Monday, February 01, 2010

Why We Don't Just Go "Rescue" Random Kids

Geez, you know I'm all for adoption, and I'm sure many of us who've opened our hearts to children in disadvantaged situations have seen the news from Haiti and thought, "I'd like to scoop those babies up and bring them home with me." But we don't, you know, actually do it. Because there are laws, and precautions, and pesky things like paperwork.

The distinction between charitable impulse and really bad idea was apparently lost on a group of Americans who went to the earthquake-ravaged nation and scooped themselves up some kids, without being all that persnickety about whether they were truly orphans or not. For their troubles, they were arrested and have now been charged with kidnaping.

The ugly truth -- something that those of us who've adopted internationally have probably wrestled with in our hearts, and something that has the potential to stop international adoption in any country that has a little pride -- is that it's hard not to feel that, whether they have a birthfamily who wants them or not, children are better off in our comparitively rich and resource-filled American homes and communities. That's an impulse we have to struggle against, and there should be mountains of paperwork to make sure we don't get off too easily. It's hard enough to shake the image of Americans buying kids when we do have proof of need; the Idaho Baptists are finding out now what happens when you don't bother with it. You wind up in trouble, and probably make it harder for kids who are eligible for adoption to get out.