Monday, June 18, 2012

Adopting from DRC? Pray hard and reconsider.

I was directed to this article today.   It will take just a second to look at the overview of the article.

It says that DRC is the #2 "failed state" in the world (it was #4 last year, and #5 the year before that...in other words it is getting worse every year).  I'll say it again.  DRC is ranked second in the world of "failed states".  Right after Somalia!

Would you consider adopting from Somalia right now?  I hope your answer is "no way!".  Let me ask it another way.  Would you consider adopting from a country that is described as having no central state, no government, no law and order, and no economy (see here for source of quote)?  (You would say, "no way!", right?  I sure hope so!).

DRC is right behind Somalia and it is in a worse state than every other country in the world.

Here is a part of a definition of a "failed state" (bold and underlined my own).  The quote is from the International Red Cross (here is the link).


 The political and legal approach  
Three elements can be said to characterize the phenomenon of the “failed State” from the political and legal point of view.
  • Firstly, there is the geographical and territorial aspect, namely the fact that “failed States” are essentially associated with internal and endogenous problems, even though these may incidentally have cross-border impacts. The situation confronting us then is one of an implosion rather than an explosion of the structures of power and authority, the disintegration and destructuring of States rather than their dismemberment.
  • Secondly, there is the political aspect, namely the internal collapse of law and order. The emphasis here is on the to tal or near total breakdown of structures guaranteeing law and order [2 ] rather than the kind of fragmentation of State authority seen in civil wars, where clearly identified military or paramilitary rebels fight either to strengthen their own position within the State or to break away from it. [3 ]
  • Thirdly, there is the functional aspect, namely the absence of bodies capable, on the one hand, of representing the State at the international level and, on the other, of being influenced by the outside world. Either no institution exists which has the authority to negotiate, represent and enforce or, if one does, it is wholly unreliable, typically acting as “statesman by day and bandit by night”.
From a legal point of view, it could be said that the “failed State” is one which, though retaining legal capacity, has for all practical purposes lost the ability to exercise it. A key element in this respect is the fact that there is no body which can commit the State in an effective and legally binding way, for example, by concluding an agreement.

Here is another quote.  The link to this article is found here and it is from the Fund for Peace.  (Emphasis mine).  

"A state that is failing has several attributes. One of the most common is the loss of physical control of its territory or a monopoly on the legitimate use of force. Other attributes of state failure include the erosion of legitimate authority to make collective decisions, an inability to provide reasonable public services, and the inability to interact with other states as a full member of the international community. The 12 indicators cover a wide range of state failure risk elements such as extensive corruption and criminal behavior, inability to collect taxes or otherwise draw on citizen support, large-scale involuntary dislocation of the population, sharp economic decline, group-based inequality, institutionalized persecution or discrimination, severe demographic pressures, brain drain, and environmental decay. States can fail at varying rates through explosion, implosion, erosion, or invasion over different time periods."   


How in the world can any adoption agency operate in the second most failed state in the world, legally and ethically?  How can an adoption agency guarantee that what is done in the country itself is legal and ethical in the second worst failed state in the world?  

I would strongly consider you ask your agency, "How can you assure my adoption is legal and ethical in a country that is ranked second in the world as a failed state; which takes into consideration extensive corruption, erosion of legitimate authority, loss of control, internal collapse of law and order?  Please tell me how you operate in a country that is ranked second in the world for loss of control, collapse of law and order, corruption, erosion of authority?  How can you assure me that my adoption was ethically done in DRC?  What ways do make sure that all the people you work with on the ground are operating within the law (when there is a collapse of law and order in the country)?  How do you verify that the judges, the police, the social services, the lawyers are acting legally and ethically (in a country where there is a collapse of law and order and extensive corruption?).  

It's not enough that your paperwork "looks good" and that it will meet the embassy requirements.  What matters is that your paperwork is true and that means you need to confirm the story on the paperwork is accurate.  How does one do this?    You investigate the story (through a third party) and you follow your money (read here).    

