Quote of the day/week/however long

"Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does."
~William James

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Solomonic Decisions

Every adoption tale is complex at the very least, and often frustrating, heart-rending, risky, expensive, terrifying, fraudulent and shamelessly illegal as well as joyous and fulfilling, as an earlier entry here considered.  There is, however, one adoption story that might be totally unique; for which there might be no precedent.  It is so unusual not because of the circumstances that developed - those are far too common - but because of the way the families dealt with those circumstances.

Americans adopting domestically suffer nightmares that include pregnant women repeatedly passing them over to choose other parents for their children.  They include last-minute mind-changes in the delivery or recovery room.  They include popup fathers or other family members suddenly demanding - and getting - the child back.   It is the fear of such possibilities as much as the lack of available American infants that drives would-be adopters overseas.

Overseas, the nightmares include unconscionable adoption 'fees' (as much as $45,000 per child).  They include seemingly healthy children who begin to demonstrate mental illness or uncontrollable violence brought on by deprivation, abuse, or drug- or alcohol-abusing birth mothers.  They include the fear that the child was purchased or stolen from loving but destitute parents.  And they include the fear that a child's birth family was sold an 'adoption' process that included constant contact, a US education, regular visits, and final return, after high school or college graduation, to the birth family...that is, no relinquishment but only a fixed-term lease.

The May 15 episode of the PBS series "This American Life" includes a 31-minute segment called "Where’s King Solomon When You Need Him?"  You can access and stream it here, or download it from Itunes or Audible.com.  See how American adoptive parents learned the truth about what their new daughter's birth family was told, and what they all did about it.  The choices they made would not be viable for everyone, but the reasoning behind them is worth a careful listen, and consideration.  And after that 31 minutes it might be a bit harder to dismiss parents' fears too easily.  Even CA/OCS/CI has a role in this tale.

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