Tag Archives: adoption

Adoption As Ministry

Published / by Kim

For a while, Scott and I were very seriously looking into international adoption. We decided not to pursue it further for a number of reasons, but most of those reasons boiled down to widespread corruption in the system.  We couldn’t be sure, 100% positive, that any child we adopted from overseas was truly free for adoption. Even in China, where there are so many abandoned baby girls, there were scandals about kidnapped babies and corrupt orphanage directors lining their pockets. In other countries, parents may not fully understand what’s happening when they relinquish their children for adoption. They believe their kids will be cared for until the parents are able to take them back, only to discover later that their children have been sent out of country with strangers. In other cases, babies are purchased from young mothers who are pressured into giving up their children. The stories go on and on and the more we learned, the more we realized this wasn’t a system we wanted to be involved in.

We gave up our international adoption quest several years ago, but even then I could see that it was beginning to be filled with a lot of fundamentalist Christians. Message boards I read had growing numbers of prospective adopters who discussed their pending adoptions the same way they would talk about missionary work. They were in this less to provide children with parents and more to create new little soldiers for their god. So it was without surprise that I read this article in Mother Jones about the growing Evangelical adoption obsession.

“The ultimate purpose of human adoption by Christians,” author Dan Cruver wrote in his 2011 book, Reclaiming Adoption, “is not to give orphans parents, as important as that is. It is to place them in a Christian home that they might be positioned to receive the gospel.” At an adoption summit hosted by the Christian Alliance for Orphans at Southern California’s Saddleback Church, pastor Rick Warren told followers, “What God does to us spiritually, he expects us to do to orphans physically: be born again and adopted.”

The current adoption boom seems to be from African countries, where children traumatized by war and atrocity flood into orphanages. The worst part about all of this is that the agencies involved in placing children in questionable adoptions from these countries, where there is little oversight regarding out of country adoptions, aren’t properly preparing parents for dealing with kids who have such deep emotional trauma. People are showing up in country saying, “I have this much money, how many can you give me?” and end up coming back to the US with three or four or more deeply scarred children all at once. These agencies and facilitators push the “love is enough” principle, telling parents all they need to do is love these kids and that will be enough to overcome the horror they’ve seen in their short little lives. It’s never that easy and these adoptions end up failing. That’s when we hear stories about adopted kids dying from bizarre punishments or being sent back to their home countries with a hundred bucks in their pockets and the clothes on their backs.

It’s a bad situation that appears to be getting worse. The US is a Hague Adoption Convention country and I think the state department needs to pay closer attention to all incoming adoptions to ensure the safety of all involved.

Why I’m Not More Upset

Published / by Kim / 2 Comments on Why I’m Not More Upset

Something strange happened recently: a possible newborn adoption just fell into my lap like a gift from the gods. My brother called to tell me that a friend of his was pregnant and didn’t want to parent. She had my number and was going to call. It turned out that she changed her mind about adoption within a few days, so nothing ever came of it. That part isn’t really so odd. I’m sure suddenly pregnant women find themselves considering and discarding adoption on a regular basis. The really strange part was that, when it turned out to be something that wouldn’t happen, I wasn’t upset.

I think there are several reasons I was able to take it so easily. One is that it all happened so fast. From the moment Alex called to when he called to let me know she didn’t want to pursue it, not even a week passed. I was still standing in line for the emotional roller coaster instead of riding it in full swing. Another reason is that I knew it was highly unlikely that it would proceed. It sounded to me like the friend wanted to pursue a different choice and I’m glad she’s going to do what’s right for her.

But the biggest reason I’m not more upset is that I don’t think I want a newborn anymore. Oh, sure. If something happened and I suddenly found myself in the position that a newborn adoption was happening, I’d welcome it, but it’s no longer something I think I care to pursue. The more I think about adopting an older child, the more I want it. I’m not foolish enough to believe any adoption is easy, let alone one that brings me to mother a child with already developed interests and a personality and a history that probably contains some form of abuse. Even so, I feel ready to take all that on in a way I don’t feel ready to take on the realities of a newborn.

I still have pangs of heartache when I see babies, especially now when it seems everyone I know has just had or is having one. But I find that I’m not really barren and bitter anymore. It’s more of a barren and melancholy now, and I see the melancholy lifting over time because I see the possibility of parenting coming soon.

Serve me up with some butter and good maple syrup…

Published / by Kim / 3 Comments on Serve me up with some butter and good maple syrup…

…because I’m waffling.

When we first started IVF, we decided on a cut off date of my 40th birthday. That was when we were going to call it quits and be done with it all. Then came the new tumor and the surgery and the related complications and I’ve spent the past 10 months or so feeling sort of crappy. Now my 40th birthday is looming in just over a month and I’m finally starting to feel normal again, physically speaking.

A few months ago, we started looking into adopting from foster care. We still haven’t even filled out the application, though, and I know that at least part of the reason for that is that I don’t think I’ve given up the idea of being pregnant. Our IVF experiment was derailed suddenly and violently by the surgery, and I resent that. When we first started talking adoption, years ago, I asked myself “do I want to be pregnant or do I want to be a mother?” and I told myself that the answer was that I wanted to be a mother and that pregnancy didn’t matter. Now I think I was lying to myself. Being pregnant is important to me, and I don’t think I’m ready to lay it to rest.

On top of it all, so far we’ve only used a third of our ART coverage. We still have two-thirds left! All that wasted potential!

So we’ve been talking about it lately and it looks like we’re going to give IVF a few last hurrahs. I’m still waiting to hear back from Scott’s HR rep about a particular coverage issue, so I haven’t made an appointment yet. When we do hear back, I’m going to try Columbia. They have a reputation for taking women who have very little prospects for success and, let’s face it, that’s me in spades. If IVF works for me it will only happen through some arcane dark art. (Or is that arcane dark ART? Ha. I slay myself.) A wing, a prayer, and some duct tape may also be necessary. I mean, my one and only ovary is likely no more than a piece of chewed up, spat out, gristly meat by now, with all the manhandling it’s had over the past 6 years. That is one abused little ovary.

I still want to adopt. I still want to do it through the foster care system. I’m just not ready to do it right now. We need to go through more IVF, wring every penny out of our coverage, before I’m willing to call it quits. And if it doesn’t work, which it probably won’t, I plan to go to a grief counselor to work through it all, and THEN I can move on to adoption. With a lighter heart and knowing that I gave modern science the old college try.

Save the Pagan Babies

Published / by Kim / 3 Comments on Save the Pagan Babies

My mother tells me that when she was a little girl in Catholic school, they used to have penny drives to collect money so they could “save the pagan babies.” Now, instead of sending them our pennies, we send them our insane-but-well-meaning rescuers to bring them back to live the Best. Possible. Life. In the U.S. Because there’s no way anyone can have a good life if they don’t live in the U.S.

I’m not saying all international adopters are like that – hell, I may yet be an international adopter one day – but you can’t deny the loud existence of the “rescue a child” adopters.

That “save the pagan babies” thing cracks me up, though, because I bet the little girl my mother was never imagined that her own grandchildren -adopted or biological – would be Pagan babies.