Tuesday, January 21, 2014

When we hold all the power.

I read this tonight.  Remember the documentary "Mercy, Mercy"?  I wrote about my reactions to watching it here.  When I read that her biological parents have still not been able to be in touch with her or even hear how she is doing, my heart broke all over again.  They have NO power in the situation.  They have NO rights.

It is the same for the biological parents of the children we adopt from DRC.  Per U.S. law, they have no rights to know anything about their children who are now our adopted children;  we, as their new parents are not required to keep in touch with their biological parents, and we are not forced to have an open adoption.  That is U.S. law.

Congolese law, on the other hand, says that we MUST keep ties to the biological family of our children!  That we even are obligated to help them if no one else can help them. 

Is it any surprise then that biological parents in DRC do not understand adoption?  Adoption, to someone in DRC (by law, please see my links to the laws on the right) means that they will remained tied to their child, they will keep in contact, there will be a relationship with the adoptive family.  The relationship to their child (by birth) is never severed even when the adoptive parent is the legal parent.  AND, the law further says that the adoptive parent is supposed to help the biological family when they have no one else to help them.

I wonder how many agency and organization representative explain this in detail to adoptive parents?  The differing laws and expectations between the two countries?  I wonder how many on ground staff fully explain this to the biological parents that are consenting to the adoptions?  That is is a complete severing of the tie of the bond between parent and child?  That they will have no rights to ANY information about their children?  That despite the laws in DRC governing adoption, the parent in the U.S. is only under the laws that govern them in the U.S., not the adoption law in DRC. 

In the age of social media, more and more biological parents in DRC are going to find the new adoptive parents of their children.  They will seek out news and information, they will search for what they expect given the laws in their country on adoption. 

Something to consider. 

(And yes, we have an open adoption with our girls' family in DRC, we have kept their ties to their family and we do try to help them when needs arise.  I am happy to talk about what this means to anyone that is interested.  My email is top right of the blog.)


K said...


Great post. You could substitute "Ethiopia" for "DRC" and you would have the exact same situation going on there. To answer your question, our adoption agency never told us about the law in Ethiopia that upholds the relationship with biological family. I found it through my own searching.

We are getting ready for our first trip back to visit family (after 1.5 years). Any general advice you have would be much appreciated.


Anonymous said...


Sorry I am so late in responding. Can you email me about this (my email is on the right side of this blog). Thanks!