I wasn't really planning on blogging about this. But between Ann's comment (not that there was anything wrong with it... it just made me think) and various posts I've seen on the Adoption from Vietnam Yahoo group, I guess I am going to anyway.
Recently, The Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism requested information through the Freedom of Information Act regarding adoptions from Vietnam. (If you want to read about it, head here.) Following that was a follow-up article based on this information. What comes out is the hideous under-belly of international adoption. Whenever you combine desperate Westerners, huge amounts of money, greedy humans, and vulnerable children, the results can be devastating. Reading through these reports is heart-breaking and the only people who win (if you can even use that term) are the ones who walk away with the money and are never prosecuted. It is not the birth parents who were lied to in one form or another, not the adoptive parents who really only wanted a child (though often they become unknowingly, or sometimes knowingly complicit because desire has a way of drowning out reason), and certainly not the children who were taken away from birth families and have had their whole early history erased.
My heart lies in Vietnam, both because two of my sons are Vietnamese and because we fell in love with the country and its people. But I don't hold out much hope that adoptions from there will resume soon. The corruption was so widespread that I just don't see how it can be remedied easily or quickly. As much as my heart breaks for those children who are genuinely orphaned, even one child illegally placed is too many in my book to make it worth while. And before you argue with me, picture your own child and imagine that he or she was the one child out of all the other legal adoptions to be illegally place with another family. Picture his empty room or her empty spot at the table and then tell me that it is worth it because so many other children have found permanent homes.
My point in all this? I have started to see the beginnings of adoption-related activity. I'm starting to hear dates... maybe in 2012. Maybe Vietnam will sign the Hague Agreement next year. Maybe it will all move quickly after that. Maybe, maybe, maybe. I'm hearing people say that they are going to adopt from Vietnam... that they have found an agency... that they are looking for home study agencies to get ready. Imagine me screaming at the top of my lungs: Don't do anything yet! Don't give any agency any money! Do your research and listen to what experienced adoptive parents have to say! Don't tune out the ugly stories of corruption and greed because you don't want to hear it! Do not be one of those people who because you are so blinded by your desire for a child that you look the other way or don't do due diligence because it is too uncomfortable. (And may I humbly add that those last three commands apply to anyone looking into adoption in any country.)
And lastly, since I am obviously feeling crotchety about this, if you are adopting because you have a heart for orphans; because you want to give a home to a child who needs one; because you want a child to love; then look for the children who have given up hope. Those would be the children who are older or whose medical conditions make it less likely someone would choose them for a son or daughter or possibly who are part of a sibling group. It is not the healthy infant girl as young as possible. Just sayin'.