Sunday, March 11, 2012

Pink Pagoda = Little White Lie?

A couple of years ago I posted about Jim Garrow's Pink Pagoda program, which was described in a Canadian newspaper as follows:
For the past 10 years, Garrow has run an organization he calls Pink Pagoda. He says he works with 142 people in China to rescue baby girls whose parents might otherwise abandon or kill them. When his team hears about unwanted babies, they collect them from their parents and deliver them to local orphanages or the arms of friends and relatives, Garrow says.

When needed, he adds, the organization can provide money and supplies for a child’s upkeep.

He says Pink Pagoda is responsible for saving 34,000 baby girls since 2000.
Back then, I said I thought the claims were pure bunk. Well, now he has a book coming out, and I still say it's bunk!  Here's what World News Daily (his publisher, which also has a so-called news site) has to say about the book:
Published by WND Books, his new book releases in days and offers the tale of one man’s dedication to China’s newborn girls and his compassion for their lives.

It was along about 2000 when Garrow, the fantastically successful chief of the Bethune Institute’s popular Pink Pagoda schools in China, one day found his assistant weeping.

In his book, he writes that he discovered that the worker’s sister and her husband had had a baby daughter. The husband was making plans for her to be “put aside” so that under the one-child policy, the couple could try for a son.

Garrow was an expert at a lot of things, but never before had he dealt with such a situation. Even so, he promised to help.

* * *

The next dilemma was to find adoptive parents, and they had to be foreigners, as Chinese would be unwilling.

Craig and his wife, Kathy, an expat couple living in China, “had literally dropped into my lap because of a hockey game,” Garrow explains.

It was at a pickup game that an American with reddish-blond hair knocked Garrow down. After the game, he apologized for the “unnecessary roughness.”

A conversation followed and in a short time, Craig revealed he and his wife were hoping to adopt.
Garrow’s attention focused instantly.

“How quickly would you want to adopt a baby?” he asked.

“I just knew intuitively that he was a solid guy, and the baby would have a good, stable life back in the United States. I put aside the fact that I had no idea how to set up an adoption, or obtain any necessary documents,” Garrow said.

Five minutes later, after Craig called his wife, he got his answer: “Right away.”
So, Garrow is "fantastically successful" and an expert at many things, rescues small babies from certain death, and can apparantly size up perfect strangers as perfect adoptive parents?! And this isn't the least of the improbable tale he tells of private jets at his disposal and Chinese intelligence officers at his beck and call. Are you buying any of this?!  Brian Stuy has read an advance copy of the book and offers a pretty devastating critique, including the fact that Garrow doesn't even know enough about international adoption to create a plausible story:
I got the same feeling while reading Jim's account of how he found a home for the unwanted baby. He met an American expat living in China whose wife lived in the United States. The man explained that they wanted to adopt, but that it seemed to take a long time to do the paperwork, etc. Jim told him he could adopt right away. Now, I'm sure that most readers familiar with the adoption might at this point be wondering how in the world this adoption could be completed. I will let Jim describe the process:

At this point, there were no documents to accompany the baby and her new parents back to the United States. Those I would discover in one of the best libraries in the world for doing such research—the local beer house, where expats hang out. It was in one of those pubs that I met my “librarians,” who even went so far as to share copies of the documents from their own Chinese adoption process. Paperwork aside, I also learned valuable information about the entire process and what pitfalls to hopefully avoid. I had moved at God’s bidding into the adoption business, and I planned to run that business as efficiently as I did my schools. God bless the fool with a big heart. (pp. 11-12)

No mention of the need for an I-600 (Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative); no consulate interview; it seems that all Jim had to do was produce some forged adoption documents and the U.S. government would issue the infant a visa. The reader can decide how authentic Jim's account feels.
Be sure to read Brian's entire review.  And then let me know if you buy Garrow's story. I'm certainly not planning to plunk down the $22.95 to buy his book, even if the book might turn out the be unintentionally funny.  If anyone reads it, let me know!


Anonymous said...

It might not be true, it might not make sense but if it sells books then the public will believe it to be true. And really, if you lust for an adoptive child what better story then to tell your friends, relatives and Chinese adopted child how you saved this child from death. And if you can become rich by telling people what they want to hear and want to believe- then you are living the American drea. Adoption in America is not about morality. It is about curing infertilty and using whatever spin you can to make it seem moral.

Reena said...

Thanks for the heads up. This sounds like a book my MIL would buy for me (bless her heart). I'll have to mention it and that it is a sham of a book.

PC said...

He sounds seriously mentally ill. I spot delusions of grandeur with religious overtones. He also sounds like a narcissist - practically believing himself to be the second coming. And I'm sure that people walking around in China would compare him to Dr. Bethune. Anyone who was alive and old enough to remember Dr. Bethune would be REALLY old. I doubt your average 35 year old Chinese person even knows who that is. It all sounds ridiculously made up.

Amy said...

Dr. Garrow was nominated for the Nobel Peace prize. Guess he fooled them too?

malinda said...

No, Amy, apparently he didn't fool "them!" The committee didn't award him the prize, did they?! All it takes is one person to nominate someone, and hundreds have been nominated. . . .

tuckybums said...

God moves in mysterious ways. In a oommunist country he just might be telling the truth. All skepticism aside, has anyone seen the stats or proof of the babies he's saved?

Z said...

There is also no evidence he was nominated for a Nobel. Nominations are kept confidential for 50 years. Garrow is simply involved in self-promotion. His "Dr" is an honorary from an unaccredited online theology school in SC. The guy's a fake.

Pearl said...

Seems to me that using forged documents for the babies would constitute international kidnapping! Yo, Interpol, did you see this???

I nominate his story for 17K "pants on fire" awards!