Friday, February 12, 2010

Calling For Balance

There are a small handful of beautiful programs working in Haiti to raise orphans to adulthood and teaching them to give back to their country. It takes a lot to pull that off. It takes strong and committed Haitian leadership.
~~~~~~~~~~

Last night on AC360 Anderson visited an orphanage outside of Port au Prince.

As he interviewed the people overseeing the orphanage they said things and he repeated them in agreement. It was the "let's all agree and not think critically" segment.

During the interview one women admitted that most kids were placed in the orphanage as a result of financial hardship in the birth family. She did not claim the children had deceased parents. (Although some of them probably do.) She went on to explain that they would not want to offer adoption as a choice because these children need to stay in their own culture. Anderson did not ask a single hard question and just nodded in agreement. In reality orphanages are a subculture and cannot effectively preserve the culture that they so adamantly claim needs preserving.

AC went with the unicef line about how much better it is to be raised in an orphanage in your own country ... preserving your cultural norms and avoiding adoption at all costs. (Meanwhile unicef spokesperson Angelina Jolie adopts children from other cultures and ruins their chances of growing up in an orphanage - yet somehow that is different. You must need to be a celebrity to break unicef rules.)

The weird thing is, they stood in an orphanage meant to house 100+ kids at once and literally said "We never want to take these kids from their parents, their parents love them." Yet the kids are LIVING in the orphanage ... do they not count that as taking them from their parents?

Basically, you can take them from their parents to raise them in your crowded institution - but you cannot take them and place them in nuclear families abroad ... that is abusive. They sat there saying that the kids were placed mainly due to financial reasons, then tried to say that they must be raised in Haiti to be able to help Haiti some day. One teenage girl spoke on camera, saying something like "If you adopt all the kids out they won't be here to help their people, and that is what we want." It was an odd soundbyte by someone who is likely on a short-term visit to Haiti and has very little big picture perspective.

I hardly think anyone is suggesting that we take every.single. child in every.single. orphanage and move them out of Haiti. OF COURSE NOT. As usual, they change the argument into something it is not. ALL children leaving Haiti is a bad idea. An idiot knows that. You cannot remove the entire next generation. But, ALL children staying in Haiti (closing down adoption on the whole) is a really bad idea too.

The same thing applies as in every other argument ... it is not a black and white, one size-fits-all argument. Different situations warrant different responses ... there is no hard and fast rule, no one response to the orphan crisis. Keeping hundreds of thousands of orphans (with or without living birth-parents) in institutions and thinking that these institutions will prepare them to "give back to their country" -- is nothing short of totally ignorant. The vast majority of orphanages in Haiti are horribly understaffed and overcrowded. Those conditions don't turn out world leaders.

Most orphanages look different on the days that visitors come. They are not wonderful, loving, centers of cultural goodness. 100 kids living in one building was presented as a brilliant idea by Coop last night. I am not exactly sure what he was thinking. Live in an orphanage for three months when there are no cameras around. THEN come tell me how totally awesome it is to stay in your home culture.


I don't know why Anderson is generalizing and suggesting one solution for the problem of orphans in Haiti. These one-sided platitudes must be encouraged by unicef or by those ten people that tried to take kids illegally ... but either way they are misguided. I'd love to see Anderson actually report on this issue looking at BOTH sides.

Adoption is not warranted in every situation. Of course not. But keeping all orphaned kids from the opportunity to be adopted in order preserve their fabulous (orphan) culture and keep unicef in business, is not a one-size-fits-all solution either.


tara

55 comments:

T & T Livesay said...

And - for the record - NO, I am not saying that everything unicef does is bad. Not at all. Yes, I know they have reunited some families. Yes I know they have some programs that do offer aid to children.

I am only responding to their 100% anti-adoption policies. Closing a country down completely is not the answer.

Research unicef a bit on your own, studies show that in the countries that unicef is most active -- there is no (as in ZERO) reduction in poverty.

Not claiming to have all (or most) of the answers --- but also not taking in millions upon millions of dollars every single year.

Patty said...

You give a well rounded agrument. From what I can tell from your writing here, you and your family are stong and will come out the other side of the trauma you have experienced and continue in you passion to help Haiti and the Haitian people. Thank you for taking the time to write. I enjoy reading your posts.

