thread: Adoption Issues

  1. #1
    ragged_blossom Guest

    Adoption Issues

    Someone recently asked me a question about whether adoptive parents should feel guilty, or feel as though they are cruel for taking somebody's baby away. This was my response, I have posted it here in case it is helpful to any prospective adoptive families out there. It also explains a little about our particular adoption, and the process we went through.

    Ours was definitely not a usual adoption situation.
    I was in a lucky situation as my Romanian husband was not yet an Australian Permanent Resident, which means we were eligible for a special kind of visa for an adopted child. Basically, Andrei was allowed to come to Australia as a dependent of DH (Robert) or in other words he was added to Robert's visa.
    We had planned to go to Vietnam and adopt from an orphanage, with my brother's vietamese in-laws helping us with translating, getting around etc.

    But then there was a strange turn of events.
    My brother's defacto is vietnamese/khmer and her cousin is Andrei's birth mum. My brother heard that she (Andrei's birthmum) was going to place her baby in an orphanage and straight away he thought of me. He told her my story and she agreed to let me adopt him.
    Andrei never got to the orphanage because we were over in Cambodia 2 weeks after we heard about him!

    Generally Australians cannot adopt a child overseas unless they go through the government International Adoption Programs (these vary from state to state). The other option is to live outside Australia for over a year before you go and adopt a child from an orphanage.

    We had a lot of hold ups because we were a unique case, and we adopted through the court system directly from the mother, rather than from an orphanage. The authorities do not like this kind of adoption, and that is fair enough as corruption is rife in the world of adoption.

    We spent 3mths in Cambodia with Andrei's birth mother at the house where she worked as a maid. I felt guilt, confusion, stress at the beginning -- but then I realised that Andrei's birthmum was happy. She wanted the best life for him, she was so happy to see him with a happy family who could give him a decent life. She doted on us and continuously thanked us for doing such a good thing for her son. Her other children were begging on the streets for food, she had several kids, was on the run from an abusive husband, earnt $30 a month working as a maid while Andrei had to stay in a hammock almost 24hours a day as she had no time to give him the attention he needed.
    We met his grandmother, sister and brother. And to be totally honest with you, we have very strong suspicions that her teenage daughter was Andrei's real mother, but the whole shame issue there had forced them to pretend it was hers. We don't know for sure, but there were plenty of clues. I feel very sad for her daughter if this is the case, but on the other hand a teenage girl living on the street, most likely prostituting her self (as we know the 14 y/o brother was doing) has no way of caring for this baby either. And by meeting us and seeing how well we cared for and loved Andrei I believe she would have felt content with the situation. Oneday when Andrei grows up he will go over there and meet his family, and it will be up to them to tell him the truth. We will always do our upmost to keep in touch with them throughout Andrei's life and to send pictures etc -- though they cannot read or write, even in their own language.
    I feel no guilt whatsoever, I feel Andrei is in the best possible place he could be in and I know that his birth family know that too.
    In your situation - adopting from an orphanage, it is not likely that you will have any information about the child's birth family. However, I don't believe you should ever feel any guilt, or feel that you have taken somebody's baby away.
    These babies have been abandoned by mother's who loved them so much they were prepared to selflessly give them up, so that the baby can have a better chance at life. I have seen so many women in places like Cambodia and in Eastern Europe, who live on street corners, rubbish dumps, gutters and have all their babies and kids living on the streets with them. These kids beg for food, eat from garbage bins and often end up in prostitution. The mothers who give their babies up for adoption are letting their children escape this fate.
    They are giving their children a chance at education, health and happiness.
    Andrei for example can't talk yet due to impaired hearing and tongue-tie (which was recently fixed by surgery) - In Cambodia he may never be able to learn to talk properly, without surgery, hearing aids or speech therapy. Also he has had a few nasty illnesses such as Scarlet Fever since we got him -- without proper medical care he would likely have died.

    Either way the child will still have been truly loved whether or not it's given up for adoption, but an adopted child is loved by two families spread right across the globe. The birthmum will always be in your child's heart, even if you have no information about her, and it's important to always teach your child that he was given up out of love and not tossed aside or kicked out of his family.

    We want to adopt again in a couple of years, next time from China. I'm sure it will be very difficult having no information on our next child's birth mother, but I'm sure that we will be doing the best thing for the child.

    Hope that I haven't rambled too much or said anything I shouldn't -- but hopefully this insight into adoption can be of help to some of you.

    Sorry, I have not gone into the grey area of baby trafficking and stolen babies in orphanages -- this is a major problem - we don't always know where these babies have come from, and can never feel 100% sure. I'm not really sure what to say about this, but I hope that the Australian adoption organisations are very stringent with their checks of the orphanages Australians are adopting from, and that the countries involved try harder to crack down on these criminals.

    Good luck to all you parents considering adoption out there.


  2. #2
    Sal Guest

    Jeanette, that is such an uplifting story.

    It's funny that people might expect adoptive parents to feel guilty when collectively as humans we should feel responsibility to do something to help others who are suffering. I think people who ask that sort of question are really projecting their own guilt of being fortunate to be born into affluent society and doing nothing, or not enough, for others.

  3. #3
    ok take 2 of going back to work.....

    Nov 2004
    Giving the gift of life to a friend..

    Thank-you Jeanette,

    That was a beautiful insight into your loving family & situation...
    Andrei, is absolutely adorable.

    My Balinese in laws have 2 adopted children from their village as the Mothers were young.
    I believe every child deserves the right to be loved, to be anyone whom will love them...

    Bless you, your husband & your gorgeous son!

  4. #4
    BellyBelly Member

    Feb 2004

    Thanks for sharing that Jeanette, you and your hubby are truly inspiration to go through so much to adopt your son.

  5. #5
    BellyBelly Life Member

    Jan 2005
    in the valley of cuddles with mountains of smiles

    what a truly inspiring story of love. So true - their mothers may grieve and miss them but their unselfish love for their child is immeasurable.

    I have never felt guilty adopting our son - Australian born.His mother relinguished him at 10 months (and other children before him at toddler ages in previous adoptions) because of her overwheming love for him. She made a concious choice and the Adoption agency told us in 1994 they always counsel birth mothers to keep not relinguish - though in our son's case social worker said it was best thing for him.

    DS Birthmother felt even with help (she wrote our DS a letter) that she was unable to properly care for him. She was in 30's so not young either.

    IF adoption ceased where would these kids go - through a lifetime of no-one to love them specially. In overseas countries there are much worst fates as Jeanette mentioned .

    Why should we feel guilty for wanting to love and nuture a child who would most likely be left in institutional system or on street.

    There are so many children (not babies) who are unwanted in foster care system and abused children who are still with parents who keep them in Australia. These parents obviously have less love for their children.