No one is doing orphan investigations beyond the police and social services reports (which we have already stated are government positions in a country with little to no oversight and control and where there is little to no law and order) to verify orphan abandonment stories (please feel free to let me know if you are working with an agency that encourages you to do third party investigations to verify the child's story or if they do radio ads and extensive investigations of the abandonment story for 3-6 months before referral).  No one is doing reunification and domestic adoption work (again, let me know if your agency works with an orphanage and it does reunification and domestic adoption).

There ARE children that need families in DRC.  Let's make sure THOSE are the children being adopted.

Protect the orphans in DRC (most of whom have one or both living parents!).  Take care of the orphans and vulnerable children of DRC.  Don't allow them to be exploited and abused.  Don't take advantage of the failed state of DRC.  Where there are few controls.  Where corruption is rampant.  Where there is little oversight and control.  Where there is little to no law and order.  Because what the current failed state of DRC really means in "adoption terms" is that lots babies are available to be adopted in 9 months or less.  That is what it really means.


ADDENDUM:  As the first commenter pointed out, I do not know the actions of every single agency working in DRC.  From my interviews of APs, PAPs, and my own, I have not found an agency working in DRC that does investigations like the ones described above, hence why I say "no one is doing investigations...".  I would love to hear if your agency is doing the types of investigations I list above (which I believe are essential to an ethical adoption).  Please let me know in the comments if your agency is doing what I describe above and their name!  Again, we as adoptive parents are the ones that can make change happen in DRC adoption.  Let's work together to demand certain standards from our agencies.  We are the ones that can protect children from exploitation.  Thanks!

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

I find your post insulting. There are some very good agencies working in DRC and there is excellent Congolese people working in DRC to help the orphan crisis. To write something like this is judgemental. Are you saying you know every agency in DRC? do you know every judge? do you know all the Congolese? I know Congolese people that live here and there. They all say a story that is different from yours!! There are millions or orphans left alone in pit latrines and on the streets to die. There is some bad agencies and they should be shut down, but you are wrong saying all are corrupt. The DRC governemtn has questioned things and ran their own investigations, the embasseys processing your adoption also post there own investigations. There is no doubt that you are about ethical adoptions but becareful you don't come across has a know it all. Posts like this do little to help the issues in international adoptions or to help recitify the issues. You are better off to also include positive information. The age old saying think before you speak should apply here.

Holly said...

Anonymous #1--

I agree with you 100% that there are wonderful Congolese (and also people who are not congolese) working in DRC to help the orphan crisis. If only there were more! I looked over my post and I don't see where I say all agencies are corrupt, I do ask how an agency can work ethically in DRC. I would love to hear your thoughts on that, because I would really like to hear about it, because those are the agencies we should use. And I would love to change my opinion about the work agencies are doing (and not doing); which is why I asked to be corrected if I was wrong. If you have evidence that your agency is doing orphan investigation that is beyond the orphanage documentation, beyond police/social service reports for abandoned children (that they do this for 3-6 months before referral with documentation of radio ads, and the entire investigation), please let me know, I will happy add an addendum stating I was wrong. I would be happy to be wrong. Thanks for the comments. Holly

Lindsay said...

Holly, after being in the DRC program for over a year now, I regretfully agree with your post. The anonymous poster stated, "Posts like this do little to help the issues in international adoptions" but I find your post exactly opposite. These ARE the issues of international adoption. I feel like I could go on and on, but it would probably be better to have that sort of conversation in private. Thanks for your bold honesty..even if people don't want to hear it.

Anonymous said...

Yes there is truth to it, but more and more you are hearing issues with agencies jumping in trying to make money and NOT having good connections or the DRC staff in place first, setting up for heartbreak on all fronts!! Agencies NEED to make connections spend LOTS of time in DRC before even thinking of opening a program. More and more parents are seeing the red flags of this and choosing to step away from their money and agencies. It is not about wanting to hear it, it is about including all aspects.

