Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Dateline: To catch a Baby Broker

On Sunday, Dateline NBC had a show on showing the adoptions in Guatemala. It was "appropriately" titled as shown above. ahem.

This is the same show that does "To catch a Predator" shows, which I find a bit awful.
Anyway, they stuck with the same theme: undercover cameras, fake agency, and direct questioning when the farce was up.
It was interesting. And by interesting I mean, neat to see some of the buildings we saw when we visited Guatemala. There were shots from the hotel where we stayed, and of the American Embassy, as well as the airport.

Funny though, they didn't actually show all of those places. At the airport, a slight pan to the left would have revealed the massive amounts of people waiting behind cattle fences for their relatives. Stepping off of a plane in a foreign country is intimidating enough, but to see hundreds of people smashed against cattle fencing just makes it that much more shocking. And the embassy! Oh my, again, another pan to the left would have shown the hundreds of indigenous people lined up under corrugated metal waiting to get into the embassy. It had to have been so frustrating when all the white people carrying Ladino, or Mayan children got into the embassy before them, even though they'd been waiting hours and sometimes overnight.

The show was just odd. They interviewed 4 families, whose adoptions were rough to say the least. I feel for these families. I really do. 2 of the families weren't able to finish the process, one found out that the child they were going to adopt was kidnapped from her family. That's awful, we all know it's a problem. The other family was referred twins, that were already promised to another family, again, awful! However, the common thread between the 4 families? One lawyer, who was coincidentally banned from working with the US embassy. So of course, what does Dateline do?
They set up a fake adoption agency, and meet with him as though they are interested in working with him. They bait him with questions to see what he would say, and throughout several days of talking he does say some pretty unethical things. No one should be working with this man.

So, the question? How did these 4 families start working with this man? Answer: The agencies in the United States that these families were working with, were working with the lawyer. That to me is atrocious. I don't understand how an agency in "good standing" could working with someone like that. Someone willing to doctor documents to get rid of child molestation charges, someone willing to pay women off for their children.

Of course this episode started millions of little conversations in our house, and there are a lot of questions that came up, and a lot of unanswered things.

1.) How did these people choose their agency in the United States? Mike and I bet that it has something to do with the promise of quick time lines. We had a long process, one step that was supposed to be 2 weeks, ended up being 12 for us. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. You just can't do a process like this(for the first time) in much time under a year. It just can't happen.

2.) Why would these agencies work with this lawyer? I don't know. I just don't know the answer, to this, but again, I think it's because he promises things quickly, and is willing to do anything to bring a match to families. "you want twins?" and he responds, "I can have you twins tomorrow, boy or girl" Really? There are that many twins just floating around, come one. Seriously.

3.) Why would a couple work with this agency again? Um, yea. One of the couples whose adoption fell through (The little girl who was kidnapped) there still working with the same agency. Why? The agency has all their paperwork and money and they don't want to rock the boat so to speak! Excuse me?! Rock the damn boat, get your money back, and your paperwork if you didn't keep a copy for yourself, and get to an agency that is ethical! I can't even begin to fathom the line of thinking here.

Aside from this show showing the absolute worst side of Guatemalan adoptions, it also didn't do a good job in saying that the percentage of adoptions that fail or go wrong is so slim compared to the thousands of ethical adoptions.

Another thing to consider about this whole spectacle? The American Adoption System. It just isn't that different. Corruption, greed, and lack of ethics can be found in our system too.

For another interesting view and more information visit Guatadopt. It's a very informative site that we visit often for news and updates.

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