Why I Chose to Adopt Within the U.S. and My Near Miss With the Black Market
Have you ever had a near miss when you almost really hurt someone? Like just missed hitting them with your car, or falling with your child in your arms and fearing you crushed them? That's how I felt when I watched Lifetime's upcoming movie, “Baby Sellers.” I was sickened in that way that you feel when you were almost responsible for something terrible happening to someone else.
When people see my family, it's not unusual for them to try to guess where my youngest son is from. They will nod at him and say, "Africa?" or "Haiti?" When someone saw a white mother with a black child twenty years ago, they assumed her husband was black. Now they assume she's Madonna.
When I say, "He's from here," they seem surprised. Do they really think there aren't children in the United States that need families?
Then they kind of shrug and walk away. Like they were expecting this romantic tale where I machete my way through the jungles of some far flung land to rescue a screaming infant and bring him back to the land of McDonald's and Nickelodeon. I guess adopting a child from down the street isn't quite as swashbuckling.
Several years ago I was listening to NPR and they were talking about how families in Europe were adopting black children from the United States. I couldn't believe it. War torn countries - countries devastated by natural disasters and famine. I could understand why these governments would consider international adoption. But us? The richest country in the world and we can't take care of our own children? I was appalled.
Later I was researching foster care and adoption and came upon some websites for international adoption. I clicked and clicked and before I knew it, I was staring at a picture of a two year-old girl named Lillian from Namibia. My heart hurt. I so wanted to rescue her. I called the number on the site. The organization was called Adoption Ark. They told me that Lillian was still available for adoption and was in an orphanage in Africa. I told them I needed to speak with my husband and that I'd be in touch. Then I started clicking some more and I came across some very disturbing reports of parents being tricked into giving up their children. That there was a black market where people actually steal children, put them in orphanages and sell them. I didn't call Adoption Ark back. Instead I called my county foster care office and signed up for classes.
But in watching “Baby Sellers” I learned what could have happened had I pursued international adoption and it made my blood run cold.
"Baby Sellers" premieres on Lifetime, Saturday, August 17 at 8/7c.