Friday, November 02, 2007

An ethical adoption

Dear Sam,

As most of our friends and family know, we have been waiting for you for so long. In fact, this month marks the beginning of our third year, since we began our adoption process in October of 2005. And we would love nothing more than to bring you home sooner rather than later. There's only one thing we want more: to know that your adoption was 100 percent ethical, that your birthparents (new more correct language: "first parents") could not raise you and were not coerced in any way in making you available for adoption.

There is much talk about ethics in Vietnam adoptions right now, but this is not a new subject for us. When we decided to complete an adoption from Vietnam while waiting for our China adoption, we initially chose an agency that seemed to be offering the fastest referrals. A month or so into it, we saw several red flags, not the least being that the agency lied to us about who one of their in-country facilitators was--and it turns out she is someone who has been previously investigated by INS for irregular adoptions.

We immediately left that agency and began a several months-long search for the most ethical agency out there (that would allow concurrent adoptions--most don't now). I think we found an extremely ethical agency in Lutheran Social Services; however, that ethics has a price, and they have only made one referral in the past year as they've gotten their program up and running. And it doesn't look like things are going to speed up much soon.

It may be that we will get our referral for Sophie from China first (that's still 9-12 months away), and maybe we will never get a referral from Vietnam. But I know you're out there somewhere and you are already a part of our family in our hearts.

There are many prospective adoptive parents out there who are rightfully confused by all the conflicting information about ethics in Vietnam adoption. And, once they've plunked down money, are reluctant to see the red flags in their own agencies. Some are saying that many of the warnings are overreacting scare tactics that are unfair to prospective adoptive parents. My feeling is that too many adopting parents err on the other side of caution: they tend to prefer to stay somewhat ignorant so they don't have to face the fact that there is no quick, easy, ethical Vietnam adoption of a healthy infant girl. (And the U.S. Embassy agrees. See previous post.) But those parents will have their own demons to face, I believe, when their adult children learn that their agencies were sketchy. And of course they hurt the rest of us who then must face extra delays because of new rules, etc.

But I try not to focus on them so much. I focus on you: a little boy out there somewhere who really needs a home, who someday will be a man who wants and deserves to know that everything--everything--was done to make sure that there was no possibility of any coercion or baby-selling in his adoption. I want you to know that, even if we have to wait three more years for you, that's what we're doing.

Your mom (and dad)


LaLa said...

Hey girl..good to hear from you. I am feeling all you are feeling now so I truly understand. I know people have left LSS for those other agencies and it is frustrating...we will get to sit back and watch them bring their babies home. In the end, I think we will be happy for our decision...great post.

Nicki said...

Awesome letter, awesome sentiment. Which LSS are you working with? Drop me a line - we have a project we'd love them to participate in!

Stacy said...

So, so well said. I found myself nodding throughout your post, as I am in a similar situation with an ethical agency stalled by the practices of the others. I commend you for leaving another agency when you saw the red flags - so few do, in fact is seems it's more often the other way around. Hopefully "we" (i.e. your family, lala's, mine, etc) can stay true to what we know if right for our child and ride this out.

Leslie & Shaune said...

what a wonderful insightful post.

thanks for sharing it.

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