Sunday, February 7, 2010

Is the Tide Turning? Do We Have the BBBS to Thank?!

In the immediate aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, the adoption blogosphere was shouting about how important it was to get the orphans OUT of Haiti and get them out NOW. Yes, there were some notable cautionary voices, but the majority seemed to favor Operation Pierre Pan, the plan to airlift 400,000 Haitian children to the U.S. Anyone speaking against it was surely anti-adoption. All the child welfare organizations speaking against it -- UNICEF, SOS Villages, Save the Children, World Vision -- were anti-adoption, too.

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.

* * *

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.
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?!

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.


everythingismeowsome said...

Thank you for the link to that last article. Love it!

Jeff and Madeline said...

I do agree that the majority feel what people like the BBBS is wrong, some just feel they are on the fringe and that they are not dangerous within the larger community. However, once most people really find out what they are doing they are appalled or at the minimum upset because they can apply it to themselves in a similar circumstance.
Yes, people that far out of the mainstream are declining, but those who are seem to be doubling their efforts to push their agenda. Sadly, their greed (whether for money or for adding ranks to their religion) punishes the most innocent--children. They will pay for life for the damage caused by the trauma inflicted not only from the removal of their home/family, but also the loss associated with being raised in homes where the mentality of rescue, being chosen, and that their country was lesser in someway will prevail.