"Anyone involved in international adoption is aware of the role of money. Adoptions cost around $30,000-$40,000. Children who are adopted internationally have birth families that are poor, some more abjectly than others. Children who are adopted internationally have adoptive families who are way better off economically than their birth families. Yes, there are exceptions, but that’s a reality in most cases, whether you were born in Korea, China, Haiti, Russia, Ethiopia, Guatemala, or India. It’s a definite imbalance of power.
Adoptive parents often hold fundraisers to get the thousands of dollars they need to adopt internationally. Friends, family, and strangers contribute. Many of the parents then claim the adoption tax credit after the child is with them, and that way get reimbursed by the US government for the airfare, hotels, meals, and other adoption expenses.
I’m holding a fundraiser, but it’s not for adoption. It’s for family preservation in my home country of Ethiopia. I was placed for adoption not because I was an orphan, or because my parents had died, but because they were poor.
I have told myself I was done fighting with time, I cannot reclaim the past, and I am ready to move forward. Moving forward has meant not obsessing over every specific detail of what happened and what was lost. It’s a struggle.
I’m not giving up on the struggle, and I am happy that I now know my Ethiopian family. They are happy that I grew up safe and healthy, with a good education. Still, I’ve seen the heartache that adoption has caused each of us, in different ways. These days, I ask myself often what I can focus on. What can I do to fix a broken system, which had failed my first family and many other Ethiopian families like mine? A system that means mothers must lose their children perhaps forever, that sends children to an orphanage, simply because their parents are too poor to keep them. I decided to open my eyes to my pain and that of first mothers and fathers. I’m not weeping anymore; I’m working.”