Friday, April 4, 2008

A Blind Eye

Today I watched a movie "In My Country" starring Samuel L. Jackson.  The movie is about atrocities suffered by the South Africans by the hands of the police (gov't period).  The perpetrators were tried and the victims were allowed to tell there stories.  It was just devastating.  It was told from the perspective of a journalist and told under the guise of a love story.  Watching the movie I am again in awe of the beauty of Africa and of the African people.  I am reminded why it is so important that I don't sit back and enjoy the luxuries of being an American. The luxuries of being educated.  The luxuries of being privileged.  
As with any PAP, I am constantly asked why I am adopting, and why  Africa.  Everyone has their personal reasons.  For me, when I decided to adopt, I became engrossed in all things adoption.  I quickly selected a favorite agency.  They represented much of what I am drawn to in most of my decisions.  They were one of the largest and more advertised than most.  They were tech savvy and they had  the easiest web addresses and the most colorful websites.  They were informative, and provided step by step, full disclosure about the process, the time frames and of course the cost.   But most importantly, they had pages and pages of prosperous couples vying to be parents; large numbers of babies on the way and of course several pages of successful adoptive families with beautiful babies freshly born and prettied up.  So of course I chose them. And I moved full speed ahead.  
Being a Black women, I wanted a Black child.  No question a girl was the best decision for me because I am single and have mostly women around me.   Also, I didn't want to contribute to the cyclical effects of Single Moms raising little spoiled Black boys.  What I found in domestic adoption was too disturbing for me to imagine.  The discrepancies between adopting a Black child versus a Non-Black child was more than I could fathom.  
A few of the problems:
as a disclaimer these things aren't representative in every agency, but most of them have some of these.
* Single mothers that are Black may adopt but not single Caucasian moms
* A child is only considered bi-racial if they are mixed with Black.  In other words, if a child is say Hispanic and Indian, they are not bi-racial
*African American infants are considered "special needs" just because of race
*Adoption of African American children are discounted by sometimes as much as 50%

I was devastated by these things.  I tried to discuss it with many agency owners.   Of course there were so many justifications, ranging from "need" to the "desire to encourage adoption".  In the end for me, I could not contribute ONE CENT to a system that devalues my ethnicity.  I was told by many that it's okay to dislike the process as long as in the end it's about the baby. But for me, I know that the system continues to grow by each person that disregard the means to justify the ends.
So alas, I decided to look into Ethiopia.  And to be quite honest I've never turned back.  For me, international adoption is about 3x's more expensive.  However, in the end, the value of this new life is priceless.  
TTYL  Robbin

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