Chinese Adoptee Links blog

I wanted to call attention to a blog written by Chinese adoptees. The blog is part of the Chinese Adoptee Links group and is called "One World: Chinese Adoptee Links Blog." I'm adding it to my blog list as well.

And now I will be taking another break. Honestly, I am getting really tired of the name-calling and pathologizing comments I'm receiving lately from folks like "Jane Sue" who can't seem to disagree without resorting to personal attacks. Besides, I've got 22 books to read, several articles to write, and another semester's worth of work and research to complete.

I've been at this for a long enough time now to know that it's easy and tempting to get emotionally triggered by something someone writes on their blog, and to want to lash out at them. I've done that in the past, and have had to humble myself and admit when I'm wrong. I've offered apologies for my emotionally-driven and poorly thought out comments. We all make mistakes, and the internet makes it easy to write and click "send" first and think later.

Some of the responses by "Jane Sue" were really misdirected. For example, the first comment she left was written as if I was the author of the Colorlines piece or had written a scathing critique of the Colorlines article, when all I had done was provide a link. I didn't offer my opinion on it at all, but somehow Jane Sue felt I needed to be scolded and ridiculed nonetheless.

Anyway, like my opinion or not, but don't call me a hypocrite when you come to the blog, read one or two articles you disagree with, and then proceed to psychoanalyze me and feel you're entitled to attack me personally because you think I'm wrong. Fine – I'm wrong (to you). Here's some advice – don't bookmark my blog, don't read it, don't get yourself all in a bundle. Move on, read your friend's blogs where they all think like you do and where you can talk crap about ungrateful angry adoptees who write critical blogs. Do that on your OWN spaces.

I don't mind REAL critiques – if you disagree, fine – I don't expect everyone to agree with me. But if you can't disagree without making a personal attack on me or other adoptees, then go away. Play in your own sandbox. All I'm asking is for people to be respectful.

An adoption worker offers me advice

Thanks, anonymous adoption worker, "Jane Sue" from the Tuscon, AZ area, for these comments. I'm glad to know where you stand on the issues.

Jane Sue's response to the post, "Colorlines: A mother adopts, and discovers her own racism":

This woman would have to be blind not to notice her daughter's skin
color some of the time.
And why would she have thought about sunblock on a dark skinned
baby–until she had a dark skinned baby.
Of course, adoption is a learning experience. How harsh–and
nonproductive–to call this mom's new experiences "racist." Not sure
how that helps her raise her little kid.
We cannot wish that adoptee back in an Indian orphanage unless WE"D
rather have been raised in an orphanage (as opposed to a loving home.)
I'd prefer a loving home, myself, so that's what I prefer for that
child.
It is racist to wish that child back in her own country, simply because
she'd match the people around her. "She's brown, so she belongs with
the brown people." THAT is pretty racist.

Jane Sue thinks I'm entitled and ungrateful in response to "Cooking Lessons":

have you ever stopped to rejoice that your adoption agency even offers these classes?
Your blogs are so uniformly negative.
How much you take for granted. How entitled.

Jane Sue's response to "Angry Adoptee":

I can see why you are so angry. You grew up in a white town. You rarely
knew other TRA.
To be completely honest, you must acknowledge that THESE experiences
shaped you, and that other TRA may have different ones.
I know that it's better to let those orphans starve and die in
orphanages, rather than have them get their feelings hurt in the USA.
Why don't you start a movement to yank the adopted babies in the US out
of their homes, and put them back in their impoverished orphanages, to
have a more cultural upbringing?
Oh. . .you don't actually ive in Korea, yourself? I see. Decided the
cultural experience was not that important for you, just for others?
Have you heard the word "hypocritical"?

And Jane Sue takes issue with my post "Rage against the machine":

Have they "actively investigated their own whiteness"? Where do you
live? I am an adoption social worker and lots of my families are not
white at all.
Or they are mixed race. Or one parent is white and the other is not.
What a racist statement. What do you want them to do–say that being
white is bad and they get extra privileges from it?
I've known abused and battered white kids. Do you want them to say that
too–white kids who have been raped and tortured by their bio parents?
You want them to talk about their white privileges? Or is it just other
white people–the ones you assume have had perfect, entitled
upbringings?
Got news for you. Making assumptions about white people and their
experiences is pretty racist, too. Maybe you are the one with some
investigating to do.

Restoring Family Links – the International Committee of the Red Cross

Restoring contact between families separated by armed conflicts and natural disasters

What
to do if you are looking for a missing relative? Every year, armed
conflicts, other situations of violence and natural disasters leave
countless people seeking news of family members.

Restoring family links means carrying out, in those situations, a range
of activities that aim to prevent separation and disappearance, restore
and maintain contact between family members, and clarify the fate of
persons reported missing. It involves collecting information about
persons who are missing, persons who have died, and vulnerable persons
such as children separated from their families and persons deprived of
their freedom. It also involves tracing persons unaccounted for,
organizing the exchange of family news and the transmission of
documents when normal means of communication have broken down,
organizing family reunifications and repatriations, and issuing travel
documents and attestations.

more about the Red Cross Family Links program:

Who are the separated family members assisted by the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement?

