Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Weighing on my mind

  Six years, six months and two weeks ago I met my daughter for the first time. She was 6 days old. Teeny tiny and perfect in every way. Much like the Grinch, my heart grew three sizes that day.

  A couple of months ago a story began showing up in magazines and papers around the country. You can read it here: Guatemala Boy Comes Home . In case the link doesn't work, here is the URL

    I wanted to be happy. I wanted to feel like it gave me hope. Instead I was angry. Beyond angry. One. One small child. In six years, only one. Why? Heh, you would think that there was a huge complicated reason why almost one hundred innocent children are not allowed to go to the loving homes waiting for them. Nope, it's simple. Greed. The entities in Guatemala that govern adoptions will not cooperate because they all want the power and the money. They are unwilling to share, so the children and the families continue to suffer.

  Ever since I first saw this story I have not been able to stop thinking about my girl. Undoubtedly she does not remember me. The last time I saw her was when we were bringing Ahren home. That was over 4 years ago. Soon after that they took her form her foster family and placed her in an orphanage. It took me almost a year just to find out where she was living. The orphanage does not allow visits. Heck, they just are not very nice people and they won't even promise me that if I send gifts for her she would get them. Whatever I send they will use in whatever way they see fit, I have no say.

  The magazine article claims that the family spent $80K to bring their son home. Sheesh, we have spent way more than that. If I thought money could buy her freedom I would be forking it out. Ethical? Nope. But if it could bring these precious kids home, then many of us would be willing to push our ethics aside for the greater good. Maybe that family found out who to pay to get their son? If so, they need to share that information with the rest of us and our government's Guat 900 task force. (Did you know our government has been fighting to get our kids home? Yep, they have!)

  Mad. Just plain mad. Pissed. Angry. Mad. No more sad, depressed, patient. MAD!


Diana said...

:'-( So sorry for you...and her. I can't even read the host a kid from Ukraine stories anymore for similar reasons

Dawn said...

Going to email you....

Anonymous said...

It is very, very sad that your efforts to adopt this gorgeous little girl have not succeeded -- but the reasons for the failure are about a lot more than Guatemalan greed.

Many, many Guatemalan kids were stolen, kidnapped and swindled away from bioparents that loved them -- check out EJ Graff's "The Lie We Love" or Erin Siegal's "Finding Fernanda" or the ton of FOIA documents detailing the associated evils on the Brandeis Investigative Journalism website. It's heartbreaking and wouldn't have happened without a massive infusion of cash from foreigners that caused an unprecedented demand for young, healthy Guatemalan children (whereas the vast majority of kids in need of parents, including here at home, are older than five with special needs).

It is very, very sad that this little girl may be languishing in an orphanage when she could be home with a loving family (yours) -- but neither you nor anybody else is entitled to anybody else's child (not even a potentially parentless Guatemalan one). You don't have a legal claim to the girl -- so it makes sense that you are not entitled to receive updates about her health or to send her presents or visit her. You're not allowed to get updates on, say, an American foster kid you've no legal claim to either. You can't send presents to this girl because it could be perceived as a sort of bribe (clearly its not, but it could *appear* to be so). It sucks, it unquestionably sucks, but there've been way too many cases of bribery (sometimes even leading unscrupulous folks to "harvest" wanted babies/kids for the express purpose of international adoption -- see "Anatomy of an Adoption Crisis") for it to be any other way. Vietnam, Nepal and Cambodia had the very same adoption boom/bust due to corruption.

Diana - While there are certainly cases when there's a stupid bureaucratic reason a host child cannot be adopted by US host parents, there's also a whole lot of horrificly bad behaviour on the part of said host parents/PAPs -- particularly when they've hosted a kid that turns out to be NOT available for adoption due to having a biofamily that uses an orphanage as a sort of boarding school (pretty common) or is in the process of being adopted by their extended family.