God Bless,

Patty

Birthblessed said...

In the U. S. the political fight is over abortion; in Haiti it is adoption. In the U. S. the argument is whether to allow abortion to be legal; in Haiti the argument is whether to allow international adoption of the abandoned children of Haiti.

Both have something in common- Justice is not being addressed. We're attempting to put bandaids on a gangrenous, cancerous wound.

The issue is the personhood of the child. Is the personhood being addressed? The acculturation of "the children of Haiti" is not the same as "how do we help THIS child." The problem is so big that no one can comprehend the difference it can possibly make to help ONE CHILD. There are millions of others living in conditions that, if I housed my chickens like that, PETA would have me in jail.

Haiti is broken so deep. What are the anti-adoption forces promising to the parents of Haiti who abandon their children into overcrowded, understaffed orphanges? Where is the promise of infrastructure that will provide the healthcare and education that will lead to *real* change?

I feel so hopeless, and will continue to give to those who can make some difference. And pray. I will pray.

But please, we must stop moving deck chairs on the Titanic. Please keep rescuing those who need it, and let's find a way to keep the ship afloat so no one else needs rescued.

nicki said...

Tara, thank you for such gruonded words. I have come to the conclusion that people think that orphanages in their own country are fine for their kids but realistically that isn't always true. I keep reminding people that I talk to that orphanages are usually understaffed and aren't able to give the love and attention needed. They mean well(at least I think most do) but just don't have the means to do what they fully intend to do. I have heard Americans complain about orphanages is other countries but we have had the worst also. I have read horror stories about orphanages at the turn of the century in our country. I am not sure what they are like today but can't picture them any different than what other countries are trying to do for their kids. Forgive my rambling but I just appreciated what you said so much!! Mom with an Asian adoptee.

Jen said...

Not sure why folks would think overcrowded orphanages are a good idea ANYWHERE.... These types of orphanages have always been the image that comes to mind when American folks think of the "sad circumstances" of poor children worldwide- from Romania to Ethiopia. Thus the USA does not do that, we have foster care. Better? whoa, what a debate!

It seems I hear you saying 100% policy on this issue is not a good idea- given it's such a detailed and complex situation: poverty, connections, family, money, cultural imperialism, nationalism, "what's best for the children," and of course, power.

If that is what you are conveying, I can't agree with you more.

Unfortunately, most people in the world just want simple easy answers and decisions- ie: adoption is good, or adoption is bad, or changing people's ideas of life to mine is good because we live better or it's bad for it's cultural imperialism - and there are just as many people who disagree with with every point.

I believe this will continue to be a very difficult and heart wrenching situation. However, I am cynical enough to believe that if people don't seem to make money from the kids staying in orphanages, they will not close down adoption. yep- that's the money line.

Hang in there- and send AC an email :) I did.

Christie said...

Tara & Troy,

I saw this segment on AC360 last night also. I want to make the argument that they also stated that all of their funding for that orphanage comes from AMERICAN donations. So, it's ok to receive American donations, but it's not ok to let these children live and grow up in America?

I do agree that not all cases are suitable for international adoption. And I do agree that if there is a loving Haitian family that can care for a child, let them stay in Haiti. But, I do not agree with keeping children in orphanges (however "great" they are) their whole life in order to spite international adoption.

I believe that all children benefit from loving, 2 parent homes. I also believe that if international adoption is the answer, adoptive families MUST keep that child's heritage/culture alive.

Anyway, enough ranting and raving. You guys are in my prayers.

nancy said...

As adoptive parents of four from Guatemala, one US newborn, and three biological, I agree with all you said. Of course, if anyone can remain in their own culture, with their birth family that's the best. No one would question that, unless they have unethical, selfish motives. But, as you state, an orphanage is not the place where a child truly learns to give back, to achieve their highest potential. And living in third world poverty is not conducive to such, either. I don't believe children need all the US can offer in order to be happy, American high standards of comfort. But children should have the chance to be fed, clothed, educated, and protected from diseases and more. Our four from Guatemala came home at the ages of 4yrs, 4yrs, 10yrs, and 11yrs...all loved and well cared for in a small private orphanage, run by the same ethical people for the past 30some years. Our adoptions all took from 14months to 3yrs to complete. Nothing shady or illegal. I know that was not always the case with Guatemalan adoptions. Shame. Our kids were healthy, able to bond. But they still had effects from living in a group home, rather than a family. They had gaps in understanding and logic, beyond culture. They're still catching up in some of those areas.

