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Tired
Palimpsest

I think this deserves its own thread.  Stressing family preservation, It covers everything from the inadequacies of institutional care, to the recruiting children for orphanages, and the serious downside of short-term missions to cuddle kids for a couple of weeks.

 I can't decide which other thread to put it on and it is relevant to so many.  It should be required watching for all our child collectors, evangelical and fundie intercountry adopters for Jesus,  voluntourists, and their supporters.  I'd like to tie Selina Bergey and Miss Raquel to their chairs and make them watch it for starters.  Interesting that Bethany Christian Services finally saw the writing on the wall and now is working towards family preservation.

Disclaimer:  I am not against intercountry adoption for some special needs children - but family preservation is the way to go and what people should be supporting with their donations.

 

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anachronistic

That is a really great video. Thanks for sharing.

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alexandracabot

For those interested, JK Rowling, the "Harry Potter" author, actually has an entire charity devoted essentially to this, called Lumos. They shut down orphanages, retrain workers to be social workers, replace children with their families or with foster families, and funnel the money that would have gone into the orphanage into supporting the families, most of whom gave up their kids for economic reasons.


I was at an event where she spoke, and her line was, "There's no such thing as a good orphanage." Even a really beautiful institution with trained, caring staff is still an institution, and kids still suffer from all the consequences of institutionalization, especially young babies. 

Edited by alexandracabot

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Tired
clueliss

Timely since Raquel landed in Peru (again) yesterday.  (and therefore likely establishing/reestablishing relationships with orphan boys only to break them and return to Oregon).

And thank you for sharing this because it reinforces that I made the wise choice to sponsor two children (one boy in Burkina Faso, Africa and one girl in Bolivia) through Compassion International (which has a good rating on charity navigator).  The kids are with their families  (boy is raised by a grandmother) rather than in orphanages. 

 

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JesusCampSongs

Thanks for posting this. It pains me to see (usually white) Americans coughing up tens of thousands of dollars to import "orphans" of color to the US when that money could go so far in those children's countries of origin. It's so...neo-colonialistic? Especially given the racism and prejudice those children will be on the receiving end of here. 

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AuLait

Great video! I shared it on Facebook. My daughter wanted to sponsor a child so we signed her up through Unbound with a girl her age and with similar interests in Kenya. It's been facinating to read the letters back and forth. There is no father in the picture and 3 children. It's a situation that easily could have ended with the children in an orphanage but through sponsorships they have been able to stay together. 

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Bad Wolf

I always knew the Duggars missionary trips were for their own benefit and for the cameras, but this shows the actual damage they do on each visit. If only they could see this and put their air fares and candy money towards reconciling these families. Dream on.

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Cleopatra7

There is a reason why orphanages no longer exist in most Western countries, and this video hits on this. As messy as the foster care system is, being in a family unit is much healthier for children than being in an institution. I think fundegelicals like orphanages because they were traditionally run by religious organizations, and I get the impression that this is still the case in the Global South.

1 hour ago, Bad Wolf said:

I always knew the Duggars missionary trips were for their own benefit and for the cameras, but this shows the actual damage they do on each visit. If only they could see this and put their air fares and candy money towards reconciling these families. Dream on.

I don't think the Duggars and their ilk have any respect for families that aren't 100% like them. We don't even see the Duggars having much to do with their non-Gothard relations, so I doubt they care about the impact they are having on black and brown children from a foreign culture who practice the "wrong kind" of Christianity.

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slickcat79

The father who lost his wife in childbirth (with her 8th child) and then had to give up his daughter made me think of Shrader. He's quick to condemn governments and NGOs for encouraging contraception use because it's so biblical to be quiverfull, but this man's life is the reality of what that means in a lot of countries. John can claim that God will provide, but sometimes God provides a dead mother and a father forced to give up his baby for the sake of his other children. The man was lucky enough to ultimately get his daughter back, but it's taken a total shift in the thinking of aid organizations to help make this happen. Many stores haven't and won't end that way.

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Dandruff

Great video.  In all seriousness, I found myself comparing the situation of the orphans with that of the Duggar kids; e.g., limited interaction with parents, primary interactions with other kids/buddies, and support received from outside.

