6 thoughts on “How does your exit strategy work?

  1. I think the way this question is framed reflects the way in which the majority of people think in terms of either/or dichotomies.

    International adoption (IA) is thought of as a safety net for orphans, and to end it the assumption is that orphans will be cut off without resources; left stranded to “waste away” in orphanages.

    However, that is putting the cart before the horse. Systemic changes should not wait until IA is removed. Systemic changes are introduced IN CONCERT to complement each and every reduction to IA or PRIOR TO the complete dissolution of IA.

    When IA is promoted as the first option, the result in the source countries is devastating loss and rupture of the social fabric. International adoption further destabilizes vulnerable countries. The truly charitable thing and right-minded approach to helping source countries is to STRENGTHEN those countries and empower their citizens. Strengthening services to preserve existing families and providing real choices and options to women so adoption is truly the last resort is the REAL safety net that source countries need to keep their human resources.

    I’d also like to point out that most children in orphanages the world over are not babies. IA reflects the world market for babies, and its continuation or dissolution has little net effect on the fate of orphans living in institutions, though increasing social services would reduce the number of orphans created and also improve the lives of those already there. So to answer your question directly, there would be either no change or an improvement for children in orphanages, and the time for systemic changes would be long before the last baby had to board an airplane.

    The fear-mongering of those against the dissolution of IA is unfounded and based upon the idea that IA is the only viable solution to the problem of orphans. This is an easy position to take as social programs are rendered unnecessary in the presence of the adoption solution. Other viable options have not been explored or offered as alternative solutions and are not even considered because they don’t deliver babies to foreigners.

    There are many systemic changes that can be implemented immediately and gradually strengthened as IA is phased out. But it takes a moratorium and an end date, because as long as IA exists in perpetuity, a vacuum of power and money go towards its perpetuation and not to families who need assistance to persevere.

  2. This sounds like a question that is a variation of “Would you have rather grown up in an orphanage?” or “Would you rather orphans languish away in institutions?” I’m not trying to be sassy or mean, and I understand that the question actually addresses very real, practical concerns. But, look, folks, we’ve got to get out of this dichotomous/either-or mindset as girl4708 stated.

    People need to do their research and understand the alternative options to International Adoption that have existed for decades but are not implemented or developed because of the detrimental and stunting mindset that the only two options are either languishing in an orphanage or being adopted to foreigners.

    If you really want to consider the answers to the above question, please read the report put out by Better Care Network, “Families, Not Orphanages,” and then I think you’ll have a better grasp of the very, real practical solutions available: http://www.bettercarenetwork.org/docs/Families%20Not%20Orphanages.pdf

    Seriously, please, read the above report.

  3. If self-serving filling of desires is not the motivation, but helping children is, then I would be delighted to suggest some organizations which help preserve families and don’t cause more loss and trauma for children:

    Heifer International – saves entire communities and their children by empowering families locally

    UNICEF – saves children while at the same time protecting their human rights and identity

  4. I was recently “taken to task” on my blog by a woman who found my page because she was searching on Lebanese orphanages. She asked how I could be so heartless in the face of thousands of Syrian refugees/orphans?

    This really floored me because for eight years I have come to know the Syrian migrant workers in my neighborhood as friends and comrades in all their regional and political complexity, but most importantly in terms of their own agency.

    That someone from a “class removed” determines that it might be valid to lecture me on the subject was a bit too much, and I hastened to remind her (among other things) that this group is the first to tell me that adoption as such is “haram“—wrong/forbidden/a shame.

    I happen to live in one of the few places in the country that has not banned the free circulation of Syrian men at night; my day-to-day includes watching more and more children/adolescents starting to work (on construction sites; as building supers; as delivery boys; etc.) at ever-younger ages.

    Unknown to this woman looking to “save” one of these children (and leaving the others to their fate) is their agency in terms of how they see themselves. Most importantly, in their own ability to network and support each other. Their joke is that in two years they will be by default the majority population in the country, at which point Lebanon will “flip” back to be a region of “Damascus Country” once again.

    The classist/racist remove from human beings who are not, as preconceived, “suffering objects” for the “First World” to define itself around, but who are instead active agents as much as can be possible in their own futures (as limited as that future might be) is the “Great Change” that need take place before anything can be resolved on this level, if you ask me.

    My exit strategy remains “revolutionary”, and I sense it is coming much sooner rather than much later.

Adoptees, what do you think? We welcome your replies!

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