Adoptees of color speak out against international adoption of Haitian children

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.

Boston, MA

Jos Truitt is Executive Director of Development at Feministing. She joined the team in July 2009, became an Editor in August 2011, and Executive Director in September 2013. She writes about a range of topics including transgender issues, abortion access, and media representation. Jos first got involved with organizing when she led a walk out against the Iraq war at her high school, the Boston Arts Academy. She was introduced to the reproductive justice movement while at Hampshire College, where she organized the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program’s annual reproductive justice conference. She has worked on the National Abortion Federation’s hotline, was a Field Organizer at Choice USA, and has volunteered as a Pro-Choice Clinic Escort. Jos has written for publications including The Guardian, Bilerico, RH Reality Check, Metro Weekly, and the Columbia Journalism Review. She has spoken and trained at numerous national conferences and college campuses about trans issues, reproductive justice, blogging, feminism, and grassroots organizing. Jos completed her MFA in Printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute in Spring 2013. In her "spare time" she likes to bake and work on projects about mermaids.

Jos Truitt is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Development.

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  • Athenia

    I saw something about this on the Nightly News recently, except it was a Banda Aceh (sp?) orphanage.
    It’s good for these kids to stay in their home country because they grow up and go back to the communities they came from.
    It’s not about having a “better life” in America…it’s about creating citizens in that country.

  • ScottRock

    You know, telling a country to keep their orphans isn’t all that different from telling a country to give them away.
    This statement bleeds irony in that it claims to “affirm the spirit of Cultural Sovereignty, Sovereignty and Self-determination” while denying the culture in question ANY agency whatsoever.
    And speaking as a transracially adopted orphan, hearing a bunch of people say that my adoption was racist imperialism isn’t all that different from hearing a bunch of people say that my adoption was the best thing that ever happened to me.

  • Lydia

    It does seem pretty likely that there are now some children who have been left with absolutely no one. I think the point is that we don’t know who they are yet, and that many of the so-called orphans might still have parents or relatives who are looking for them. It seems that the best thing to do would be for concerned people from abroad to support efforts to find these children’s families. If none can be found, well, then that’s the time for Plan B.

  • Lilith Luffles

    I understand that these children should try to be reunited with their parents, and if that was what was posted here I would have no objection. It was the idea that my cousins needed to grow up in their own culture or that Haitian children who don’t have living parents anymore need to grow up in their own culture that struck a chord.
    But I do agree that if Haitian parents want their kids, they have a right to keep them there without sending them to a “better” life in ‘Merica.

  • Lydia

    Let’s not be alarmist here. I don’t know of any responsible adoption agency that gives children to “random” people. I agree that no international adoptions should happen immediately. Every step should be taken to find any family that these children have and there are likely some adoptions that can take place within Haiti. But I don’t think there’s anything wrong with preparing for the possibility that there could end up being more unclaimed children than a small, disaster-struck country can absorb right now. And in that case I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having ONE of the solutions being sending orphaned children to European or white-American families. I know several adoptees of color who grew up in white families. I’m not saying that it’s never caused them to have questions and confusion about their identity. They will readily admit this themselves. But they are still happy to have grown up in the families they grew up in. We don’t always need to go shouting about colonialism.

  • LalaReina

    You’re right,let them sit in the mud and die. Spare me the high horse when lives are at risk you can learn a language and all the “culture” you want –if you’re alive to do it.

  • Canamary

    Just wanted to comment that its Creole not Kreol and that their other official language (and the one taught) is French. In Canada (as well as in France and many other countries), this would mean that there are many families that would speak the same language–there is no need to look at this from a purely American view. Also, generally, adoption involves extensive background and criminal records checks and is not a fast process. I mean, you probably have a greater chance encountering a pedophile on the streets of Haiti right now (as so many convicts have broken out of jail) then in an adoptive family.
    That being said, I agree adoptions should not be rushed until things have settled and there is a semblance of a government once again. But when the papers are in order and it has been certified that there is no family remaining for this child, then yes absolutely they will be better off with an adoptive family that will feed, shelter and care for them, whether that family is in Haiti or Canada.