It’s so very easy for UNICEF or any individual to focus on what a child loses when they lose their culture. But look around! What are they losing by continuing to live in extreme poverty, hungery, in danger? Would any of those people choose to live in such conditions? Would they give up all that they have, to take on only what some of these countries can offer their needy citizens? So, so easy to speak platitudes, which so quickly become foolish arguments when one looks around at the setting these people are struggling to survive, even in…pre-earthquake!

Could we have instead supported our childrens' birth families, so they could have continued to live in their culture? Could we have possibly solved the problem of poverty, hunger, unemployment, lack of education in a third world country...in time to help these and other children before they too joined the ranks of the unemployed, hungry, uneducated? No. There wasn’t time. Not for these children. They did not have the luxury of time/years until the country’s political/economic/infra-structure could fe “fixed”, even by thousands of the wealthiest citizens of the world. I don’t know the answer to such poverty. I only know that children should be considered first, not politics or ideals.

We can and must help, in many other ways, including adoption. If you take legal, ethical adoptions out of the equation, it will be too late for many. When that option is taken from children who need it, we aren't helping the most vulnerable in a culture.

If birth families can improve their situations and can come back for their children, that is as it should be. Who are we to say at what economic level happiness can be found? But, if children can't be fed or clothed or adequately supervised and protected, and we have it within our power to provide those things for a child in need, it's just as unethical to sit back and watch children die or become victims of abuse or violence as some feel it is to remove them from their culture to provide for them.

I'll never understand the political/economic reasoning behind UNICEF's strong arm efforts to end to all international adoptions. What do they gain? Money, recognition as humanitarians, control, job security? What???

Sorry for the ramble. Hot button.
Nancy from Midwest

Leslie said...

I heard this song and thought of your journey...Hope it helps you heal!

Back Home
BY JJ AND DAVID HELLER

Don’t let your eyes get used to darkness
The light is coming soon
Don’t let your heart get used to sadness
Put your hope in what is true

No matter how the wind may blow
It cannot shake the sun
Lay your sorrows on the ground
It’s time to come back home

When the future seems uncertain
Like the coming of a storm
Your loving Father carries his children
When they can’t walk anymore

No matter how the wind may blow
It cannot shake the sun
Lay your sorrows on the ground
It’s time to come back home

Oh, back home…

JeanneC said...

I hope Anderson finds you and gets your voice on the air. I am so in agreement with you. I'm going to comment on his Tweet deck now.

Leslie said...

So wasn't the word out on Coop that he and his husband were going to adopt from Haiti? seems like a odd report coming from a guy wanting to adopt from Haiti.

Before the quake we had inquired about a little girl with polio. She is 3 and will never walk in Haiti. No braces on her legs, no pt, mri to be sure it is polio... so now she should wait two more years in an orphanage? At that rate her little legs will probably atrophy and she will NEVER walk. Does she not deserve the same medical help our kids deserve? We are currently working on trying to get her a medical visa. Please pray this comes through and we CAN get her the medical help she needs and the chance to walk!

Bless you for keeping this dicussion going.

Please add Carly to your prayer list.

debra said...

When I heard AC I thought of Canaan. They do it well. But, you are right, not all are like that.

Thanks for writing. I am going to share this.

klmd said...

after two international adoptions and just now reading some of the young adult trans-racial adoptee voices....i realize that i in my middle class white privileged christian mind don't understand the loss of culture.....there are quite a few adoptees feeling a loss of identity and birth culture...it is a very big deal to them....i wish there were programs to sponsor a family.....would love to help a mom and her kids so they could stay in their country and stay together........ until this can happen i am for international adoption in certain circumstances......thanks for the link to canaan.....

keri

Jody said...

Hi Tara and Troy,
Thanks for all your are doing! I love your blog, while I have been reading it for about a year (after you posted on mine...we are Minnesotans too!)I am amazed at your stength and passion!
