Par1s H1lton, Adopt My Children, Please

28 09 2011

Edit #2:  The original post has been fully removed.  Those of us concerned about ethics have been by-and-large lumped together as instruments of Satan and anti-adoption.  The blog in question is not one I am interested in reading.  I hope the child ends up in a safe and loving home.

I also hope those of us concerned about ethics will continue to find ways, both big and small to raise our voices, to work together to let people, agencies, governments know that all kids matter and that most adoptive families stand beside first families.  We understand the world is not necessarily a kind, fair or easy place.  We understand that not every home is a worthy home.  But we know that cutting corners in an adoption process is never acceptable.

EDIT: I talked SAG into reading my post.  Which meant talking him into reading the offending post.  Guess what?  They have removed SOME of the offensive language.  The grandmother no longer has the title (again and again) of “Grandmother from the Slums.”  I am sure we didn’t convince them that they are wrong – but we may have taught them about writing in a more pc manner.

Today an unnerving “adoption” post was brought to my attention by The Scooper.

I took a minute to check out the blog she referred me to and was immediately overwhelmed.

When I read the comments there was only ONE that said, “Hey, wait a minute.  Please, think about what you are doing.”  I was proud to see that comment was posted by my friend, Meg.  She is an adoptive mother of one from Ethiopia and just this week got her positive ruling from the courts in Uganda so that she can bring home her second son.  (Since I first read the comments, other comments with the same tone have been posted – and promptly removed.)

There is so much that can be said about this  black-mail you into giving up your baby “adoption” post.  And others will say it better than I.  For example, you can read this.

But I have FOUR THOUGHTS that I must get out.

1)  If having more money than someone means you will be a better parent than them, I should give my kids to Par1s H1lton.  I am SURE if Paris saw my home she could comfortably call me, “the grandmother from the slums.”  If the criteria for parenthood is not just money but also religion and experience with many children, I guess Little Dude and PJ will be going to live with Kate G0sslin.

2)  Things are really bad in northern Uganda.  Bad enough that I might do something unethical to “save” a child from there if that child was clearly at risk.  But the blog A Place Called Simplicity has condescension written all over it.  From the opening paragraph describing why she blogs to the disgusting, judgmental, possibly racist and incredibly depressing way this woman keeps describing the grandmother “from the slums.”

3)  If you really want something, you can sit around and think deeply about it.  You can even add some religious words to your deep thoughts and aim that at your deity.  When you are done you might still want that same thing.  You might want it even more.  You might have come up with a creative plan for getting it.  Believing that this proves GOD agrees with you is, at best, egotistical.  At worst, it is a little crazy.  People have been doing unethical, evil, violent things in the name of GOD since time began.  Every single time, they have believed GOD agreed with them.

4)  I have not found many opportunities to address the unethical things that happen in international “adoption.”  Here is a situation where it was easy.  I wrote a respectful comment on the blog expressing my concerns and asking the blogger to pray with an open heart about her actions.  My comment was eventually removed.  The blogger is now reviewing all comments before they post.  Doesn’t matter to me.  I think the more heartfelt, comments she gets from the world saying, “Wait a minute.  You might want to rethink your approach”  the more chance there is that she WILL actually rethink her actions.

I hope you will join me in telling her that the actions she is taking are unacceptable.

Now, I have to go talk to my husband.  We need to make a plan about where we will hide the children should Paris or Kate ever show up.

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32 responses

28 09 2011
Jamey

When I was putting together the picture album to show to Boohoo’s mother I went back and forth so many times about what pictures to include. I didn’t want to put ANY of our house or all our stuff in because it just felt awful, distasteful, rude, and braggy.

In the end the agency encouraged me to do a picture of the outside of our house and Boohoo’s bedroom. They were simple pictures. One off-center photo of our rowhouse so that it just showed our portion and then a picture of her bed with a doll on it.

Her mother smiled at the pictures and asked the translator if that was all for Boohoo and said it was beautiful. I was glad she “liked” it, but I felt awful. I knew even then that it meant absolutely nothing except how rich and spoiled we are (and we aren’t!).

I can’t imagine whipping out a bunch of pictures to CONVINCE a woman to part with her child. How stinking ballsy can you ballsy “in the name of Jesus” can you be?

I feel physically ill.