We assist people who have been separated from their family members or
whose relatives are unaccounted for as a result of conflicts,
disasters, migration or other situations requiring a humanitarian
response.

Certain groups of people are particularly vulnerable and have specific
needs that we seek to address. These include children who may find
themselves separated from their parents as a result of armed violence,
arrests, poverty or disasters. Equally vulnerable are elderly people
who may not be able to fend for themselves. Detainees make up yet
another group, and keeping them in touch with their families remains of
utmost importance to us.

What is the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement doing to assist separated family members?

A person's well-being depends to a large extent on the ability to stay
in touch with loved ones, or at least receive information about their
welfare. Receiving news from a loved one or being reunited with one's
family can change everything. It can end the anguish for a
five-year-old and her parents who get back together or help a survivor
of a natural disaster to reassure his family that he is alive.

The Movement has a worldwide Family Links Network comprising the ICRC's
Central Tracing Agency, together with its tracing agencies in ICRC
delegations, and the tracing services of national Red Cross and Red
Crescent Societies around the world.

The role of the Family Links Network is to restore and maintain contact
between family members and to clarify the fate of persons reported
missing. We restore family links by offering separated family members
telephone services, enabling them to exchange written messages,
creating websites adapted to specific contexts, responding to
individual tracing requests and reuniting families. Our work also
involves collecting, managing and forwarding information on dead and
missing persons.

The Movement has long-standing experience and extensive expertise in
restoring family links. Through the Family Links Network, we are able
to provide services across national borders in full transparency and
with the consent of the authorities concerned. Therefore, as a
Movement, we are in a unique position; we have a global network with
the potential to assist people who are separated from their families,
wherever they may be.

For more about the Red Cross and its programs to help families who have been separated, see the following links:

A ten-year strategy to strengthen the restoration of family links
Restoring contact between families separated by armed conflicts and natural disasters

And before you send money to an agency promoting adoptions from Haiti, why not read this statement first and donate money to help restore families who have been separated as a result of the earthquake.

Haiti: helping restore family links severed by the earthquake

Adopt children and exploit them in a new online game

Thanks to Latoya from Jezebel (and Racialicious) for this one.

New internet game encourages children to make their characters wear sexy lingerie and buy 'trophy' orphans

By
Daily Mail Reporter

Article-1245980-0803CE4C000005DC-973_468x286

The adoption clinic in a virtual Style City features girls called
Pax and Maddox and a boy named Zahara after Angelina Jolie's children.

The virtual youngsters have the same nationalities as Jolie's with
Maddox, three, said to be Cambodian and a fan of eating cockroaches.

Similarly up for grabs are Vietnamese noodle-lover Pax, five, and
Ethiopian lad Zahara, four, whose favourite food is said to be guinea
pig.

The adoption centre also boasts a David Banda, four, and Mercy, five, of Malawi, clearly modelled on Madonna's adopted children.

And there is a Mongolian girl called Jamiyan – based on actor Ewan
McGregor's Mongolian four-year-old daughter – who is said to enjoy
eating rats.

In even worse taste, gamers can adopt children from earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

Once they have paid the adoption fees, players style their new
children in over-the-top designer gear and can then try to sell image
rights for them to celebrity magazines.

They are challenged to outdo rival minxes by amassing ever more adoptive children to ‘make their family more fashionable’.

Adoptees of Color Roundtable

Position statement on Haiti

This statement reflects the position of an international community of
adoptees of color who wish to pose a critical intervention in the
discourse and actions affecting the child victims of the recent
earthquake in Haiti. We are domestic and international adoptees with
many years of research and both personal and professional experience in
adoption studies and activism. We are a community of scholars,
activists, professors, artists, lawyers, social workers and health care
workers who speak with the knowledge that North Americans and Europeans
are lining up to adopt the “orphaned children” of the Haitian
earthquake, and who feel compelled to voice our opinion about what it
means to be “saved” or “rescued” through adoption.

To read the rest, click here for the Adoptees of Color Roundtable blog

Heartbreaking, yet not surprising

This is a disturbing story from the LA Times. I think it also shows that we can not be too careful when considering the legality of children "available" for adoption.

How many more stories like this one are going to come to light? I think what is most interesting is that so many advocates of adoptions from China have believed that the adoption system there was clean and straightforward. It's just all abandoned daughters, after all, right? Unlike the widespread and widely known trafficking of children from other countries, there has been a sense of "not us" about China. Unfortunately, now we know otherwise.

A mother-and-son business in China

Duan Yuelin and Chen Zhijin, his mother, who get children from the
rural poor and adopt them out to foreigners, talk about their business
in their home in Changning, China. Chen says the children are better
off with their new parents. (Barbara Demick / Los Angeles Times / January 15, 2010)

What merchandise was he selling? Babies. And the customers were
government-run orphanages that paid up to $600 each for newborn girls
for adoption in the United States and other Western countries.

