What are blogs for if not to disseminate your wisdom to the world. I have been so hot and bothered by the ignorant and anti-adoption sentiments I have been seeing and reading coming from the government, news media and now popular media (Yes, I'm talking about you Dr. Phil). So here goes...
1. Adoption is NOT human trafficking. It is THE ANSWER to human trafficking. Stop painting adoptive parents with the same brush as pedophiles, pimps and slave dealers. Yes, surely children that are left in the hands of a government whose ability "to provide basic services and security for citizens, and to control rampant crime in the capital, Port-au-Prince,continues to be compromised by limited resources, an untrained and poorly equipped police force, entrenched government corruption, and perennially weak government institutions" as described by the US State Department, will certainly be at great risk for abduction and exploitation in the wake of a major disaster. The answer is not to turn these kids over to the ridiculous government leaders that they were born victims to in hopes that now in a crisis they will somehow prove themselves not to be the buffoons they've been for the last 200 years but instead for the US State Department to work closely with US based charities already on the ground to identify children in need of families and put as much pressure as humanly possible on the inept Haitian government to expedite these children to safe, loving and stable homes in this and other developed countries. This brings me to my next point.
2. Stop using the ridiculous and loaded term "true orphan." Now class, everyone close your eyes and imagine all the children you know in America who have two dead parents. Go ahead, I'll wait. I thought of one. He lives with his older sister. Now think of all the children that are in the foster system or have been adopted from this country or others who have at least one living parent who is either unable or unwilling to raise said child. I would need about 5 hands to count them all. So, why are we so hell-bent on using this standard of "true orphan" when referring to children who need a home and a family now, not in 3 or 4 years but now. Especially in the wake of the biggest disaster the country as seen in modern history. My son has two living birth parents. They starved him and left him for dead because he had cerebral palsy and was deaf. But they are very much still alive. Does that make ME a child trafficker for taking this child from his home country with their full knowledge, consent and participation. Of course not. "True orphan" is not the standard we use in America and should not be the standard we set for international adoption either. (*Note: When my son is old enough to read and understand this post, I will remove this entry. I would never describe his past situation to him in these raw terms although they are the truth.)
3. A word about the screening process for adoptive parents in the US... A "home study" is a rather expensive process that results in a 7-10 page document that gets sent to the Department of Homeland Security who fingerprints you with their fancy schmancy finger printing computer and matches it against the super duper database in Washington to ensure you are not some sort of terrorist or on a most wanted list. By the time the US Govt. waves its wand at you and calls you worthy you have had the following examined:
Your head (by a shrink)
Your heart, skin, lungs, and blood (by a doctor)
Your spirit (by a clergy member)
Your bank account (by the US govt.)
Your tax statements (by the IRS)
Your ability to provide a steady income (by your employer)
Your lack of criminal background and lack of sexual offenses(by the State Police)
Your character (by your friends and neighbors)
Your upstairs, downstairs, attic, basements, back yard, front yard, and closets (by a social worker)
Your vehicles(by a social worker)
Your family history and your current views on life, love, and parenting (by a social worker)
Your dog (by a veterinarian)
And I've probably forgotten something since this was a few years back. Point being, all these licensed and certified professionals have gotten together along with the secretary of state and the Haitian Embassy in the US (via a paid translator) to give you (literally) their stamp of approval. Let me tell you that stamp does not come cheap or easy. We are as transparent as one can be. We are not emotional light-weights who jump into this process blindly lead by our bleeding hearts. We are also not scheisters who have circumvented protocol to exploit the vulnerable. We are NOT the bad guys. Which brings me to my next point.
4. UNICEF sucks. Please do not allow your precious children to go out at Halloween time in their darling costumes and stump for this political organization that does not support the values that you hold dear. First of all, in case you have been living under a rock, UNICEF if part of the UN. 'Nough said. When I spent a great deal of time in Haiti, trying desperately to jump through the fiery hoops that lead to the receding finish line of bringing MY(the govt. had already granted us the adoption) child home I never once heard of any UNICEF clinics, orphanages, schools, literacy or vaccination programs. I did however, hear of UNICEF lobbyists in the government offices doing what they could do to foul up adoptions. UNICEF is anti-adoption, anti-religion, and anti-American. If they were truly dedicated to their mission to "advocate for the protection of children's rights, to help meet their basic needs and to expand their opportunities to reach their full potential" they could not possibly run around the globe spending a great deal of their energies and big time bucks opposing adoptions. And I'm so sick of hearing "but they're a well-established organization." Well so is the KKK. In a CNN article out today (http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/01/29/haiti.restavek.sende.sencil/?hpt=Sbin), a young Haitian restavek (child slave) was rescued by some American doctors. Her captors were trying again and again to steal her back. She was obviously terrified of them. She was living in a hospital tent. A UNICEF worker came to her a day later and talked with her. The worker told her that she didn't need to go back with the captors if she didn't want to (thanks guys) and then they left her there in the tent again. When asked if she could be anywhere in the world right now, what was the girls reply? "America." Eventually they sent her away with a man that they thought was her actual father who was supposed to take her to her actual mother. An American doctor who was treating the girl said he wished they had waited till her mother came forward to claim the girl and bring her back home. Common sense right? Who knows if this girl will remain with her family who cannot care for her or go back into servitude again. Job well done UNICEF.
Whew, if you are reading this you have a great deal of perseverance. I probably could rant on but would it really help? If feels good to get this out and written down but I doubt it will help me sleep at night or any of the thousands or Haitian orphans who will sleep outside tonight. I have tried to contact the Secretary of the Bureau of Public Relations at the State Department to share with him my perspective. I'll let you know if he returns my call.