5 10 2011
Amanda

I know what you mean regarding pictures in domestic adoption. Frankly, I think they serve much the same purpose as the pictures that this blogger was showing – to convince moms of what their kids will have with another family. Domestic PAPs are (sometimes) less in your face about it, but the intent is the same.

28 09 2011
Liz

She has to read the comments before she decides whether to post them or now, to I think you are right – writing a comment might do some good even if it never sees the light of day. Then again, someone that wrapped up in their own entitlement might be beyond helping…

28 09 2011
Julie

You are awesome. This woman needs to be slapped upside the head, and quickly.

28 09 2011
Jamey

I went back and commented. I don’t think it will change her mind, but I said my piece. It went like this:

“I think that you may be missing a great opportunity to be a blessing and a gift to this child and to this family.

I don’t doubt that you love her or that you would be a good family to her, but the fact is that she has a family who wants her.

You could sponsor her/them, and be the hands of Jesus ministering to them in a time of need without causing the lifelong wounds that go along with adoption.”

28 09 2011
Meg B

I am very out of the loop these days (it seems adopting siblings takes up all your time and energy) and will check out this post asap. It’s going to make me sick isn’t it?

I love this post. I love your sarcasm and the way you address the seriousness of the issue

28 09 2011
blueberrybuzz

She and Michelle Bachmann should compare notes….just sayin’. I’m off to post a comment about how God doesn’t whisper in our minds what we want to be true, instead we were given the gifts of empathy, compassion, wisdom, and an ability to seek justice. She’s a nutjob.

29 09 2011
Semi-Feral Mama

How come I can’t find your blog???

28 09 2011
Alex

Could not agree more. My GOD/money/skin color/nationality does not trump anyone elses. B/c we are Americans/Christians/white we are NOT entitled to someone else’s child. We have been down this road so MANY times before. Wake up.
And then read this article, please.

http://www.thenation.com/article/160096/evangelical-adoption-crusade

28 09 2011
Tiffani Lang Pullyblank

no time to post, just offering support and thanks to you for posting this…. ick!

28 09 2011
Scooping it up

Yeah baby. Paris Hilton would be a wonderful mother to my children, how did I not think of this? sadly, I just found out the woman’s husband is systematically deleting all the comments -even nice ones- that don’t agree with what they are doing. He doesn’t want her to see them. Somehow that makes me equally pissed.

28 09 2011
Maureen

So well said!! Thank you for posting!! (oh and I guess god told them to delete any and all posts that don’t agree with them.)

28 09 2011
Kyra

I just commented, though of course it won’t show up. Other people are nicer than me:
If a couple of strange, rich people showed up at your door – no, at your relative’s door, rather – and tried to badger her into giving up your children, I suspect you would immediately have them arrested. I believe you deserve the same. If you are so concerned about this girl (you’re not, by the way, you’re only concerned about YOU), you would work with a local organization to get her family back on their feet. Stop and reflect on what you are doing for just one second.

29 09 2011
Tonggu Momma

Just hearing about this family’s recent actions, I am reminded of 1 Kings 3:16-3:28. Perhaps they should read THAT Scripture.

*shaking my head in disgust*

Thank you for your post. Wise words – I hope and pray they take them to heart. (Oh, and I didn’t think anyone could make me chuckle after hearing about this, but somehow you did. Paris Hilton. Kate Gosslin. Heh.)

29 09 2011
Semi-Feral Mama

Thank you for showing me the right way to spell Gosslin. I guess I should have looked it up but was trying to get this post done while I had child-care help. Besides, with all those kids following her around and the way she always hissed and pecked at people, I think Gosling is a fine last name. But what do I know? I am just one of Satan’s instruments.

29 09 2011
claudia

Yes. That scripture, exactly.

29 09 2011
motherparadox

The post is gone, I missed it. And all the comments are singing their praises. If you hadn’t linked to that blog there is no way I would have read one word. First warning I got, music playing when you open the blog. Second warning, everything was purple. Third, and most importantly, the husband is a co-blogger. When I see a husband co-blogging, I run for the hills. And oh, BlueBerryBuzz, I think I love you. God indeed does not whisper stuff to do into your brain. That self-righteousness makes me crazy. They can rationalize anything. SFM, you are hilarious. Please don’t let Gosling take the kids, though. What a bitch.

