The Enabling Violation and the Imaginary Domain

26 10 2011

I think I found this interesting.  Interesting enough to read a few times just to see if I understand it.  Maybe you will find it interesting too.


Sunday Snapshot

23 10 2011

Post-Adoption Ethics – the What If post

21 10 2011

While Claudia is having a Fascinating Life talking about ethics in the adoption process, I am thinking about ethics post-adoption. I am thinking about them as they pertain to Ethiopia specifically, but probably as they pertain to most adoptive situations (I don’t really know that yet – but maybe I will by the time I am done typing.)

Let us assume for the sake of not rehashing what is being discussed at Claudia’s blog, that an AP entered the adoption process through all the appropriate, legal channels.
Let us assume that for all intents and purposes all the adults involved in the process understood the ramifications of their actions, and entered into the relinquishment and adoption process with forethought, knowledge and a belief that adoption was the proper choice (for whatever reasons). Let us assume that from the on-set the relinquishing/first family had no intention of gaining monetarily/resource wise by placing their child for adoption. Let us assume no-one crossed Claudia’s wall.  (If for some reason you haven’t read Claudia’s posts on this subject, you probably want to.)

Before I go any further I want to say two things: first, I hate the slippery slope argument. Hate it. Seems to me it is usually employed by people who are making the slope slippery just by slinging feces. On the other hand, most discussions about ethics require examining the slippery slope at such a close level that your nostrils burn from the sting of the smell. Second, I hate it when people try to make rules/laws/policies based on what I refer to as “the lowest common denominator.” You will never write guidelines, laws or even treaties that will stop the slimiest of people from behaving the way they do. Rules provide lane-markers for those who are trying to do things the right way. They provide deterrents for those who might accidently cross lines. But people who steal babies to sell them, won’t read the Hague guidelines and decide to give the babies back.

I am not sure if the preceding paragraph has any bearing on this post or not. But now you know a little more about me, and I got to use the word feces.

Okay, where was I?

Right, assuming no-one crossed Claudia’s wall…

What next?

Is it ethical for an AP to search for their child’s first family even though the contract they have with their adoption agency says they cannot until the child is 18-years-old? Does it matter if life expectancy in the child’s birth region is between 40 and 50 years? Does it matter if there is an impending war in the country and it is likely that communication will be limited in the future?

Is it ethical for an AP to have an ongoing relationship with the first family, by-passing the agency as an intermediary, even if the agency contract says this is not allowed? Does it matter if the agency is no longer working in the region where the child was born so is no longer facilitating communication between the parties?

If the AP and birth family are maintaining an ongoing relationship and the birth family is facing a crisis, is it ethical for the AP family to help them? It is ethical for them not to help?

What types of help are ethical? Providing money? Providing food? Offering the birth parent a job? Connecting the birth parent with a training program? Securing medical assistance?

Is it ethical to help the biological siblings if not the birth parents? What about providing education funding for bio siblings who are still living with the first family?

Is it ethical to build a school? a well? a library? in the village where an adopted child was born? Or do you have to build it in the next village over? What if an AP inadvertently contributes to a project in the village where their child was born?

Is intention part of the criteria in evaluating the ethics of a situation?

Does it matter if help is provided “anonymously” versus “on-the-record’? Does it matter if the help is provided from a distance versus face-to-face?

Is there a time lapse that must occur before certain activities take place? If it isn’t ethical to provide help the first time you meet the birth parent, does that change when
a year has elapsed? Three years later? Ten years down the road?

What about a change in circumstances?  Does help become ethical when the country is facing the worst drought in 60 years? When civil war is knocking on the family’s door? When one of the first parents dies?

What if a AP family works for, or volunteers with, or even creates, a non-profit organization that benefits people in situations similar to the first family’s? Wouldn’t we all applaud this action? What if they do it a community away from where their child was born? What if their child’s parent then relocates to the community being served?

Is it incumbent upon an AP to anticipate every possible down-stream ramification and base her decision on that?