  • Sloppy Sandwich

    “Haitians live in North America…”
    HAITI is in North America.

  • Sloppy Sandwich

    Oh man try to learn a little bit before your comment, please. I adopted a child just last year, domestically, but we researched all kinds of adoption first. International adoption is not cheaper or less stringent than domestic adoption.

  • bifemmefatale

    In French it is spelled Creole, but in Haiti, it is spelled Kreyol or Kreol. You’re both right. However, Kreyol is substantially different from French, especially Canadian French, which is a dialect in its own right that differs from French-from-France, the version usually taught in schools.


    It’s one thing for an adolescent or adult Haitian to make an independent decision to abandon her culture and adopt the culture of another country – it’s another thing for a small child to be taken from her country without her consent and handed over to foreigners who basically force her to adopt another culture.
    Big huge difference.


    According to Wikipedia, the correct spelling of the language is Kreyòl – “Creole” is the English language name for the language, but in Kreyòl, it’s spelled….Kreyòl.


    And what’s so terrible about that?
    There is a concrete historical reason why Black people have had to “stick with our own kind” – namely, persecution and abuse from White people.
    Since White supremacism hasn’t stopped, there is no reason in the world why we should stop “sticking with our own kind” – especially when it comes to the most vulnerable members of our race, our children.


    Let’s keep it real.
    Nobody’s “sitting in the mud and dying” here – that’s a false overdramatization of the situation in Port au Prince.
    It’s a question of unaccompanied Haitian children either staying in refugee camps or other displaced person reception facilities staffed by Kreol speaking personnel in their own country until such time as they can be reunited with their family, or those children being illegally parceled out to random White folks from foreign countries without family consent or sanction of a Haitian court.
    Bottom line, those kids are better off in their own country, with their own people, instead of being shipped off to alien lands by random strangers who don’t even speak the same language the kids do!


    “Some of the language they use, however, seems to suggest that they are saying that Haitians should stay in Haiti with people of their own racial backgrounds.”
    Not to speak for them, but I believe that is more or less what the statement says.
    And they are right – those kids should stay in their own country, instead of being handed over to random White foreigners.
    And I’m sure you’d feel the same way if random Black, Latino or Asian foreigners were coming to America and taking White American children to their country, and forcibly indoctrinating those kids in the culture of those foreign lands.


    So, the best way to “further race relations” is to let random White people take Haitian babies and essentially kidnap them from their homeland?


    If we could stop for a moment with all of this “Save The Babies! They’re going to die in the mud!” fury, perhaps we could think about the implications.
    I have.
    I’m an African American man who was born of an interracial marriage – White dad, Black mom – and I have a personal experience of transracial adoption in my own extended family.
    When my folks got together and had my brother and me, my aunt on my father’s side (a White woman) decided to get into the transracial adoption thing.
    She and her then-husband (husband # 2, a White man, as husband # 1 was and husband # 3 would be – and all three of them, plus my aunt, are all psychiatrists) decided to make their own little United Nations – so they adopted a Black girl, a Latino boy and an American Indian boy.
    Incidentally, like most “orphans” they weren’t really “orphans” at all – they had living parents and those parents (or, at any rate, the mothers) had signed over their parental rights.
    Now, this looked all liberal and progressive and my aunt got to brag to all of her White liberal friends about what a great humanitarian she was.
    This all worked out very well until those three kids were old enough to go to school.
    The Latino boy and the Indian boy were able to, more-or-less, assimilate into their lily White affluent Connecticut suburban town – but not the Black girl, she was never accepted by her White peers and totally didn’t fit in at all.
    This got worse as time passed – eventually the Black girl had massive behavioral problems and ended up getting pregnant as a teenager (and my aunt ended up taking her child away from her).
    In other words, it didn’t work out well – basically because, no matter what my aunt or any of her husbands may have felt about that little girl, she was never accepted by her White peers.
    And, based on that experience, is why I am totally opposed to White folks adopting Black children, under any circumstances.
    And that goes double for Black children from other countries.