Anonymous said...

While I agree with some aspects of your post - ethical issues and such, it seems like you (and some other parents who've already adopted from Congo) are the ones most pushing for ethical adoptions. I don't recall ANY of you talking like this before your children were home, not one family.

As I've said before its it's on the parents, if they want ethical adoptions, to band together and not turn their backs on families who do challenge when their agencies seem unethical - that's what I've seen happen. If you don't believe in everything your agency is saying, especially the agency that you started out with Holly, the other parents make things really difficult for you. Because, honestly, we all know that our agency will never be transparent, despite what all the other parents think.

That said, yes, I agree that as parents we need to do something but the burden of ethical adoptions doesn't lie on the families who's children have come home but on the ones who are still in the process. The agencies know they've got all the control, and that's why parents are afraid to speak out. I mean, we're told to seek out other families who've adopted from the agencies we choose or are thinking of choosing but how do you find the families that had negative/unethical/bad experiences if they don't blog about it or talk about it publicly - agencies certainly aren't going to hand out that information. I think a key in this, making adoptions more ethical would be for parents waiting and ones with children home to team up, but I think that might be too much to ask for especially since the media loves to play out mommy wars and in the adoption community there's a lot of mommy wars going on.

Emmy said...

@Anonymous 18-June-12 5:53 PM,

Well, I am one of those APs you speak of- I am trying to make EVERYONE I know who has/is considering international adoption how corruption and fraud RUINS innocent families- on this side AND the other. Do you know why I am doing this now, and why I didn't before I brought my daughter home?

Because I didn't know. I had NO idea. I assumed that since I was working with an agency... and a Christian one, at that!... that we all saw eye-to-eye on ethics. I wrongly assumed that they did above-and-beyond investigations to ensure that my adoption was completely clean and ethical. Once I was in-country, living with my two referred "daughters," we finally learned (through our OWN heartbreaking investigations) that one of the girls' two parents was denying his relationship to her in order to be paid for her adoption. One of the in-country facilitators was pocketing a pretty penny for the completion of this poor child's adoption... worse, her birth father had told her that once she "got to America," both her birthmother and father would then be moving to the US and she would return to them to be their daughter again.

You wouldn't believe the amount of money that changed hands during this HORRIBLE month we were in-country, nor the number of tears that were shed by multiple innocent victims (many of whom were children).

Now that I KNOW these things go on, I certainly make sure that PAPs are aware of my story. And we weren't the only ones in this AWFUL situation.

I still grieve for this precious innocent girl, who now rightfully lives with her birthfamily but will likely always remember all that we (falsely) promised her during our time in-country.


And THAT is why I push for ethics now, and didn't before.

Holly said...

Anon #3--Thank you for posting. You are right. When I started our adoption I didn't post anything about ethical adoptions. I honestly didn't know a single thing about ethics in IA. I had always thought about adopting from where I lived, and I always thought I would live in the U.S. Then I lived in DRC. We met two little babies that needed a family. We started an adoption. From the first step there were things that I couldn't believe happened. Looking back I see how naive I was so much of the time. I felt like every step of the way we faced another instance that we had to question what was going on, sometimes we actually had to say, "no we don't believe in bribing" or "of course, we won't use falsified documents!" (when asked that very nonchalantly by someone on the ground). I did talk about these concerns at the time (we were living in DRC then), but not publicly on a forum like this. I was afraid to talk too much in a public place.

I have learned so much. And I do understand that in writing about ethics now, I am doing so from a position of having my kids home and having have lived in DRC. And I know most people are where I was, honestly wanting to give children homes and really not knowing a lot of what is happening in the ground. I know that most of us don't want to traffic and exploit children.

And I agree with you so much that it is about everyone coming together, to not turn against each other especially those that may have constructive information to share about their story and their agency, and to acknowledge that we all can learn from each other. We need forums where we can safely talk about our experiences where our goal is to really work together towards ethical adoptions. I realize that this post (and my other one about adoptions going on hold) are more negative, and they perhaps aren't the best way to bring people together, but I'm hoping they can at least start conversation. I want change. My goal is not to shut DRC down to adoptions. I agree that only together can it happen.