Can I just say, as a family who has adopted from Ethiopia, I could not have been more dissappointed in AC's lack of assertiveness on this "orphanage/adoption issue." There is no way in the world that my kids would have been better off staying in their country. While the orphanages did the best they could, I have one son who probably would not be alive..(HIV+) had we not brought him home..to his new family. His siblings were in another orphanage, they were separated, didn't even know where their brother was..how good is that? Parents deceased, other relatives never visited..Why would they need to stay when they can have so much more...you can keep the culture of the country still "alive" while providing them a family.
Wow, this is a hot topic for me. Sure, it would be great to keep kids in their native countries, if possible, but, all kids deserve the right to have a family!!
Blessings..Jody and Troy in Minnesota

Laurel said...

So sad! How about some balanced reporting?

I visited a wonderful ministry in Ghana that raises up orphans to be Christian leaders within their own culture. But, this program cannot serve all orphans. And, in order to "work" for (minister with) this ministry, you must raise your own support of $200,000 (U.S.) PER YEAR.

I fully support this ministry in what they are doing, while they fully support me in adopting children from Ghana. They know that they cannot meet all of the needs of all of the orphans. BOTH types of programs are necessary.

mama of 13

Jan said...

UNICEF is the main proponent of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (which takes away the authority and rights of parents and national and local government). They want to see every nation ratify the CRC (superseding that governments previously established laws and policies). To date, the United States has not ratified the CRC. There is a movement in the United States to pass a constitutional amendment called the Parental Rights Amendment (check it out here: http://www.parentalrights.org/). I can't help but wonder if this UNICEF blockade of U.S. adoptions and even the rights of U.S. citizens to take their own Haitian children out of Haiti isn't political posturing to force the U.S. government to press for ratification of the CRC. The adoption issue in Haiti right now is huge, and like you, my heart is for the children and the parents, and all the philosophical and legal discussion has stymied any real concern for them. But, as I watch this unfolding, I see a much bigger picture here that, as Christians we cannot afford to miss! That is the growing power, influence and dominance of the United Nations in the affairs of nations and the private lives of good, law-abiding citizens! I continue to follow you, Troy and Tara, and thank you for being the main force to have opened my eyes. I continue to pray for you and your family and your healing and your future. Keep telling the whole truth! The truth is what will bring freedom!

T & T Livesay said...

Preserving a connection to the child's home culture is important ... I have seen many adoptive parents do it well - and have seen others refuse to ...

I believe kids will do better if they have an age-appropriate opportunity (through the desires and purposeful efforts of their adoptive parents) to engage with their birth culture. Keeping my children in touch with their birth country (and their birth families) is of great importance to me.

When it comes to staying in the home culture VS. being adopted - There cannot be one blanket policy for thousands of individual human situations.

Hugues and Jodi said...

I saw this last night also and another thing struck me. They said that 70% of the children in their orphanage have mental and physical disabilities. I am curious, if adoption is not an option, what kind of assistance these children receive long-term if they are unable to care for themselves and/or finish school? It worries me what happens when they "age out" of the orphanage.

If most of the children are there due to financial hardships of the parents, could not some of the American donations be used to aid the families so the children can remain with their biological families and in their country if that is the goal?

None of us have the "right" answer either, and there is no "right" answer for every situation across the board. I pray that in the coming months and years those working in Haiti are able to strike a balance that keeps in mind the benefit of the Haitian people, be they children, mothers and fathers, or entire families. May we all see that these are PEOPLE, who do not need problems solved for them how we think is best but need assistance in their own individual situations, and the assistance needed will look completely different to each person.

Praying for you all...

Emma said...

I so agree, I spent a month working in an orphanage (not in Haiti), and it broke my heart thinking of the kids who has to live there full time. I completely believe that the kids whos families still come to visit them should 100% not be adopted though, having met the parents of some of the kids and seeing their heartbreak over having to leave their children in these institutions because they have no money was just horrible. I wish there was more programmes to educate adults and enable them to get good jobs so that families can stay together

kat d. said...

