Ha! I knew I wasn’t imagining things.

Back in 1991 the McCains’ adoption of Baby Bridget from Bangladesh was hot discussion. Two years later when I got online it was still going strong. Coupled with Cindy McCain’s boozing and pill-popping and my Beltway buddies’ assurance that the grumpy senator had a hard-on for international adoption baybee brokers, it all made for delicious conjecture.

Curiousier, the story of the McCain adoption and Mother Teresa’s (non) role in it has changed substantially through the years as revealed in yesterday’s HuffPo: Anatomy of a Deception: How the McCains Changed Their Adoption Story Just Before 2008 Campaign Began

I’m not going to repost the whole thing, but here’s a sample. The story starts in 1999 and gets revised to meet the McCains’ needs periodically up to this week:

As was pointed out yesterday by the Christian Science Monitor, the McCain campaign was called out for lying about the purported urging of Cindy McCain by Mother Teresa herself to adopt two children at her orphanage back in 1991. Turns out, McCain never met or even spoke with Mother Teresa on that trip. Once confronted by the Monitor about the deception, the campaign quickly erased such claims from the website, as it did with Cindy’s family recipes, which were proved to be lifted from the Food Network. But after doing some research, this deception was no careless accident, but rather another shameless and deliberate attempt by the campaign to reinvent and embellish the McCain family history in time for his 2008 presidential bid.

Here’s how the McCain adoption was described by them prior to the 2008 presidential race: Newsweek (Nov. 15, 1999, Cindy McCain’s Own Story): On finding a child while running a relief mission to Bangladesh in 1991: I was working in Dhaka, and a friend of mine from Arizona had said to me, Look, while you’re there, do me a favor. Mother Teresa has an orphanage in Dhaka. Would you mind seeing if they need any help? And I said, Sure. We finally found the orphanage, and we saw 150 newborns on one floor. And a lot of them were sick. And the nuns said, [This little girl with a cleft palate]–can’t you take her and get her medical help? And I thought, well, sure I can, I can do that.


UPDATE: Seems that Rick Warren told Larry King on Monday night that the Mother Teresa story was one of three times during Saturday’s forum that McCain teared-up. They’re liars and actors.

If you can’t exploit your adoptee for political gain, then what good is she?

And let’s not even discuss ethics!

If you need someone to talk with Bridget, we’re here!

Thanks to Kippa for the heads up.


  1. I read about the McCain ‘adoption’ last night. Is amazing how a few turns of a few words and placement in a sentence, can change much of the meaning of an event. It has only been just recently that I also learned of McCain’s philandering with other women, most notably with Cindy. Chasing her around the country for better part of a year, before he divorced his first wife and applied for a marriage license before his divorce from Carol. Now I am not against divorce and nothing lasts ‘forever’. Still, evidently he didn’t care much about what people thought. After marrying Cindy, it was only months after their marriage, he would be in D.C. Daddy Warbucks had plenty of $$$$ to help ole McCain out.
    I thought it absolutely deplorable that McCain trotted out his adopted daughter Bridget, on stage with him and Cindy. Is JMO..that Bridget looked supremely out of place, with her head hanging down and barely able to see her face, because of her long hair seemingly intentionally, covering her face. I really felt bad for her.
    And McCain has the nerve to speak about ‘traditional family values’. Mmmmmm, OK!

    GO! Obama/Biden!!

  2. I’m all revved up right now. Here’s my question that I’ll research on Monday when I have time.

    So, she returned home with the child to take her for medical surgery. And just “decided” to adopt her? How was their home study done? Was the child in home with them while the home study was being completed? What was the procedure for adoption in Bangladesh at the time? Was there a waiting list? Or did these adoptive parents just hop in line because they had the cash to travel around, pick up babies and fly them home?

    I don’t know the answers. Yet. But I want to.

    Furthermore, it wouldn’t surprise me if they did hop over and cut red tape at this point. Lying about the reasons behind adoption is a BIG RED FLAG about other unethical practices in the adoption.


  3. Jenna–These are the precise questions that have been asked for more than 15 years that have never been answered. The only good thing I can say about McCain is that he served as a major irritant to Bill Pierce and NCFA (don’t know what the status is now) and once physically removed Bill from his office. Now that’s priceless!

  4. Until I got online I figured “typical adoptive parents” were like my parents. Intelligent, loving, and caring who wanted the best for me; who didn’t abuse me (I was greatly indulged), paid for my college, gave me piano lessons (perhaps the ballet lessons were a form of abuse). They were only as dysfunctional as any other parents. Imagine my surprise when I got online and learned that “typical adoptive parents” were emotional, physical and sexual abusers who adopted…er I mean, stole children for their own self aggrandizement. Thieves, liars, killers, rapists…who knew? They probably vote for John McCain, too!