I appreciate your comments. Those about the media how they can pit people against each other are so important. I would really hate for my blog to be a divisive place when it comes to IA, I'd much rather have it be a place that people can come to and can be encouraged to work together for change. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

But your saying it is all corrupt the truth is there are millions of children who need homes!! We left an agency because we felt there was corruption. I do believe you are pitting parents against eachother. Posts like this make some uneasy to talk or ones on forums because of the judgement. You would be better off meeting agencies with your ideas and ways to do this or advocating for agencies that are trying their very best! I happen to know of a case which I won't share with you, but because of the government officials children are being protected.

Anonymous said...

you want to talk corrupt check the books on the RedCross where does all their money go?

Anonymous said...

Hi, it's anon 5:53 again and I've thought abou a few more things - I think another huge thing that would help is if the parents going over to Congo spoke French/Lingala/Swahili. I noticed that when we were there and officials figured out that we spoke French, they immediately switched into Lingala thinking we wouldn't know what was going on - luckily we had spent a few months trying to learn it and were able to somewhat understand. I know learning a new language can be a pain, especially if you already have kids or you have a job, but in terms of going to Congo, it's essential that you're not completely relying upon your escorts or translators.

I also thought, in response to some of your comments, specifically to Holly, a private forum would be great to get our stories out - however, since I'm posting anonymously and so are a few others, I'm not sure that even a private forum would get us to share. I know that for me, I literally want nothing to do with my old agency and their clientele, so I wouldn't necessarily post to a forum. And how would you weed out agencies? I remember that was an issue on the yahoo list.

And to the other anon poster, you're right about the judgment amongst this community - there's a ton of it. I think that as parents who have are children and want to advocate, we shouldn't just be reaching out to the Christians who are adopting - after all, not only Christians adopt which is something I've seen ignored when moms are getting cliquey. Im also wondering what agency would listen to parents who's children are home? They've already got your money. It's the ones waiting that need to express concern and band together.

Anonymous said...

Apparently I'm on a roll this morning, sorry Holly. Another thing I just thought of is that as parents adopting from Congo - you should also be educating yourselves about the country. I don't mean reading blogs or read A Thousand Sisters and then thinking you're and expert, but reading an actual book about the place. Then I know I'd take you (generally, I'm not looking at anyone in particular here) more seriously if you actually knew a bit about what you were talking about. I'm of the opinion that knowing as much as we can about our kids' birth country is really important.

Holly said...

I would love to talk to agencies about my concerns! I somehow sense that they won't want to talk to me since I was pretty much independent and I'm not working directly with a particular agency. The two agencies I have reached out to never wrote me back. Do you think that your agency would be open to me talking to them? If so, please send me their contact info (email is above right) and I will for sure reach out to them. I agree that there are three "groups" in this that need to work for reform, the adoptive parents, the adoptive agencies and the country. Working with agencies, and agencies themselves working on reform is so important and I'm sure there are agencies that have learned a lot since starting in DRC and hopefully have changed their practices and policies as they are confronted with the reality in country. I do know that some agencies that work in DRC are Hague accredited. This means that when they are working in Hague approved countries they have have to abide by certain standards. I would hope that these agencies are doing the same in DRC just as if they were in a Hague country (at least they would have the education to do so).

Holly said...

