Where is the line drawn where adoption is NOT in the best interests of the child?

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Sometimes in the media we read stories of the adopted child who was murdered at the hands of their adoptive parents.  Most will judge and know that situations like this are wrong but even with murder as the worst case scenario, most will do nothing to demand from Governments and Adoption Agencies that something be done to fix what is obviously a problem.  And unless there is an advocate for that child, no-one will hold anyone truly accountable for such terrible actions.

Not all adoptees get killed physically.  I want to propose that some adoptees get killed emotionally and live to struggle to make sense of their adoption, their life, and why they have to live and face their awful situation compounded by the actions of those who supposedly “have their best interests” at heart.

I want to share the reality of two people adopted from Vietnam who are identical twins.  Their experience highlights how so many people blindly assume adoption is “in the best interests of the child” and that we “gain” from being raised in a white Western world … but the twin’s reality will hopefully challenge these assumptions and help us to question and ask ourselves, at what point is international adoption not in the best interests of the child?  The truth is, being allocated adoptive parents who are going to be a positive influence in an adoptee’s life is like a random lottery.  There are many good wonderful adoptive parents but there are far too many who are the opposite!

The twins experience makes me angry, as it should you!  Where is the accountability of their adoptive parents, the agency Holt who facilitated and vetted these adoptive parents, and the two Governments in questions – Vietnam and the USA for not only allowing these girls to be adopted internationally but for doing nothing after the fact to ensure their best interests were indeed being met?  Why do Govt and Agencies see adoption as ending at handover to the adoptive family?  Why is it that intercountry adoptions have been going on for over 50 plus years and yet we still do very little to stop and change the way adoption occurs (or even have a process to check to know whether an adoption should be stopped) and to at least hold people accountable for further damaging the lives of those who are most vulnerable?!

Why do we speak about ensuring “the best interests of the child” and yet do nothing to actually put in the necessary steps to check and recheck or even attempt to measure whether these are attained?  How can we consciously continue to go on with intercountry adoptions with no changes affected when so many of these types of realities are occurring?  And please, don’t tell me that this is a one off case … that is just denial!   You only have to read on Pound Pup Legacy‘s website the names of those international adoptees who have already been murdered by their adoptive families – but it doesn’t list the names of adoptees who have been sexually, physically, or emotionally abused by their adoptive families or extended families, and still live to face the ramifications!

I’ve met through Social Media and face to face hundreds of intercountry adoptees and there are too many who have had to face extra complications, extra hurts, and extra pains at the hands of our adoptive families and those who have facilitated our adoptions.  We receive little to no help at all to cope and we certainly receive little support because the blind thoughtless viewpoint is that we should be grateful and happy to be given what most wrongly assume is “a better life”.   Often when we do share these harsh realities, we get gunned down by opponents who like to gloss over the full kaleidoscope of adoption experiences and tell us we are just “ungrateful, angry adoptees” who represent a small percent of the overall.  So does this then justify our terrible reality because for the large majority – they have gained a better life?!

I hope this story makes you as angry as I and that you help demand from your Governments an end to adoptions as we have done in the past and if they can’t put laws and processes in place to protect innocent vulnerable children, then we really should be questioning why we are allowing international adoptions to occur in the first place!  There is no legal recourse for adoptees like this .. or at least there hasn’t been enough legal precedents with negative consequences to reduce damaging adoptions like this from occurring!  I hope during my lifetime we will see a change on this!

Note: I’m not denying that many adoptees can and do flourish in intercountry adoption as my many previous posts and articles will attest to.  What I’m bringing to attention is the voiceless adoptees who DO suffer and for whom, there is nothing done to improve international adoptions to ensure we at least learn from the past and try to prevent lives being damaged in the same ways into the future.

Read Natalie’s story here.

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