Friday, November 20, 2009

Some Rules, not so Dumb

The adoption process is a long and arduous one. You start with a Home Study which requires a social worker to come into your home. This is frustrating as no Home Study is required to give birth. The biggest joke in ours was the fire extinguisher. We were required to have one. I told my Social Worker the first time around that I had chosen not to have a fire extinguisher. "Looks too much like a gun; two boys under six, too tempting." I figured the extinguisher was more dangerous than a fire. But we got one for the inspection and then promptly returned it to its rightful owner. Rules are rules, you know.

You are also required to take classes. This was incredibly painful for me as they were DVD's. I will read anything, I have read everything sent to me at least once. But to find time to watch TV was another story. We keep our TV on top of the kitchen cabinets during the week; four kids under ten, too tempting. But I left the TV out and watched the series and took the online test. Rules are Rules.

Doctor's check ups, finger prints, family history, notarized letters of recommendation: the list goes on and on of the things you are required to submit. I don't make the rules, I just follow them.

We received an e-mail this week reminding all families adopting from Ethiopia of the rules for giving money to in-country staff of our agency and to birth relatives. The rule is YOU DON'T; not in country and not after you return home.

It sounds like a harsh rule. How do you meet someone face to face that you could help with a bit of cash and keep your wallet in your pocket? How do you not feel so ungrateful and stingy walking away from a meeting with the woman who gave birth to your child and then selflesssly gave him up so he could have a better life leaving her with nothing?

You do it because poverty can breed evil just as easily as wealth. You follow the rules because not much to you is a lot to someone who is poor. You do it because you are not buying a child.

Think of what could happen if it got out in the villages and towns that so and so became rich (by Ethiopian standards) giving her child up for adoption. Think about the pressure that could come to bear on a mother struggling to survive knowing she could provide for her other children by giving up one. Talk about too tempting!

Some rules are worth following. It doesn't mean you can't do anything. You can give to charitable organizations working in the community. You can sponsor a child or support a local school. You don't have to keep your wallet in your pocket.

But to do anything that resembles or can be construed by others as buying children can never be good. Nothing good can come from it. In trying to help, you could be come an unwilling participant in the greatest temptation someone could ever face.

Some rules, not so dumb.


  1. Hi Sheila,

    I agree that the rules in place are for a reason. However, I think that CHI could have worded the email they sent out in a better way. There are some things that families who have already traveled are eledging (sp?) happened to them in country that need to be dealt with here in the states. Trying to scare people into compliance is never the answer.

    Best wishes,

  2. I'm getting quite an education about this whole process. I can see the point here.

    I am scared that you don't have a fire extinguisher in your house. Fire Safety Patrol here! Put it where they can't get it - like on top of the kitchen cabinets. ;-)

  3. From one CHI family to another... Well said - I completely agree!!!

  4. What a process! Am thankful to our Lord for your perseverance through it. Am thankful to you for helping to give one child a better life. And for those countless lives you will influence positively because of this one enormous act of love.
    I miss you.
    Looking forward to meeting your new little one. And your other little ones, too!
    Happy Thanksgiving.
    love, C.