Great comments anon 5:53 and thanks for continuing the conversation. I've often thought that one of the reasons so much is happening is that the county is so inaccessible to adoptive parents. Not only language barriers, but cultural and historical lack of understanding, and also perceived safety prevent families from going over and doing their own investigations or hiring someone on the ground to help them. Many other countries where adoptive parents have discovered corruption in their process are more accessible and people around the world might travel there for tourism, not just adoption. I feel like if Kinshasa was a "tourist destination" (and all that comes with that) it would be so much easier for APs and PAPs to get on the ground, find out what is actually happening in country with their adoption and others, learn more about what is happening at orphanages, and on and on. And certainly, learning more about the country is so important. When we first moved to DRC, I really knew so little and still feel like I have so much to learn (and we were there 4 1/2 years!). What I learned though completely changed what I had thought I knew and it pushes me to speak out now.
You know, I don't know how to respond to the safe forum question. If you ever want to email me personally I have some ideas, but not sure if they will completely work. We should work together and there has to be a safe place to ask for help during the process and also to get support if you find out later your child's story isn't true without being condemned in the process. If our mutual goal is the safety and protection of orphans and vulnerable children then we can only do that by working together. Thanks again for commenting.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post. I don't think the fact that DRC is a "failed state" is what should limit adoptions. Non-failed states still fail kids and bureaucracy can REALLY fail kids. However, extra vigilance is definitely required. You make a lot of really good points and I love the questions you suggest PAPs to ask their agencies.

As an aside, is your orphanage a part of the international NGO Save the Children? Since Save the Children has a longstanding presence on the ground in DRC (and even if they didn't) it's probably not appropriate to use the organization's name for your own private project.

- Adoptive mother and (real) Save the Children employee

Anonymous said...

Keep posting and telling the truth my friend. Others don't want to hear it but that doesn't make it right.

Holly said...

Hi anonymous 12:21,

Thanks for the comments. I agree that alone a "failed state" doesnt' mean one can't adopt from the country. Obviously, there are plenty of countries on the list that run adoption programs. I will continue to argue my point that it is extremely difficult to do a completely ethical adoption from DRC right now given all the reasons which make it #2 on the list of a failed state.

If you look at the box that says "new here" right on the right side of this blog (or if you checked out our website) you will note that our organization is called "Tumaini" which means hope in swahili. The orphanage was named "save the children" by the missionaries that founded it in the 50s. Nowhere on my blog do I say that my organization is called Save the Children. We lived and worked in eastern DRC for 4 1/2 years; I am quite aware of the ngo called Save the Children as we were there working for another longstanding large NGO (and no, not for Tumaini, Tumaini is all volunteer run and it is a small charity).

Concerned AP said...

Why don't adoptive parents speak before their kids come home? Well, because the whole time you do not know what to think about the process. We were naive and we did not know what to think about the entire process. We did not know anyone who had lived in DRC and knew about the government and process. We did not know anything we did not read in book. Oh, we read lots of books. However, none of them were on adoption or adoption ethics. ALL of them stressed the fragile state of DRC.
Why are all these posts anonymous? Well, they are not signed because the person cannot (due to a contract) or does not want to tarnish a reputation in the adoption community. I have seen aggressive language like that language used above and it is alarming to me.
NOT ONE of the people who used aggressive language mentioned investigations. The track of Congo is clear if investigations are not done. Social service reports are not enough. Twice in the last month a families have done additional investigations and found living parents and siblings hidden by the orphanage. Two families I know had this happen!! Take a look at Vietnam and Guatemala in the last few years. Anyone that would attack someone who has personally lived in DRC, worked in DRC, worked in an orphanage in DRC, etc. needs to think twice unless you have done the same.
I believe this post and others point out subjects we need to be discussing as a community. Why do we talk so much about agencies? Well, agencies benefit from adoption..pure and simple. There are some good ones and there are some that are not. I have interviewed 3 long standing agencies-who do not work in Congo- about Congo in the last few months. They have raised some of the same concerns Holly has raised in this post.
If we don't stand for the children, then all countries will continue to close and NO CHILD will get out. Not one. If we don't stand for transparency, who will?
Keep posting and sharing truth.

Anonymous said...

Insulting? Do you presently work for an agency? Please note that this discussion is about investigations that need to be done.

Julie www.aboutourhouse.blogspot.com said...

