Everyday I come across a negative comment, story, blog, article, news item that is against international adoption. And every day I read a positive comment, story, blog, article, news item that is for international adoption.
There are definitely two camps on the issue of international adoption. One for - and one against. But for those that are for, the arguments against hold no water what so ever. I study international adoption. I read about it voraciously, from the adoptees point of view, from the adopters point of view, from the state, from the media, from the academic research. I talk about it with friends, professionals, children, schools, other adopters, adopted children, anti adoption camps.
It is contentious; there is no doubt about that – fascinating with all the subtle permutations – and each and everyone valid in a particular way. But when you strip away all the ideas and opinions and come to the very core of it – it is about giving a child a family. And no one can argue about that. Every child needs a family. And with a family comes love. And every human being needs love. These two components; family and love, form the basis for humanity. And without them – you are “F&*((%”. It is as simple as that.
So saying that a child should stay in their own country without a family because of ‘identity or culture’ or any of the other of Raymond William’s big key words, is condemning a child to a future where their brain will not develop properly, where their social understanding is flawed, where their development of relationships is stilted, where they will never experience one moment of safe love, where they have no stability and essentially no hope.
Do all the nay sayers visit the underground sewers of Kiev? Do they talk to the kids who have to beg, or steal just to stay alive? Do they hang out on the streets of Nicaragua where 12 year olds survive only because they pack a gun? Do they wonder where all the east European girls that are trafficked each year come from?
I admit I get angry. I get angry with the negativity that surrounds it. And what I have learnt is that negative thoughts and opinions are pervasive. It is easier to spread ill then it is to spread good. It is easier for someone to pick up a pen and write poison then it is to write good. Easier to criticise then to praise. Just think now when was the last time you praised someone? When was the last time you criticised someone or something. I have just received a tweet from ‘transracial eyes’ saying I am arrogant. And yes perhaps I am. And perhaps they have a right to be angry with their adoption (I don’t know the details) but at least they have a voice. They can stand on the roof tops and scream all the anti adoption things that they like, because they can. And that is beautiful, it is a blessing. They have the confidence, the ability, the right to do that – would they have that voice had they not being adopted?
Whenever I see a new mum, holding her child, or a toddler taking his first steps to the joy and laughter of everyone around my heart burns for those children who will never know that feeling. Children whose brains will never form in the right way, so they won’t have appropriate stress responses; they will have a life time of battling with self regulation and control. Children who will never feel safe and who will really have to dig deep to trust another. This is not a life, this is a life sentence.
I want people to see that. I want people to acknowledge that there is a hidden crises going on. On the outskirts of every city in every country is an institution, a building filled with abandoned children and stressed care takers. It is these children’s rights to have a family. All these children are under the same sky and a family is a family in any language. Adoption of these children into a family, is the only humane act, and the only permanent solution.
Growing International Families Together (GiFT) Adoption agency is opening in June 2014