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Media reports changing face of international adoption

Whilst I am all for honest reporting of life events, I feel that it should be done with a full understanding of its consequences.

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The very powerful lobby of anti-international adoption has been at it again and to the detriment of the children.

One thing that desperately needs to be addressed with international adoption, is the idea that in some cases it might not work. It seems that in most sectors there is always an area factored in for the possibility that something may go wrong and contingency plans are made. But then when it comes to the delicate and sensitive issue of creating families through inter-country adoption, there is the expectation that it must all go well, all the time, with everything. This is a false premise - especially because the act of international adoption has come about exactly because of the frailty of human nature. It families were perfect there would be no children needing homes. It is hoped that the adoptive family will provide a better future for the child then either the birthparents or the state. And in almost every time this is the case - but then there is the odd situation when the new family does not gel and problems develop and cracks appear, and the family begins to fall apart.

But the sentiment is 'Well you adopted, it was your choice, this is what you wanted - so just deal with it'. I have heard this from my own family when I was struggling with some of the behaviours of my newly adopted child. Had it been a birth child I have no doubt that my family would have been very supportive, but as it was my choice to adopt - it was also my problem. 

So, for families struggling and no support, either personal or professional, are facing an awful reality - how do they best support these children that they have promised to love and nurture. Reuters have revealed this week that many of these families seek re-homing for their children through a Yahoo Group. Not being able to fall back on professionals, desperate families are seeking support from other loving adopters. Apparently, studying the group for 5 years, Reuters have made a report that has stung the international adoption community and shocked donor countries. China is talking about having post placement reports for 18 years, and a region in Russia has stopped international adoptions despite having over 19 thousand children needing homes.

No one wants these vulnerable children to suffer any more then they have. But the adoption community must acknowledge that there is the possiblilty that the adoption may not work, and they must put in place systems to deal with this eventuality.  Here in the UK, it is acknowledged that one in four domestic adoptions fail, so it is not a strange phenomenon. There are no figures for international adoption but it is thought to be very much lower. So we are talking about a very small number of children.  Reuters, whilst 'exposing the truth,' has also damaged the chances for other children to be adopted. International adoption is such a sensitive area that countries react to any criticism and most of the reaction is to close the programme of increase the pressures for adoptive parents. The more restrictions put in place the less families will come forward. Children have a 1 in 6000 chance of being adopted, now their odds have dropped.

Having a short discussion with my business advisor he mentioned that his sister was a staunch anti adoption advocate - when he pushed her on the reasons, she came up with everything that she had read in the press - all negative. International adoption for some reason riles the media and it always makes a good  story. Reuters were no doubt just seeking a good story.  Christian adopters again have come under pressure from yet another anti-international adoption report whose banter is that they 'want to save the world' and that the numbers of children growing up outside a family do not really exist.  I wonder if any of those writers have looked in the eye of a child of an orphanage child. Had a thought what life would be like without a mother, father, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, cousin, niece, nephew, or neighbour? What must it feel like to have no home, no possessions and not even an outfit you can call your own? Maybe if they close their eyes and feel that desperation for a second they might change their turn and write about the wonderful positive effects international adoption has. The joy and laughter a child has by stroking their pet cat, cuddling up to their mum and being tucked up on the sofa in front of their favourite TV programme. Simple everyday things, that every child should have, and which international adoption offers to a very few. Give a child love and you give them back their lives. This is a good thing to do.


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