This family wanted to adopt their host girls, who said they didn’t want to be adopted, had a biograndma who saw them daily (worked at their orphanage) who took them home for weekends/holidays. The PAPs pushed , prodded, visited Ukraine to try to win biogranny over and succeeded in adopting the girls:

This charming family knew their host boys were in the process of being adopted by their bioaunt, and decided it’d be appropriate to take a little trip to visit auntie to suss out her intentions regarding her nephews:

I’m not anti-adoption or even anti-international adoption – there are circumstances it really is the very, very best thing for a given kid. There are simply too many cases where well-intentioned American PAPs pull stunts like this… so it’s not outside the realm of possibility that there’s a valid reason a subset of American host families aren’t permitted to adopt the Ukrainian kid they fell in love with.

(Given there are a zillion Ukrainian kids whose parental rights have been terminated, who have no bio or local family that wants to adopt them and are desperately in need of a family. Surely someone, somewhere can figure out how to identify them and select THOSE kids for hosting trips. It’d save SO MUCH heartbreak).

Wendy said...

Dear Anonymous,

Maybe you are not informed enough about the true situation going on in Guatemala. The corruptions and unethical situations did undoubtedly happen and that is why the country shut down adoptions more than 5 years ago. The remaining open adoption cases have all been carefully vetted and proven to be ethical and appropriate. That was determined years ago, and yet these children are still stuck in Guatemala. Plus, I was paying for the foster care for my daughter, all of her medical expenses after being brutally beaten almost to death as a 1 year old, and supplying all of her needs up until the government decided to gain control over all of the remaining adoption case kiddos. I would still gladly pay her expenses whether we ever get to bring her home or not.
The greed in Guat is what has stalled the implementation of a Hague compliant, ethical adoption system and it is the children who are suffering. It is estimated that 30,000 unwanted children die in Guat each year. That is a HUGE price to pay while waiting for the Guat authorities to build a new system. It is about greed. What it isn't about is the best interest of the children, plain and simple. The sins of a few are being visited upon the many innocents.

Anonymous said...

Guatemalan greed, really? Not a lack of capacity? It's not like Guatemala is a very poor developing country that has governance issues and significant challenges providing theist basic of services to its citizens?

The remaining cases have been properly investigated, like the Anyeli / Karen Abigail case:

Like the 2011 CICIG investigation that found irregularities in upwards of 60% of international adoptions (p. 7), with systemic issues that allowed the corruption to happen remaining unchanged:

Maybe its just me, but I find it more than a little disturbing that American PAPs of ethical, properly investigated pipeline cases turn out to be Guatemalan kids who are happily living with their biofamilies:

Maybe you're right -- maybe the Guat government's actions are greed driven and intended to make its littlest and most vulnerable citizens suffer unnecessarily. But it's not inconceivable that they're doing the best they can with limited resources and a legitimate fear of baby-stealing/-trafficking.

PS 30,000 "unwanted" Guatemalan kids in a sub-standard child welfare system in desperate need of reform. Not dissimilar from all those US foster kids in a system being reformed too slowly. Perhaps we should let foreigners adopt them
adopt them until foster care is fixed??

Wendy said...

Hey anonymous, piss off. You are a statistics spouting idiot who probably has never adopted or felt a true emotion in your life. Yep, I said it, you are a moron of epic proportions. Don't like what I say? Don't agree with me? There is an easy fix for it. Go away and shut the hell up. Coward. Can't even leave your name or contact info. Chicken shit!!!!

Recovering Noah said...

Wendy, I'm so sorry. That just breaks my heart. I've often wondered if there was any news regarding your daughter (and yes, she IS your daughter... sorry you had to deal with all that anonymous stuff). I'm still hoping and praying that she'll be able to come home someday.


Deb said...

Wendy, Sending hugs. More than 1child has come home in the last few years, I have seen the other links. But your little girl should have been home long ago. Praying for you, PBJ, and the other families and children waiting.

Love and hugs,

Reba said...

I have thought about PBJ so many times and still pray she will make it home to you. :( Hugs to you!

Anonymous said...

I still have hope for a miracle for you and sweet PBJ. and I'm glad you told the troll to stick it up her ass. --Priscilla