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Rachel333

Thanks for sharing, this is right up my alley.

I used to be really pro-adoption, but, sadly, that has changed as I've learned more about the ethical issues involved, both here and abroad. I'm not against the idea of adoption as a concept because I think that still is the best option for some children, but I think the way it's practiced now needs some serious reform.

There was a couple in my old, fundie-ish church (where international adoption was very common) who set out to adopt a little girl from Ethiopia and in the process they learned more about the situation there, canceled their adoption, and decided to put money towards keeping families together instead. I was really impressed by that.

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Cleopatra7
13 minutes ago, Rachel333 said:

Thanks for sharing, this is right up my alley.

I used to be really pro-adoption, but, sadly, that has changed as I've learned more about the ethical issues involved, both here and abroad. I'm not against the idea of adoption as a concept because I think that still is the best option for some children, but I think the way it's practiced now needs some serious reform.

There was a couple in my old, fundie-ish church (where international adoption was very common) who set out to adopt a little girl from Ethiopia and in the process they learned more about the situation there, canceled their adoption, and decided to put money towards keeping families together instead. I was really impressed by that.

One problem with Americans, especially white fundegelicals, who do transracial, overseas adoption is that they think the child in question will automatically have a better life with them because of Jesus and money. And from a material perspective, that's probably true, but there is more to having a good life than lots of gadgets and McDonalds. The children in Romanian orphanages do appear to "true orphans" since the bulk of them were abandoned as the result of the ongoing social fallout from the communist regime's anti-birth control/anti-abortion policy, but in a country like Ethiopia, it seems that many of the children end up in orphanages because of poverty.  I remember reading an article about the first wave of Korean adoptees that arrived in the US in the 1950s, and how many of them were the only non-white people of any kind in their respective communities, and they would be bullied for that, but their parents would have nothing to say about it, because they were practicing some kind of perverse color-blindness. Unfortunately, I can't find that article, but I did find this one, which is also interesting:

http://the-toast.net/2015/09/30/history-korean-adoption/

Quote

One of the biggest misconceptions I think people have about adoption in general is the idea of what an “orphan” is. We think of Annie or Oliver Twist or a baby in a basket on the steps of a church. There is this idea that the baby is completely alone in the world, with no connections to anyone. So you “save” it, give it a name, let it live happily ever after. But in the history of Korean adoption, the majority of children were never orphans in this way. They had moms and dads who took deliberate action or were coerced to send them for adoption because they thought they would have better lives. Or they had moms and dads who put them in an orphanage for a while and then found that their child was adopted out without their consent. Or they had a mom or dad who lost them, or a grandma or uncle who thought the child would be better off abroad, etc.

In intercountry adoption, the idea that Americans are “rescuing” orphans is incredibly powerful. You see it every time there’s a disaster, like the Haiti earthquake. People come in looking for orphans, but they overlook the fact that these children aren’t lone children floating around — they are embedded in extended families and communities.

The other misconception is that people think of adoption in black and white terms. You are pro- or anti-adoption. You’re a happy adoptee or an angry adoptee. It is much more complicated than that, as you know. People reduce adoption to the triad — the child, the birth parents and the adoptive parents — but it’s much bigger: it’s about social workers and agencies and governments and international systems and capitalism and racism and sexism and religion and war… There are all of these powerful forces swirling around, and you can’t disentangle international adoption from them.

 

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Anny Nym
20 minutes ago, Rachel333 said:

Thanks for sharing, this is right up my alley.

I used to be really pro-adoption, but, sadly, that has changed as I've learned more about the ethical issues involved, both here and abroad. I'm not against the idea of adoption as a concept because I think that still is the best option for some children, but I think the way it's practiced now needs some serious reform.

There was a couple in my old, fundie-ish church (where international adoption was very common) who set out to adopt a little girl from Ethiopia and in the process they learned more about the situation there, canceled their adoption, and decided to put money towards keeping families together instead. I was really impressed by that.

This! Thanks for sharing from me too, Palimpsest!

Wether it´s children from various countries on the african continent, China, India, South Korea or former East-Block european countries like Romania (Ceaucescu´s terrible heiritage) or Ukraine and Russia, the abuse and plain child trafficking going on in the adoption business is abundant.

