If the Bumbling Baptist Baby-Snatchers (heretofore known as the BBBS) in Haiti accomplished nothing else, they seem to be responsible for the tide turning. They are now the poster children for why it's so important, especially after a disaster, to follow the rules for international adoption. Some of the biggest names in the mainstream media are using the BBBS to talk about the situation in Haiti specifically and international adoption in general.
The Economist weighed in with an article titled, International Adoption: Saviours or Kidnappers? , with the BBBS highlighted in the first paragraph. Time Magazine trumpeted, Haiti's Children: Help Them, Don't Just Take Them, with the prerequisite mention of the BBBS, and a hope that their arrests "might get more foreigners to recognize that perhaps the best way to help Haiti's children isn't by plucking them out of their country but by helping to rebuild Haiti so they'll have a safer place to grow up in."
The editorial in yesterday's Boston Globe makes no bones about using the BBBS as the what-not-to-do example, stating bluntly:
Perhaps it was compassion that motivated the church-going Americans who were detained in Haiti for trying to bring 33 children across the border to the Dominican Republic without the proper paperwork. But officials’ discovery that many of the children were not actually orphans highlights the dangers posed by undocumented international adoptions, especially in a time of disaster.Ironic, isn't it? Such a gung-ho, pro-adoption group as the BBBS being the wake-up call that America needs to understand that taking children for illegal adoption is child trafficking, that not everyone an adoption group claims to be an orphan is actually an orphan, that poverty and desperation is often the untold back-story in international adoption. Do you think they'll appreciate going down in history for that?!
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International adoption can seem needlessly cumbersome. Yet even when the rule of law has eroded in a country, it is crucial to adhere to the rules that protect children from being sold away from their homes and into illegal labor or sexual exploitation. They also prevent mismanaged adoptions that leave birth parents without any say in their children’s fate. Parents who have been separated from their children in the recent earthquake need the opportunity to find their sons and daughters. Missionaries and adoption agencies alike must respect that right even as they seek to help.
P.S. And maybe it's not the tide turning, but the waters parting! Check out this piece by a Baptist minister: Prosecuting missionaries good for Haiti, families, church.