  • cattrack2

    Actually there’s a well worn principle to follow here, “What’s in the best interest of the child?”
    1) Particularly in this sort of situation that can be the only consideration. 2) These aren’t brand new adoptions we’re talking about but adoptions which were already in the pipeline, so no one’s kidnapping children in the dead of night here.
    3) As to your argument that we can sit on the sidelines while Haitian authorities figure out extended family & genetic history, etc…well the Haitian Parliament just asked the President to extend their terms for 2 years because it’ll take that long to get back to normal. That’s right, two years. If it takes 2 yrs for a nat’l election how much longer for it to get its orphanages back in shape??? Why should we let children suffer in the meantime? There’s a time to worry about ethnicity and a time to worry about survival.

  • Hershele Ostropoler

    I’d say white (more generally, non-Haitian) adoptive parents certainly don’t think they’re being racist and paternalistic … but if they’re thinking, even in the backs of their minds, “how wonderful for this child that he’s being removed from that horrible environment!” when the “horrible environment” contains everything he’s ever known, his culture, his people, and daily life lived in his language, there’s a racist aspect there, even if it’s not hostile.
    So I can certainly support exhausting all possibilities of putting orphaned children with relatives before placing them with strangers, and then exhausting all possibilities of placing them with Haitians before placing them with non-Haitians. I don’t think the idea that a toddler is better off with adults in the picture than on his or her own is a Western or colonialist idea. Though as a Westerner myself, I could be wrong.

  • Vail

    For the person who wondered why people aren’t adoption from foster care… First off many states do not have a Foster to Adopt program*. This means you have to be a foster parent first and hope that you get to keep the child (since foster parents get first dibs on adopting when a child becomes adoptable). The only other way to adopt from foster care are Special Needs children. These are kids with extreme medical needs, sibling sets, and older children (most with attachment issues etc.)
    *Foster to Adopt programs place a child with you that has a good chance to be adoptable or has been release for adoption. That way you pretty much know you will be a forever family.