29 09 2011
Ms. Fricknfrack

You seriously rock. Bravo.

29 09 2011
Lori

“She’s a nutjob.” Perfect summary.

29 09 2011
Carrie

I am a lurker, but feel the need to speak out based on my years of working with Ugandan humanitarian projects and my 7 trips in country. I think that there is more to both sides of the story than any of us know.

I also think that having a blog with a certain color and music playing doesn’t mean it is suspect. Also, her husband was blogging for her because her internet was out and she was sick. I don’t think those kind of comments are useful or relevant to this discussion.

I have been to Uganda 7 times and fully sponsor 4 children there who I had a Care Order for at one point. The minute I, as a white person, got involved, so many, many people came forward to “get their share”. It was frankly disgusting how manipulated these children have been by their birth parent, their other care takers, their school teachers, etc. We even gave money to Ugandan’s to care for these kids (ie. sponsorships) and it.failed.miserably. Seriously!!! We had a very detailed plan in place that was directed and suggested by the Ugandan’s and still it failed.

My husband and I decided to partner with a respected in-country ministry who now manages their care. No parent or “friend” or care-taker proved able or worthy. I had to learn the very hard way and I tried my best. However, the kids were suffering greatly.

So, yes, they are in semi-institutional care, but they claim they are happy and they feel safe and secure. They can’t be adopted because 2 are too old and they can’t be split up because they work as a unit, if you get what I am saying.

So, while it sounds oh so easy to suggest giving the mom money for chickens and land, I tried that and it didn’t work. I know 2 others who did same and it didn’t work. Even with reputable people checking in on them, the kids were suffering.

Bottom line, our goal was for the kids to be stabilized. Now, it isn’t easy to find reliable partner organizations and there certainly aren’t enough in country right now to help all the kids that need help. So, as I have heard discussed in many places, you can’t blanket say kids should never be adopted who have a living birth parent, however, you also shouldn’t say kids should always be with a parent if the parent is getting some support that will benefit the child. If you are right there to monitor that the child is receiving the benefit because the parent is being helped, maybe. Even still, that child’s school fees may go towards a completely different purpose and you could be lied to like crazy that they are in school when in fact they aren’t. Believe me, many teachers for a small bribe will produce a report card.

Each case is separate and merits careful consideration.

I can’t speak for the specifics of the family in question other than what they posted and I read as I don’t know them privately. However, I do know that parents, relatives, former teachers, etc coming out of the wood-work for completely nefarious purposes DOES happen. If they have reason to believe this may happen, then we need to be careful to not judge too harshly. Also, what they didn’t share may speak volumes…maybe the mom is a prostitute who plans to traffic the child and there is not an organization to partner with in the remote area. Or whatever.

Or maybe more could be done to aid the family. However, call me a cynic, but I tried to set that up and had some very prominent people in country advising me as well as knowledgeable care workers. There was simply too much greed on their minds. They saw the kids as $$$ and nothing else. Sickening, but true.

Remember that our Western filter doesn’t always work in Uganda. First family first is a great place to try to start, but if you saw the way first family treated the four kids we help, you would be ILL! And, we tried to help the first family in so many ways. The kids would have loved another family, but again, the reputable in-country ministry we partner with has worked well as a second option, esp. since adoption is out of the question due to age.

While it might seem that the family is pushing the case worker, perhaps there is something dire we are unaware of and can’t be shared over the internet regarding the family of this little girl. And, for those of you who have worked with a case worker (Probation officer) it doesn’t matter whether PAP’s are there advocating or not, when they know Westerners are involved, they see $$ for themselves and the three I worked with had the number one motive as how to enrich themselves. Sounds harsh, but I saw it with my own eyes. When I turned it over to a Ugandan to manage and they didn’t know a Westerner would be sponsoring the kids, WHOLE different process and deal.
Sad but true.

I honestly believe Uganda is as mixed up as any country where kids mean $$ for the economy. How to fix that is a much greater issue.

Didn’t mean to write so much, but just wanted to emphasize that every situation usually has more than meets the eye. What they wrote may have come across as wrong behavior, but remember, we have our Western filter on this.

