December 19, 2005

Don't Call Them Orphanages, Don't Mention Borat

The adoption business is like no other. Can you imagine a company that charged you tens of thousands of dollars for its services and then inflicted constant delays on you, all the while withholding the reasons for those delays? You would demand a full refund. Maybe file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. But this is a franchise built on love and greed, in which proportions I can't really say.
Today is the first entry in Eric Weiner's week-long diary for Slate about his and his wife's experience of traveling to Kazakhstan--armed with a Lonely Planet guidebook, some secret passwords to identify the right drivers, and a bale of cash to adopt their baby daughter.

I'm guessing if they talk about their "baby daughter" in Day 1, they're ultimately successful, but the journey's definitely the point here. International adoption is controversial, especially because the country is developing rapidly, and I'm sure Borat isn't helping.

"The Sisters" who have been coordinating things from afar for months are cagey when discussing why the parents-to-be aren't allowed to visit the baby house yet. "Never, by the way, call them orphanages. Always baby houses." Gotcha.

A weeklong journal of a hopeful father-to-be

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