Friday, January 12, 2007

Finding A Better Solution

Sometimes I think I’ve got to stay away from articles like this one. Like anybody with an ounce of empathy, the reality of situations like this are incredibly troubling but since becoming a Dad I'm so sensitive to it that this kind of stuff literally tears me up.

In the largely unregulated world of international adoptions, these programs often lead to happily-ever-after, but sometimes end painfully. Ukraine and Russia place formidable obstacles in the path of parents, among them inaccurate information about children’s availability and health status. Multiple families can wind up competing for the same child. And children themselves know they are auditioning for what the industry calls their “forever families.” Then there is an entrenched system of favors — requests for cash or gifts from facilitators, translators, judges and others who handle the mechanics of adoption overseas.

Conditions in both countries have grown so unsettled, some agencies have suspended hosting programs, and the debate is growing about the ratio of risk to reward. Do the many success stories for older orphans make up for the heartbreak when adoption is thwarted?

The Prozzos had been deceived before by an intermediary who showed them a photograph of an adorable child they later learned was not available. So their guard was up before Alona’s visit in December.

“We won’t let this child call us ‘mama’ or ‘papa’ because we aren’t,” Mr. Prozzo said. But Alona’s visit had barely begun when she jumped into his outstretched arms and called him “papa.”

“Now what?” Mr. Prozzo said, melting. “Now what?

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