The invisible mother: 10 questions in an unusual blog post

An interesting report from SBS on intercountry adoption provides a great way for social workers, students and anyone who is interested to think critically, question assumptions and think about ethics. Check out the video in this report – Pressure to reopen the Ethiopian adoption program

10 reflective questions to ask

1. What was the problem presented in this news report? 2How was the child’s mother and her relationship with her child talked about? 3. What are the ethical issues here? 4. How ethical and respectful  was it to film the mother and her child? (I wonder if she gave permission and who filmed it?) 5. How was power operating in this situation? 6. Would removing the child from her mother benefit the child and the child’s mother? Now think about the opposite view. 7. .Are there other ways to address poverty in this situation? 8. How many assumptions were made about Dr Norman Gillespie’s statement – “If…, if…, if…” Were any of these questions actually asked about this situation or were the answers assumed to be ‘yes’? 9. Do we know if the mother gave informed consent for the adoption? 10. After thinking about these things and your own possible biases, do you feel the same way about the problem and what could or should be done about it?

Comprehensive reports

An alternative position 

Investigative reporting from the Schuster Institute

An African perspective – Reports from the African Child Policy Forum held in Addis Ababa

Freedom of information release from the federal Attorney General’s Department – Documents relating to the Closure of the Ethiopian Program, Delegation visit to Ethiopia,

5 general facts

  1. ‘Feeling rescued’ is detrimental to the well-being of adopted children
  2. Maintaining a positive view (i.e. not denigrating) and connection to an adopted child’s first families or communities and culture is paramount
  3. Australia complies with the UN conventions on children and intercountry adoption
  4. Agencies in sending countries of children generally request no direct contact with families prior to the allocation of a child because of the pressure exerted (intentionally or unintentionally)
  5. It is very easy to ‘relinquish’ a child for adoption in Ethiopia if you wish to do so – there are many private orphanages established for the purpose of facilitating intercountry adoption. All adoptions are required to be legal but should also be ethical. So it must be asked if this child was actually ‘available’ for adoption.

Post Script: This is not an ‘anti-adoption’ post


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