Ten years later, during which the boy's parents refused to give up their search for their son, they know exactly where their son is but can do nothing about it. Painstakingly recounted, bathed in empathy, Carney's essay makes for a harrowing tale.
Five years after he was kidnapped, the police chanced upon a drunken brawl in a bar at which people were arguing about grabbing children off the streets and selling them to an adoption agency. The police found that the agency then placed these children in homes as far away as Australia, the US and Europe.
It was every parent's worst nightmare. Sivagama and her husband, Nageshwar Rao, a construction painter, spent the next five years scouring southern India for Subash. [...] To finance the search, Nageshwar Rao sold two small huts he'd inherited from his parents and moved the family into a one-room concrete house with a thatched roof in the shadow of a mosque. The couple also pulled their daughter out of school to save money; the ordeal plunged the family from the cusp of lower-middle-class mobility into solid poverty. And none of it brought them any closer to Subash.
The ingredients in this international adoption cocktail cannot but lead to skewed incentives - desperate, childless couples with the ability to bear the cost of international adoptions, abject poverty and millions of disenfranchised parents in developing countries, and most importantly, no rules for how much money can be demanded for placements.
"This is an industry to export children," says Sarah Crowe, unicef's media director for South Asia. "When adoption agencies focus first on profits and not child rights, they open up the door to gross abuses."The saddest part of this heartbreaking tale is where Subash's parents realize this has gone too far along, that they've lost their son. That even if they know exactly where he is, there is nothing they can do to bring his child back to his family.
When I tell Nageshwar Rao that I'll be traveling to the United States to make contact with the family, he touches my shoulder and eyes me intently. [...] With the few words of English at his disposal, he struggles to convey his hopes. Gesturing into the air, toward America, he says, "Family." He then points back at himself.Oh my god.
"Friends," he says.
All the father now wants is at least some contact with his own son, to be his 'friend'. And it looks like even that might be impossible. No matter which way you look at this, every one comes up a loser.
The entire article is a must-read. The Interpol is now involved in the case, trying, with blood samples, to establish and Subash was indeed stolen from his parents. Carney has a blog (Updating (03/23/09) to add a direct link to his blog - http://www.scottcarneyonline.com/blog/. The earlier link is to his main website.). I'm sure he'll be posting follow-ups to this story there.
At this point I don't even know what I'm praying for.
Nageshwar Rao's acceptance of what must be reminds me of one of the wise King Solomon tales.
Two women are fighting over a child, both claiming to be the mother. They go to King Solomon and present their case. The King says he'll hold a contest. He draws a line on the ground, tells the women to stand on either side. He gives the child to them, the hands to one woman and the feet to the other. He tells them to pull. Whoever succeeds in pulling the child to her is the mother.
The two women pull. The baby starts crying. Then, one of the women, unable to bear the child's cries, lets go. The other woman triumphantly turns to the King. King Solomon takes the child from the woman and hands it to the one who let go. Only a mother could do what she did, he says. Feel the child's pain.