Today I got three Facebook requests about orphans. One from a hosting organization trying to place children/teens for winter hosting and another from a friend who is adopting, asking for financial help.
My heart is broken. My eyes hurt from crying. From last week when I posted last to now I have received hundreds of messages and phone calls from others in their own adoption hell. I want to throw up. I can’t sleep. This morning I went to boot camp to exercise and I bumped my fractured leg and started crying, not from the pain but from the weight that I’m carrying. All of these stories and the hurting families.
Seriously when I wrote last week I had no idea of the magnitude of this. The floodgates are open and I hope to Yahweh that they stay that way. As hard as it is to voice this truth and hear the horror stories of other families, this is the only way something will be done about it.
This blog is to all of those amazing people that read my post last week. (Now there are going to be some who say, well my adoption was different and mine is doing OK. That’s great and I’m so happy for you.) The problem is there are far more that are not OK and until people start speaking out more families are going to find themselves right where we are and worse.
Some of the things I’ve heard this week make me want to scream. Mothers in prison for child abuse because their RAD adopted daughter made false allegations which the police and prosecutor believed, her bio children taken away and put into foster care. An adopted teen who performed sexual acts on younger bio children. Younger bio children being physically hurt to the point where they were taken away by CPS for their own protection and the adopted teen left in the home because parents were responsible for their behavior. Parents threatened at knife and gun point. Entire families taken hostage. Pets killed and babies harmed. Precious items stolen, broken, disappearing. Coming home to the entire home in shambles with furniture shredded with knives, walls with gaping holes and fires burning. And still the family is forced to keep this teen in their home until they are 18.
And then I see faces on FB. Faces of orphans who are up for hosting. Bring them here for a few weeks in the winter or summer. No one says it aloud but the reason is right there. Let’s find them a family. And I was a strong advocate. I can name many teens who are in homes right now, with families, because I advocated. A few are working out, some are disasters. I am responsible. I re-posted that cute face. I wrote a story on adoption and how we are doing it for Yahweh. I bought into the emotion of it all. I passed that emotion on to others who bought into it.
The system is broken. A hosting organization that employs people for the sole purpose of hosting teens from Ukraine. Who has a partnership (open or quiet) with an agency or facilitators in Ukraine who all earn an income when a couple steps forward to adopt one of the teens. (Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against someone making money and I love our facilitator to pieces.) But when money is at stake sometimes decisions are made that are not in the best interest of the family or the orphan. And there are many forces at work in international adoption and if you’ve adopted you know what I’m talking about.
There is much, too much, emotion over adopting an orphan and not enough thinking. It’s so easy to see an adorable face, learn that they love school and soccer and ask, why not? Let’s give him a chance at a future. Then before you know it, you’re in Ukraine, at the orphanage and you see dozens just like him. All seemingly needing a family. Your loving heart just melts! You want to take all them home.
They tell you they want to be adopted, they write out a paragraph for the court. They DON’T!!!! They want THEIR family. Their mom, their dad, their siblings. YOU? You’re some strange person from America. They think you are like the moms on TV. So they get sucked into thinking they will have a “Cosby” life. So they go for it. It’s better than the orphanage, right? Pretty soon they realize this is not what they wanted. They want THEIR family and you are not it and not only that YOU TOOK THEM AWAY FROM THEIR FAMILY. So you are now the ENEMY! And HELL BEGINS! And you have no clue as to why this adorable teen is now doing all of these horrible things. What happened? RAD? PTSD? Another acronym? They are HOMESICK and they want their COUNTRY and their FAMILY! And they hate you for taking them away from their chance to get that!!
And yes, they may have a bad family. Maybe they have no money or they drink. Maybe someone is in prison. Maybe a hundred things. IT DOESN’T MATTER, they are still their family. My son who is now 18 has a mom who is an alcoholic and dropped him off at a shelter when he was 7 because she couldn’t care for him any longer. His father was in prison. It’s ALL he thinks about. Being back in Ukraine with them. He doesn’t care the circumstances. And he has made our life hell because we took him so far away that he can’t easily get back there. We did it to him. When the war was going on in Donetsk and he thought they had been killed it did something to him. Something he never came back from. When he found out they were still alive it’s all he could think of – getting back to them. AND he is still SO MAD at them for keeping him all those years in the orphanage. It’s doesn’t matter. He would rather be with them.
This is a point I’m hearing loud and clear in all of these stories. If there is any type of family in their country that becomes a HUGE issue when we get them here. They want to communicate with them (why wouldn’t they?) and they want to be with them. In fact, for most of them, the reason they wanted out of the orphanage is not to go to America but to get out and go to their family. And most of us are never told that while in country. It’s all about help keep the poor orphan off the street. Instead of hearing that this orphan has a family and how can we help them reunite? It’s part of why once we take them from the orphanage and we are waiting for documents they start getting all squirley on us. They are free from their prison and want to find their families. And instead of talking to them and finding this out and helping them, we do our best to keep them busy until we can get them on that plane to home. Because once they’re home they’ll be fine – right? BTDT. Had no clue!
If you are on FB and you have a story to tell please look for the group “Speaking the Truth!!”. Please ask to join and tell your story. We know we can’t do anything about what’s already been done but maybe we can make a difference for families in the future. And we’ve got an uphill battle. Our government department of state loves adoption. It’s a huge funding source for them in foreign countries and here at home. The embassies of foreign countries don’t want this out in the open either. The many adoption agencies and facilitators in Ukraine and hosting agencies here in the USA – none of them want changes.
One other thing I want to address and that is the guilt that many of us carry. Most of us couldn’t have adopted without the help of many who helped to fund our adoptions. I have heard from dozens this week who feel they can’t say anything because they had so many people donate to their adoption and feel they can’t handle the judgement that may come.
Two points. If you raised funds for adoption you still need to step forward to make a difference to others. We not only raised money for two separate adoptions but we are currently about $50,000 in debt for the last three. That’s another thing I’d like to stop. Families who are now home with a teen/teens and are sitting on a mountain of debt. How is that serving anyone?
Second, if you donated funds to help an adoption know that your reward is coming from another direction and please, please do not judge the person who asked you for funds if their adoption is not working out. You did what you should do and the result has nothing to do with it. We need to allow them to open up to the truth! We need to support them no matter what.
Lastly, unless you are living in a home with one of these displaced teens you need to keep your judgement to yourself. We’ve been beaten down by these teens and in some cases, the court system, and our families are hanging on by a thread and I just can’t read another letter from someone who is crying because her family or her church is hounding her about the adoption. If you can’t support them in whatever decision the family makes, then stay silent. The old saying, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all is perfect here.
And please don’t think you can do better. Or if you do think that, come to my house. You are welcome to take mine home with you. In fact, I’ll bet if I put it out there I’ll have a waiting list of hundreds who will take you up on your offer.
So I won’t be advocating for orphans anymore. I can’t be a party to another family ending up like the ones I’ve read about this week. There is much, much more than a cute smile and a pretty face of an orphan.
Enough for today. Again, if you have a story to share please find me at “Speaking the Truth!!” FB group. Let’s all make a difference – together!
Hang in there! We can do this! xoxo