Holly-
Oh my, WOW is all I have to say to some of the commenters! Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience on IA and DRC. I know the Congolese children are close to your heart and you will never stop advocating for them, even when it means saying things that are hard for others to hear. Love you friend!
julie

Anonymous said...

So how do you go about finding a third party to investigate in DRC? How can you be sure you can trust them?

Amanda said...

Thanks Holly. I totally agree. We are in the last stages of an adoption from DRC, and these ethical issues are just now coming to light. We are absolutely heartbroken and confused about what to do. Would you be willing to connect with me over email? delighted.bennett@gmail.com

Thanks for sharing.

Von said...

Adoption has always worked because of the unethical and pathological factors involved, that's not up for discussion it's fact. No good some of you out there being insulted, just imagine how it is for the subjects!!

Holly said...

Thanks for this!

Holly said...

Great question and one that I am working on now. I think the most important thing are your connections on the ground and if there is someone you trust that can help you to find a PI. If you are interested in emailing me and I can talk to you more directly about the work that I (with some others) are doing to try to find trustworthy and reliable PIs in Kinshasa to not only do orphan status investigation for PAPs in process, but those that have already brought their kids home and are now looking for birth family members. (email is top right of blog). Thanks!

Holly said...

Would love to talk sometime, feel free to email me if you would like.
Holly

Holly said...

Hi Von,

Wow, thanks for commenting! A huge motivator for me is my own girls and the questions they will ask and how they may or may not feel about their adoption. I feel like I have to speak out for them and others. I also know there are a lot of voices that expound on all the reasons why one should adopt from DRC, but few go into the reasons why caution is very needed. One day our kids may ask. They may want to know about their process. They may want to know if they have family in DRC still (which they will most likely have as families are very large and extended). They may want to know if anyone was coerced. They may want to look at their paperwork and comb it through for details about who they are and their past. They may ask detailed questions about their abandonment stories and want to know how we know that the stories are true. They may go back and do their own searches and they may find heartbreak (it would be hard not to). I know children are being exploited, who is going to speak up for them?

sarahanddewayne said...

As a few have stated, people don't come forward before their adoptions are complete because they often aren't aware of the issues that are out there until they see them first hand. I am so thankful that I was aware of many of these issues before we started our adoption. Because of the education we received from many adoptive families, we were able to search out other options and deal first hand with many people so that we could ask the questions that our children will ask when they are older. Recently I have been in contact with a few agencies, and you would be shocked at the lack of infrastructure that they have in country to complete the adoptions for the children they have already referred. It seems like common sense that you cover your bases before you begin your program, but many agencies hide all of those things under the title of "pilot program," and use the excuse of "uncertainty" to turn a blind eye. Corruption is real. We saw it first hand. Any document can be bought for the right price, and in such a poor country, that price is often not very much. Yes, children are abandoned, but it is not nearly as common as many agencies would like you to believe. If the majority of referrals are children who were abandoned, this is a huge red flag. If your agency won't "allow" you to be in contact with people in country related to your adoption, puts up resistance to the idea of an independent investigation, or avoids giving detailed answers to your questions, you have to ask yourself why. I could go on forever, but just know that some day, we all have to be able to look our children in the eye and answer those tough questions. Would you really believe what you are being told by your agency, especially with all the stories out there about children being sold by their parents? Your children WILL hear of those stories and they WILL want you to insure them that they weren't sold to you. You HAVE to be able to answer those questions.

Holly said...

Thanks Sarah, for sharing, very appreciated.

Christy said...

Hello,

My husband and I are looking into possibly adopting from DRC or Ethiopia. I would never want an unethical adoption. Do you know of any angencies that ARE reputable that work in the DRC?

Holly said...

Can you email me off-line Christy? My email is above top right. Thanks!
Holly

Park127 said...

