This week, I’ve been deeply disturbed at the swelling public desire to adopt Haitians. Haitian orphan babies. The very name is problematic. In our imagination, an orphan has no family, but the vast majority of “orphans” all over the world have living parents, and almost every single one has living extended relatives. And the children that need family care are, overwhelmingly, older children.
Quite a few other parents I know are really pissed off about it. If you want to adopt, why not consider adopting from foster care? Why Haitian babies? I can guess at some of the answers. Most of them will not be very flattering.
There’s a certain group of white adoptive international parents that dominate much of the discourse around adoption in this country. The most organized of these are evangelical Christians, but many of them are secular in their beliefs on adoption. They’re across the political spectrum, ultraconservative to ultraliberal, though if I had to hazard a guess, most of them are center-right in politics. I believe these people are, basically, a force for evil. If I put it in any nicer words, that would be a lie. Examining their belief system, and their potential political influence on the recovery efforts in Haiti, is a pretty terrifying process.
Rush for Adoptions from Haiti Poses Questions
In the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, we’ve seen many solutions posed around the world (and even suggested a few of our own). One option that has been raised is allowing more adoptions from Haiti; Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell even got involved in bringing orphans into the U.S., managing to land a plane when relief planes were unable to get in.
But is this really the best answer? We ask David M. Smolin, professor of law at Samford University, who has written extensively on intercountry adoption, Dawn Davenport, author of The Complete Book of International Adoption and executive director of Creating a Family, and Phil Bertelsen, himself an transracial adoptee and award-winning filmmaker, and the director of Outside Looking In, a documentary about transracial adopton.