  • Devoted_Toucan

    Does no one watch the News? Or do they not report scenes from Haiti where you are? ’Cause they do here, and most of what we’ve been shown is different people from Haiti crying, heartbroken, and telling reporters about the relatives they lost in the earthquake. How they’ve lost everyone and everything. The people there can communicate with us, you know. They tell us of how their relative or partner was trapped in whatever place, or was wherever when it struck. It’s not like their lives are so estranged from ours that they don’t know where people they care for are at times of the day. Even kids, the same as kids where I am and you are, can talk about their family; their home. And adults will talk about their missing children. If the children have family still alive who would be willing to adopt them, those families have probably already found those kids, alive or dead. People HAVE been looked for. ARE being looked for by other Haitians. Under houses; work places; schools; other buildings; general rubble. If there’s an orphanage or a hospital nearby, anyone who’s alive and who cares about a child (or a person) they know will probably have checked those places. These people aren’t stupid. There’s also a missing persons list to check out with names and pictures, which would be a further help with reuniting kids and their relatives.
    Yes, toddlers and babies can’t speak for themselves, but the chances are that kids this young were either at home anyway (and therefore their parents or a possible carer would’ve been found with them) or at some kind of day care (in which case, they’d probably not just be presumed an orphan and sent to an orphanage to “straight away” be adopted), or with another relative (and other relatives – in any of these situations – would most likely know where the children were at the time of the quake).
    It’s not as if the tragedy happened yesterday. We already know about many children who are orphans now. People aren’t simply assuming they are, at least not any more.
    So, why delay these babies and older children from being sent away from a place where the streets are still full of rubble, and dead bodies are still lying around; somewhere where it still reeks of death; where women are giving birth on the streets, sometimes with no help because any nurses/doctors/midwives around are busy helping others; where (according to a statistic posted in a link on this site) 40% of women were raped BEFORE the earthquake; where food and drinks and medical supplies still haven’t come through in some parts; where dangerous prisoners have escaped because they got out during/after the earthquake; where people are still mourning greatly for the losses of their loved ones and homes; where everything can remind them of what awful event recently occurred; where they would’ve probably lived a bad enough life even before all of this.
    Say this ^ was your living situation. In your dying moments, knowing your kid/s (or child relatives) had no one else but you, and soon they wouldn’t have anyone there at all, would you want them to keep living in this kind of existence if they had a CHANCE for a life not like that? Isn’t someone trying to do that for them better than no one trying at all? Or would you want them to stay there because you want them to be around people of the same colour who speak the same language? (Even though some people of Haiti do actually speak English. And, as mentioned previously, many speak French, which covers other countries.)
    North America and Europe aren’t places full of happiness and equality. We aren’t all amazing people. A lot of sh*t happens in these places, too. But right now, the homes ready to adopt are most probably better than those conditions the adopted kids are coming from. At least there might be more hope in our countries for these children at the moment.
    And, guess what? I’m sure that even if they’re too young to remember being in Haiti now, adopted Haitians (and anyone adopted from another country) will amazingly ( birth place’s culture”. I’ll tell ya, if I were living in those conditions, I wouldn’t care about learning more about my culture. Haiti has its fair share of these kinds of tragedies, doesn’t it? On whatever scale. Who knows what age the orphans will live to at this rate? (Are orphanages even left standing? We probably don’t even know if there’s that many for kids to go to any more.)
    Also, evidently not only “random White” (to quote a poster) people adopt children from another country. Besides, there’s nothing wrong with interracial things. (The first thing that came up when I typed in “interracial” to check the spelling was porn :|.) It’s not like a White celebrity has come into the country at a normal time and taken a ‘coloured’ kid away from their parents this time. Think more about it. Once again, I make the point of it not happening yesterday. You really think there are going to be many more survivors plucked from the ruins? Many people know for sure there families are dead. Kids included. Some will even have seen the relative’s dead bodies by now.
    Also (Mighty Ponygirl), so what if some people only adopt a child from abroad because it’s cheaper? What if they can’t afford the other price (of someone in their own country), but really want to adopt? Even if someone adopts a kid from another country for a less nice reason than only wanting to help that kid out of a bad situation, they’d still be adopting, which would suggest they would still feel ready to care for a child and give her/him their love.
    Some children knew they were orphaned ‘from day one’ (so to speak). Yes, yes, yes – again – it should definitely be checked they really are orphans. But, again, it really probably already has been – this, or there’s nothing else that can be done to check. Most search parties/rubble removers are stopping/have stopped. We should NOT be trying to stop giving however many we can a home where they’re wanted; where they’re probably in a much safer environment; where they can be loved. Should NOT be attempting to stop this because we want them to be with people of the same culture/race/colour; or because we hold hope, which is probably false, that a lot more will be reunited with a relative and live a happy life from then on.
    Sorry for any repetitiveness, but I think some of you have lost the plot.

  • Alex51324

    The Haitian kids brought to Pittsburgh were already in an orphanage that does international adoptions, and most had already been matched with US parents. I think that’s the case with all of the Haitian children that have been brought to the US without parents/guardians with them. The adoptions have been expedited, in some cases, but we aren’t talking about kids being picked up out of the rubble and whisked to a US airport where random adults are standing waiting to take their pick.
    For those who aren’t familiar with how international adoption works, the adoptive families have to be approved by a US agency before their information is sent to an overseas orphanage. The prospective adoptive families’ information is reviewed again by the orphanage (or by another agency in the child’s country; exactly how it works varies), then once the orphanage is satisfied that the family is OK to adopt one of their children, the family is matched with a child. Similarly, before the child is eligible to be matched with an overseas family, the agency or orphanage in their country makes sure that there aren’t any relatives able to care for the child, and usually there is also a period where the child is eligible to be adopted only by a family in that country, before the child is matched with a foreign family. After all that happens, it takes several more months for all of the necessary paperwork to go through various government agencies, both in the US and abroad, before the child actually goes to live with the adoptive parents. So in the case of those adoptions that are being expedited, it’s that last paperwork stage that is being rushed, not the parts where they make sure that the family is suitable and the child is available for adoption.
    So there’s really no ethical issue with the adoptions that have happened already or are about to happen that doesn’t also exist with international adoption in general, without a national emergency. (There are, of course, plenty of people and groups that have ethical problems with international adoption in general, and the Adoptees of Color Roundtable may be using the Haitian disaster to bring awareness to those concerns.)
    What I think some groups are worried about, however, is that the combination of US families eager to adopt disaster orphans and the many problems with which the Haitian government and social services will be faced in the near future, will mean that lots of adoptions will be carried out hastily. It’s unlikely to actually work that way. While it’s certainly true that there are US families eager to adopt disaster orphans, the general trend is for countries to halt international adoptions, rather than speed them up, when circumstances make it difficult for the government and agencies to proceed at their usual ponderous pace.

