Children aren’t commodities
One recent Saturday as I was about to enter Overton Park for a long walk with Fritz, a young German shepherd I adopted in April, I decided to check out an unusual sign for a multifamily fundraiser for families that wished to adopt children. The people I met were friendly, white and well-off financially. I learned that a few families were pooling together some items that had been gathering dust in an attempt to raise funds to adopt children from foreign countries. I left uncomfortable about the concept of selling castaway items for that purpose.
I wondered: Was there a shortage of children in the Memphis area who would benefit from the care and guardianship of a loving and financially secure family? I found out that there was no such shortage. I contemplated how funds that might be raised to secure an international adoption might help the children of our own region who have great need, but who may not be ideal candidates for adoption due to their age or other factors.
I then investigated and found that an international adoption typically could cost up to $50,000 in travel costs and fees — legal fees, documentation fees, baby broker fees and probably other fees that are needed to grease the wheels of progress. Adoption, particularly international adoption, is big business, with youngsters as the commodity and a need to graft another person into a family tree the motivational force.
I found my skepticism growing toward the altruistic jargon used at the fundraiser. I concluded that the fundraising event wasn’t about the child’s welfare, but about possessing a child by any means. I asked myself: Why not just donate the money to the foreign orphanages to help the kids? But then the adoptive parents would not gain the child; these people who purchase a wanted commodity by selling off knicknacks are well-versed in the lingo of many websites dedicated to international adoption. Sadly, the commodities were human beings.
Decency mandates that children who have lost their family be given respect and empathy, not a yard sale. Do you suppose that one day the youngsters will ask to hear the heartwarming story of how their loving parents sold off some end tables to purchase them? I suspect they may be told how lucky they are that they have such spiritually generous parents.
Human beings, particularly defenseless and voiceless children, deserve better from society. This practice would be an outrage in a moral society, and is de facto human trafficking.