As I unpack my thoughts on this first media story, I would like to begin with an admission.
I am embarrassed we fell prey to a scam.
At times this sense of humiliation is overwhelming. I thought we hired people who could help us navigate the process to avoid scams and fraud. With all of the research and due diligence I invested, surely the agency we chose would be the most reputable agency available. I was drawn in by high profile former clients and a well managed reputation. I did not find negative reviews.
I did not look hard enough.
I thought we had it covered. I thought we were too smart to fail.
I allowed my ego to blind me to warning signs that glare like neon lights in my rearview mirror.
Our scam was centered in China. A common defense I see in this conversation suggests adoption agencies cannot possibly be held responsible to investigate the validity of every child’s file. I do not know of anyone asking adoption agencies to personally vet every file for accuracy and they do need to rely on the country and orphanages for information in many cases. But when an adoption agency has warnings and red flags…pertinent social background information…they must share it with adoptive parents. When I say must, I mean according to the federal regulations relating to the Hague convention. Our issue with Lifeline is they had warnings regarding our adoption and they chose not to share them with us. Our issue with Lifeline is they allowed themselves to be complicit in unethical adoption.
Did you see the movie The Help? You know the Terrible Awful scene? The one where Minnie Jackson bakes a chocolate pie for Miss Hillie? It has lots of yummy ingredients in it. Chocolate…sugar…cream…vanilla from Mexico…so much goodness.
There was also poop.
The instant she introduced the fecal ingredient to the pie, all of the good ingredients were contaminated.
It became disgusting.
It became inedible.
That is what we are doing to adoption. We are adding the unethical practices, or child trafficking, or “ignoring red flags” ingredient to what should be a beautiful process. Adoption becomes something it should never be.
If we focus only on the good ingredients, as I did at the beginning of our adoption, we run the risk of polluting the whole body. Adoption at its essence is beautiful. It is difficult and messy, but it is also praiseworthy. We must not let our pride prevent us from dealing with the hard truths. If we will step up together, we can repair the integrity of Christian adoption. If we continue to be blinded by our ego, we will continue to serve forkfuls of fraudulent adoption. We will continue to be complicit in child trafficking.
Friends, if you find yourself resisting this message…if you catch yourself thinking less than flattering things about the messenger…please know my heart. I stand here in the midst of the most devastating experience in my life…weak, scarred, and brokenhearted…waving a red flag.
Calling it adoption does not make it ethical adoption. Ethical and transparent practices make it ethical adoption.
I am FOR ethical adoption.