Today, I see children being advertised through websites and social media avenues. While some of these methods, I know, are used simply to get the word out about a particular child, usually older or with special needs, many times that is not the case. When we first started researching adoption, our eyes were opened to some horrifying truths.
I speak specifically of international adoption in this case, because I am still learning the ins and outs of the American foster care system (which, to me, is looking just as ugly).
If you are looking into adoption, please, please understand what is involved beforehand. My hope is to be able to enlighten and educate people as much as possible from what I have learned. Sadly, many prospective adoptive parents (PAP's) jump into adoption blindly. They don't realize that trafficking can be involved which results in adoption becoming a money-making industry rather then an orphan care ministry.
And unfortunately, prospective adoptive families have [unknowingly] feed the problem of trafficking with their demands for specific types of children. They don't realize that they are contributing to the problem.
We want to help give already orphaned children a home, not create orphans.
Adoption as a Money-Making Industry
Adoption becomes an industry when you have prospective adoptive parents lining up for the same type of child: a baby, a baby girl, a baby boy, a child two years old or younger, a specific sex. Healthy. These are very common "wants" from families interested in adoption.
So what happens is people working with/for you, often through an agency and in country, go out and they find these children who will fit these descriptions. They bribe their biological parents into giving their children up. They lie to them. They pay them. They tell them whatever they need to in order to get them to hand over their child. Some parents believe they will see them again. Some have never even heard of adoption or know their child is about to be sent to America or some other foreign country.
Is this always the case? No, of course not. But unfortunately, it's rampant enough to know which agencies to avoid and what red flags you need to look for when going through the process or researching before you begin. It's happening often enough to need to be thoroughly educated and proactive about avoiding its trap.
Orphan care and adoption isn't the beautiful picture I once imagined before embarking on this journey. It's full of beauty, just of a different kind. And it automatically begins with tragedy.
And the system is broken and the more the government tries to make the system work, the more broken it becomes. Tightening the reigns may help tighten up on trafficking, but it also drastically cuts down on adoptions. This doesn't help the children either.
It lies in the hands of the prospective adoptive parents to educate themselves on child trafficking and what red flags to look for within agencies, power of attorney's, and individual cases--even their own. Especially their own.
The pictures advertising these children? They often serve a purpose. To pull at emotional heartstrings and cause you to "fall in love". Once you're captured by that face, all you can think about is getting them home. Knowing a child's history, asking lots of questions about how they came to be an orphan, and not ignoring red flags are all important to spot trafficking.