Friday, January 22, 2010

Some Links About Haiti & Adoption

I've put together a few random links -- no way can I keep up with everything out there on Haiti and adoption right now. But here are a few things that haven't gotten a lot of play out there, I think. The Daily Bastardette is doing a great job of keeping track, so check her out first.

Interesting article with quotes from a Canadian professor who has a book coming out soon about Operation Pedro Pan:

On Wednesday, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced that Canada will expedite some adoptions of Haitian children following last week's devastating earthquake, but it won't ease immigration restrictions for those looking to come to this country.

"I understand the response (regarding adoptees), but it's not a good time (for a massive airlift)," said Karen Dubinsky, professor of Global Development Studies and History at Queen's University.

"North Americans are compassionate and places would be found (for more doptees), but that's not what Haiti as a country needs right now." First World nations should be helping Haiti with money and supplies, Dubinsky said.

Dubinsky has studied large-scale child evacuation campaigns, including Operation Peter Pan, which followed the Cuban Revolution in 1959, and said the Haitian situation causes "red flags to go up."

More than 14,000 children were sent from Cuba to Miami by their parents between 1960 and 1962 in an operation co-ordinated by the U.S. government and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Miami. Dubinsky said such adoption campaigns present "tremendous risks."

"The U.S. government, which was no fan of the Cuban Revolution, really helped to
manipulate the anxieties, saying the (new) government was going to take parental rights away from Cubans," said Dubinsky. "Cubans taken to the U.S. went into foster care and orphanages and many never saw their parents as children, although some were reunited as adults."

Dubinsky's book about Operation Peter Pan, Babies Without Borders: Adoption and Migration Across the Americas,will be published this spring.

An adoptive mom is PISSED OFF that people are only now caring about Haiti's orphans:

I’ve now been hearing a lot about people all across our country (and our community) wanting to “sign up” to adopt kids from Haiti who have been left orphaned by this horrible disaster. While I should be excited, and I am on some level, that at least people are talking about, thinking about and maybe even considering adoption, and it’s at the forefront of everyone’s minds, THESE PEOPLE ARE PISSING ME OFF!

I suppose they’re no different than people who never give to charity until there’s a disaster… never attend church until Easter or Christmas Eve… never cheer for a football team until Superbowl Sunday… These are “fair-weather fans,” or so we’ve dubbed them. But let me be very clear about this: There is no room in adoptive parenting for fleeting, fly-by-night, wanna-be do-gooders.

[I sure sympathize with being pissed off about this! An acquaintance of mine updated her Facebook status yesterday with, "I want to get me one of those Hati orphans." It was all I could do not to respond, "Don't you think you should learn to SPELL Haiti before you "get" a child from there?!" Sheesh.]

From CNN and the British Telegraph, articles about children's charities warning against rush for adoption from Haiti.

From NPR (thanks to kantmakm for the link), an interview with the Joint Council on International Children's Services Chief Executive Thomas DiFilipo (JCICS is about as pro-adoption as it is possible to be, for what it's worth):

[I]n a time of a national emergency, it's really not the best policy to airlift the children into another country. Here's a quick example of what can happen. You have a child in school. You have a mother or father at work, maybe the work is in a on the opposite side of the island. The earthquake hits, the child is alone for two or three weeks, no one comes to visit. You assume the child's an orphan, you put them on a plane, fly them to France, and they get adopted.

And then two months later, you discover the father was in the hospital or could not otherwise, he was injured or was in a camp. And then you find out what you really did was not give a child a home, and a family, but what you did was you separated the child from their parents, their birthparents. And we certainly don't want to be in a position of doing that. Airlifting children out for medical needs or emergency surgeries, that's one thing. But mass airlifts of tens of thousands of children just - it's not something that we would support, for sure.