  5. If you can’t exploit your adoptee for political gain, then what good is she?

    This is what those who adopt do best it makes them lookkkk so good in their eyes.

    Marie Osmond is another that used and played the game of being soooo very special that she rescued a baby. More like she bought a baby and took it from its mother.

    She pretended to be so surprised that the news found out about the adoptee she adopted was having problems, but while feigning her shock, she took full opportunity to make some ET news, thus we got to see her ugly mug in the news.

  6. Improper,

    Hillary was considering adoption at one time or she was looking to get some votes by saying that.

    joke here about candidates running:

    “If God had wanted us to vote he would have given us a candidate”

  7. Marley,

    So your mom gave you up willingly?

    I think we are the same age or close to it.

    I was not even given a choice in keeping my baby.

    In the 60’s most mothers who weren’t married had only one option and it was adoption. Forced, and coerced adoption.

  8. Jenna, please make a big noisy fuss about what you find out!

    As an adoptive parent, oops I mean typical selfish baby thief, I’m extremely exercised about the flexing of many kinds of privilege that must have taken place for the McCain’s adoption to occur.

    I’m also curious about whether Bridget is a non-citizen like some of her irregularly-adopted age peers. One child who is unable to work or get a drivers’ license because her parents hoped that her status would be legalized in the future was featured by the AP recently; I believe the family is in PA. If Bridget’s future is less precarious than that of other children who immigrated under any visa other than an I600-A, I’d really like to know how and why.

  9. Of course lots of women were forced to give up their kids, Anon, and that is wrong– just not all of them were forced. Some women did and do it quite willingly and to claim otherwise, is to deny female agency and claim essentialism.

    It’s important to remember that relinquishment and adoption is a middle class practice. That only 9% of bastards were give up for adoption clearly indicates that illegits were only a problem for some.

  10. I’m sort of a mixed breed, adoptive person and adoptive parent. This adoption seems very questionable to me, although I don’t have any facts to back up my assumptions. It looks like adoption from Bangladesh is similar to that of India, which means that a legal guardianship should have been granted, prior to bringing the children to the US. Perhaps there was a loophole, because Cindy McCain didn’t state any intention to adopt either child in-country, but I’d still like to know how passports and visas were issued so expeditiously, when this can take forever, for “typical” intercountry adoptions. Even if the children were granted some kind of emergency visa for medical care, the courts in Bangladesh would have needed to grant their okay as well. This sort of thing just doesn’t happen overnight, so I’m wondering if there were some hefty pay-offs and “looking the other way” in order to make this happen. Mother Theresa’s orphanages held some powerful clout and influence, so they could make this happen, I’m sure. An I600-A is for infants/children who have been declared orphans (which can be quite a contradiction in itself), so that means court and orphanage documents would have needed to indicate this. It seems like the McCains were able to do their adoption after the fact and if so, they owe some big explanations to the adoption community. John or Cindy McCain are hardly in a position to make any commentary on adoption, when they’ve clearly lied and concealed information. Once again though, they are protected by sealed documents. Good luck getting information, I’ll be very curious to hear if there are any answers to be had.

  11. Hi Marley,

    I can not believe that some people adopt to abuse kids… That’s so terrible!

    The same like you I always thought that people adopt kid to make a better life for them (I mean kids!)

    I so like to read discussions in your blog – so much opinions, so much new ideas… I never knew that in America lonely mothers were often made to give away their babies.

    Sincerely yours,

  12. Just like Madonna and Angelina Jolie,

    They have money “see” a baby can buy it and voila they are building their family without interference from
    pesky home studies or workers, or original family after all they are orphans as WE all know, its called instant adoption for the rich
    and powerful.

    “or did these adoptive parents just hop in line because they had the cash to travel around, pick up babies and fly them home”

  13. There is another story that has changed over the years and that is John McCain”s knowledge of the arrival of Bridget and Leela (the girl who was adopted by McCain aide Wes Gullet and his wife).

    In most current accounts John McCain claims he had no prior knowledge of their arrival, as he did in in April 2006.

    He was asked: You knew about your wife”s decision before hand?

    McCain: (laughs) No. She arrived and said “Say hello to your new little daughter.”

    While an article in the Arizona Star from December 25, 1991 says: The senator didn”t learn he was about to become a father again until his wife called from Bangkok, Thailand.

    While the first story is already absurd and against common and ethical adoption practice, the fact the story has shifted over time, makes me question if this story is invented to cover up John McCain”s use of political influence to get Bridget to the US, circumventing proper procedures.

    I wrote a longer account about this here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *