I want to tell you a story of a family living in Kinshasa.
Grandma lives in Kinshasa in a humble home. She’s supported by her church since her husband was the senior pastor for many years before he died. They have six children and many grandchildren. One of their daughters, Therese, was very successful working in Kinshasa. She first had a job with the government, and then was hired to run an orphanage and facilitate adoptions for an American adoption agency.
Life is hard in Kinshasa. It’s an expensive place to live, and unless you know the right people, it can be difficult to find work. The justice system is lacking, making life more challenging for the poor. Disease and conflict are common.
Grandma is raising about 10 of her grandchildren while her children work various odd jobs, go to school far from Kinshasa or otherwise live outside of Kinshasa.
By facilitating adoptions for this American adoption agency, Therese makes a lot of money, more money than she’s ever made. Her friend also works for the organization as the lawyer. He makes a lot of money too. Life becomes very good for these people.
Therese sees Americans drive up to the orphanage in big cars. She sees photos of happy American families going to Disney World. She sees that they live in houses larger than any she’s ever seen, and she sees that all the children in America go to school, have medical care and never go hungry.
Therese has a daughter, a beautiful young girl that she loves. Seeing an opportunity to advance this daughter’s life economically, she fills out the paperwork to have the daughter adopted to America. She hopes that her daughter will keep in touch, and that the Americans will send her pictures so she can see the woman she grows up to be. Then Therese has her sister do the same for her daughter. Neither woman has ever heard from her daughter again.
Every time a new child comes to the orphanage or signs up to be adopted, Therese makes more money.
Therese has another sister, Monica. Monica lives with her husband about a 2 hour plane ride from Kinshasa. They have six children and another on the way. Therese tells Monica that if she gives her three middle children to the orphanage, they will be adopted by an American family to go to school in America. The children will stay in touch. The American family will send photos and be part of their own Congolese family. She tells Monica that Monica is not a good mother and cannot adequately care for the children. With trepidation, she agrees.
Ives, Ivonne and Chaty live at the orphanage for one year. They see their aunt at the orphanage; they go home to the grandmother’s house when they fall ill. They are told that they will go to America to go to school.
This is the face of adoption in DRC.
One day, with no explanation, the children return home for good. The Americans never come for them.
They now live with their aunt and their mother in Kinshasa with their twin sisters and a new baby on the way.
I met them three weeks ago. We were supposed to adopt them. At lunch, the aunt continued to try to convince me to take them while their mother wiped their noses and looked at the floor.
These three beautiful children, being cared for by not one, but at least 4 biological caretakers, were almost adopted by me. I almost caused them one of the greatest traumas that would have occurred in their lives because I didn’t know any better.
They spent one year of their lives in an institution because the staff of the One World Adoption Services Orphanage was making money like they’d never seen by keeping them there and because the American adoption agency never bothered to verify that they were referring actual orphans for adoption.
By the grace of God, he spared these children the fate of being torn away from their family and country, but not all children are so lucky.
Seeing them was a sobering blessing to me. I have wondered at times whether we made the right decision walking away from this family, but I saw how the biggest mistake I made was walking into their lives in the first place. The worst thing that happened to this family was crossing paths with One World Adoption Services and me. Thank you Jesus for saving them from international adoption!
The next story is from Uganda and can be found here from yesterday. The following is a small part of the bigger post and story:
Mariam was lied to, like countless other mothers, and was told of a better life for her child. She, like so many others, was coerced into giving up her child and convinced that lying was the only way to get help. In her mind, like so many others, she truly thought it was for the best.
We share all of this with Mariam’s blessing. She wants others to know her story, so that they might learn from her story. Sadly, so many of these cases end up with the parents never seeing their child again.
Trafficked, adopted, transferred. Lost in the system.
We are in no way opposed to adoption or fostering. We believe adoption and foster care is necessary and beautiful, both internationally and domestically. We are opposed, however, to mothers being oppressed into thinking the western world can offer their child a better life.
Two months after that meeting with Mariam, Amy was resettled. Redemption is a beautiful thing. Forgiveness is freeing. Mariam, we love you and Amy, and we are so thankful for you and your courage.
The last story is from China from two days ago. It can be found here. The following is only a small part of the bigger post.
The definition of human trafficking used by the United States Department of State is an equation that must result in either slavery or prostitution in order for a situation to be deemed illegal. But considering the children who are being purchased from their biological family or taken under the guise of educational opportunity, should not the practice of creating orphans for the purpose of adoption also be considered human trafficking? Should we not also protect these children and their families?...
We are in no way opposed to international adoption. International adoption is a dream we continue to hold dear. We are, however, opposed to the falsifying of files for the creation of orphan status when such status cannot be documented. We are opposed to the manipulation of children and their birth families for the purposes of creating orphans. We are opposed to governments who would rubber stamp orphans into existence and not allow foreign agencies to question facts presented in an orphan’s file. We are opposed to adoption agencies who simply ignore warnings of fraud because they can hide behind the offending country’s legal documentation. We are adamantly opposed to all forms of child trafficking.