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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

When Birthfamilies Ask for Money

The idea of contacting a foreign birthfamily is fraught with both promise and peril.  Perhaps you want the family to know that their child is fine, or you hope to understand what were the circumstances leading to adoption in the first place.  Getting some medical history could be helpful for your child’s future.  Some adoptive parents will avoid the subject of birthfamilies at all costs, yet oftentimes, this sets up the young person for their own search later in life when the persons of interest will probably be dead, and lead them to their own destructive behaviors in an effort to cope with the unknown.

Rough if you do contact them, rough if you don’t.  But if you proceed with caution, using no last name, and employing a post office box or friend’s address in another city or state, it can still go sour.  When push comes to shove, and the crumpled envelope from another country arrives with the birthfamily asking you for money, what’s an adoptive family to do?

Just say no.

While every situation is different and there are pros and cons to them all, societal situations are often at work that a few extra rubles will not solve.  Mental illness, alcoholism, prison terms where petty convicts emerge with no working papers… these conspire to prevent all but the most committed from laboring for an honest wage.

The cases of a poor village girl giving up her child for adoption are few and far between, however, they do happen.  If you feel led to become involved, I have heard of heartwarming stories where things did turn out well:  photos and letters exchanged, maybe some extra funds sent to allow for winter heating costs, or to purchase some chickens or a couple of warm blankets and boots.  Entirely possible.

Yet not probable in the vast majority of the cases.

These are often individuals with cell phones, and e-mail accounts, and with enough disposable cash to smoke and drink.  You should be “helping” them-?  They will claim to be unemployed, sick, or injured.  They will have a story so sad that it will make a rock cry.  They will write to you or your child only when they need something, well able to pull on your heart strings and intimating what a terrible person you might be to think of denying them, all the while justifying their own behaviors.

When facing such a situation, it helps to know if your child was an orphan due to parental rights being relinquished or revoked.  In the former case, a birthmother will realize that she’s in over her head and wish for a better life for her child.  Entirely understandable.  In the latter case, children have been starved, beaten, neglected, not sent to school or adequately clothed, and the state had to step in.  Usually, in these cases, the birthparent never even came  to court for the hearing.  It’s not worth it to them to have the judge question their low-life activities.  Either that, or they can’t spare a bus ride and a couple of hours out of their unemployed, drunken day.

If you can read Russian, or have translations of court documents, read the pre-orphanage narrative of “anti-social, parasitic behavior”.  This describes the findings of police or social service agencies investigating the birthfamily and their living conditions.  It is what happened to lead to the decision that parental rights would be revoked.  This kind of stuff does not go away with the infusion of funds.

Do what you think is best, but realize this:  you are spending money where it really matters, in raising their child.  They should be paying you.

 

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2 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar Sybil says:

    We are in touch with our daughter’s bio family and have been for 9 years. They do fit some of the not very positive criteria you mentioned and yet they write to her of their love for her and their thankfulness to us. They exist meal to meal. Their are many members of the family. Even though we have often thought of offering them some monetary benefit they have never asked. They live in a small village. The villagers are already jealous because they have an American daughter. If we helped them with some money I can imagine that it would change their social status to where people would be more jealous and ostracize them or even perhaps put them in some danger. So, giving money also may have repercussions that are far beyond monetary. The villagers of her bio family started rumors that we, her American parents, don’t know what to do with our daughter because she is not very smart (they have no basis whatever for anything they might say about her). The truth is that she graduated high school with a 3.7 GPA and is in college. We had to assure her Russian family that she is smart, she gets good grades and they need to be proud of her achievements as we are.

    • avatar admin says:

      That’s the positive type of contact that many families dream of, Sybil. It can happen. How insightful to think of how a sudden change in status might tend to ostracize them! The stereotypes about adopted kids and birthfamilies abound, don’t they? The truth is often much more complex….

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