Sunday, August 12, 2007

Ethics in Adoption: Visa Question Stumped Us!

Thanks to all of you who responded to the question of whether or not you would lie during a visa interview. I think this question is definitely tougher for most of us, as the results certainly reflected! Seventy-three percent of those that voted said they honestly didn't know what they would do. Eighteen percent said you would say no. And nine percent felt that they would be able to tell the truth.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that I believe most voted "I don't know" because we couldn't admit to ourselves that we would probably lie. It's something that none of us would ever want to do. First of all, to put yourself at legal risk with the government is super scary. Secondly, I think most of our moral compasses would think it repulsive to lie. But would you REALLY risk losing your child (who is a true orphan)? Would you really allow your child to grow up without a family rather than omit some of your knowledge at the visa interview? In the end, I think most of us would lie.

But I'm not unbiased here. I would rather think that most would lie...because that's exactly what Eric and I had to do. Our son was an orphan. Our son was sick (and we didn't know it then, but would have died if left in Vietnam). Our adoption was legitimate. But the US embassy personnel in Vietnam at the time were corrupt. A Vietnamese employee of the embassy told our facilitator that in order to get our visas she would have to pay $250 per family. At one point the embassy told us that they planned to do an investigation that would require us to just go back to the US without our children. Our facilitator paid (without our knowledge or consent) and told us about it after the fact (but before we had our visas).

During our visa interview the orphan petitions officer had the GALL to ask us if anybody had been paid that shouldn't have been. We didn't know the question was coming. We didn't get to think about it. We couldn't even take the chance of hesitation. Eric and I both said no. If we would have known the question was coming would we have made a different choice? I don't know. I really don't. Should our child have to pay the price for a corrupt US government employee's actions? Would our admitting the truth done anything to stop the corruption? No. It really wouldn't have.

The comments on this question were wonderful (as usual). If you haven't snuck over to take a look please do. So much to consider!



Anonymous 12:55 PM  

I am so glad you ask the question and also mentioned your experience.

Of course I want ethical adoptions to be taking place. But I am tired of hearing about it from people who had timely adoptions, with no agency problems, no in country problems, no embassy problems, and healthy kids. They are usually the same people who tell you in the next breath (bouncing their very healthy baby girl on their knee) that was because it was God's plan (as if he had no plans for you or your sick child, as you had one problem after the other.)

Everything I could find about my agency at that point a few years ago said it was a good agency. I did ask all the right questions and did my homework. What are you supposed to do about a new program and a lot of lies? Once in the foreign third world country I get handed a sick baby, no one will clear the paper work, I can't get home for months and I can't leave the baby.

That said I do know of a few people who went through pretty much the same and still stuck to their principles. I admire them for that, but also wonder as it was their child, and one family came home with no child. They came home very sad, but their child lost a chance at a home and maybe any sort of a life.