Just my .02,
Carrie

29 09 2011
Semi-Feral Mama

Carrie,
Thanks for your comments. You are right everyone has a filter – a cultural filter, a family filter, a religious filter, a previous experience filter. And I am sorry about your previous experiences and impressed that you persevered until you found a way to help those children despite hitting so many dead-ends.
I believe your comment addresses many of the other people who have commented on my blog, and I am happy to host this discussion.
I do want to say that I tried to be clear…. while I know what this family was doing was unethical and most-likely illegal, they might have had a very good reason for feeling desperate enough to do those things. The incredibly disrespectful tone about the biological family and the way they were painting the picture of the actions as them clearly fighting for God’s Will, was what really concerned me. They publicly blogged about something that could actually stop all attempts at the development of ethical, international adoption activities in Uganda.
The fact that they publicly blogged about it, while being so disrespectful to the first family, says volumes about their filters. They never mentioned having any doubts about their tactics. They seemed to take pride in the fact that another family member than offered them his child.
I have Ugandan friends who run a care center. They work on family preservation, reunification, in-country adoption, education and occasionally IA. I am sure this post would have disturbed them to their core. I would hate to see a self-righteous post by some emotional PAPs destroy all the work of my friends and dash the hopes of the children they serve.
As a point of clarification, the original post which is what I based my post on was written by the wife – or at least in a first person voice.

29 09 2011
Carrie

Thanks for replying. And, I believe it was on another blog that people were picking apart the blog style and the husband writing. Sorry I mixed it up.

I know of who you speak as to doing work to preserve families in Uganda. I respect their work and understand why they would be upset. However, a few of their posts have made some “questionable” judgements in my opinion. Everyone in IA or domestic Adoption or family re-unification has an agenda. It just is what it is and because of that, we have to be very careful not to try to squeeze a situation into what our worldview says is the right agenda. I will re-iterate that I never could have been convinced that having the children with the family friend at one point was the “wrong” thing. However, it was completely wrong. Culturally it appeared right, but in fact, didn’t work.

However, I read the PCS blog with very different eyes because I have been the one dealing with a parent, friend, former care-giver, teacher who had no good in mind for these kids. Believe me, it isn’t easy to sit there and listen to complete nonsense come out of the mouths of these people. I can’t judge why PCS published so much information but am guessing they likely felt like I did when I would leave meetings or court and have been side-swiped by people who I felt were pretty evil. I get that in Uganda to leave a child at an orphanage doesn’t mean they are an orphan. However, when they told their story I felt like I was re-living mine with these people who out of nowhere suddenly see $$$. Truly, you can have no idea how much $$$ plays into their decisions there.

I don’t believe PCS to be grandiosely wealthy people. They seem to have pretty well-adjusted little ones and have worked their way around some difficult situations. I believe God does prompt us as to situations and who am I to say that their belief that Sarah is to be their child is wrong. So, I don’t believe they are child-trafficking or anything else that has been leveled against them. They see a kid with a great need and want to help.

So, let’s say they do help mom. Who manages that? Who do they find to trust. Will the advocates in Kampala travel to N. Uganda for her? Is she better in the orphanage where no one ever visits her (so let’s be real – she is effectively an orphan), or in a home? All hard, hard calls.

Perhaps it would have been better for PCS to wait until they could tell the full story. However, lest anyone get on their high horse, don’t think for a minute that even the US Embassy investigations have not had their flaws. We have all heard those stories. I see that people believe they are trying to prevent a trafficking going on this very minute. However, that is a very serious charge to level and based on the grey areas that many adoptions fall under, even though they may seem black and white to us, best not to judge or rush to the Embassy. Remember all the superstition in Uganda too – parents are often told they kids will be sold for body parts, whatever. Maybe the mom has an objection of this nature. Additionally, while it may be culturally relevant for the child to be in an orphanage, the fact that no one ever comes to visit here isn’t necessarily the norm. I have worked with 3 schools who have children in there who have parents who have essentially relinquished them to the schools as caretakers. Most come at some point to see their child – even if once a year. Or, they send a relative to visit. The complete lack of contact towards this child is a bit off. Believe me, when Ugandans have a need and don’t have the $$, they figure out a way to get the $$. They may hoe the neighbors field for 3 weeks to pay them back, but they will do it. Understand that there may be many more barriers for the mom in contacting the child, but I saw enough parents make attempts, that I have less concern that the child is being forcibly ripped from an ongoing relationship.