my aunt and uncle adopted my cousin during the "operation babylift" after the Vietnam war. (ok, just dated myself! LOL)

The relatives were stationed in the Phillipines at the time, and my aunt volunteered to assist the children during a refuel stop. My aunt found the baby in a trash can. She was abandoned because of her "amer-asian" status...She was adopted and brought up in a military family of 9, world-wide, and was always taught her heritage by my aunt and uncle.

She's now a nurse, and a mommy to 4of her own. She was afforded opportunities by her adoptive parents that would have never been offered to her in homeland, if she had survived at all. And, she is as loved by my "tribe" as any of my other 37 cousins are. No difference.

I will never profess to understand the political red tape that surrounds adoptions, but I know first hand what bull the powers that be can put a family thru.

I wish each and every family who is affected by the unjust restraints much success in their adoptions--and pray that they are granted sooner, rather than later.

And, AC: you disappointed me last nite. What happened to "unbiased" journalism? Somewhere along the way, it seems to have been thrown under the bus.

lorismusings said...

As an adoptive mom of two international children (and working on number three) I have heard this argument MANY times. You are made to feel guilty for taking these children away from their wonderful culture - which if you didn't - would have included poverty, possible prostitution, sickness, lack of education, and more.

In fact, our own adoption agency drills into you through their "adoption education" the idea that culture - and not family - is the most important piece of a child's identity, let alone adoption.

This is ridiculous! I believe that these people may be anti-adoption because they are really anti-family. Or, they don't see the important, sustaining, and nurturing effect that family has on children.

We are wiping that truth out in American society. Women don't stay home with their children, divorce is rampant, fathers are not involved in their families. These are generalizations of course, but we are heading down a very dangerous road.

Pretty soon the government will be sticking their noses into everything about family - how we discipline, how we educate - you name it. They want to control it.

Sorry, a bit of a sidetrack, but I think it is part of the same thinking.

We raise our Asian Indian daughters to know, respect, and value their cultural heritage. We show them that we do as well. However, the most important thing we teach them is that God loves them - not for the color of their skin, but for WHO they are. We teach them that God sees everyone the same and that they are special in God's eyes as a precious creation of His.

The missing piece in UNICEF or other similar worldviews on adoption/race/culture is God. That will always make their argument not make sense to us when we have a Biblical worldview. How to change that? I just don't know.

Lori

The Walkers said...

Totally agree! Very well said!!

Saintly Nurse said...

Could not agree more. I'm friends w/ people closer to Cap Haitien than PAP who run an orphanage much like Canaan. Those kids are fortunate.

There's no way adoption is across the boards good or bad for any child. I'm disappointed in AC this time.

Even though we've never met you guys are in our thoughts/prayers.

Amy said...

I thought UNICEF was calling for a temporary halt to international adoption from Haiti. In light of the state of the Haitian government, I'm not sure this is a bad thing. How can the government properly review adoption documents when their offices don't even exist? And why is UNICEF angering so many people by working to reunite families?

Janet said...

I agree with you. We worked with an organization in Haiti that had a sub-organization called OWOW, Orpahanges WithOut Walls. We worked with the families to make it possible to keep their children. Occasionally we had a child that went to another family, and we supervised the situation carefully. And a few were adopted internationally.
The biggest problem a lot of organizations have is taking on more than they can supervise properly. Our limit was 20 children at a time, and we still keep in contact with all of "our" children.

Elizabeth Seay said...

tara.
you hit it right on.
not all orphans should be adopted, but in a crisis like this...lots more should.
in addition to adoption, smaller group homes with christian haitian parents raising/fostering 12 to 15 kids each would be a better scenario than big orphanages. it would keep kids in their country/culture but give them a loving family environment. it would be great if American churches could partner with Haitian churches and find christian Haitian parents to run these group homes, with funding from the American churches or people.
kind of like the Boys and Girls homes we have in the US.
there is one near us in houston called Boys and Girls Country and each home is run by a christian family and has about 10 to 15 kids each.
this becomes their family.
lots to write about that topic...but we are praying and trying to figure out how to get something like that started.
kind of what Danita's Children does, but more homes throughout Haiti and fewer kids in the homes...
thank you for writing this!
we value so much your wisdom from seeing everything firsthand.

T & T Livesay said...

I totally missed where anyone was angry by unicef reuniting families - have not written or read anything of that sort. If a kid and his parent are separated post earthquake and unicef reunites them - we all dig that a whole lot.

