Friday, June 17, 2011

Senator Amy Klobuchar

It arrived in my email this morning:

For the past four years I've had the privilege of serving Minnesota in the United States Senate. It's been an extraordinary journey filled with extraordinary moments. But above all, my service in the Senate has been defined by a simple value - putting Minnesotans first.

It's something I've worked hard to do on issue after issue, case after case. We cut through red tape so that our Minnesota National Guard members would receive the full educational benefits they deserved. I helped Minnesota families bring home dozens of adopted children who were stuck in Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake there. We opened markets overseas for our farmers and opened up credit at home for our small businesses. And I pushed through tough reforms to protect consumers from unsafe products and contaminated food outbreaks. All of this has been about putting Minnesotans first.

But in order to carry on this fight, I first need to win a fight of my own: my battle for reelection next year. And this is a fight in which I need your help, because the stakes are high.

In case you missed it, I put the sentence that hit me in bold. After emailing Senator Klobuchar my concerns last year about her attempts to facilitate Haitian adoptions (with little to no regard for the ethics of the situation), she's still touting it. I know this is a form letter that is sent to all of her "supporters." But I am no longer a supporter, and this email isn't helping.

So I sat down to compose a response. I will print it out and mail it, a physical letter, later today.

Dear Senator Klobuchar,

First of all, I want to thank you for your service. I have long been a supporter and was thrilled when you were elected to the Senate almost five years ago. I know you are a hard-worker and care about the state of Minnesota.

Having said that, however, I am writing to you because of your continued support of Haitian adoptions. Though I had sent you an e-mail over a year ago expressing my concerns about what was happening in Haiti - children who still had parents alive being taken out of the country by unscrupulous "missionaries" - your response indicated nothing to suggest you shared that concern. More recently, I have begun receiving e-mails requesting donations for your upcoming campaign, emails which tout the Haitian adoptions as one of your accomplishments.

Senator Klobuchar, I would request that you do some research on adoption. Most adoptees across the country have no access to their history, their origins. Adoptees born here (except in a few states) do not have access to their original birth certificates. International adoptees have even less hope of connecting with biological family members. Indeed, many prospective adoptive parents (though not all) indicate they would rather adopt oversees so that the child will never be able to reunite with his or her biological family.

Knowledge of our histories, our traditions, our cultures of origin... all of this is essential to the development of a fully realized human being. And it is knowledge too often denied to adoptees. Your glib support of the Haitian adoption practice demonstrates a lack of appreciation of the issues really involved here. It is a form of cultural imperialism: rather than helping Haiti care for its children, you are facilitating the removal of those children to a foreign land where they have no relatives.

It saddens me to say that I will not be donating to your campaign this time around. And I will not be voting for you. I think you do good work and that you mean well. But unless you are willing to better educate yourself on the adoption issues, I cannot, in good conscience, support you as long as you push forward in this way.

I believe that you want to work for all Minnesotans. But you need to consider your actions and how they will affect the children, who are the ones most affected by adoption.

I expect it will have little to no impact. I don't like being a one-issue voter. And I don't expect the other party to put up anyone better. It's just maddening to me that, after all this time, there is so little awareness of the complexities of adoption, and the difficulties it can bring to the children affected.

Perhaps, if you know people from Minnesota, you could get them to write to Senator Klobuchar as well. Just a thought.