Overall, IA is such a bag of worms. Everyone’s individual experience is so different and it brings up so many emotions. I feel this family should be left to work this through and I believe if they are meant to have the child, it will be okay; if not, she will be left at the orphanage.

29 09 2011
Carrie

Oh, and I wanted to add, that you can pay school fees directly to the bank, however, you need someone to stand in line for you to do that. If the person who you pay to stand in line for you has been told by the parent they will get something if in fact the money is given to the parent, you are sunk. They will take old school payment vouchers, doctor them with current dates and scan them to you so you think fees are paid. When you call the school and find out the kids aren’t enrolled, you realize the scam. However, there goes a couple hundred dollars – wiring fees, the school fees, etc.

It is SO easy to say you can manage and help the family and the child. It is SO completely different having it happen in real life.

29 09 2011
Semi-Feral Mama

Carrie,
I am unsure why you think you know the people in Uganda that I know. And why you are accusing them of saying unethical things on a blog. The Ugandans I know do NOT have a blog. Still, I would appreciate you sending me a private email at semiferalmama@yahoo.com, just so I can see if we are talking about the same people.
Also, I am confused about your connection to PCS. You said you did not know them personally but now you are talking about their children and their finances as if you do know them well.
You seem to have lots of personal experience that could be helpful in this discussion so I just want to clarify these inconsistencies with what you are saying.
Thanks.

29 09 2011
Semi-Feral Mama

For the record: the Ugandans I know are not the same non-Ugandan people that Carrie referred to in her comment.

29 09 2011
Cazadora

Yikes, I’m not sure what that blog post was about – when I went over and clicked all I got was, like M.Paradox pointed out, a crapload of music and an overwhelming bunch of “God this-I’m praying for you-that” which immediately fills me with the creeps…

29 09 2011
sarah

I read a PCS for some time, and liked certain things about the blogger and her family. However, I stopped reading because some of the information the blogger shared was quite disturbing – for instance, when a newly adopted preschool aged child was acting out, she attributed his fear and mistrust to his inherently sinful nature. There was also a post in which she reprimanded an acquaintance (a grandmother) who did not feel called to adopt. Furthermore, the blogger seeks to add more young children to her large family in spite of the health problems that she and her husband experience.

I don’t think the blogger is a bad person. There may have been circumstances in which she felt compelled to take action in a way that could be considered unethical. It is certainly very easy to suggest that she find another way to help the family, in a country and situation in which there are few optimal solutions.

However, I do have serious questions about the blogger’s judgment, especially as it relates to adoption and the concept of orphan “saving.” She and her family also have an ongoing ministry in Uganda, and travel there several times a year. They may have more ability than most to help a child in-country.

29 09 2011
Captain Murdock

I skimmed the article in question yesterday, but didn’t want to comment on it until I had read it all the way through (without skipping large paragraphs) – it was really long! Now it’s been deleted … bummer! I am really enjoying the discussion that’s coming from it though. One of my favorite bible verses that comes to mind …

And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God

walk humbly – I screw this one up all. the. time. 😦

30 09 2011
Cindy

Oh man…I have stuff to say!! When I have a non phone keyboard.

2 10 2011
Cindy

I cannot put my words together to respond the way I was hoping to. We have been fighting this on other fronts as you know.
Uganda is tough…
I was offered many children when I was in Uganda. I was offered children from people who were not poverty stricken. Every day I was out I was offered children of all ages. The thought of America is a huge draw in Uganda and it makes it easy to commit fraud and to procure children for adoption.
I am so happy that you and others have written about this. I think the Uganda community has a lot to learn and it always helps to get many points of view.

14 10 2011
konjochild

Amen!

13 12 2011
Mark Riley

Ugandans WILL Adopt. http://www.ugandansadopt.ug

Ugandan families though are often overlooked by child care institutions who have a vested interest (usually financially or gifts in kind) in getting the kids adopted internationally. The Ugandan children’s act states that if ANY money or gifts are given to a probation officer, children’s home or birth family during the adoption process then it is classed as child trafficking.

All domestic solutions should be sought before children are made available for Intercountry Adoption…. any other process is unethical and against the Ugandan’s children’s act.

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