Readers of my last post will perhaps remember that I had been pulled up during the first interview for my homestudy (or CI). During my entire adoption journey, I had been obliged to hide the fact (or at least fail to mention) that I had already ‘chosen’ a child to adopt when I was dealing with any sort of authority figure. My friends and family knew of course, but regardless of whether you are carrying out your adoption independently or with an agency, the deal is that you are ‘allocated’ a child by the orphanage in the last stages. This norm, like many others surrounding adoption, is in place to limit the chances of trafficking.
When the social worker asked me of the circumstances that led to my decision to adopt I guess I couldn’t hide it any longer. And when I confessed it was, to be honest, a relief. Luckily, she took it well. Rather than berating me for ‘breaking the rules’ she said that she had dealt with many cases similar to mine—where people who had worked in NGOs had connected to a particular child and their adoption decision had stemmed from that. Once again, like almost every adoption rule and regulation that I had encountered up until that moment (and would in the future), the ‘rule’ was flexible. This is why I urge you to never, ever take a "NO" for an answer, as almost every adoption journey sets a precedent. Many going through the process refer to it as a tango—and, with so many laws to adhere to from multiple countries, it is a bureaucratic dance. But thankfully adoption laws are malleable too; know them (to the letter) and you can make them work for you.
But I digress. After clearing the air after my little confession, the social worker asked me about my family history and to help her create a family tree (this came up again in later interviews so probably best to get it clear in your mind first). She then asked a simple, yet pivotal question: why did I want to adopt.
Whilst this might sound like a no-brainer, I have read of many people who have gotten it wrong. Your answer should always be because you want to start a family (as simple as that!) or along those lines. Yet many people cite feelings of solidarity, and how they could ‘improve’ the lives of children in developing countries by bringing them to Europe.
Are they wrong in saying this? My mind is torn on the subject.
I would like to veer off the ins and outs of the process a bit in my next posts and instead discuss the huge moral and political implications that international adoption carries.