The attention should be focused on the many many many kids that were in orphanages prior to January 12th. These kids had already been institutionalized (abandoned) and were not accidentally separated from their families. These very orphanages are now struggling to keep kids alive and don't have access to the food, water, and supplies necessary to sustain the children.

unicef places pressure on weak and/or disabled governments to achieve their anti-adoption agenda ...afterall, unicef needs orphans or they cease to exist.

In light of the fact that kids are now dying daily as a result of the fear (medical people on the ground attest to this on camera) of pissing off or stepping on the toes of unicef ... I have a hard time seeing where directly causing the death of children can be considered "in the best interest of the child."

These "let's keep ALL Haitian children in Haiti" policies might be intended to cause some pie in the sky happy-happy-joy-joy rainbows and ponies results ... but the policies are actually allowing children to die ... children that could otherwise live. When an overarching policy is attributing to death -- we ought to question it and try to find better answers.

Shall we review documents, wait for the Gov't to recover, and create policies while the children starve and die of treatable disease?

Johnson Five said...

WOW - no one has EVER said it better than that! Thank you!!!

Brenna said...

Well said, Tara! I appreciate your thoughts, and I wholeheartedly agree.

JacciM said...

Emma wrote: "I completely believe that the kids whos families still come to visit them should 100% not be adopted though, having met the parents of some of the kids and seeing their heartbreak over having to leave their children in these institutions because they have no money was just horrible."

I was envisioning this scenario, too, when reading the quote from the AC special about "not taking them away from their families". How common is it for the birth mother to come and visit her child in the orphanage? Are they talking about keeping children in Haiti so they can have some sort of relationship with their birth family?

Amy said...

Check out "Kid's Alive" - There are at least a couple of these locations in the DR that I have visited and are run by members of my church. The seem to be what E. Seay is describing in an above comment.
Tara - I agree with your point... all of them - :) thanks for taking the time to write. I don't know about you but it would have taken me all day to get this down on "paper" in such a concise and well written way. I appreciate you drawing attention to the matter in such a respectful and God honoring way. You are truly salt and light to the many who stop by to read.
In Him,
Amy

Basically said...

Hi Troy & Tara,
I've been reading your weblog for a while, and just want thank you for sharing your experience in Haiti (before and after earthquake). You did an amazing job there, for haitian people and for your family.

A friend of mine worked in Port au Prince and Cite Soleil, unfortunatly he died when his house collapsed.

It's been 1 month today since the earthquake, and I've thinking a lot about him and about your family.

I wish you good luck for your future. Once again, thank you for everything you are doing for this country.

(I apologize for English mistakes, since English is not my native language ;-))

Amy said...

The situation in Haiti is indescribably sad. The daily challenges that many Haitians are facing, I would surely not survive. The images of children with amputations or emaciated and living in squalor are heartbreaking. I cannot even describe how these things hurt my very core. Each child has a story and that story should be heard and considered and decisions should be made based on what’s best for that one child. But with the shear number of children, is this logistically possible? Who would be in charge of making these decisions? I can’t imagine a scenario where this would work in Haiti now or ever. I don’t know how to handle the thousands of children already living in orphanages. I don’t have the answers but I do understand the policy of the Haitian government temporarily halting international adoptions. I believe their claims that many Haitian children are vulnerable to trafficking. And I believe that adoption in the USA is big business and while many, many agencies are ethical, many are not.
I do like Jane Aronson’s proposal. Can what Dr. Aronson describes work in Haiti? Is this an option for many of the orphaned and separated children? Check out the link if you're interested: http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/25/adopting-a-child-from-haiti/

Michelle said...

Great thoughts! I was completely frustrated by this last night! Does anyone know when adoptions will resume in Haiti?

Laura Lu said...

tara, you are so eloquent. thank for putting all of these thoughts together so concisely. i whole heartedly and passionately agree with every. single. statement you made. wow and thank you!

kayder1996 said...

