Is it shocking that a "social worker will make sure that your entire home is baby-proofed before you bring [an adopted] baby home"? Alison Caporimo thinks so.
Caporimo, who is fond of lists and has written them about staying safe while dating online, retro diners, and "17 Badass Ways Women Can Rock a Suit" now brings her Jill-of-all-trades approach to "17 Shocking Things Everyone Should Know About Adoption" -- providing a slanted and overly simplistic view of a very complex, multi-faceted issue.
The senior lifestyle editor and craft book author, whose bio says that she is "in love with style, design, and all things handmade," views adoption, as many do, through the lens of those seeking children. It is this perception of adoption that leads to the distortion of careful vetting of adoptive parents and adoptive homes in an effort to ensure the safety of children as having "an element of mistrust" that does not exist for those who are able to birth children naturally.
We cannot pre-screen parents who birth their children. Society does, however, judge those who are perceived as too young, or without sufficient material means to be unfit and encourages them to relinquish their children to those who are more mature or wealthier. We also report and remove children born into their families who are thought to be mistreated.
Also shocking to Caporimo is Thailand and Mongolia's restricting single parent adoptions, while reformers in the U.S. are shocked that it is allowable here. Caporimo's lens of entitlement also sees it as shocking that Korea screens out severely or morbidly obese applicants as a health risk, in an effort to protect children from being adopted and orphaned yet again.
She also labels it shocking that Korean expectant mothers are now given seven days to consider their situations before relinquishing their children, their consents must be verified, the birth registered, and the consent to adopt may be revoked within six months. These ethical reforms were fought for by adults adopted from Korea and by birth mothers and organizations such as ASK (Adoptee Solidarity with Korea) and KoRoot in order to reduce exploitation.
When we put the best interests of children first, as opposed to seeing adoption as a process of procuring children to meet a demand, there are many far more truly horrific aspects of adoption omitted from Caporimo's fluff piece, such as:
1. Reprehensible practices that put children in danger physically, and destroy them emotionally, have been revealed in reports on re-homing by Reuters and Dan Rather regarding terminated adoptions.
2. It is sad and shameful that, despite prospective adopters being matched and becoming emotionally attached to photos of children often years before the adoption can be finalized, as Caporimo points out, that this time is not used to honestly obtain and evaluate the child's health and behavior and educate prospective parents on what to expect in terms of emotional or physical challenges. Mandating such programs would greatly reduce terminated adoptions by ill-prepared adopters who find themselves in over their heads. With adoption operating as a business, however, no such services are provided by those who profit from "sealing the deal."
3. It is disgraceful that anyone would think they can divorce themselves of the responsibility of adoption.
It is unthinkable that 19 Russian children have been murdered by American adopters, in addition to untold other adopted children surviving unspeakable abuse. This and the number of Russian adopted children, abandoned and rehomed, is why Russia closed adoptions to America, not a political ploy as claimed by Craig Juntunen of Both Ends Burning, a pro-adoption organization that opposes UNICEF's position that Inter-country adoption include "a range of care options only for children who cannot be placed in a stable family setting in their country of origin."
4. It is alarming and unacceptable that international adoption is ripe with corruption which too often involves the kidnapping and trafficking of children. It is such concerns that caused Guatemala, once one of the largest sources for American adopters, to cease adoptions to America. More recently the Republic of the Congo put a freeze on exit visas for children being adopted to foreign countries as a result of concerns for the well-being of the children being adopted internationally. Additionally, Belarus, Brazil, Ethiopia, Honduras, Peru, Romania and Vietnam have at least temporarily halted adoptions of children to the United States "because of serious concerns about corruption and kidnapping."
5. None of that concerns Caporimo, however, who writes about what occurred in Haiti following the destructive 2010 earthquake without a word of reference to the scandals that involved missionaries who rushed in and grabbed up children who were not in fact orphans leading to arrests, albeit charges dropped, for kidnapping.
It is appalling that mothers who cannot read English are made to believe that the adoption papers they are signing are instead to allow their children to come to America for an education, after which they will return, E.J. Graff reports:
"From Australia to Spain, Ireland to America ... young mothers say they were 'coerced', 'manipulated', and 'duped' into handing over their babies for adoption."
7. It is despicable that in infant adoption within the U.S. expectant mothers are matched and often get enmeshed during their pregnancies with those seeking to adopt which creates feelings of obligation. Furthermore, prospective adopters are allowed into the delivery room, a process which disallows the birthing mom time to make decisions based on the reality of an existing child.
It is unethical that in domestic infant adoption mothers are often promised open adoption and not told that such promises cannot be enforced if the adopters change their mind or intentionally misrepresent their intentions. It is also a conflict of interest that adopters pay for their own attorney and also the attorney who represents the mother who is relinquishing.
8. It is disgraceful that fathers have their parental rights taken from them without their knowledge and despite their ability and willingness to provide a safe caring home for their children.
9. It is alarming and unjust that adult adopted citizens in all states in the U.S. are issued falsified birth certificates that indicate they are born to their adoptive parents -- with no indication that the certificates are amended. Adopted citizens are denied access to their original and accurate birth certificate in thirty-one states and have partial or restricted access in eight other states.
In keeping with her one-sided view of adoption, Caporimo ignores the violation of adoptees' civil and 14th amendment rights to equal treatment under the law regarding access to their own birth certificates. www.adopteerightscoalition.com/
Instead, she raises concern about LGBTs not being allowed to adopt in Kenya and some U.S. states. Prospective adopters living in states that disallow them to adopt have the option of establishing residence in any of the 48 states that do accommodate them. Adoptees, however, cannot change the state they were born in.
10. It is beyond shocking that there are more than 100,000 children in U.S. foster care who cannot be reunified with families and thus could be adopted while federal tax credits, intended for special needs children, are instead provided to those who adopt from overseas.
Adoption is a long and difficult path to navigate, especially for those who have already endured years of infertility and medical procedures. But the needs of those adopting should never over-ride the best interests of the children adoption was intended to serve, even as they grow into adults. We need to keep our collective priorities and concerns on adoptees and ensure our shock is well-deserved and properly focused on ending the truly horrendous aspects of adoption.