While Melesech's life is materially better, her adoption has not helped those left behind. Her birth family is still, quite literally, dirt poor. So is her country. Other parents are still at risk for dying of malaria, dysentery, and other preventable and treatable illnesses. What Ethiopians really need is a government that is not strangling its development, and forms of aid that actually reach and help individual families. Failing that, is it right to spirit some of their children away?
Here's the rule of thumb: If you can get a healthy infant or toddler within a year, don't adopt from that country. Adopt, instead, from American foster care, or from countries that send abroad very few children, and when they do, the children who are available are older, or disabled, or come in sibling groups, or otherwise have had trouble finding new local homes. Or if you're adopting for humanitarian reasons, donate that money an organization that helps children stay with their families, or brings clean water and mosquito nets and medicines to their villages.
It's far more rewarding to love an individual child than to give to anonymous foreigners. I know; I'm parenting an adopted child. But no one wants to be complicit, even unknowingly, in defrauding a father out of his daughter.
Friday, May 4, 2012
E.J. Graff: Don't Adopt From Ethiopia
E.J. Graff weighs in on the recent WSJ story about the boom in Ethiopian adoption, which focused on the adoption of Melesech, a little girl: