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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.

4 Responses to “Three Days for Three Daughters”

  1. Jennifer Hemsley Says:

    Thank you for your voice and perspective. I believe your opinion is crucial, and I hope to include your voice in the book that will be compiled post-strike, as this will (hopefully) be the main impact of the strike and hold more weight than the website. We tried to keep the website as simple as possible and as short as possible, as many of the strikers are not involved in adoption language or process in any form. Although we wanted to, we did not include every voice (impossible) such as ones as crucial as yours on the site … the compilation book (I hope) will do a much better job at giving what you call “a bastard centered” approach or viewpoint, along with more first family and families who have lost children to adoption viewpoint. If you’d like to write something for the book, we’d appreciate it. In the meantime, I hope any valid issues you have with the language on the site or what you view as presuppositions will not cause people to lose focus, our focus…. which is purely these three daughters and their mothers in Guatemala.

  2. Baby Love Child Says:


    Your comment means a great deal. In writing this piece, I felt it crucial I ‘stick to my guns’ in terms of yes, the somewhat unwritten perspective I tend to hold on both the events themselves and the campaign itself.

    As I hope I got across in this piece, the needs of these girls and their families (of origin,) the need for justice itself far overshadows any tactical or linguistic differences those working on drawing attention to their circumstances ultimately have.

    As I wrote above, it is deeply discouraging that there are not more Bastard or adoptee centric voices speaking out. Clearly, there is no one single Bastard perspective on these events, and while mine is ‘a’ Bastard perspective on such, it is also important never to mistake such for some kind of ‘the’ perspective of adopted people in relation to the events.

    It means a great deal that the project is not only welcoming, but actively encouraging participation in the book by those approaching it from perspectives such as ‘a Bastard centered approach’, that openness speaks volumes. I would encourage some of my Bastard readers to get in contact with the project as well. That said, I would be honored to add my voice to so many doing the difficult work of trying to draw attention to the facts in these matters.

    I understood from the outset that the collection of ‘documentation’ of the various forms of participation would be gathered and preserved, used to continue the educational (and activist) process. That, as a lasting tool has value.

    I think we can both agree, (a brief glance at both our closing sentences confirms such) that the kids themselves, and their families, (not only these three, but they as but some of the many kids stolen and sold worldwide) are what ultimately matters here.

    Again, I appreciate and welcome your comments here and look forward to continuing the dialog of what those of us angered by these events can continue to do to raise awareness and work towards genuine lasting change.

  3. Cathy Says:

    It is now day two of the fast and as I reflect on the many issues regarding this particular situation and my overall feelings –I came across your blog.
    Really you have summed up my feelings about what this fast means to me. This extends far beyond the three daughters and reaches across multiple borders in a demand driven market. The responsibilty of these crimes fall on the shoulders of those whose job it was to oversee ICA and failed but the burden from their failure falls on the families of stolen children, adoptive families of those stolen children and of course the children themselves.
    The child trade continues and has only shifted it’s direction and rather than fighting to end future abuse, governments lobby for more children.

    I fast together with all the members of the triad in desperate hope that united we can win this battle.

    It is a market that needs to end.

  4. Baby Love Child Says:

    Thanks for stopping by Cathy.

    Two small quibbles I might make in relation to your comment:

    you said:

    The responsibilty of these crimes fall on the shoulders of those whose job it was to oversee ICA and failed but the burden from their failure falls on the families of stolen children, adoptive families of those stolen children and of course the children themselves.

    Actually, I disagree. This is not merely an oversight problem.

    As I said in my post, these abuses and the use of coercion actually strike me as far more systemic, a product of the very structure itself. I see such as

    …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.

    I’d also take issue with any notion of an adoption “triad”, (not that I expect a new reader unfamiliar with my earlier writings to know that!)

    Rather, I’ve written extensively about what I view as more an adoption pentagon, thereby including not merely Parents, Adopted people, and Adopters, but also the adoption industry, facilitators, lawyers, etc and the State as actors each with their own sets of interests therein. I’ve fleshed some of my ideas about the adoption pentagon out here in the articles on my adoption pentagon tag.

    All quibbles aside though, it’s good to hear from others who care about the issues at stake here, as well as obviously, the girls and their familes themselves.

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