International adoption is intensely controversial. Adoption between "worlds" is fraught with additional challenges. Ethiopian adoptions often take place between families of widely divergent socioeconomic status. Cultural misunderstandings, financial desperation, adoptive parent desperation and extreme wealth disparity are a perfect storm for disaster. Jen Hatmaker wrote an excellent three part essay called Examining Adoption Ethics. You should read it. Part One Part Two and Part Three are here.
There are millions of children living in in poverty in Ethiopia and 4.5 million of them are orphans. Adoption is not necessarily the best way to help them. If there is a way for a child to grow up with his or her
birth family (or with his or her extended family) measures should be
taken and supported to effect that end. International adoption is, and
should always be, a last resort. But it is a resort for some children. There are children living in Ethiopia who do not have parents and
who need to be adopted. I have experienced it personally. I
adopted two children.
In full disclosure, I wasn't thinking about any of these issues when we adopted from Ethiopia. I just wanted a daughter. It's not that we are unethical or irresponsible. We were just very naive and I had no idea what I was getting into. I also did not understand the extent of extreme poverty in Ethiopia or its impact on birth mothers and families.Those things changed for me after I spent several months in Addis adopting one daughter, losing her and then adopting a second daughter. And I am only now just beginning to understand international adoption and what it means for actual children, and families.
on the opinions presented in my blog. Your voice matters to me and to
other people. Differences of opinion and debate help articulate issues
and make the world a better place. Just make sure your comments are
respectful and well researched (or that they are your personal
Related: Inter-country Adoption is Not Human Trafficking
Related: Ethiopian Adoption