I am adoptive mom of two Haitian kiddos. The problem with taking an absoulute stance one way is that is just gets hung up on ideas rather than reality. I cannot imagine going to a hopsital in need of an amputation and having someone give me a bandaid or going to a hospital need stitches and ending up with my arm missing. Adoption minus concern for birth parents is like amputating an arm when stitches would do. And ending all adoption to preserve culture or a birth family unit is like receiving a bandaid when your gangerous arm is withering up at your side. Medical care is not about one solution and orphan care should not be either, especially in countries like Haiti.

On a side note, I think one of the thing that irks me most about people/groups that discourage intercountry adoption is thaat it comes off to me as insincere and disrespectful to birth parents. Birth parents should always have the right to make adoption plans for their children. Is is sad that adoption plans are made? Most definitely. Adoption, while joyous, always represents grief and loss and trauma. But can you imagine an American teenager being told they couldn't make a plan to allow someone else to parent their unplanned pregnancy? If a parent really is working to make a plan because they believe it's best for their child, we should respect that choice not degrade it. And can you also imagine what would happen in the US if we looked at all families who were involved with foster care and said "well if they just had more money it would allow them to successfully parent their children"? Sometimes poverty is the issue but often it is part of the problem not the only problem. Just providing money does not solve the problem. And as you guys have pointed out in previous post, mass infusions of money to families who have never had money can be very disruptive and destructive depending on the situation. And in the case of adoptions, the money does not solve problems like domestic abuse, child abuse or neglect, mental health issues, child's medical needs, etc..

Barbara said...

Wow. Great discussion. Thank-you for addressing this issue on your blog. I am an adoptive mom who completely agrees with your stance on international adoption. It's important to note that I have never thought of myself as some sort of hero for adopting my son - for "saving" him from from a life of poverty. There is much more to his story than that. My husband and I feel privileged to have this child grow up with us, and we feel a tremendous responsibility to him. We love his birth country and wholeheartedly embrace their culture. He brings a richness to our family that we treasure with all our being. His birth country is trying to encourage domestic adoption but it is not culturally accepted. Until it is, children need families, and we are happy to be one of those adoptive families.

Davis Family said...

I did not see this AC program, but it makes me so mad!!! I just sent him a very long email begging him to please represent the other side of this sensitive situation. I am a parernt to an internationally adopted child. I fully agree that if the child can be adopted to a loving family within it's country than that should be givin priority. But that is where I stop understanding....

Serdan said...

We want to impose on Haiti a model that we would never accept here for our own children--growing up in an orphanage or institution. How will these children grow up to be good husbands and wives, and good mothers and fathers if they have never experienced that or had that modeled for them? How can the church strengthen and empower the family and restore it's dignity and honor so that families are kept intact?
What those ten "missionaries" did is outrageous. Imagine a group of Europeans coming into inner city Chicago or Katrina ravaged New Orleans and offering to whisk away children to Europe so they could have a better life. Adoption is an answer for many and it should be maintained as an option but relinquishing your child for adoption should be an informed choice after other avenues have been exhausted.
I salute Heartline and The Apparent Project and Henri and Gladys and Casa Viva in Costa Rica. All looking for long-term, big-picture solutions that are honoring to the parents and the children.

Antonine said...

I'm so glad I didn't see the program!! I agree that it's very disrespectful of the birth parents . . . . as if the birth parents are too uneducated and poor to make the choice to put their children, whom the LOVE, into adoption.

Yes, it would be great if they didn't have to make this choice, but if my children were starving I would hope that UNICEF wouldn't mettle with my parental rights!

Being poor DOES NOT equal being stupid!!!!!!

Antonine said...

Troy please tweet and ask AC to take a more comprehensive look at the role UNICEF is playing . . . you have lot of followers. Maybe he'll get the message. SEND VERA!

Vashti said...

As an Adoptive mum of 2 and some one who works with AIDS orphans here in South Africa, I am 100% behind what you are saying.On a whole orphanages are over crowded and understaffed, and that is through out the world.
Its not just a Haiti problem its a world problem, but since the quake the problem in Haiti has intensified so much, I do not understand why these people who say that they care for these children and their futures cant understand that for the children to be in a secure, loving family, with the chance of a decent education and a bright future is the best life for the kids. Seriously...what is wrong with these folks? I just dont get it.

Both my children came from great orphanages, but I KNOW that they are way better off in our family.

How do people not see this?