Tonggu Mamma picks up on that theme in a very well-reasoned post (go read the whole thing!):

We live in Maryland, which is the little state newscasters keep referring to when discussing the country size of Haiti. My sister and her family also live in Maryland, about 90 minutes south of us - BY CAR. Would you seriously question my love for my nieces and nephews if an earthquake of that magnitude hit Maryland and I had yet to reach my sister's children on day ten? What about on day 20? Or 30? What if I was completely healthy, except that I broke my leg during the earthquake and I didn't own a car? And what about my Great Aunt P, who also lives in Maryland, but about three-and-a-half hours from us - BY CAR - and in the mountains. How long would you expect me to take to reach her house under similar conditions? Much less find out where my relatives were living if their house now lay in rubble?

Puts things in perspective, doesn't it?
O Solo Mama adds another adoptive parent voice with 10 Ways to Think About the Lost Children of Haiti.

A religious charity, Hope for Orphans: Serving Every Church to Reach Every Orphan, adds a cautionary note about adopting from Haiti, in language familiar to many evangelical Christians, including some important questions that should first be considered:
1.How have we sensed God’s leading toward adoption prior to this tragedy? While it is entirely possible that the Lord is using this tragedy to open your eyes to the needs of orphans and the possibility of adoption, you may want to proceed with caution if this tragedy is the first time you have ever considered adoption. . . .

* * *

3.Have you sought the insight and counsel from godly people who know you well? . . . Also, it would be wise to seek counsel from others you know who have adopted. They can share with you the realities of raising children who have experienced great suffering . . . .

* * *

5.Is my desire to adopt coming primarily from a desire to obey God or to “save” a child who is suffering. The desire to help a child in need is very important. The thing to remember is that adoption is not the only way to do this. You can be a part of God’s care for the orphans of Haiti in other ways.

Finally, from the Beyond Consequences Institute, an opportunity to listen to an audio link giving advice from Dr. Ronald Federici and social worker Heather T. Forbes to adoptive parents bringing home children from Haiti who have experienced the additional trauma of the earthquake on top of the traumas that led them to adoption.


Yvonne said...

Hi. I am the author of " Operation Pedro Pan- The Untold Exodus of 14,048 Cuban Children" and i can categoraically state that the following quote form dubisnky is incorrect.
"many never saw their parents as children, although some were reunited as adults."
MOST Cuba children reunited with their parents. VERY few did not, a super small percentage. MOST Pedro Pan children are glad their parents sent them out of Cuba. I know I am.
Yvonne Cnde

malinda said...

Thanks, Yvonne, I appreciate your information.

I also think that the analogy people are drawing between Operation Pedro Pan and a potential airlift of orphans from Haiti isn't a very good one. After all, Pedro Pan respected parental rights -- it was the parents who decided that the children should leave Cuba. An airlift from Haiti of children who might in fact have parents, without those parents' knowledge or consent, wouldn't be at all like Operation Pedro Pan.

How long were you separated from your parents? I assume they came to America, is that right?

Again, thanks for commenting.

@HolisticMom on Twitter said...

Hi Malinda,

Thanks for posting the link to the discussion Heather T Forbes & Dr Federichi had, I think it is really important information for not only those well-meaning people who want to adopt from Haiti, but anyone looking to adopt a traumatized child.

Jadey said...

Regarding Federici, while issues of trauma and subsequent needs arising from trauma are certainly relevant to this discussion, it should be known this particular individual has a history of abusing individuals under his care and advocating abuse masquerading as "therapy". For example:

More information on Federici can be found at the blog

Jadey said...

Here is additional information on both Forbes and Federici:

Thank you otherwise for the links regarding adoption in Haiti.

Anonymous said...

There is no evidence whatsoever that Dr. Federici has abused anyone under his care.

He has no criminal record and his license is current.

SUBSTANTIATED allegations of abuse should be easy to find, but, since they do not exist, they cannot be provided.

The website mentioned is run by some interesting people. Larry Sarner, for instance, failed to repay loans he received when he tried to invent improved voting machines.

His voting machine escapade landed him and his wife, Linda Rosa (also connected to the site) in bankruptcy court. What was Sarner's explanation? A judge was conspiring against him.

Their associate, Jean Mercer, is a respected academic. That only goes so far, as she has never held a license or seen a patient in a clinical setting.