Incredible Journeys: International Adoption, by Cecile Trijssenaar founder of International Adoption Guide shares with us some important and thought provoking information.
I would like to congratulate Joy on this wonderful project to bring together all who are touched by adoption. An open forum to discuss different aspects of adoption has been a long time coming and will make a vast difference to dispel the myths of adoption. So well done Joy and the team! And I would also like to express a big thank you for including international adoption in the forum. Unfortunately, in the UK inter-country adoption has a very bad rap, both in the media and within government and official circles. I am not quite sure how or why this has happened – I only know that it is an absolute tragedy for the hundreds of children who could find wonderful kind and loving families in the UK.
I am a very strong supporter of inter-country adoption. I think that it is the only positive way for children who have been abandoned, neglected, or removed to have a chance of a normal life. When I was adopting my son 8 years ago in the Russian courts, his orphanage director stood up in court and said “This is the only chance that this child will have to have a normal life”. And that is what adoption is all about – giving a child the chance to have not a special life, an exceptional life, just a plain and ordinary life. A life where one can go to sleep knowing that you are safe and loved. For millions of children today, growing up on the streets, or in hidden institutions on the edges of every city, they will never have this feeling. They will never feel the warmth of love and the safety of security. Their lives will always be full of fear and this I consider a tragedy, especially when there are many, many people who want to open their hearts to these children.
Adoption for the nearly 200million children growing up today parentless is a very, very rare opportunity. Despite every little girl and boys dreams to have a mummy and daddy, only 1 in 6000 will have the chance to be adopted. And even with these slim odds there is an incredible anti-inter-country adoption lobby. Aid and children’s organisations believe the mantra “It is best to keep children within their own culture.” This is a very contentious issue. Culture to come before love? Culture to come before basic needs? Culture to come before security? Culture is one of those ‘big’ words that have no clear definition. But what I do know, there is no culture in an institution.
Children are not taught to speak, to write, to read. They are taught how to use a spoon to feed themselves when they are 12 months old and they are pretty much left to their own devices. When I picked up my son from a Russian orphanage he was almost two, had just learnt to walk and could not speak. It took him a whole year before he could string two words together. These early childhood neglects will have ramifications for the whole life of the child. The prognosis for orphanage children is not good. In Russia 21% of orphanage children will be dead before they are 21. Many take their own lives as their future prospects are so grim, they are homeless, have no family, no money, no hope. They simply cannot survive without the adequate tools to become productive adults.
International adoption is a very real choice for your family. It is long, complex and complicated but the rewards are transformative. You are literally giving children back their lives.
If you want to know more about inter-country adoption, please visit our website at internationaladoptionguide.co.uk or call Cecile on 08444 157 827 for a personal consultation.
I look forward to sharing more about the incredible journeys of international adoption.
Thanking you and Blessings