Saturday, January 19, 2013
What about adoption?
One of my Jaswinder Mystery Series books, Death at Table 15, has a sub-plot dealing with the topic of adoption, particularly foreign adoption. It is difficult to adopt an infant or pre-school child in North America so many people turn to foreign adoption. This can be a sensitive subject. If you google the topic foreign adoption scam you can easily find some frightening real-life stores. I haven't had any personal experience with this but information and stories are available.
I spoke to an acquaintance recently who adopted an infant/toddler from a foreign country that I won't name. It was an onerous two year period during which time the child languished in an orphanage under less than ideal conditions. The cost to the adoptive parent--a single female teacher in her early forties-- ended up being in excess of $30,000. On the final trip to pick up the child and bring her back to Canada, the teacher was frankly told to bring lots of cash as everyone along every step of the process would expect a pay-off. Her cost is typical and probably ends up excluding potential parents for financial reasons alone.
I was in Tanzania almost three years ago, volunteering in an orphanage and school for a short time. There are many orphans in Africa, mostly due to the AIDS epidemic. A recent article placed the number of orphans in the millions but most African nations place almost insurmountable obstacles in the way of prospective adopters including Tanzania's requirement that the individuals reside in the country for three consecutive years. I can't help but wonder at the reason for the requirement. It must be acknowledged that the parents' financial status will be negatively affected yet, no doubt, one of the things that must be shown is their ability to provide for the child.
There are no shortage of websites and agencies that advertise on the internet purporting to assist prospective parents. They remind me of ads for assisted publishing agencies that charge excessive fees but promise to take care of everything for the new author. 'No Wait Adoption' was the headline on one. It is sad to see the profit motive so present in a child's life.