Sunday, September 18, 2011

Child trafficking in China

This article in the NYT is pretty unnerving.

AwesomeCloud is highly unlikely to have been abducted or otherwise trafficked. There's no sense in child traffickers choosing special needs children. But I'm alarmed just the same. We're told that China handles its adoptions ethically. But just because the government oversees all adoptions doesn't mean everything is ethical. I mean, ponder that idea for a while and see how ridiculous it is. Still, we have to believe in something, so we put aside any reason for suspicion and go forward with our adoptions, assuring ourselves that our agencies are trustworthy and keeping our minds on the children that will soon be ours.

Anyway, it's not as if China is the only adoption scandal surprise. What about Spain? That trafficking scheme went from the 1950's to the 1980's and was perpetrated by Catholic clergy.

Same story for the child trafficking scandal in Australia.

Don't think it's just Guatemala and Vietnam. (Those were surprises, too, as I recall.)

What's the root of the problem here? People wanting to make money off of other people's suffering? Authority figures making women's life decisions for them and against their will?

Yes, yes, and more. However, as much as it pains me to say it, the biggest root of the problem is demand. There are too many families willing to pay large amounts of money for a healthy infant. We adoptive parents create the market. Without the market, it would be difficult to illegally traffic any child.

We view it too much as a women's rights issue, I think. If women have the right to decide whether and when to have children, and how many children to have, then surely women who have trouble giving birth themselves should be extended the same rights. Right? Affluent families deserve every possible opportunity to strategically form a family to fit their wants and needs. (With adoption, you can even - ethically - choose the child's gender. How cool is that?)

I don't really believe that, though. Maybe that makes me a misfit in affluent society. It will certainly make me unpopular with the adoptive parents. But I believe that my parental rights as an adoptive parent should only be addressed after the rights of the original parents are completely taken care of. I believe I should be outraged when I hear that they are not. I think I should take these scandals seriously and be sickened by them. I believe that I should take measures to not be part of the problem.

We did that by choosing special needs. Actually, our local agent declared she was limiting herself to special needs adoptions, because the NSN programs were getting out of hand, and we decided we were totally on board with that. Even though we weren't specifically trying to help where the need was greatest, we were certainly open to the idea of adopting a perfectly good child whom, due to circumstances, few people wanted. I have always found that the best way to get through life was to go where the competition was least. The idea that adopting through the special needs program helps me avoid scandals is a great bonus.

A very valuable bonus, in fact. I can't imagine having to live with the guilt of finding out my kid might have been the victim of a child trafficking scandal. No wonder so many parents just close their eyes to the possibility. It's a horrible thing to have been the cause of. It's horrible to think that you and your money and your sheer determination to create a family your way, consequences be damned, inspired someone to commit a crime against the child and his/her original family.

My own defense is that, well, as much as I hate the One-Child Policy and the crappy medical system in China, and the stigma placed on children of imperfect health, those things do exist at this time and therefore my son fell through some very real cracks and was very legitimately in need of some love and stability in his life. There were not a lot of other people clamoring to step up and act like parents to him. If China improves socially, and the adoption market more-or-less dries up, I will be absolutely thrilled. If it had already done so, I'd like to think, we would not have pursued this adoption. Our thought process at the time supports this claim. We were looking for the path of least resistance.

I'd also love it if the US social services cleaned up its act and began to act efficiently and ethically. That would be the best of both worlds.

1 comment:

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