Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Million Dollar Question

I was asked this question, and before I provide my best effort at an answer, I'm opening it up -- and hence opening a can of worms:

"I'm wondering if someone can help steer me in the right direction. This isnot a comment on your latest post, but a question that surely you have addressed somewhere. We are considering an Ethiopian adoption (we have a little boy naturally) for our second child. I just can't get around the fact that I might spend 20,000 dollars to adopt a baby whose family would be able to take care of her if I gave them that money. I feel like if I truly loved a child, I would just give that money to a family (families) and then the child would be able to stay with her own family. In other words, why does the person with the money get the baby?"

Carlos, as you wait, you might read my archives from early 2006, as I struggled while we waited for our referral.


J. Pannell said...

Here's my short attempt: There is so great a need on the part of families in crisis in places like Ethiopia that 1) There would have to be a more systematic way of getting it to them--how would one give $20,000 to a particular family?; 2) Even the 'systematic' ways that are in place aren't enough to wipe out poverty, even if every parent wishing to adopt in that country gave as much; and 3) The problems of hunger, disease, and war require solutions that go beyond the monetary. They are structural.

In other words, there is no assurance (or even likelihood) that that particular amount of money would allow a child to stay in that family. Adoption is an "in the meantime" way of addressing the inexcusable necessity of taking children from their families (and/or cultures).

And of course ALL of us--not just adoptive parents--need to be working on solutions. Complex problem, complex solutions.

Carlos Ramo Kutz said...

Thank you so much for putting the question up. We have a little boy (biologically) and want to adopt a baby from Ethiopia for our second. There are so many questions and concerns... all about how this child would feel. I fear he would feel secondary, I fear he would feel out of place (we are white/Jewish). I fear he would be mad that he was taken from his parents simply because we had the money to raise him. I wish I had some guarantee that he wouldn't live his whole life with a whole in his hearts.