And then there is the fickle issue with "re-homing" in the USA, where people give away children on internet platforms like a guinea pig they don´t want anymore.

re: Family preservation, there is a very sad case from Denmark, where a girl ended up at a institution when her "new parents" got .... bored of her, but her real parents were forbidden from getting her back after they were tricked into giving her little brother and her up.

 

This is a video of a different case ( I am still trying to find the video on youtube, but another case equally worth watching:

 

 

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older than allosaurs
21 minutes ago, Cleopatra7 said:

http://the-toast.net/2015/09/30/history-korean-adoption/

 

The other misconception is that people think of adoption in black and white terms. You are pro- or anti-adoption. You’re a happy adoptee or an angry adoptee. It is much more complicated than that, as you know. People reduce adoption to the triad — the child, the birth parents and the adoptive parents — but it’s much bigger: it’s about social workers and agencies and governments and international systems and capitalism and racism and sexism and religion and war… There are all of these powerful forces swirling around, and you can’t disentangle international adoption from them.

 

This this this. I'm an adoptive parent and a foster-adopt grandmother. Both my children are glad as adults that they were adopted, given the alternatives. And at least one is positive enough about the process to embark on it herself. Adoption has been the greatest blessing of my generally lucky life.

But all of us also have all sorts of reservations about adoption as too-often practiced. One of my kids works in a psych clinic and sees lots of unhappy adopted children and some spectacularly unprepared parents. The other works with foster children and sees lots wrong with the foster-to-adoption process. And the extended family members affected by the decisions that we, and social workers, and adoption agencies have made during my kids' lifetimes numbers in the dozens at least. Our experiences are simpler than the ones in the video, in some ways, in that everyone was born in the U.S., within 100 miles of where we all still live. We never had a chance to fool ourselves that our children came without attachments and to some extent we've been able to intertwine all our families.

 

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Rachel333
38 minutes ago, Cleopatra7 said:

One problem with Americans, especially white fundegelicals, who do transracial, overseas adoption is that they think the child in question will automatically have a better life with them because of Jesus and money. And from a material perspective, that's probably true, but there is more to having a good life than lots of gadgets and McDonalds. The children in Romanian orphanages do appear to "true orphans" since the bulk of them were abandoned as the result of the ongoing social fallout from the communist regime's anti-birth control/anti-abortion policy, but in a country like Ethiopia, it seems that many of the children end up in orphanages because of poverty.  I remember reading an article about the first wave of Korean adoptees that arrived in the US in the 1950s, and how many of them were the only non-white people of any kind in their respective communities, and they would be bullied for that, but their parents would have nothing to say about it, because they were practicing some kind of perverse color-blindness. Unfortunately, I can't find that article, but I did find this one, which is also interesting:

http://the-toast.net/2015/09/30/history-korean-adoption/

 

The situation in Korea is interesting. Many of them were the children of white soldiers who were there during the Korean war, and so those kids faced racial discrimination in Korea as well. I didn't know much about this until recently and apparently it's still rough for half-American kids in the Philippines. http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2014/04/no-way-home-filipino-amerasians-philippines-military-base-20144257129226765.html

But as to the early Korean adoptees, that definitely shows that ignoring race isn't in the best interests of the child. Within the last few years I was talking about this issue with some girls my age and I was called racist for saying that if I adopted children of another race I would want to live in a diverse community rather than bring a child up in a community where they would be the only person of color. The other girls thought that race shouldn't matter at all with their hypothetical "cute Chinese babies," so that idea is still very prevalent.

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hoipolloi

Great topic, and thanks for posting those very informative videos.

Made me wonder again about LL's adoption about 5 years ago of the Ugandan girl they named Miracle. While LL has written quite a bit about the adoption, it's a bit murky on the details such as whether the child was truly an orphan -- I'm guessing not but don't know.

The Ugandan adoption agency they worked with says a lot about restoring children to their families & upholding the family unit on its website but it still looks like international adoptions occur. The Ugandan agency partners with a US agency called Children To Love.

Hoping that someone here knows more about these agencies & their track records and could share info.

