What would you do if you found out your adopted child had been sold into adoption?

From Mother Jones

Meet the Parents: The Dark Side of Overseas Adoption

Midwestern kid's family believes his birth parents put him up for
adoption. An Indian couple claim he was kidnapped from them and sold.
Who's right?

—By Scott Carney

After hours hunched behind the wheel
of a rented Kia, flying past cornfields and small-town churches, I'm
parked on a Midwestern street, trying not to look conspicuous. Across
the way, a preteen boy dressed in silver athletic shorts and a football
T-shirt plays with a stick in his front yard. My heart thumps
painfully. I wonder if I'm ready to change his life forever.

I've been preparing for this moment for months in the South Indian
metropolis of Chennai, talking to khaki-clad officers in dusty police
stations and combing through endless stacks of court documents. The
amassed evidence tells a heartrending tale of children kidnapped from Indian slums
sold to orphanages, and funneled into the global adoption stream. I've
zeroed in on one case in particular, in which police insist they've
tracked a specific stolen child in India to a specific address in the United States. Two days ago, the boy's
parents asked me to deliver a message to the American family via their
lawyer, seeking friendship and communication. But after traveling
across 10 time zones to get here, I'm at a loss for how to proceed.

Read the rest of this article here.

Author: JaeRan

Assistant professor at UW Tacoma, writer, and researcher.

5 thoughts

  1. It’s depressing– but not particularly shocking– to notice that the investigation of MSS made headlines in India but was completely under the radar here.
    What a gut-wrenching story.

  2. So sad! I think the adoptive parents are wrong to not allow contact. I hope they change their minds soon, as I can’t imagine the boy wouldn’t want to know the truth as he grows older. Wow, so heartbreaking.

  3. I have thought about this a lot since your post on the Samoan children. Overwhelming sadness pretty much sums that up.
    I figure I would be willing to take quite a ding in order to do whatever would work out best for my children and their family. I simply could not do nothing for their parents. It just rips my heart out to think of what they are going through.
    For what it’s worth, I feel the same way about my children’s birth parents. Particularly their mom. I’ve never forgotten that she is out there somewhere, suffering.
    So far as telling my children goes – I dunno. We are very open with them and have always encouraged them to think about their origins. If you ask my five year old what he wants to do on a given day he will sometimes say “let’s all go to Korea and see my birth mom!”
    Could he handle the truth? Well maybe he couldn’t comprehend all of it, but I am quite sure he could handle knowing she wants to see him. Wants to be in his life. We could take it from there.
    Given all of the reading I’ve done on these issues one little silver lining of hope pops into my mind from of this story – that boy can KNOW who his family is and that they want to be in his life. How many adoptees have suffered because they couldn’t find them? You need to keep telling APs how important that is. Probably the only reason I understand it is because I went through it too.

  4. Jae Ran, I hope it is ok to ask you a question as a social worker –
    do you take a general position on returning children, after a period of years, to birth family who make this kind of claim?
    I don’t know what you think. From what I’ve read I gather most adoptees think that return to birth family is what should be done.
    I am sincerely sorry to find myself on the other side. To open an adoption, to explain everything, to have lots of contact – yes.
    But to return my child I could not do, any more than I would ever disrupt her adoption for my own sake. She knows us as her parents for almost 4 years. She was in an orphanage from a day old. A child is not an overcoat to be returned anytime if you picked up the wrong one.
    Families sell children, as well as having children stolen. I do not think I would easily believe a claim of kidnapping. If the adoptee came as an older child and corroborated the story, that is quite different. I am truly thankful that I have made such efforts as I can think of to investigate and there is no evidence at all that my child was trafficked. My daughter knows everything that I know about her early circumstances. But of course everything I “know” might be wrong.
    I would never return my daughter. Almost anything else – but never that. I am deeply, sincerely sorry if thinking this way makes me a terrible enemy in the eyes of adoptees. I do not want that at all. But to uproot a settled, attached child to satisfy adult ideas of right seems no better to me in this direction, than it is to take a child from a happy foster family who wants to keep her, pay adoption fees, and tell her she has a new family now, better start loving them (the story of plenty of Chinese adoptees who come at older ages including one I’ve met).
    Maybe someday Anna Mae He will weigh in on some of these things.

  5. I am an adoptive parent of two young sons from Korea, and I *would* consider returning them if I found out they had been kidnapped from their Korean families. I love them both more than I can express, and it would make me unimaginably sad to not have them in my life. But at the same time, I can’t imagine how sad their Korean families must feel, and that’s assuming they relinquished “voluntarily”.
    The child could be re-introduced gradually to his family and to Indian culture. Maybe the adoptive parents could take time off work and live in India with him for a transition period. Since children are so sensitive to the emotions of those they love, a message of “we’ll miss you, but you’ll have a great life and we will always love you” would go a long way. And there could certainly still be contact between him and his “Iowa parents”.
    In my situation, the thing that might hold me back is how it would affect my other son to lose his brother. Or maybe I’d panic and refuse contact. But I like to think not.

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