The ONE Documentary You MUST See

9:09 AMHeather

I know I can be bossy here to you, bloggy friends.  Telling you to click on a link or look at a video or listen to a song.  Well, pretty much every day, I'm full of ideas about what you should do because it's something I'm learning to do, too. Blah, blah, blah.  Yet here you are.

And I am going to be full-on bossy today.  BIG TIME.  Because there's a documentary I've known I should see for approximately a thousand years and it has just slipped my mind.  Over and over. 

No excuses.

Gulp. Here goes confession time.

I'm a 20 year adoption social worker veteran.  I've completed my 15 hours of continuing education every year--all these years--for my license.  I've given to the cause of adoption outside of my career.  I even finally jumped out there and went to an orphanage in another country to volunteer this last year.  

But, yes, I must admit.

Until today, I've never watched the documentary most appropriately named Stuck. 

Never.  Not once.

Oh, I've intended to, over and over.  And kept getting side tracked. By my cushy easy life.

But today, on this week where I finally received the incredible news that an adoption case I've been praying for was finally and completely UNSTUCK, I sat down to watch.

And y'all.

I'm just fuming mad.  I mean, really mad.  For over an hour, my heart broke and my head exploded and I realized all over again why the words "Hague Treaty" are like the worst cuss word ever. And as my chest tightened with all the emotions, I cried.

If you don't know what the Hague Treaty is, then for the love, go watch Stuck right this very minute.  Well, finish reading my blog, and then go watch this documentary.

Because it is the absolute and most ugly truth about the current state of international adoption and millions of orphans all over the world.  And millions of orphans who aren't true orphans but who will never be adopted. And just the pure complication and ridiculousness that happens worldwide where common sense is thrown out the window.  And vulnerable children are used as political pawns or seen only as statistics. And the best interest of the child is a joke.  It's not even on the radar. It's not even part of the discussion.

Here's the truth of what is happening all over this globe.  An entire generation of vulnerable children are being ignored, cast aside, and bound up in red tape and tied to a hopeless future.  

On our watch.  During our lives.  In this day and time.

See, here's the thing.  When I started my career in adoption, I was rather infatuated with the romanticized notion that birth parents who couldn't parent had the ability to make a wonderful plan for their children and despite the pain and loss and grief by all parties, there was a beauty and a magic to it all.  And it seemed simple to me back then.  The wonder of forever families forming, like a phoenix rising from the ashes of the heartache that led to adoption.

Slowly, I began to see some gray in my black and white.  And then, I started working in international adoption instead of domestic.

More shades of gray.  Were these children REALLY orphaned?  What of the under the table deals in poor and desperate countries where a buck could be made while a family was being formed?  What of the attorney driven processes in certain countries where poverty stricken birth families were desperate for a brighter future for their children.  And eager and equally desperate adoptive families would foot the bill...no matter how insanely high--and well, it all worked out okay in the end. Even if some people's pockets were being lined in the process.

But now, my eyes are wide open.  

What was MEANT to help fix the problem has actually caused more casualties--and literally more deaths--than can be counted.  The Hague Treaty was meant to deal with the injustices and unethical practices in adoption.

Don't we all know that happens when complicated bureaucracies create more processes and paperwork and such?

Nothing good happens.  That's what.  In fact, in this documentary, the politician who helped write the Hague Treaty admits that they hoped it would see international adoption increase exponentially. That was her intent.  Now, she says she wishes she had never had anything to do with it.  Because actually, international adoption has decreased so dramatically.  

Not because they are less children needing brighter futures.  But because there are less means to connect orphaned children to the ready and waiting parents.  Corruption in adoption has NOT decreased or been dealt with in any way.  Instead, more and more and more children are stuck.

And consider this.  If a poor and developing country cannot care for their children, then where might they find the resources to put the proper work force in place to be sure they are abiding by and implementing such treaties?

Here's the sum result.  Children worldwide suffer. Some children die in institutionalized care.  Others just suffer slowly through the effects of being institutionalized month after month during the seasons of crucial development.

Willing and ready adoptive families are matched with true orphans who are essentially being held hostage.  And sometimes, those adoptive families are already the legal parents.  But the governments won't move to complete the adoption.

How's that for unjust?  

Children sit in government run orphanages.  Their adoptive families come and meet them...and leave.  Again and again and again. Because the final paperwork cannot be completed for some reason. Or the rainy season means judges won't be available. Or simply because the home country thinks it's beneficial to have children repeat the loss cycle, impacting their ability to trust--all in the name of "solid adoption processes."  

Yes, great idea.  A child who's said good-bye to biological families...finally meeting their adoptive families.  "Here is your mom and dad!  YAY!  Now, they'll be back... trust us." Then everyone's hearts break at the good-bye and separation.  Until the family comes back for the required number of trips.  However many it takes to complete the adoption.

How's that for unfair?

Children are institutionalized in deplorable conditions.  If they aren't adopted, aging out of the institution pretty much seals their ultimate fate.

Or, loving and willing birth families find themselves in a Sophie's Choice of sorts.  They want nothing more than to provide for their family.  But how?  Pay close attention to the beautiful birth mother in Ethiopia in this documentary.  And the interview with her about leaving her three-year-old daughter in an orphanage to be adopted. Put yourself in her shoes.  Imagine the desperation of being a mom with all the love to give...but not the basic essentials. The cycles of poverty tear at their hopes for the future.  

This is, by the way, where adoption practices can turn ugly as they prey on these victims. And children thus become a commodity.

It's crazy.  Politicians sit in their pretty offices. Caught up in their hopes for their political futures and seeing nothing but numbers and statistics.

While children sit in filth and squalor.  With little hope for a future.  And their dirty and desperate faces are what make up those numbers and statistics. 

Please, please watch Stuck.  SEE the faces.  Hear the stories.  Feel the emotions of the situation.  Allow your eyes to be open to this.

Because it's all happening on our watch.  In our day.  In our time.  And no matter how small the part, we can all be part of the solution once we understand the problem.

Whether that means throwing your resources behind organizations and humanitarian aid agencies who are getting to the root of the problem.  Or lending your voice to the cause by clicking on the documentary website and learning more.  Or simply spreading the truth by noting in your social media status that you watched the documentary.

Personally, I'm asking the Lord to show me what more I can do. How I can use my time and resources and talents to impact this issue.  Writing this blog post was step one.

There is a generation of vulnerable children worldwide.  

Will we be a generation who rises to the challenge?  And joins in the discussion about reaching into the lives of these children? 

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