Thursday, March 15, 2007

"Freedom" is just another word for "nothing left to loose"

CWA, Christian World Adoption, in their infinite wisdom did me the service of cutting me off. I can no longer post on their web board and they have erased any posts I did anything about HIV testing, medical information, travel information, information about the Guest House where we stayed - all gone. I guess I was being a subversive. Some would call it "Christ Like" (But I wouldn't go that far). Below is what they posted recently about meeting birth families after only the third family traveled to Sodo and actually met two of their three adopted children's birth families. I guess this caused a firestorm on the CWA web board of people talking about the pros and cons of meeting their child's birth families.
Seems easy. Let's see folks:

Cons: Its hard, they might ask you for money and you have to say no, birth family might be emotional, you might be emotional, child might be emotional (but all of that is ok, right?...I mean its sad right?)

Pros: The child will desire this information. Your child WILL want to see a photo, he will want to hear any tidbit of info you can give him about where he came from, that is a guarantee. Ask anyone. Read it in any adoption book. Its the ABC's of Adoption.

A: Adopt the child into your heart and make him your own
B: Bring their story with you from their birth family to your family
C: Connect the dots for your child so he doesn't feel unending gaping bottomless pit of sadness as he grows and wonders about where he came from.

They (CWA) wrote this email out, right after they wrote an email saying that families could travel to the orphanages from where their kids came from. But then a family did it and now more families want to do this, so they wrote this email- I have cut the top part off about the laws of orphanages in Ethiopia and am just including the part where they want to discourage people from actually traveling to the regions where their children are from and from seeking out any remaining birth families:

"Here are some things to consider if you choose to pursue meeting your child's biological family:

1. These are closed adoptions. CWA and CWAE are not able to facilitate family meetings, contact biological families, make travel or lodging arrangements. What? Closed? I thought the Ethiopian Government encouraged families to meet their child's birth family? See Revised Family Code Article 183 from the Ethiopian Government.

2. Giving a biological family contact information may give other biological families the impression that ALL adoptive families will give them their contact information. Not every family is willing to do this. Duh.

3. The biological family may go to the orphanage that placed their child and see post adoption report photos and hear a summary of the report, but neither CWA, CWAE, nor the orphanage will share contact adoptive family contact information. Does the birth family know they can do this? And what about the time when the birth family actually did get the contact information and contacted the family in the USA and asked them for money? OOPS!

4. Giving a biological family money can be construed as child buying and this could cause legal problems for the orphanage and CWA/CWAE. Duh. No one is doing this. Only two families have even met birth family and they did not do this. Interesting that the CWAE staff might have been construed as encouraging it though. Also interesting that CWA has hired birth mothers (two to be exact- that we know of).

5. Giving a child's biological family money may give other children's biological families the impression that ALL adoptive families will give them money. Not every family is willing to do this. See above. You already said this.

6. Orphanages don't have family counseling resources for biological families.
Why not? Seems that since it costs hardly anything to employ someone in Ethiopia, and we all know they need the jobs, that providing a staff member who is dedicated to provide grief counseling for the families who are now grieving the loss of their children should be very high up on your list of priorities. Just one of your many Business class tickets to Ethiopia should cover the cost of several Ethiopian Staff. You could have several people dedicated to this type of counseling. How about counseling birth families before they make their decision to find out if its in the child's best interest to be posted on the "waiting children website" that seems like it should be at the top of the list of things to do. You have the do it. Do the right thing.

We all understand the love you have for your child or children and your desires to know more about them. Our goal is to educate you and help you to make wise decisions. Thank you for your time, your understanding and your willingness to try to understand and respect the country and people of Ethiopia." And thank you for respecting the children you are placing for adoption and the families who gave birth to them. It's simple.

and thank God for HB Whipple.....

"All we want in Christ, we shall find in Christ. If we want little, we shall
find little. If we want much, we shall find much; but if, in utter helplessness, we cast our all on Christ, He will be to us the whole treasury of God."

-- Henry Benjamin Whipple


sneathspot said...

I am very sorry you were attacked this way. Certainly is a new way to look at a client/agency relationship.

Honestly, though, I was shocked from the beginning at the manner in which you were treated by CWA. Here they have at their disposal a HIGHLY educated hiv nurse practitioner - with African work experience.

You volunteered help by spending money I know you didn't have, buying them measuring devices to improve the accuracy of information that up to that point was completely faulty - and they didn't let you hold a training session with the people who would use your donated materials!

You volunteered your time, which no working mother has, to help them, and in exchange you were blocked from seeing the care center where your children lived.

You sacrificed your family time for those on the CWA web board - and I know you type with two fingers - writing massive tomes of information for those going behind you. You answered a million health questions of strangers because they needed help and CWA "doesn't have the time and resources” blah blah to help those who pay us thousands of dollars for our service.

In a spirit of Love, but also of conviction, you have pointed them to a higher path, and they continue to react out of fear and in a spirit of control.

I am sorry you have been hurt, but I feel theirs is the much, much greater loss.
Heidi Mehltretter, adoptive mom

Joy Portis said...

ditto Heidi's comments. She covered it all! I for one cherish your experience, knowledge and advice and CWA has lost a valuable asset !! Love ya!!

Anonymous said...

I dont know what I would have done if I had never met you on the web board. With out all the support from my friends like you, we surely would have disrupted, as CWA cut us off also!
I for one wish they could consider the best interest of the child. It was NOT in our girls best interest to come here. Their father is a government employee and their uncle works for CWAE, there is more then enough money in that family to support these kids. It has all but killed them coming here!
We all will answer for the choices we make in life, ALL of us!

Laura said...

Yeah, Heidi said it best and I second her (or third since Joy dittoed it before me). Is dittoed a word? :)

We love you and your heart.

Brianna Heldt said...

All I can say is, I truly hope people will think long and hard before utilizing this agency. I cannot imagine how frustrating it must be for you!!!