I wasn't expecting to post on this tonight, and it will be raw. In fact, I have been avoiding watching this film for some time after I first started seeing folks mention it on facebook. I started crying within the first minute and didn't stop until it was over 1 1/2 hours later. I had the sense that it would break me even more than I already feel over international adoption.
I believe children desperately need families. I believe adoption is one way that children find families.
Watching Masho's parents give her for adoption, why this did so, and their growing sense of betrayal and grief over their utter helplessness once the truth of what adoption meant in their children's case and once they realized they were not dying, was completely and utterly heart wrenching. Watching the struggle of the new parents to try to help little Masho was agonizing, especially the erroneous help they received from experts.
But most of all, little Masho broke me. Masho. Mercy. Masho who was four years old and taken away from her parents because of their decision that was made when they felt like they were dying and the recruitment and pressure of an agency and the false information that they were given that they would have a relationship and support from their new family, that they would hear from them regularly. Masho who was the age of my little girl, Isla. A strong courageous child. Nothing was her fault, yet in the end she was the one most hurt by good intentions of all who loved her. I sobbed and sobbed. I sobbed a mother's grief and pain. When Masho's mother yelled that she had sold her children, from her womb, that maybe if she killed herself in front of the door of the adoption agency, someone might hear her story, owning a desperate decision when she thought she was dying soon and told promises that never were realized, trusting her children to a new family and never knowing that her daughter now lives in an institution-how can I hold that pain back.
Please watch this film. (Or found here). There may not be anything you feel you can relate to in the film . There may be parts that are familiar. There may be truths you have never heard or thought of before watching this story. I still believe in adoption. I don't believe in adoption like this. Masho and this film will haunt me. Just like the other stories I know will stay with me and urge me to keep speaking the truth.
Others speak the truth as well. And say it better. I think there is a growing movement to not let Masho's story be the story of the child we are adopting. I think more and more people understand we cannot let ourselves believe we are passive when it comes to international adoption or that we have no role in the corruption that can occur in international adoption. We all have a responsibility. We all have a role to play in protecting vulnerable children like Masho, beautiful Masho. And we all have a role in helping to prevent the pressures that pushed her family apart in the first place.
I believe in adoption when a child needs a family. Masho didn't need a family. She had one. What if instead of adoption as the way to give their children education, security, a better life, the family had been offered something different? Something radical. Something that changes their family, their community, their village. What if the lies and deceptions that were told to them had been instead the truth? What if the adoptive family knew the truth about the family situation, the love for the children, the strong bond and attachment of the children to their parents? What if they had been given better support, education, resources to help Masho?
These are all "what ifs" that we can be a part of changing for others who are adopting, for ourselves as we adopt. One can watch this film and walk away devastated, disgusted, and despairing of adoption. Or one can walk away passionate about protecting vulnerable children and their families and supporting them. One can walk away committed to helping families stay together. One can encourage and support adoptive and foster parents as they parent children from trauma and loss. One can reach out and ask for support and help if they are parenting a child that is struggling. One can help those children that truly need a family find a family, and those that don't need a family find the support they need to stay in their family.
We can believe in both, be passionate and committed to both. We can work together to protect children like Masho and their families. We can work to support families like the one that adopted Masho and her brother, who tried to parent a very hurting child. We can work hard so that the end of the story in this film, Masho living in an institution, her first parents devastated and grief stricken, and her adoptive parents feeling like they had no choices left, isn't the ending of the story for the children we adopting, fostering, caring for, advocating for, and helping. We are not helpless. We have a voice, we have power to make change happen, and we can protect the vulnerable and reach our hand out to the suffering. Let your voice be heard. Be bold and be courageous.