Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Gina Loudon on International Adoption

Dr. Gina Loudon of Politichicks.tv shares her experience with international adoption and, specifically, U.S. citizens who've adopted Russian children:

http://politichicks.tv/column/dr-gina-tours-putins-russian-gulags-aka-orphanages/

Check out the comments. Apparently these were extremely sick children. The parents who didn't get to adopt them may be luckier than they know.

If anybody's interested in discussing this story further, there's a lot we don't know, and the comment section is open. I'm particularly curious about you Russian readers. Who are you, and what are you getting out of a web site that's mostly about U.S. domestic politics? Are any of you by chance social workers, and can you tell us more about homeless children and their needs? Beyond the obvious fact that colder, darker winters produce more "Seasonal Affective Disorder" and aggravate any physical tendency to alcoholism that individuals may have, would you like to add anything else to what Cold War survivors are saying about Russia at the Politichicks page?

Where should the finger of blame be pointed next? This web site points at the adoption agencies that have slurped up these baby-craving parents' money and given them nothing but a lot of hassle "verifying" their fitness to adopt. We are not generally fond of middlemen, and we think adoption agencies are a particularly unlovable kind of middlemen. I'd like to see the agencies donate all that money toward the goal of finding treatment for the Russian children in their own communities--send doctors to their own part of Russia, these agencies have collected enough money for that--and donate their time toward the goal of finding children, not necessarily "White Newborns," for the parents who really want children.

This web site also reminds parents and would-be-parents who have seen pictures of adorable Russian children, flowing blond hair and all, that nobody has to go halfway around the planet to find an adorable, adoptable child. If you're willing to change your prejudices against children who've lived long enough to form personalities of their own, you can probably even find a blond child. Or children--it's usually easy to find adoptable sibling groups. If you're willing to forget about that "newborn" business, you can even find healthy blue-eyed blond children, right in your own city or county.

In Washington, D.C., according to Blaze readers you can still find a local TV program that introduces one child (or sibling group) per week to all the would-be-parents out there, every Wednesday morning. There are that many. Actually, there are more; "Wednesday's Children" presents a very small, select sample of the homeless children in the D.C. metropolitan area. I used to think they picked the most adorable ones, but that was before I met my adoptive sister.

Are you concerned that older children might have a higher risk of behavior problems? There's a way to find out how well you will get along with a child before you commit to adoption. Be a foster family first. You get some choice about gender, physical type, and any known problems before you even meet a child, and you and the child get extra time to decide whether you want to adopt one another or not.

Of course poorer countries tend to have less luxurious facilities for child welfare services, and there are things we can do about that, too. There are international charities that specialize in helping orphans overseas. Although www.volunteeroverseas.org has researched organizations that place volunteers more closely than organizations that merely collect material resources, it's a reliable guide to organizations that are actually doing some good in the places where they say they're working. If you are especially interested in Russia or in some other country, volunteeroverseas.org is a good place to begin looking for ways to help needy children.