Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Natural Disasters and Adoption as a Response

With the slowness of finding permanent families for China's quake orphans, I sometimes hear from people who wish China would make these children available for international adoption. I think this blog post responding to desires to adopt the tsunami orphans in 2004 is apropos:

Since the disaster, adoption agencies around the world have been fielding phone calls from well-meaning families wanting to adopt a child from one of the countries hit.

Adoption experts say the best thing people can do is to donate money to causes that directly help the children. They say it’s wrong to take a traumatized child away from the environment that they have grown up in.“Adoptions, especially inter-country ones, are inappropriate during the emergency phase as children are better placed being cared for by their wider families and the communities they know,” said the charity Save the Children in a statement released Jan. 6, 2005. International Adoption needs to be well planned. “The last thing they need to do is be rushed away to some foreign land,” said Cory Barron of Children’s Hope International, an American adoption agency. “We have to think of the child first.”

It's easy to feel that these children who have suffered so much should be placed in families immediately, wherever these families are, but it may be BECAUSE they have suffered so much that they should stay where they are. I'm glad that most of the quake orphans have been placed with family members, and that China is determined to find homes for the others in China.


Wendy said...

I agree. If we look at the Vietnam adoption of the 70's, Operation Babylift, and to Katrina for example we can see that in a crisis the importance of anything home is even more amplified.

In a broader sense, I think we should look into solving the issues causing young women in countries like Taiwan (I know, depending on who you ask, part of China) or in the Mainland to make the changes to help control birth defects, or AIDS in Africa, etc. so those effected do not have to relinquish. If we would donate funds to help people to keep their children, provide better prenatal care, cleaner water, etc. or to make legal changes many children would not need new families.

I think we have to look at how to solve problems in the larger sense, instead of offering only to help once the disaster strikes.

Mei-Ling said...

Domestic adoption in China!