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Three Days for Three Daughters

Over the next three days, the international Three Days for Three Daughters campaign will attempt to draw attention to the circumstances surrounding the plight of three Guatemalan girls, stolen and adopted by American couples:

Anyeli Lisseth Hernandez Rodriguez

Heidy Sarai Batz Par

Arlene Escarleth Lopez Lopez

and their Guatemalan families left behind.

For a number of reasons I will be focusing on the the girls and their families themselves, rather than the campaign itself.

I have a number of reasons, among them

  • fasting as a tactic (particularly via an Internet campaign) often has more to do with INTERNAL changes in the participants themselves rather than external or political changes
  • and the TDfTD campaign is rooted in the presupposition that adoption as an institution is not deeply problematic, re-characterizing it as (usually?) an “ethical and moral practice”, even a (formerly?) “humanitarian endeavor,” the campaign’s quibble then, is merely with what they view as essentially aberrations “tarnish”ing an institution they view as otherwise a societal good:

“Because we value and celebrate adoption done in ethical and moral practice, we call a strike to voice opposition to those that tarnish and ultimately destroy legitimate adoption practice, rendering legitimate orphans homeless, and profitizing a once humanitarian endeavor.”

(For the moment, I am willing to set aside assumptions inherent to terminology such as “legitimate orphans,” though I will point readers at what a can of worms using such can open, as there is the lay cultural definition of an “orphan” which is quite different from the legal definition of an “orphan” as it relates to a child made available to international adoption, a topic I have covered at length previously in this post.)

As some of those spearheading the campaign are adopters, it is hardly surprising that they would seek to maintain the institution. Nor is it surprising that they have decided to ‘call out’ those making their own participation in the social institution look bad, as the only way to maintain their own credibility as adopters is ultimately to come out to a position of the institution as a societal ‘good’ with the usual ‘few bad apples’ blamed for ‘ruining it for everyone else’. This is an altogether far too familiar paradigm.

I on the other hand, tend to view the institution from a more Bastardly perspective, that actions labeled “exceptions” or “abuses” may not be aberrations so much as inherent to the system as it currently exists. Children kidnapped and sold into adoptions far from some anomalily, may simply be an intrinsic facet of an adoption market wherein the creation of a class of adoptable children must be maintained for both profit and to meet the staggering demand.

It is deeply discouraging to see little to no Bastard-centered voice speaking out about these girls and their many peers, kidnapped and sold into adoptions. For the next three days, I too, will be focusing upon these girls and some of the harsh realities of the adoption marketplace, though I do so from a perspective that does not keep one hand tied behind my back, beholden to maintaining the institution of adoption itself.

As currently practiced, the institution itself must at minimum, undergo deep structural changes. These girls , and their stories are not isolated incidents. Sadly, they are but mere by-products, or even the logical outcome of a system dependent upon the international marketing of and marketplace in children. A State sanctioned system, which has become a cornerstone of American foreign policy.

Guatemala may no longer have the ‘open for business’ sign on the door, but the personalities and tactics have simply moved on to the next in a long line of countries once the flow from Guatemala was (for the moment at least) pinched off.

I remain unconvinced reorganization under the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption is a long term solution, certainly not for countries such as Guatemala and Vietnam.

All that said, drawing attention to these documented cases is important, as ultimately, these girls themselves, (as well as their families of origin) deserve a future built upon justice and fairness, not further lies and deceit.

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