  • atdelphi

    Thank you.
    I’m mixed white and First Nations, and both sets of my grandparents fostered children in an area where FN children were massively overrepresented in the foster care system. I’ve seen first-hand the difference it can make to a child who’s already in a bad situation to have a family who knows exactly what life is like for a person of colour in a white country, who can give them a sense of belonging that the wider world never will.
    My white father’s parents had the best of intentions when they adopted my aunt, who’s Oji-Cree. They never set out to “kill the Indian, save the child,” but that’s essentially what their attempts to integrate her into the family did. Her family was white, her neighbours were white, her teachers and schoolmates and schoolmates’ parents were white. It must have been a very lonely existence, to not only be the target of racism but to have no one to help shoulder the burden with, no role models to disprove in action rather than just words what everyone was saying about her.
    Happily, she’s since relocated with her daughter to the tribal land of a band who accepts FN peoples of all backgrounds, and her granddaughter is growing up the way she never got to.
    Being mixed, I know colour doesn’t make a family. And being a child of donor insemination, I know that blood doesn’t either. But I also know that this world is hard enough for people of colour without adding isolation to the mix; and I know that having people decide when you’re a child what parts of your history and ancestry and identity you’re allowed to have just plain sucks.
    That’s why, when it comes to FN children at least, my priority is not seeing them rescued by middle class white families – but doing whatever I can to help local FN communities be healthier so that there never has to be a choice between safety and belonging. For those concerned about the children of Haiti: help the adults of Haiti. There are countless people there who want to take care of their young relatives, who want to take care of their neighbours’ children, who want to foster, who want to build safe and nurturing orphanages. Help them do it.

  • LalaReina

    Victoria Rowell is the actress that played Drusilla Winters on the soap opera Young & the Restless and she was also a foster Care kid. I’d like to recommend her book “The Women who Raised me”. She is an adoption advocate and gives her unique insights on the system need for children above all else to find a loving nurturing home.

  • Brittany

    I notice that you keep saying “white folks”, “white folks” like everyone from America will adopt Haitians are white, and that the pedophiles that prey on them are white.
    I don’t know, sounds a little racist to me.

  • Brittany

    Um, okay, so one experience means that black children can’t be adopted by white parents?
    My best friend’s sister is black, and the rest of her family is white. She has NO behavioral problems, is thankful for the fact that she has a family, and realizes that even if she is not accepted by her RACIST white peers she wouldn’t have been even if she was raised by black parents.
    The problem is where you’re raising your child, because she has many white and black friends, and doesn’t care about the white or black people that don’t accept her for her family.
    Or would you rather that she was left in the already overflowing orphanage? My friend’s parents didn’t adopt her so they could brag, and that sounds very racist to me.
    ALL of your comments have sounded racist thus far, in fact. I plan to adopt two children myself from a very unprivileged area, and color will not make a difference to me. By not adopting a black child out of fear that he or she will be rejected is only reinforcing the racism and submitting to it. The most you can do is raise your child to be proud of their family, and not listen to the racism around them. I also know a white woman who was raised by two black folks in the “ghetto”. We don’t talk much but she told me that even if it meant having no friends, she was proud of her heritage and family, because their African heritage was her own, even if they were not “blood-related”.

  • Brittany

    Okay, that does it.
    KIDNAPPING? Adoption is not kidnapping, and your racist views are extremely offensive.
    A child’s “homeland” is what they consider it to be, whether it’s where they were born or where their adoptive family takes them. There is no kidnapping involved in the adoption process, and I think that your privilege is getting in the way of the realization that many children in need can be raised in a better place.
    Should there be a rush to adopt children out of the country? No, of course there’s many people in the human trafficking business that’d happily take advantage of the terrible situation. But should white people be barred from adopting Haitian children?
    People saying that Haitians should have first priority in adopting orphan Haitian children is racist and abhorrent.

  • rebekah

    that is terrible for you to say. I cannot have children and would not adopt a baby from another country just so that it was cheaper, less stringent protocol, and have sealed records. I actually happen to think that a lot of people in this country are truly civic minded and want to give those children better homes. Your cynicism about the entirety of people who choose to adopt mostly because they themselves cannot have their own children is horrendous. I will say it again. Try telling the parents who have adopted babies from Haiti that they are all terrible people for trying to give these kids a better life. One family in my church have adopted four children from Haiti, before the earthquake ever happened. Not because they want to “show off” how “globally minded” they are, but because it was what they felt was the right thing to do.

  • rebekah

    that wasn’t meant to be a reply to you specifically, I apologize for that. No idea how that happened.

  • rebekah

    the very ideas that you are putting forth are VERY insulting. Adopting a child is not something that people are going to do just to traffic children. At least this way these kids are getting food and are not in the hot sun all day with no water. The UN has done nothing to help these people, nor has any government. Food and water are being sent by citizens who are kind enough to take care of others in need and then it sits there not being handed out because of fucking politics within the UN. So don’t start with this whole, what’s the rush crap that you are trying to pull. The rush is to try and take care of these kids. It could be decades before their government finally gets around to figuring out who these children are and if they have family or not. The country cannot afford to have hospitals to treat tuberculosis patients who are dying, how do you expect them to replace all of those children with people who may or may not even be alive and may or may not even be someone who the child knows, I would call that just as much of a random stranger as parents who are adopting these kids.

  • aleks

    Sometimes “North America” is used to refer to the US and maybe Canada. It’s another awkward situation arising from the most prominent nation in the hemisphere sharing a name with both continents.

  • rebekah

    these are not just random white folks!!!!!!!!!!! You need to get over your own racial issues which you demonstrate every time anything about race comes up and realize that not all white people are terrible. Some of us just want to help out these kids who need the help desperately. I’m sure not one of those children is going to be sad to go if it means not having to sit in the sun all day with no food, water or shelter. I want to know what shelter you are expecting them to live under when there is none thanks to the buildings falling down and not being able to be rebuilt because of the aftershocks! This is like saying that white people shouldn’t be able to adopt black children from america, because their culture here in america is different from white culture. Or like saying that two able bodied people are not capable of adopting a special needs child because that culture is different. Your arguments are trying to make every single family in America who just want to help these kids into monstors. Oh and believe me when I say the adoption process is no piece of cake for adopting from another country. When you try to get the Visa for the child you are trying to adopt the US government official bombards you with questions about why you are not adopting from within the US, why you are selecting the child that you are selecting. What is wrong with American children, are they not good enough to adopt etc. That is no easy process which you are making it out to be. The background checks that go into adopting from another country are just as stringent if not more so depending on the case worker that you get from the government. It’s not acceptable for you to defile every single white person here and abroad by making the comments that you have.

  • rebekah

    will you please stop using the phrase “random white foreigners? For all you know those people speak Kreol, are not white but are black (which shouldn’t matter part of being a feminist is realizing that race just like gender is nothing more than a social construct and if you are not a feminist than you have no business being here) and have lived in Haiti, studied Haitian culture etc. You don’t know that but you are making judgement calls because it suits your little fantasy that this country is in any way shape or form able to deal with children at this particular point.

