even blocked by some people on social sites such as Facebook. We were referred to with interesting expressions such as "minions of Satan". (Honestly, that one still makes me laugh . . . if it were true, it wouldn't be funny, but I'm happy that God knows my heart, and that He judges with a righteous judgement!)

So when Jen Hatmaker started blogging about ethics in adoption, my ears went high, and my eyes began reading as fast as they could. You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here. I am eager for Part 3 to be released.

Here are a few snippets that stood out to me:

Let’s separate the wheat from the chaff: As my friend Ryan at AWAA so perfectly put it: “If there are bad actors coercing people, paying bribes, etc., then we should not call this ‘adoption’ but ‘trafficking’. When thieves run into a bank, point a gun and steal money, we don’t call that a bank withdrawal; it’s a robbery. Our response shouldn’t be to close banks or criticize all bankers but to step up bank security. In the same way, criminal activity should be described as such and not as adoption.” (<---- Exactly. This goes to my point in Part 1 that trafficking is not a God-endorsed franchise and shouldn't receive the same assessment as adoption. Let us step up bank security, because we should clamp down on less-frequent robberies instead of imagining that banks never attract thieves.)

Red flags for PAPs:

  • When you ask questions, do you feel shut down, disrespected, bullied, or discouraged? I asked my agency hard questions and got pages and pages of immediate, thorough responses. If you are discouraged from talking to other families, researching, asking difficult questions, or investigating, RUN.
  • Are other adoptive families with concerns are painted as lunatics or troublemakers?
  • Does correspondence lean too heavily on emotional propaganda and "rescue" rhetoric, as opposed to professionalism and an obvious commitment to best practices?
  • An agency that offers something different than other agencies.
  • An agency that only does infant adoptions or promises lots of babies.
  • An agency that offers the same thing for much less money. 
  • An agency that offers the same thing as other agencies in much less time. 
  • An agency that claims to have special connections or processes in country.
  • If you hear the word “expedited,” run for the hills. That is not a thing. That is corruption.
  • Payments without receipts (common in Eastern European adoptions).
  • “In general, if it smells fishy, don’t eat it…” Ryan Hanlon, folks. We cannot allow Baby or Child Fever to overtake our instincts. If your gut senses a red flag, YOU ARE PROBABLY RIGHT.

To Jen's excellent information in these articles, I would add--apply the same standard of scrutiny to ANY type of organization that is involved in children's welfare/adoption. I am going to specifically mention grant organizations, or fundraising groups. There are far too many true stories of some unethical ones functioning much as an agency, without the legal obligations and oversights that an agency would have. There are far too many families ending up hurt, and thrown under the wheels of the bus. And then, when families are speaking out, the families are painted as trouble makers, or crazy people. For example, they are told that the problems they are encountering in country are of their own making, or that it's "just how people in that country are" when reality is not that.

People who speak up after they are home, are often ostracized by the very people who should be providing them support and help. They are left to flounder, thinking they are alone in the world with their bad experience. Some of them are suffering Post Traumatic Stress due to the things they experienced in-country. I have spoken to far too many families to think that it's a rare problem. One family who ended up coming home empty-handed after horrific treatment in country, told me sadly that they will probably never attempt to adopt again.

Ethics in adoption DO matter. Those of us who have had bad experiences, or observed bribes, lies, manipulation and illegal activities need to speak up, and not be silent. Some people like to try to wield a sword of fear--"If you talk about this, the kids will be hurt and it will be all your fault! Do you want their blood on your hands?!"

I have news for you--if you continue to participate in UNETHICAL ADOPTION PRACTICES, the blood of the kids of the world **IS** on your hands. God, who sees, and knows, WILL judge if you continue to involve yourself in unethical things knowingly. And in the long run, it hurts the kids. No matter what your religious beliefs are or are not, bottom line, unethical adoption practices HURT KIDS and that is why we should ALL shun them.

Make up your mind to be ethical. Do your due diligence. If you stumble on to unethical practices, speak up! (And don't keep your head willingly in the sand so that you are able to plead ignorance either!) Be willing to pay the price for speaking truth and living ethically for the sake of the kids.


Hevel Cohen said...

Also... does the agency/organization publish audited records? Do you know where your money goes exactly? Do you get proper invoices from your agency/organization both in your home country and your child's country?

Katie said...

I have some posts about adoption ethics on my blog, http://childrendeservefamilies.com

“Advocating for international adoption because kids belong in families, not orphanages.“
Children Deserve Families