Sunday, January 31, 2010

Discordant Notes

Reading the newspaper today was a nasty experience.

First was the story of the Baptists from America getting arrested for trying to spirit Haitian children out of the devastated country. Their story is that they were trying to take the children to the Dominican Republic to set up an orphanage. From there, of course, the children would be available for adoption.

It is a disgusting display of cultural imperialism. I must say I experienced a good bit of Schadenfreude at the thought of their arrest. I suspect, somehow, they will get out of it, but I thought I would enjoy it for the moment.

Then I turned to the Life section, and I find this story...

Americans Rush to Adopt Orphaned Haitian Children:

Gage, 38, of Stanberry, Mo., said her oldest daughter texted her the phone number of the National Council for Adoption while on the school bus. The family knows that adoption can take a long time, but plans to stick it out.

'Of course the sooner, the better, but I know kind of the process,' she said.

Gage and her husband Brad had discussed adopting before, but she was moved by the devastation in Haiti. 'Really, I wanted to get on the next flight out and help these people,' she said.

And I wanted to rip my hair out. I mean, seriously? She wants to help these people? By adopting? How does that help? Donate money. That'll help. Taking children, out of the country, away from their culture, how does that help Haiti?

And the newspaper seems to see no conflict between these two stories.

And it only gets worse. As I was locating the original stories on the web, I found an update on the Americans who were arrested. Here's an excerpt from the beginning:

Baptists say they were trying to do good in Haiti:

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - Ten U.S. Baptists arrested trying to take 33 children out of earthquake-shattered Haiti say they were just trying to do the right thing, applying Christian principles to save Haitian children.

Prime Minister Max Bellerive told The Associated Press Sunday he was outraged by the group's 'illegal trafficking of children' in a country long afflicted by the scourge and by foreign meddling.

But the hard reality on the ground in this desperately poor country - especially after the catastrophic Jan. 12 quake - is that some parents openly attest to their willingness to part with their children if it will mean a better life.

It was a sentiment expressed by all but one of some 20 Haitian parents interviewed at a tent camp Sunday that teemed with children whose toys were hewn from garbage.

'Some parents I know have already given their children to foreigners,' said Adonis Helman, 44. 'I've been thinking how I will choose which one I may give - probably my youngest.'

Rather than adopting actual orphans, rather than donating financially, we have Haitian parents giving their children away to "foreigners" in order to give them a better life. Is this what we want? Is this help? Can't we find a better way?

My heart is breaking for this whole situation.

1 comment:

birthmom1986 said...

It just makes me want to vomit. Really.

Just ran into your blog. I'm an almost 40 year old birthmom in reunion with my daughter for going on five years.