Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What is the answer?

Most of you know about or at least have heard about the changes going on in Ethiopian adoptions. There have been many concerns and conversations regarding the ethics surrounding Ethiopian adoptions.

I have read stories about children being trafficked for adoption. I have also read stories about birth parents being coerced into giving up their child for adoption. I don't disbelieve that this is happening or has happened.

This is very tragic! For the agencies who are practicing unethical adoptions, they need to be taken care of swiftly and severely disciplined for their actions.

Trafficking is something that I have studied a lot about in recent months. I have become an advocate against trafficking. I think a lot of my interest in trafficking spurs from the fact that I know a girl who has been rescued from domestic slavery. I also know of a situation where a six year old girl is about to be rescued.

1.2 million more children each year are swept up into child slavery.

The story of the two girls I know about is a very common situation that happens all over the world but especially in developing countries. Families become too poor to provide basic needs for their children. They become desperate especially when there is not a safe place for them to take them for help. (They don't have social services like they have in the US). In the case of the two children I know of, the local orphanages are full and relatives are too stretched with taking care of their own families to care for another child.

The only option left is for a parent to either abandon their child or sell them to another family. They use the money to provide for the rest of their family until they have to sell another child. Can you even imagine being faced with the decision of which child to sell?

Many of these children are resold into the sex slave. Or once they become someones domestic slave, they are most of the time treated as less than human.

As the case with the two that I know, they do all the cooking, cleaning, receive very little food, forbidden to attend school and are beaten on a daily basis. These girls are 11 and 6!

I am all for "cleaning up the system", more thorough investigations, more scrutiny on adoption cases but I've also seen first hand what happens to kids without a presence of safe help for the parents. This is also tragic!

There are legitimate cases of kids needing families. I have several friends who are in the process of adopting from Ethiopia. One family is adopting older children who have been in an orphanage for around 3 years. One family is adopting older toddlers off a waiting list who are approaching 1 year in an orphanage. Another family has been waiting for over 2 years for a referral. All of these families want to provide a family for a child in need. They are all for ethically adoptions but will now experience a major delay in bringing their kids home.

Is slowing down adoptions the answer? This has been highly debated.

Are we doing more harm by slowing them down? Time will tell.

I hate human trafficking. There are a couple things that keep me awake at night. One is the thought of a 6 year old working as someones domestic slave, being treated like an animal and beaten over and over. In addition, I don't like how adoption has caused children to be trafficked for adoption.

The other thing that keeps me awake at night are the older child orphans, praying each night for a family of their own. I read a blog post just last night that will forever haunt me. It described a girl in an orphanage in Ethiopia who has watched her friends being adopted into families and she has been seen crying in the background of home videos and pictures. When asked why she is crying, she says more than anything else, she wants a family and she is afraid that she may never have one.

Now that adoptions are slowing down in Ethiopia, the hope for this beautiful girl to receive her forever family diminishes. She is also close to aging out the system. And once she ages out of the system, she is a huge target for human trafficking.

Do you think that by slowing down adoptions, there may be more trafficking? Time will tell.

This is an extremely complicated issue. It seems like there is a greater issue going on here. As one article I have read has suggested, do we even have the right diagnoses? What should we really be going after? What really needs to be fixed here?

I say I'm an advocate against human trafficking. Have I done all I can to prevent human trafficking? NO! There are others on the field literally rescuing children from slavery - they are doing so much more than me. There is no way I can say I've done everything I can. Human trafficking is a mountain that needs to be moved, so there is no way I can move this mountain on my own. But I want to do more - I really do.

I am praying about more potential opportunities to come along side efforts to aggressively fight against this injustice. I will keep you posted.


Andrea said...

Thank you for this!

Rachael said...

Praying along with you, Tammy. Thanks for sharing. I'm thankful for your support and encouragement.

Nikki said...

Perfectly stated. The situation is painful on so many levels. I know it's all supposed to be for the greater good of the children in Ethiopia, but I wonder what the results will be! I'm praying right along side of you! God bless you Tammy!

Kate and Jeff said...

Tammy, my heart aches to think of what would have been for A if his birthmother had not had the option for adoption. You very eloquently explain the other side of the adoptions right now and that is the child trafficking. You have done some amazing things since we have been in ET and I know God will guide you in this as well. Thanks for an amazing post.