Following the earthquake in Haiti some people have been pushing for adoption of Haitian children by folks in the global north. This includes Penny Young Nance, CEO of the anti-choice, anti-feminist organization Concerned Women for America.
A group called the Adoptees of Color Roundtable has issued a Statement on Haiti written from the perspective of a group of adoptees of color who oppose international adoption of Haitian children. Here’s an excerpt:
For more than fifty years “orphaned children” have been shipped from areas of war, natural disasters, and poverty to supposedly better lives in Europe and North America. Our adoptions from Vietnam, South Korea, Guatemala and many other countries are no different from what is happening to the children of Haiti today. Like us, these “disaster orphans” will grow into adulthood and begin to grasp the magnitude of the abuse, fraud, negligence, suffering, and deprivation of human rights involved in their displacements.
We uphold that Haitian children have a right to a family and a history that is their own and that Haitians themselves have a right to determine what happens to their own children. We resist the racist, colonialist mentality that positions the Western nuclear family as superior to other conceptions of family, and we seek to challenge those who abuse the phrase “Every child deserves a family” to rethink how this phrase is used to justify the removal of children from Haiti for the fulfillment of their own needs and desires. Western and Northern desire for ownership of Haitian children directly contributes to the destruction of existing family and community structures in Haiti. This individualistic desire is supported by the historical and global anti-African sentiment which negates the validity of black mothers and fathers and condones the separation of black children from their families, cultures, and countries of origin.
The statement, which is quickly making its way around the internet, is a powerful counterpoint to rhetoric coming from organizations like CWA. It’s also a very clear overview of the issue – I know I learned a lot. I definitely recommend giving the whole statement a read.