I did not fully comprehend the underlying devastation of the
story I was about to join.
When we set out to adopt a child, I did my homework
on various international adoption programs as well as the US
foster care system. I was well aware that certain countries had
ethically questionable practices. But China seemed different.
The one-child policy coupled with a cultural preference for
sons enabled a more tidy narrative about the girls available for
adoption in a country halfway around the world. In hindsight,
that was not the full reality. I actually participated in something
much more complicated.
Whenever western money and power enter into a place
with economic struggles, complications and corruption are
sure to follow. A most crass form of supply and demand, or
more accurately demand then supply, did on some level
become a part of the overarching adoption story in China. In
some cases, the realities of child trafficking and kidnapping
became a dark underside of a seemingly “clean” international
adoption program.7
It is deeply painful to admit that I was in any way a
participant in such a heartbreaking story. Even if my individual
children have a different specific story, on some level I still
contributed to the circumstances that have become a part of a
larger narrative of adoption that includes corruption and
trafficking. I have had to reckon with the reality that all of my
intentions aside, I personally and corporately participated in a
great darkness.
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