Dutch Diplomat Has Immunity From Compassion

>     In fairness to full disclosure, I need to say right up front that we have an adopted 14-year-old daughter from China, so writing about adoption is always quite personal for me.
    Writing about this particular one is infuriating.
    It seems that 7 years ago Dutch vice consul Raymond Poetaray (posted in Hong Kong) and his wife adopted a then 4-month old Korean baby girl named Jade. Now, 7 years later, having never attempted to obtain Dutch citizenship for the child, the Poetarays have returned their child to Hong Kong’s Social Welfare Department citing her “emotional remoteness” as the reason why they can no longer care for her. While I have neither doubts nor illusions concerning the challenges inherent in raising an adopted child, particularly one that may not have benefited from nurturing pre-and post-natal care, it almost defies imagination that two educated people would “return” a child as one might an appliance or a toy.
    So perhaps this case is about common sense and compassion…not about education. In fact, this might just be a very strong argument in favor of why academic degrees and professional accomplishments mean nothing if not balanced with a healthy dose of common sense and compassion for all living things.
    We adopted our daughter from China when she was 2 years old. While we will never know what those first two years of her life were like, we can make a reasoned assumption that she missed out on all kinds of nourishment, physical as well as emotional. Such lack takes it toll. To think, or expect, otherwise is delusional and harmful for all concerned. We have had our own share of challenges in raising our daughter but are they any more or less than they would have been had we given birth to her? In either case, it is a roll of the dice.
    What for us (and the Peotarays) have been emotional challenges could just have easily been emotional and/or physical challenges had we given birth to these girls. It really matters not. What matters is that when you reach out and embrace a child, you do it fully with an understanding of what your part of the bargain is to be. And even if, as in my case and the Poetarays, you underestimate the responsibility as well as the challenges, you none-the-less stand your ground in the name of love.
    I often wonder what will become of a world where we disrespect and disregard the rights of children, for as I often say, “they are the future.” Usually, I pose this question in light of child slavery, child abuse, or genocide in Africa. But now I must add yet another category to this tragedy. Now I must acknowledge that for some people, children are like property to be traded in when the model does not suit one’s needs.
    What gives me hope is that behind all the human failings that we are capable of, I believe in a Higher Order that is always moving towards the highest good. It appears that Jade, now in the custody of Hong Kong’s Social Welfare Department, has been placed with an English-speaking foster family and is going to a Hong Kong school while the Department looks to make a permanent placement for her in the future.
    I believe that Jade will find a family that loves and appreciates her for the gift she is and that life will reward her in ways as yet unimagined by all concerned. While I deeply regret what she has had to endure in 7 short years, she has a whole lifetime ahead of her to overcome her experiences and use them to her benefit.
    As for the Poetarays, who I am certain wanted to quietly dismiss and disregard this precious life they took on in a most careless and callous manner…well, they are now and forever infamous for what they lack.

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