If some first families already place their kids up for adoption hoping to get something in return, is an AP who helps the first family of their kid responsible for what the other parents already do? Or are they just responsible for every person who does it in the future? Or do they hold no responsibility for other unethical adults’ behaviors? What if the next unethical parent is from the same village? What if he is from the same family? Has the AP added to a “culture” of unethical expectations even if their intentions were pure?

In 24 years can an AP look at their child and say, “Yes, I knew your mother was going to die, but the contract I signed said I couldn’t help”? Will the child think, “Wow, my
Mom is so ethical”?

Do some people gravitate to closed adoptions so they don’t have to think about this stuff?

Catchy Title That Makes You Read This Post

17 10 2011

Captain Murdock and I were in the same travel group in May 2010 to
pick up our sons. Captain Murdock lives two hours from me. Together, with a
huge amount of help from a variety of friends, she and I have raised close to
$6,000 to help famine victims in Shanto, Ethiopia.

Even this self-avowed agnostic knows that if you name your blog “God Will
Add” strange things will happen.  Captain Murdock is traveling very soon for her court date so that
she can eventually bring home the older biological brother of her adopted son.

To bridge the language barrier and ease the transition for her new
six-year-old son she created an amazing flip, picture book with phrases in Amharic
and English. I can’t really think of a great way to describe it. If you know
what I am talking about, you immediately have a picture in your head. If not,
you are probably thinking, WHAT? Either way, you can click here to see it. Most
importantly you can click there to find out how to “purchase” one.

Why “purchase” in parenthesis? because the good Captain
is not actually selling the books. She will send you one for free if you make a
donation to Friends of Orphans and Vulnerable Children (FOVC). Instead of me
giving you all the details, go here. Really, go here.

This book will be a great tool if you are adopting an older
Ethiopian child, already have an older Ethiopian child or are trying to learn
basic Amharic.

While you are at her blog, if you poke around you will find a link to a version of the video I recently made as part of the fundraiser.  If you are currently waiting to bring a son home from Ethiopia you will either particularlly enjoy the music, or hate me for making you watch it.

Captain Murdock on the left, Tamara (who is helping Ethiopian farmers develop more sustainable practices through FOVC) in the middle. And me on the right.

Sunday Snapshot

16 10 2011

A trampoline in the basement, all of a sudden I am not so afraid of the long, cold winter. Why are there floating, light orbs in the picture? I have no idea. Hopefully some sort of angels that will keep the kids safe while the jump.

Rhyme Time – Fun Size

14 10 2011

A collection of things I thought about this week, brought to you in “fun size” packages (because my thoughts are not profound enough for full size or king size posts.)

Rhyme Time

At three-and-a-half, PJ loves to rhyme.  Some of the rhymes are funny.  Most of the rhymes are nonsense words.  But the clever girl discovered a new one last week and both she and her brother like to say it to me over-and-over again… “Selam, Mom”

On A Serious Note

In general I am politically skeptical.  Since most wars are political, and I prefer innocent children not to die, in general I am against war.  On the other hand, I often look at the atrocities around the world and wonder, “What is the point of having our advanced, extreme military if we don’t use it to protect the innocent?”  And by innocent, I am again, referring to children (not oil wells).  And I do not think only American children are innocent.

Anyhow, I am HAPPY to see us sending troops to Uganda.  Yep, happy to see us sending troops.  Wow, is that a weird sentence to type.  To read more go here.

He Knows What He Needs

I love living in a college town.  I love the energy, the diversity, the cultural opportunities that wouldn’t be available in other similar size cities.  This weekend is homecoming and we will be going to a parade, a street event with a spirit rally, decorations and skits.

Earlier this week we attended an event at the bookstore on campus.  When we were leaving I realized SAG was probably also about to walk out of his office.  I quickly called him and we agreed to meet by his building so Little Dude could ride home with him.  Both kids love to ride in “Big Daddy Truck” (never mind that SAG is skinny and the truck is not that big).  I pulled into a parking lot, got the kids out of the van and we started walking up the street towards SAG’s office.  We all met up on the sidewalk, then headed back to the vehicles.

As per usual, Little Dude was blazing his own trail at top speed.  He ran up to the building near where we parked and stood peering into the doors.  We had to go drag him away.  Any guesses what building it was?

Wordless Wednesday

12 10 2011