Monday night I happened upon an episode from National Geographic TV program Banged Up Abroad. (It’s called Locked up Abroad in the US). This is about people who find themselves on the wrong side of the law usually we might sit and watch the first few minutes and then turn over or it would just play in the background (bad I know) without anyone watching.
But this episode caught my attention, a couple resident in Egypt that want to adopt a child. Susan Halgof and her husband Medhat Bassada. Though Ms Halgof is still a US citizen. During the process of the adoption Ms Halgof has to return to the States because her mother is ill. Basically they get caught, after having tried to pass off false and falsified documentation to the American Embassy when trying to get a US passport for the baby.
I’d like to think that I am a sensitive, caring human being. But as I watched this semi dramatised account, inter-cut with actual footage of Susan Halgof talking to camera about her terrible and traumatic experiences in an Egyptian court and subsequently in an Egyptian prison. I was left completely cold. I actually ended up feeling very annoyed, at best with Ms Halgof and at worst, thinking well if you enter into this world of deceit, buying a baby that isn’t yours and then trying to pass it off as yours. That is to say that you’re trying to get the authorities to accept that you gave birth, then what can you expect? Is this cruel of me? Am I so callous and insensitive? All I could think of was that baby’s family, the mother, the father, the grandfather, the aunt. Yes I accept I don’t know then entire background. Perhaps they we willing to relinquish the child. Perhaps there were other social and economic factors that had come into play. As this account was purely from Ms Halgof’s point of view, you’ll have to excuse me if I can’t accept this whole heartedly as a de-facto account of all that occurred
Whether we in the west like it or not, there are some countries that do not look on transracial adoption in a benevolent way. The see adoption as a very negative action. Now we can go on and on about how this leaves children languishing in institutions. But does this give people the right to flout laws? Is this a good enough reason to dislocate and culturally displace a child? The latter is a life long sentence and I am one of the many that were unwittingly sentenced.
If we are so determined to better the lives of orphans in other countries, then perhaps we should look at giving inter-country support, financial aid and expertise so that those countries. So that they can better care and place their own children domestically?