A few words come to mind reading these blogs; sensationalizing, ethnocentric, and bantering. If real change is to happen, a blog doesn't reach the audience of change agents, and we need to be humble people-of-privilege as we judge countries living under oppression, exploitation and war. What comes around, goes around. North America is extremely corrupt as well, just more sophisticated crime because we have the money and power to do so. Its not an easy balance for agencies to find in two worlds of corruption. I am in full support of ethical adoption as well, but dare I throw the first stone? Oh wait... my diamond wedding ring is brought to me in exploitation from DRC. Idealists and purists run the risk of biting the apple of self-righteous pride. Not everything is black and white. Good ethical choices can still be made in shades of grey.

Holly said...

If I understand your comment correctly, I am sensationalist because I talk about my concerns about adoption in DRC and how congolese children are the ones that are harmed when corruption is so high in a country that has no controls for international adoption (or anything else)? Ethnocentric for pointing out what congolese already know--that trying to live in a country where the government doesn't support you prevents you from living a healthy, just, fair, equitable life? I am bantering because I am concerned enough about congolese families being torn apart because of corruption in DRC adoption?

And if I didn't write about corruption in adoption, about situations where children were taken from their families, then I would be the opposite? That if I kept silent about a little girl being taken from her mother for international adoption and the corrupt system that allowed that to happen, that I am self-righteous and full of pride? In your opinion, to be humble means that I should be silent about the affects of corruption on international adoption in DRC, being humble means not speaking up for those that are oppressed by their corrupt government, that are not protected and given basic human rights by their government, being humble means not speaking out about children that are stolen for adoption because of a corrupt system that allows it to happen? I just don't agree.

I agree that there is corruption in North America. Yet my blog is not about adoption in North America. I am only talking about adoption in DRC. There are many people I respect that speak out against corruption in North america and adoptions; they know more about it, I let them talk about adoptions in N.A. I speak about my concerns about extremely high levels of corruption and how that impacts international adoption in DRC. It also impacts the congolese people in so many other ways, but I speak about about congolese families that are being separated because of international adoption and the lack of safeguards (because of that corruption) to prevent this from happening.

I agree that a blog doesn't reach the congolese government (yet, that doesn't mean I don't also work to impact the DRC government). Yet it does reach plenty of "the audience of change agents". It reaches APs who can then bring their concerns to their agencies. The agencies then can change how they practice on the ground. And whether or not they will choose to bribe or not or whether they will investigate the stories they are given by social services and orphanages. And whether or not they will work with corrupt and abusive and exploitive orphanage officials. Without adoptive parents, there would be no adoption in DRC. I certainly never thought I was a passive participant in my adoption; I definitely thought I had the power to change something in my adoption if I learned about unethical practices. I'm not sure who you are speaking of when you mention agents of change, but I believe adoptive parents are the biggest agents of change because we have the money.

Holly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Holly said...

And "these blogs" reach agencies, who have read my blog and then contacted me about it.

And "these blogs" reach adoptive parents that have choices about where they adopt and choices about who they choose to adopt within DRC. APs have choices about investigating the stories of their referrals and making sure their child does need a home and is not being taken from a their home and family to be given to the highest paying agency. APs have choices about accepting referrals from orphanages where the directors extort parents for more and more money in order to "release" their referral. APs have choices about how their money is spent.

Just like you had a choice about where and when you bought your diamond ring.

This blog is small, and I am under no illusions that I am making any big impact on trying to make adoptions in DRC more ethical. But even if I help one adoptive parent think through their choices more, if I help them make a more informed decision about who they are going to spend their money with (which agency) in bringing home a child, and maybe even investigate the origens of the child's story and find out whether or not the child was taken from their family without their permission, I feel like it has been worth it.

Most of all I write because I respect the congolese people. After living in DRC for so long, I will not be silent. I don't want their children taken from their families because of international adoption and the money it brings into a system that doesn't protect children and hence allows for children to be exploited and harmed. I want those children that truly do need homes, to find them (yes, through international adoption in some cases). And those children that already have families that want and love them, to be able to keep them.

Mary Hoyt said...

I love your heart and voice and willingness to take stronger stands than many. Thanks for staying in the conversation.