With the nomination of Haiti “orphan” adopter Amy Coney Barrett to the US Supreme Court, Haiti and Haitian orphans are back in the news–hot and sweaty with adoption mythology, white saviorism, and lots of political and religious bashing. If you are not adopted, the subject may not be important to you. If you are adopted, it is.
I am working on a new Haiti adoption blog, but in the meantime, I am throwing out a couple of resources for anyone, including media, looking for background on why the question of Haitian adoption and Amy Coney Barrett is important.
(1) Oldtimers may remember that I had a Haiti blog.
The page is an essential archival document.
It contains a couple hundred entries covering news and updates on the post-earthquake Haitian “orphan crisis,” orphanage conditions, family unification, evangelical and Catholic interference in refugee and child care (including the attempt to stop contraceptive distribution to people in camps), neocoloniallism, the international adoption cartel, entitled PAPs, kid-snatching, do-gooding, “orphan” airlifts, corrupt practices, scams–including, of course, Laura Silsby and her merry band of adopta-pranksters. (A lot about them).
I was in frequent contact with Silsby’s “lawyer” Jorge Puello while he was on the lam from the FBI and Interpol. About once a year he contacts me to bitch me out for not portraying him in the light he sees himself. I like to tell him the con got conned. A couple years down the road I refused to help spring him from an unpleasant Salvadorian jail (he included pictures in his emails) that was so unpleasant he had internet access–unlike American jails.
The page also contains lots of links to documents, organizations, and their statements.
Some of what I covered wasn’t covered by anyone outside of obscure sites. Some is pure original investigation. As an oppositional researcher, I dug dirt daily. At the height of the crisis, I got about 3000 hits a day, including frequent visits from The US State Department, the US Senate, and the New York Times.
I’ve lost the password to Stop Exportation and can’t get into it right now to add new material. Blogger isn’t much help, but I am trying. In the meantime whatever I post on Haiti will be here and on the Bastard Nation Haiti page.
Thus, the simple issue of raising questions about the Barretts’ two intercountry adoptions became a touchstone, one built on an issue that gets packaged any number of ways, depending generally on your political views, background, and connection to adoption. For conservative Republicans who support the nomination, inquiries into the Barretts’ adoptions are considered “off limits,” outrageous even, an affront to the unquestioning “beauty” and necessity of adoption itself. For opponents of Judge Barrett’s nomination—and for critics of intercountry adoption generally—questions have been raised about the process the Barretts followed, specifically whether the adoptions were legal, transparent, and involved the relinquishment of an actual orphan, especially the 2010 adoption during Haiti’s recovery from a devastating earthquake. The issue for many critics thus became one of structure, questioning intercountry adoption itself and raising issues that have long plagued the packaging and marketing of “adoptable” children, primarily adoptees of color who are born in developing countries and adopted by white parents….
…The politicization of the Barretts’ adoptions from Haiti (which they’ve clearly politicized themselves) highlights the rift between concept and reality in intercountry adoption. The Barretts and many others, particularly evangelical Christians, portray intercountry adoption as a solution to the “problem” of orphaned children, though the term “orphan” has often been misappropriated to mean “available” and may not mean that the child has no family members or parents still alive. Behind the “solution” to orphan children is yet another purpose: Christianizing children of color by adding them to white Christian families and ultimately to “God’s flock.”