Reason #2673468 Adoption is a Social Justice & Human Rights Issue

Thanks to Roshi for this lead. and.. oooo just in time for National Adoption Month!

According to a BBC report, a group of ‘charity workers’ located in Chad were arrested on the tarmark of the airport with an airplane full of about 103 children. The group denies they planned to sell the children for adoption, instead claiming they were sending them to ‘host families’ at a nice price of 2,400 euros (US$3,450) each. The group also claimed the children were from Darfur, Sudan and they were rescuing them from their ‘war torn lives’. It turns out many of the children were from Chad and not without families.

More than 100 children are in the custody of Chadian social services after members of a non-governmental organisation who said they were “rescuing” them from Sudan’s war-torn Darfur region were arrested on their way to France.

Chadian authorities on 25 October arrested nine French citizens at the airport in the eastern town of Abéché as they were allegedly trying to take 103 children to Vatry International Airport, some 150km east of Paris, where 50 French families were reportedly waiting to take them in.

A Paris-based organisation, L’Arche de Zoé (Zoé’s Ark), had announced in a 28 April press release that it wanted to evacuate 10,000 orphans from Darfur, where armed conflict pitting government forces and allied militia against rebel groups has killed an estimated 200,000 people and displaced 2.2 million since 2003.

“We must act to save these children. Now! In a few months, they will be dead,” the organisation said in the statement.

Some media reported that the children – aged one to nine according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) – were orphaned and sick and being evacuated to receive health care. One humanitarian worker in Chad told IRIN some of the children had bandaged limbs.

But later UNHCR said the children were found to be in good health. The Chadian Minister of the Interior and Public Safety, Ahmat Mahamat Bachir, told media the children were not all orphans. Some of the children are believed to be Chadians, but UNHCR and other bodies have yet to complete verification of their origins.

My stomach hurts, but I’m not surprised. Just getting more and more angry and frustrated. I’m please that more and more potential parents are actually doing research on the country they are adopting from, doing interrogation on themselves, developing a realistic understanding of how language and culture actually change what adoption means from country to country. This article by Elizabeth Larson “Did I Steal My Daughter? The Tribulations of Global Adoption” really touched me. But lets be real – how many Ms. Larson’s are there?

Back to the abductions – the children reported have been crying and asking for their parents and families, and have reported being abducted.Is there a doubt as to why there is a relationship between international adoption and slavery? Is there any confusion as to why western culture is deemed paternalistic, egocentric and imperialist? When will we get past this notion that just because you think they would be better off means they actually will be? Has anyone thought of cultural difference? Why wont anyone talk about ownership? Why wont anyone talk about how whiteness, class and privilege all play into a persons ability to completely disregard the best interests of the child for their own interests? Why are the child’s best interests to get them out of Africa?

I have so much more to say and Im about to do a shameless plug which I try not to do to much on ABP. This kind of incident is so much why AFAAD is needed. Please support our development. We are going on our global campaign this month and need funds to help us do mailings! This is the kind of issue that AFAAD is incorporating into our political advocacy work. The fact that there are NO adult adoptee groups that focus on Africa, the Caribbean, Black America is crazy. We’re here.

Much like the way the domestic social welfare system here in the U.S. sets up failure for mothers who want their children back – these mothers are being coerced and these children are getting forcibly taken from their families!!

If I hear that bullshit line, “yeah, but would you rather have them langushing in orphanages?” one more time I’m gonna start sharpening my machete.

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6 thoughts on “Reason #2673468 Adoption is a Social Justice & Human Rights Issue

  1. Lisa Marie–

    I have been a longtime lurker on your blog. While I’m not personally involved in a trans-racial adoption, I am deeply interested and concerned about this issue and have learned a lot from your site and others that you link to.

    Anyway, I brought your blog to the attention of my partner, who works at a new news show that NPR is doing, and she has linked to your blog twice. I thought I would let you know in case you hadn’t seen the posts…here are the links:

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/bryantpark/2007/11/that_chad_adoption_story.html
    http://www.npr.org/blogs/bryantpark/2007/10/whoa_interview_with_a_russian.html

  2. Hey sis:

    Are there any resources out there for quasi-dependable statistics on numbers of adoptees of African descent, domestic and/or international? I’m just trying to wrap my head on the scope of the issue beyond the personal connections I’ve made and occasional news articles that surface.

    one love

  3. I just found your blog and wanted to say… there are many adoptive parents like Elizabeth Larson out there! Well, maybe not quite so well written, but you know what I mean. Many of us read blogs like this one. And we’re, sadly, probably not the majority of adoptive parents, but please don’t give up on us yet.

  4. Right on, Lisa Marie! No doubt that paternalism and ethnocentrism were at work in this sordid mess. According to news reports, it’s going to take months to sort who’s who and to get those children back into the arms of their parents. What’s worse is that some of their countrymen are being implicated in facilitating this abduction. Money + missionaries = mayhem.

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