  • rebekah

    thank you for saying this Phenicks. I have been trying to say exactly this but it doesn’t seem to be getting through. I am so glad that someone else realizes the politics behind this, and that all they are doing is blocking help from children

  • rebekah

    okay so your one bad experience means that all white people are horrible pedophiles? I find this highly insulting as a woman who cannot have children of her own and is not going to adopt because I am a pedophile but because I actually want to be a mom, and because there are so many children out there who need a good stable loving environment to grow up in. I am no stranger to the Adoption system either. I go to a church thats members often adopt children from other countries. We hear the battles that they go through for their kids. We watch these kids grow up, in our country, still very attached to their own culture. It’s hard to be in a church family and not know how this works. My question for you would be, does this mean that you can only adopt black children as well? Does it mean you can only adopt little boys since you are male and therefore your culture is different from a girls by contrast? Because really there is no difference. This is exactly what you are saying an it is highly insulting to the rest of the world to hear your criticism of one neighborhood being enacted on an entire racial group.

  • Melanie

    I feel like the thought that other POC in America that aren’t Haitian might be adopting has slipped people’s minds. When I volunteered at Planned Parenthood, the leader of the education department was black and adopted two girls from Haiti (years ago). Apparently she’s the only American person of color to have adopted internationally before (*sarcasm*).

  • Honeybee

    So you think that sticking with your own kind with HELP with this???
    I think the only way all races, genders, sexual orientations, etc. will get along with each other is precisely by all living together. We see it now. The reason we’ve made so much progress on these issues is precisely because of that. It’s why people in urban centers are more tolerant then in rural centers – because they have more exposure to different cultures.
    I think a “mixing of the races” if you will the is the key to race relations.

  • Kim C.

    But anyone lighter-skinned than black is okay, based on your interaction with THREE CHILDREN out of God knows how many adopted kids in this world?

  • barefoot

    I’m afraid I can’t agree with you here. I can’t agree with the sentiment that it is ALWAYS better to keep children in their countries of origin, even if that means having them live in under-funded orphanages and facing a life of inescapable poverty, when there are kind-hearted families willing to take them in and love and care for them. I don’t believe you can make definitive statements like that about human experience. And I don’t think that this is what the statement is getting at either.
    Rather, I think that, once the process is slowed down and every step possible is made to find living family or alternative living arrangements with people that the children know, and to document clearly their histories, if some children remain without anybody, and in need of a loving home, then it is very important for potential adopters to understand and accept the culture that the children grew up in, the values that they have been taught, and the way in which they were accustomed to live. A person does not need to be indigenous to a country to learn to understand its culture, and a white family who is willing to take in an orphaned child of colour, as long as they express respect and understanding of the culture from which they came, is surely a preferable solution than to place the child in an orphanage, just so that they can remain in their country of birth.
    It is this understanding and respect of culture that is important. If done right, moving to a new culture does not need to necessitate the loss of the old one.
    It may not be possible for these orphaned children to walk in their parents footsteps (and I question whether this could be achieved in a Haitian orphanage any better than it could be in a family of another culture), but it IS important for those children to understand where their parents walked, how they walked, and why they walked the paths they did.
    It is this that I understand is the point being made by the Adoptees of Color. A call not to leave the orphaned children of Haiti to their fate in their country of birth, but for any potential adopters to understand and respect the culture they were born and have lived with for the first part of their lives, so that as they grow up they can remain connected to the country of their birth, and could, if they wished, retrace the steps of their parents when they reach adulthood.

  • TD

    You realize that it is standard practice in Haiti to sell kids into slavery right? That somewhere around 8% of children under the age of 15 are slaves. So lets be honest about whats going to happen to these children if they aren’t helped. They’re not going to be adopted, they’re going to be sold. They aren’t going to be allowed to be immersed in their own culture, as much as used as a servant and subject to abuse from day one.
    You seem hopelessly naive about this situation if you honestly think things are that peachy in Haiti.

