Adoption ethics

19 Jun

I read a blog called Reform Talk, it’s mostly about reforming a lot of adoption practices – but sometimes they call out crazy adoptive parents (like the ones who sent out monkey themed birth announcements for their child from Ethiopia – what?). Anyway, the other day I read a post about a totally shady sounding adoption in India . It sounds insane, and kind of unethical – and words like ethics and transparency are thrown around all the time in the international adoption community.

Case in point, a couple days later, I read this post on Holly’s blog about Congolese adoptions and ethical issues. I don’t know Holly personally, but we used the same adoption agency and, more importantly, she lived in Congo so I’m more inclined to trust what she has to say over what other parents who’ve adopted from Congo have to say about ethics. (call me a snob about it but I don’t think that someone who’s only knowledge of Congo is reading A Thousand Sisters is really someone I’m going to listen to. I also tend not to listen to the overly evangelical, but this post isn’t about me…)

So, Holly has some good ideas about how to put an end to corruption in Congolese adoptions. I think a key in implementing her ideas is getting both parents who’ve brought their kids home and parents who are still waiting to band together. Seriously, the agency doesn’t care once you’ve brought your kid home what you’ve for to say – they’ve for your money.

It’s the parents waiting that need to make a change.

There’s a lot of other things parents can do, and here’s a short list:

1. Educate yourself about your child’s birth country. The History of Congo by Didier Gondola is a really good book, and I’m not just saying that because I know him. There’s also The Congo Wars: Conflict, Myth, and Reality by Thomas Turner. This book is denser than Gondola’s but is still a good read. There’s the Jason Sterns Dancing in the Glory of Monsters, I haven’t read this one yet but have heard nothing but good things about it. I’ll also recommend Wong’s In the Footsteps of Mr Kurtz. I just started this one and even though it’s about Mobutu’s last days, there’s a lot of funny moments in it. The more educated you are about Congo, the more you’ll know why certain things are happening or you’ll also be able to potentially figure out what will happen before it does.

2. If you’re more of a blog person:
Congo Siasa
Africa is a Country
Texas in Africa

3. If you are planning on going to pick up your child(ren), learn a local language. French, Lingala or Swahili. When we went, we noticed that as soon as anyone found out my husband and I were fluent in French they would immediately switch into Lingala. We did not let on that we knew a bit of Lingala.

4. Don’t fall for orphanage tourism. You wouldn’t do it here in the US, don’t do it there. Going to gawk and photograph dying children, and bringing the one(s) you’re adopting with you is a jerk move. I refused to go when we went. I think it ticked off our escort, but I don’t see the point in bringing us there. It’s not a tourist spot or a zoo, it is literally children who are in dire straights – they don’t need you going to gawk at them and especially they don’t need you to photograph them.

This is all I’ve got for today. I might post more about this at a later time. Do you have any ideas?


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