 

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mango_fandango

This is what pisses me off about those anti-abortion people who say "Oh just adopt!" Siiiiiiiiigh. I wrote this on a FB thing about not having kids, in reply to someone who said "just adopt!" : "Adoption is not easy. I have relatives who did it and it is so damn hard. There is absolutely no certainty you'll get anyone, they can reject you for the slightest thing, it can take months or even years to get anywhere. And, a lot of the time, the kid isn't "unwanted", and the mother will be fighting every step of the way. 
I saw a documentary once and the majority of kids waiting to be adopted are older children. Many people want babies, and not older children with emotional baggage." 

Also, the book Girl, Missing by Sophie McKenzie is pretty good about this whole thing. Essentially, a girl called Lauren was adopted at three years old. She starts trying to search for her birth parents. She finds what could be her on a missing children site. Turns out she was kidnapped from America. Her adoptive parents thought they were helping someone out, and whilst they were originally considered guilty of conspiring in the whole thing they were declared innocent as they had no idea what was truly going on. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Girl,_Missing

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roddma

 Kids in true danger need somewhere to go. And while the  adoption process is flawed, and kids deserve to know who bio parents are, but there's way too much focus on biology, keeping 'blood' ties and blah blah. My beef is the 'white savior' attitude. I also agree, it isn't easy just to adopt.

What the Duggars do is more religious tourism. Yet the fans think they are doing something outstanding and self-sacrificing just like good little Christians. Hah.

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slickcat79
39 minutes ago, roddma said:

Kids in true danger need somewhere to go. And while the  adoption process is flawed, and kids deserve to know who bio parents are, but there's way too much focus on biology, keeping 'blood' ties and blah blah. My beef is the 'white savior' attitude. I also agree, it isn't easy just to adopt.

In US domestic adoptions, international adoption, or both?

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roddma
40 minutes ago, slickcat79 said:

In US domestic adoptions, international adoption, or both?

All I guess. Im all for keeping kids with families but as said it isn't always best.

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Tired
Palimpsest

A quick warning for those who don't know her, @roddma is good at derailing threads and knows how to exploit sensitive subjects.  Adoption and the evils of bio-families are one of her favorite derailments.  So is spanking.  She approves of it.  Even by adoptive parents.  

Of course some children need to be removed from abusive bio-parents but we aren't talking about that.

 We are talking about the need for family preservation, instead of orphanages and adoption, for families living in poverty.  We are talking about intercountry and interacial adoption being especially difficult for both adopters and adoptees - and the reasons.

So, can we try to keep on this topic, please?  Just a request and a suggestion.  

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mango_fandango

What do we reckon about the adoption of girls from places like China where, due to cultural preference, boys are much preferred to girls, and where girls could literally be abandoned? Especially in China due to the one-child policy thing. I know it's changed, but there's still a limit. Families were even allowed another child if the first was a girl. 

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Tired
Palimpsest
15 minutes ago, mango_fandango said:

What do we reckon about the adoption of girls from places like China

China changed its policy on the one child only and is trying to educate the population to value girls more.  It has also tightened up on overseas adoptions in general recently, and encourages local and family placements where possible.  Most of the children now available for adoption overseas are now special needs or older.  

This is true of many countries, even non-Hague convention countries are now closing and restricting intercountry adoptions because of abuses of the system and child-trafficking.  Adoption is big business and there is a lot of money in it.  Children are not commodities to be traded. 

As I said, I'm not against all adoption or all intercountry adoption.  I still think family preservation is better.

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mango_fandango
Just now, Palimpsest said:

China changed its policy on the one child only and is trying to educate the population to value girls more.  It has also tightened up on overseas adoptions in general recently, and encourages local and family placements where possible.  Most of the children now available for adoption overseas are now special needs or older.  

This is true of many countries, even non-Hague convention countries are now closing and restricting intercountry adoptions because of abuses of the system and child-trafficking.  Adoption is big business and there is a lot of money in it.  Children are not commodities to be traded. 

As I said, I'm not against all adoption or all intercountry adoption.  I still think family preservation is better.

Actually yeah I had seen that about tightening up on overseas adoption. 

Really, though, adoption is such a complicated business. Which is why I posted what I did earlier: people who say "just adopt!!" have no idea whatsoever.

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