  • rebekah

    oh no Melanie, it’s only us random white foreigners who want to traffic these children or are pedophiles who want to rape these kids. No black people adopt children from other countries

  • LalaReina

    Greg normally I agree with you but I just think you’re letting some of your personal experiences cloud your vision on the greater good. For all the ills in the world there are a lot of good loving people out there too. Children of color are the last to get placed and I’m not going to disparage people who open their hearts and homes. It’s not fair.

  • akibare

    Well, to be blunt about it – the hypothetical Chinese-background “Susie” is going to be subject to snap judgements from others due to her appearance her entire life. She will be assumed to be Asian, at the very least, and to have SOME sort of connection with that place.
    That happens to Chinese-American kids of Chinese or Chinese-American parents too, of course, but they have (1) the background in how to deal with that, and often (2) an actual connection to Chinese (or Chinese-American) culture from their parents who have and still do face the same thing. Or if they’re first-generation immigrants in their own right, they’re Chinese, and secure in that identity.
    Susie, on the other hand, will be assumed to have a certain background and knowledge which she might lack. Is the problem with the assumption? Sure. But here in the real world, it’s gonna happen. And it’s very likely that out of pure curiosity if nothing else, those kids are going to want to visit the country they were born in.
    So I’m 100% behind the “keep the cultural connection there, if at all possible” thing. That doesn’t need to mean no international adoptions, but whenever possible, keep the kid connected with whatever immigrant communities of similar background are out there.
    When it comes to language, that means keeping close contact with native speakers of the language in question, too, not merely seminars every so often with other adoptive parents in similar circumstances. Eating Chinese food every so often, going to the Asian cultural fair once a year and maybe learning to write your kid’s name in characters is not going to do it. But if getting those real connections happens, and best yet happens with the whole family not just the adopted kid, everyone’s world can be expanded.


    TD, I grew up around Haitian immigrants, and I’ve read a number of books on Haitian history, so I am very aware that Haiti is a very poor country – in large part because of many years of American meddling in Haitian internal affairs.
    Kidnapping Haitian children and bringing them to America is not going to make things any better.


    Lets keep it real.
    The reason America has made progress on race is because African Americans organized to fight against White racism – and that’s the only reason.


    I’m just being accurate to the reality of who is making the high profile push to “baby lift” Haitian children to the US – White fundamentalist Christians.
    They’re the ones pushing this in the mainstream media and in the blogosphere and they’re the ones lobbying for this with the government.


    I have White relatives – including my father, uncle, two aunts, a brother, 2 nieces and a nephew – and I work with White people, so I know all White people are not terrible.
    I also know that America practices systematic White supremacy as a system, which gives all White Americans special privileges over Americans of color.
    And I know that many White Americans agree with this system of White supremacy and hold racist beliefs.
    I have an unusual type of evidence for that; I’m lightskinned and I speak with a “White sounding” accent so sometimes, in all White spaces, I get into “incognegro situations where I’m mistaken for White and Whites say what they really think about African Americans.


    Here’s a radical idea for you – why not struggle to make Haiti a better country to live in for ALL Haitians, instead of cherry picking a few Haitian kids to be given the dubious honor of being “rescued” and taken to America?


    Did these children ask to be taken to America to live with non Kreol-speaking White folks?
    Did any living relative and/or a duly constituted court of law in the Republic of Haiti authorize them to be taken out of their country?
    Then, it’s kidnapping.
    Or ‘custodial interference’ if you want to be technical.
    Not everybody wants to be “rescued” by White Americans, you know.


    Brittany, that is but one anecdote – an anecdote that I was an eyewitness to over the course of several years, but one anecdote nonetheles -but there are many other cases where White parent/Black child transracial adoptions have not worked.
    Many African American social workers agree with me on this – and they’d know better than you or me, because it’s their field.
    Adoption is hard enough without the racial angle – why make it even harder?
    It’s only going to hurt the child in the end.