Tara thankyou for the work that you guys are doing. Keep it up even in the midst of frustration.

MamaPoRuski said...

According to one report I read, Haiti had 380,000 "orphans". The US only had 330 families in process of adopting at the time of the earthquake. Does that seem right? I can't imagine international adoption is making a difference in the culture at all!
May God continue to bless you and your work!

Dara said...

I find it interesting that here in the United States we can criticize a family for having 19 children, and yet in almost the same breath, support an orphanage raising 100 kids abroad. If we see 19 kids is too much for one family, what makes 100 okay for someone else?

Alexandra said...

Thank you Tara! Couldn't agree more with your statements.
Alexandra

T & T Livesay said...

The year Isaac and Hope came into our family there were 296 kids that left Haiti for families in the USA. Those numbers have never grown --- there is no risk of taking all of Haiti's children ... we're talking about a tiny, tiny percentage of children being adopted. Unicef likes to change the argument and pull the bait and switch and make it all into something it is not. Right now they are claiming sex trafficking is a huge huge worry ... having lived in Haiti four years I can tell you it is no less of a worry right within Haiti --- than it is abroad.

They just want you to think that it is.

Nate and Brenda said...

Could not agree more. Well put Tara. We have discussed all this before. My adopted kids all love their native countries, but refuse to remember their time in the orphanage. Adoption has always been one of the most misunderstood things. The reactions of people are sometimes funny, but usually maddening. Of course, everyone is an expert, especially those with only the knowledge of the gossip machines. Tell my kids that they would have been better off in an orphanage. I think THEY are the real experts.
For the record, Gladys and Henri are the most amazing people I have ever met and am honored to be working with them I pray God will raise up MANY Haitians just like them in the near future.

ManyBlessings said...

"The missing piece in UNICEF or other similar worldviews on adoption/race/culture is God. That will always make their argument not make sense to us when we have a Biblical worldview. How to change that? I just don't know."

Exactly. That, and they are denying the desire that every human heart has to be "loved most of all."

An orphanage just can't do that.

Tonya said...

I'm with you...I watch Anderson nearly every night and I've been impressed with his reporting - I just really like him - but I did watch the episode last night and as I was watching I thought - well what about all the people who already had the adoption process started before earthquake and you've shown video of them in the US living a nice comfortable life and praised the families for doing this. Yes they did it legally (unlike missionaries presently in custody) - but in essence they took Haitian kids out of Haiti...and that is what he is now reporting shouldn't happen! So - I agree - he needs to clarify some things! I still like him though!!

Tonya Mayfield
PS. I found your blog through friends on facebook and have really appreciated your accounts on Haiti during this time! Thanks for your dedication to the Lord and the Haitian people!

Tonya said...

Wow..just read the rest of the comments...I did not know that Cooper was a homosexual...wow...

Elizabeth said...

I think you're "there's no one response to the orphan crisis" sums it up well. Thanks.

Serdan said...

http://www.mangine.org/2010/02/jemima-and-ezaye.html Where is UNICEf? Seems like they haven't made it to Jacmel? When this happens to puppies in America it is on the news and all kinds of people are up in arms. So sad.

Shauna said...

Can I link your post to my blog? I was in Uganda for 3 weeks this fall and I totally "get" what you are saying. People want a blanket answer to the orphan crisis - not going to happen. Adoption NEEDS to be apart of the answer. So sad for those kids to pay the price of it all.

bbqdaisy said...

I TOTALLY agree with you!
That was SO WELL SAID!
Thank you for saying it!
Blessings and Peace
Maria

Ana said...

I just posted this on our Facebook page--Haiti Relief Fundraiser--as a GIVE A LITTLE, GAIN A LOT OPPORTUNITY. We have nearly 700 fans from Hong Kong to Ireland to Argentina. Most fans are concentrated in the Pacific Northwest, however.

If you would like to see what we posted, the link is:


Thank you for the tip!

P.S. The poet laureate for the City of Tacoma, Antonio Edwards, wrote a beautiful poem for the couple that gave birth to their first child while you were preparing to leave Haiti. It would be wonderful to share with you and get it to the couple. We are also still waiting for the photos that you took before you left.

The Stagers said...

Thank you for this!