"They couldn't get enough babies. The demand kept going up and up, and
so did the prices," recalled Duan, who was released from prison last
month after serving about four years of a six-year sentence for child
trafficking.

From 2001 to '05, the ring sold 85 baby girls to six orphanages in Hunan.

His story, which is backed up by hundreds of pages of documents
gathered in his 2006 court case, shed light on the secretive process
that has seen tens of thousands of unwanted girls born to dirt-poor
parents in the Chinese countryside growing up in the United States with
names like Kelly and Emily.


"Definitely, all the orphanages gave money for babies," said the 38-year-old Duan, a loquacious man with a boxy haircut.

At first, Duan said, his family members assumed that they weren't
breaking the law because the babies were going to government-run
orphanages. It had been an accepted practice among peasant families to
sell unwanted children to other families.

To read the story, click here.

Why some people are pushing to airlift orphans out of Haiti instead of sending resources to Haiti

It's because we [benevolent and altruistic humanitarians] can't trust them [poor, under-developed] to know what to do with the money we give them. After all, they just loot. And since *we* know better how to use resources, we can make sure the "deserving" Haitians get help. Since children are the most "deserving" it's best that *we* control how resources are distributed to them, and that includes bringing them to us. How else can we control and ensure that our resources go to the most innocent and deserving? Even before the earthquake, they had tons of poverty in their country, and thousands of kids were being cared for in orphanages. Isn't it better for these poor, deserving children to come to the U.S. where we don't have poverty and children living in government care (i.e. foster care)? Oh, well, oops on the last statement.  I mean, all we're trying to do is give these children a better life and keep them safe!

</sarcasm>

[Standard disclaimer here, since I know some will object: not ALL people, I didn't even say ADOPTIVE PARENTS, and I'm not referring to those children who were already assigned to adoptive parents.]

Haiti

I am not going to post on the situation in Haiti, especially since I can't watch a single news story on the tragedy without it ending with some piece about all the orphans being airlifted to the U.S. or the Netherlands. It's going to be the next generation's version of Operation Baby Lift.

Instead, I am going to link to two important pieces I believe everyone needs to read. Trust me, there are enough folks who think unquestioned airlifting of children out of Haiti is "in the best interest of the child" to counter these two perspectives.

International Social Services position: click here.

A Korean adoptee's perspective: Whites Make Pact With God, Expedite Haitian Adoptions click here for the story.

A comparison of the wellbeing of orphans in institutions

I haven't read this yet, but plan to soon.

A
Comparison of the Wellbeing of Orphans and Abandoned Children Ages 6–12
in Institutional and Community-Based Care Settings in 5 Less Wealthy
Nations

Background

Leaders
are struggling to care for the estimated 143,000,000 orphans and
millions more abandoned children worldwide. Global policy makers are
advocating that institution-living orphans and abandoned children (OAC)
be moved as quickly as possible to a residential family setting and
that institutional care be used as a last resort. This analysis tests
the hypothesis that institutional care for OAC aged 6–12 is associated
with worse health and wellbeing than community residential care using
conservative two-tail tests.

Methodology

The
Positive Outcomes for Orphans (POFO) study employed two-stage random
sampling survey methodology in 6 sites across 5 countries to identify
1,357 institution-living and 1,480 community-living OAC ages 6–12, 658
of whom were double-orphans or abandoned by both biological parents.
Survey analytic techniques were used to compare cognitive functioning,
emotion, behavior, physical health, and growth. Linear mixed-effects
models were used to estimate the proportion of variability in child
outcomes attributable to the study site, care setting, and child levels
and institutional versus community care settings. Conservative analyses
limited the community living children to double-orphans or abandoned
children.

Principal Findings

Health,
emotional and cognitive functioning, and physical growth were no worse
for institution-living than community-living OAC, and generally better
than for community-living OAC cared for by persons other than a
biological parent. Differences between study sites explained 2–23% of
the total variability in child outcomes, while differences between care
settings within sites explained 8–21%. Differences among children
within care settings explained 64–87%. After adjusting for sites, age,
and gender, institution vs. community-living explained only 0.3–7% of
the variability in child outcomes.

Conclusion

This
study does not support the hypothesis that institutional care is
systematically associated with poorer wellbeing than community care for
OAC aged 6–12 in those countries facing the greatest OAC burden. Much
greater variability among children within care settings was observed
than among care settings type. Methodologically rigorous studies must
be conducted in those countries facing the new OAC epidemic in order to
understand which characteristics of care promote child wellbeing. Such
characteristics may transcend the structural definitions of
institutions or family homes.

Citation: Whetten K, Ostermann J, Whetten RA, Pence
BW, O'Donnell K, et al. (2009) A Comparison of the Wellbeing of Orphans
and Abandoned Children Ages 6–12 in Institutional and Community-Based
Care Settings in 5 Less Wealthy Nations. PLoS ONE 4(12): e8169.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0008169

Here is a link to the abstract.