Saturday, October 23, 2010

Offering to Buy a Baby

Wealthy British entrepreneur James Caan offers to buy a baby, according to this BBC report:
TV cameras filming his charity work captured the multi-millionaire offering 100,000 rupees (£725) for the baby.

He told the girl's parents his brother desperately wanted to have a baby and would be able to provide the best possible life for her.

Mr Caan said he responded emotionally, rather than rationally.

The entrepreneur, born in Pakistan, was looking for a village he could help rebuild in the wake of the August floods that wrought devastation on his country.

The flooding across a swathe of Pakistan left some 2,000 people dead and affected up to 20 million people.

In one village, Mr Caan came across a newborn and made the offer of money in return for the baby.

His exchange was recorded by ITV News.

"I'm being 100% serious," he said to his translator. "My brother lives here and he desperately wants to have a baby.

"We could give this little baby the best life she could ever have."

However in an interview with BBC Radio's 5 Live, he said he regretted his actions.

"In that moment of emotion, you immediately feel there's something you could do," he said.

"What can you do to increase that child's survival? So I offered to help the family by offering to adopt the baby and then on reflection realised that the baby belongs to the family and the village and I'm really here to adopt a village, not a baby."

He said what he did was "clearly not the right thing to do" and he had not been thinking rationally.
I'm glad he regrets the offer and realizes it was wrong -- but what is wrong with our culture that a first emotional response to poverty and crisis is to REMOVE the child from the family, rather than to improve the conditions of the family?  Less wealthy people don't necessarily offer cash -- but they "save the child" via adoption, even when there are living family members who could care for the child if given a little assistance.  Sigh.


Von said...

The first reaction always seems to be to throw money at it or apologise if you can't.

c said...

i think the response might be premised on the fact that, in situations of complex catastrophe such as in pakistan, improving the situation of the family in and of itself isn't necessarily going to improve the life of the child. We're social creatures that exist in context - improving the community is just as important to improving outcomes.

When faced with intrenched poverty, catastrophe and conflict I'm sure removing the child seems at least achievable - whereas improving the "whole" an insurmountable task. On both emotional and practical levels.

I'm not making a comment on wether it's right or wrong; just responding to the question you posed.

Anonymous said...

People tend to see a need (baby in poverty) and want the quickest fix (give to brother.)

Had he not been taped, would the outcome be the same?

Amanda said...

How horrible :-(

If someone is a millionaire and they want to convince a parent to do the "right thing" and surrender a child to a "better life"....

where is the person encouraging the millionaire to do the "right-er" thing, and instead give the child a "better life" right where he or she is at, their family included?

His offer does not put the child first.