Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Over the Horizon

I have struggled with this post. It is on a topic that is emotional and controversial.

I'm posting about an old newspaper article concerning hosting. So, if you're familiar with it and don't want to rehash it, you may want to skip this post.

A while back I came across this article in the NY Times, called A Taste Of U.S. Family Life, But Adoption In Limbo (NYT might require a login, try alternate sites here and here). It talks about the pro's and cons of hosting orphans in the United States, without the stated intention of adopting them. I know there are many people (a majority?) that really don't have the intention to adopt the kids, and I believe the kids are told up front that this is just a visit. But really, who could blame the child for getting his hopes up that maybe someone would adopt him?

On the other hand, others are specifically looking at hosting as an opportunity to find a specific child to adopt. But even so, there are no guarantees. The SDA will have the final say. The adoptive parents will have to be very persuasive that they should be allowed to adopt that specific child (without their facilitator with them). The article alludes to favors or donations that might be required to get a favorable referral. And since you can't "reserve" a specific child, there is competition. I have wondered about how much info to post on this blog about Sergei and Valya. Is someone else going to see the information here about them and beat us to the SDA? You cannot blame an orphan for agreeing to go with the first family willing to adopt them. The second chance may never come. There are 1,000 things that can disrupt an adoption, no matter how hard you try. Some time ago I went back to my posts on Sergei and Valya and edited out some information. I have personally corresponded with someone by email who forbade me to say anything about the child they want to adopt.

But what if you go to your SDA appointment with absolutely no idea of a child ahead of time, other than perhaps a desired age range? This is also risky. Recently, the SDA has been telling adoptive parents that there are NO healthy children available for adoption. This is an outright lie and it angers me. I absolutely do not fault any family that decides not to adopt a child with severe medical problems. The family needs to talk about this ahead of time and be in agreement that they are called for these children. Some families are only getting one chance at the SDA, which severely limits the opportunity for a successful adoption.

Overall, I guess, I would have to say I'm neutral toward hosting. I know some of you reading this had a great experience. Others have not. I agree with this post about Dr. Rosini, the director of Frontier Horizon: it is a gamble.


dr. david said...

Thanks for your honest and helpful posts! It doesn't hurt that I agree with you. We have wrestled with the whole hosting idea. Yet, more older children are adopted because of hosting that anything else. Since our adoption has been so slow, we are now planning on "hosting" our two girls for the summer. We pray by the time they return to Ukraine we will be ready to take the next flight to Ukraine ourselves to bring them home for good.

dr. david said...

You know, Alan, there was a family after adopting their child from Ukraine that learned he had a sibling they did not know about after they returned to America. They decided they wanted to try to find the sibling to adopt him as well, reuniting the family. When they finally tracked him down, to their dismay they learned there was a family already in Ukraine at the SDA in the process of adopting him. That family did not know about the sibling that was already adopted and living in America.

Cindie and I talked about what we might do if we found ourselves trapped in that same situation. Would we attempt to “spoil” the adoption going on in Ukraine, in the hopes that we might be able to go to Ukraine sometime in the future and adopt the sibling into our own family, reuniting the brothers? Or would we let them complete their adoption and hope that the brothers could at least visit each other, living in different families in different parts of the US?

We decided, for us at least, that adopting older children from Ukraine was, in the end, not about us, it was about the children. We could never do anything that would harm the chances of any child to better their situation, to improve their future. That child had a loving family right there, ready to adopt him. What a blessing. We would rejoice at that, even though we would be sad that he would not be with us in our family. He was being saved, and that mattered more than anything else, in our minds.

We also will do anything we can to improve the chances of any child to better their situation, to improve their future. Our thinking during our whole adoption process has not been along the lines of will this or that be good for our situation and us, but rather will this or that be good for the children and their situation. We are not in this for us, we never have been. We are in it for them.

I think that the families thinking more of themselves and their situations are the ones that are looking to adopt very young children, like infants. It seems to me that when families are looking to adopt teenagers, they have completely different motivations. With us, there has never been any competition for our sakes, everything has always been for the sake of the children, the children seem to be so desperately in need. We would do anything for them, even being selfless.

As to the “no healthy children” comment, the SDA may consider all orphans inherently defective by definition, just by being an orphan. It is a mindset. Ironically, they may think that impeding our efforts to adopt these “defective” children is doing us a favor. Another reason they are slow to help us, because we are not acting “rationally” in their mindset because we want “defective” children, therefore something must be “wrong” with us too. So, we don’t get the best treatment. They may not see us as doing a great thing, just as oddballs.

Great blog, great post.


Alan said...

I read on someone's blog about this Ukrainian orphanage director that had adopted a son as a baby, I think it was, and was now a young man. She couldn't tell anyone that he was adopted because he would be ostracized by the community. It would seem that orphans are just not accepted there. Maybe it's better in urban areas? Dunno. Ukraine has had a population drop of about 8,000,000 since independence, I think. Something there needs to change among their people.