This story - which at the core stands an innocent 6 year-old girl who has already undergone so much trauma in her short life - is so unbelievably heartbreaking on just about every possible level. I hurt so much for this young child - who has already been through hell - and who will undoubtedly be subjected to additional imminent pain, suffering and losses of enormous proportions and scars to last a lifetime, regardless of the final outcome.
Clearly, there are details of this story that we as a public will never be privy to and the intricate legalities, the deep corruption and the red tape in both of the represented countries adoption system's is beyond the scope of what I am able to speak to. What I can say however is how utterly shocking - yet unfortunately not surprising - the reaction is from some of my fellow APs regarding this tragic event.
Overwhelmingly what I have read on the various adoption forums and blogs is the notion that there is NO way on God's green earth would most of these APs allow their adopted children to be permanently returned and reunited with their biological families.
Let me say that again. There is a large contingent of APs (at least from the sampling of those who have posted to weigh in on the situation) who, if they found out that their adopted child had been kidnapped from their first family, would NOT be willing to allow their (adopted) child to return to his/her first mother and father. Kidnapped. As in, against their parent's will. Abducted, as in wrongfully taken. Kind of gives a new meaning to the phrase "Gotcha Day", huh?
Putting my snark and obvious frustration and bewilderment aside for just a moment, I do appreciate that these APs are at least asking the fundamental question "What is in the best interest of this little girl?" Unfortunately, from my perspective, the answers that these APs are offering to that question appear only to have one party's best interest in mind, and it isn't the little girl's or her biological family's.
One AP offered to "pay for a plane ticket" so that the girl's Guatemalan mother could come and visit. How generous, indeed! One even said that she'd "allow for the girl's biological family to be in regular contact with the girl". What an overwhelming gesture of kindness! One remarked that while she is "sad for the birth mom", she "could NEVER let her daughter go" as losing her daughter "would be the worst nightmare imaginable". Hmmm. Irony, much?
The very same APs who declare that they would "fight tooth and nail" and "until the bitter end" to find their child if s/he went missing are in the very next breath saying that they would never allow for a parent of a kidnapped child to rightfully reclaim her son or daughter. I'm honestly not trying to be dense or purposely combative here, but I just don't understand this line of thinking. It sounds to me that too many APs want it both ways - they want an outcome that will benefit their own personal situation and one that would cause the least disruption, the least inconvenience and the minimal amount of pain and hardship for them. Based on what I've read so far, many of these APs feel that they are entitled to this type of decision. I think this is why I'm having such a visceral reaction to this story - the accompanying unapologetic sense of entitlement that permeates so much of the AP-centric adoption experience and narrative.
I honestly believe that some of these APs are deluding themselves into thinking that their (adopted) child's well-being would be irreparably compromised if s/he was ripped away from the home that s/he's known for the past several years and remaining with them (the APs) is the only way this child could have a life worth living. Couldn't the same be said for any child that is removed from his home, regardless of his age? What really gets me is that nowhere outlined in the proposed "solutions" that I've read about thus far reveal any evidence that the AP would be willing to make any real sacrifice to work towards what really WOULD be in the best interest of their (adopted) child.
Why are none of these APs suggesting that they would fight tooth and nail to do whatever they could to make their child's transition to his rightful family the very best it could be? Instead of offering a plane ticket to their child's first mother, why not uproot themselves to go live in their child's birth country and BEG, PLEAD and do whatever it takes to see if the first family would be willing to have them a part of their lives?
Clearly, this story has struck a chord. I have been doing some deep soul-searching about why I am so upset over the reaction by some of these APs. (The operative word here being "some" as I know they of course do not represent all APs, including myself and my husband.) The adoptee in me says that I'm pissed off that yet again adoptees are never given a choice in what happens to us when it comes to determining "what's in our best interests". The adoptee in me is enraged that yet again first families are relegated to being treated as after-thoughts and ancillary roles in an adoptee's life.
I'm angry because I've seen this attitude play out in too many adoptive families before: That what an AP wants forever trumps what an adoptee needs.