A few days ago, a horrifying post appeared on the blog of an American couple currently in Uganda. They had gone to an orphanage in the hopes of beginning adoption proceedings for a ten-year-old girl they had met. In many countries children may stay in orphanages as a temporary measure when a family is going through hard times. Children living in orphanages who have not been relinquished are not available for adoption. When the American couple got to the orphanage, they found the girl’s grandmother and uncle were there to take her home; they learned that the girl’s mother was on her way as well. Then the American couple, carried forward by their unshakeable conviction that God wanted them to have this little girl, spent the next few hours badgering the grandmother and uncle with prayers and photographs of their (comparatively) incredible wealth. They got the grandmother and uncle to agree to pressure the girl’s mother into relinquishing her so the Americans could have her.
There was an outcry among many people who read this post, and after a few days it was taken down. I heard that someone was able to send a copy to the U.S. embassy in Uganda before it disappeared. You can find many more details here and here and I have nothing to say about the original bloggers that hasn’t already been said.
I do have something to say about the people who commented on this case. Mostly the comments took one side or the other – either, “Hallelujah, God moves mountains, God wants you to take this child” or “This is completely wrong, this is trafficking, stop.” A few more “reasonable” people saw a gray area, pointing out the good-hearted motives of the American couple, the complications inherent in international adoption, and the difficulty of the girl’s situation.
This post is for the reasonable people.
To the person who wrote, “I know [ ] and [ ]. I traveled to Uganda with [ ] and [ ] stayed at our house for a night or two about a year ago. They are lovely, God-fearing people” –
They may be very pleasant people. But they are trying to take a child who has not been relinquished by her mother. She is not available for adoption.
To the person who wrote, “This is not a wealthy family, he is a pastor at a church and she is a stay at home mom… I think they are a very well intentioned family”–
It doesn’t matter what their intentions are. The child has not been relinquished by her mother. She is not available for adoption.
To the person who wrote, “This is a really hard subject” –
No, it isn’t. She is not available for adoption.
To the same person, who wrote about her experience with people in Uganda using their children to fleece sponsorship money from foreigners and then letting their children go unschooled and hungry –
That sucks. There are assholes everywhere. But she is not available for adoption.
She also said, “I don’t believe [ ] to be grandiosely wealthy people. They seem to have pretty well-adjusted little ones and have worked their way around some difficult situations… who am I to say that their belief that [ ] is to be their child is wrong. So, I don’t believe they are child-trafficking or anything else that has been leveled against them. They see a kid with a great need and want to help” –
But she is not available for adoption.
To the person who wrote, “unless you know the family and the little girl's situation, you really aren't qualified to comment about them in a public forum” –
It doesn’t matter what her situation is. For her to be living in an orphanage, her situation probably stinks. There are many children in similar situations who have been relinquished by their parents. This particular one is not available for adoption.
To the person who wrote, “This family has had long standing ties with this child care center for years and this specific older girl (she is over 10) asked for them as parents when the sister and dad visited last year..... it’s a tough situation. I have followed this blog for over a year- I am not certain that the young girl, [ ], had ever thought going back to live with her family was ever an option. She would pray with the center workers for a new family” –
I can believe that the girl wants to go with them. But it’s not an option. She is not available for adoption.
To the person who wrote, “I was in Uganda with [ ] and [ ] in April. They are not recruiting for adoption as you refer to it. They have established strong relationships with Uganda and the people there. They are working hard to change what orphan care looks like in this country. They have been in country a combined total of over 10 times” –
It sounds like they are very involved and doing good things. They are also trying to take a child who is not available for adoption.
This is not a gray area. There is nothing to be reasonable about. Because (one more time):
She is not available for adoption.
In a few months we will hopefully go to court to become the legal parents of the two boys who were referred to us. We are not sharing who in the boys’ family is still living, but suffice to say they have living relatives. Until the court proceedings, their family can change their minds and reclaim them. This is part of the adoption process as it was explained to us very clearly from the beginning. This seems to be the part that adoptive parents conveniently forget as they decorate rooms and buy baby clothes. Then if it’s time for court and the family has changed their minds – What?! Outrageous!! But that’s my child!!
No, it isn’t. If the boys’ family changes their minds, it will suck for us. SUCK. Bigger font: SUCK. My world will come crashing down. I will cry, I may vomit, I will likely sink into a deep depression for a long time. If we believe the relatives are good people and their fortunes have changed, I will at least have the comfort of knowing the boys are returning to a home where they will be well cared for. But what if the family is rude and mean and desperately poor? I will be so sad to let the boys go. But they are their kids. And one thing I won’t do is bully the family into letting the boys come with me.
Because at that point, the boys will be (all together now):
Not available for adoption.