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Adopting kids out of Satan’s Haiti, the For His Glory kids & the slowing of child export flights

As the Haitian child exports are receiving a great deal of attention at the moment I’d like to welcome new readers and recommend a visit to my about page and my WTF page. They answer many basic questions and lay out my comments policy.

I am an adult adoptee, writing from an explicitly Bastard perspective on these matters.

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The Miami Herald is reporting Haiti slows orphan airlifts to U.S.:

Acting on persistent fears that homeless and orphaned children will be victimized by human traffickers, the Haitian government in Port-au-Prince has put the brakes on the large-scale migration of orphans destined for adoptive families in the U.S.

Haiti’s prime minister, Jean-Max Bellerive, told The Miami Herald his government had considerable fears that children may be scooped up in the streets of Port-au-Prince by nongovernmental organizations. The government also has concerns that children may be trafficked into prostitution or slavery.

Bellerive said his country would not release children for adoption without his personal approval, and ordered nongovernmental organizations working in Port-au-Prince to stop collecting children found on the street.

It appears the Prime Minister signed off on three authorizations of kids for export, but other kids have been removed as quickly as possible before circumstances on the ground could change and the window of opportunity for those demanding children shuts.

“I, personally, Jean-Max Bellerive, the prime minister of the Republic of Haiti, signed three specific authorizations of adoption lists that were in the adoption process with people who are known for their services with children who are clearly identified as orphans,” Bellerive told The Herald.

As Bellerive’s order began to take effect, adoption workers, alerted by U.S. Embassy officials, scrambled over the weekend to move as many prospective adoptive children to the U.S. as possible.

“Orphanage” directors made a mad dash to get kids on planes:

LAST FLIGHTS?

A U.S. military cargo plane flew about 50 Haitian orphans to Sanford, near Orlando, at 1:30 a.m. Monday after leaders of the His Home for Children orphanage in Port-au-Prince were told such flights would likely be suspended later that day, said Chris Nungester, the orphanage director.

“We were advised to get the children out of their beds, get them dressed and load them into trucks to get them to the airport, so they could immediately be placed on the next available flight,” Nungester said. The U.S. Embassy, she said, had told her such flights were coming “to a screeching halt.”

Another large Port-au-Prince orphanage, His Glory Adoption Outreach, flew 79 orphans to Florida last week, but was forced to leave another 27 children behind, as Haitian social service workers were concerned that they had not completed their adoption paperwork.

The first ministry/”orphanage” mentioned here, His Home for Children, is perfectly up front about the fact that some of the kids at the facility have living relatives, claiming that the kids were “abandoned” (see the “Facilities” page,)

While some of the children are orphans, many have been abandoned to the home by a single parent who is unable to provide for them due to extreme poverty

In my series pertaining to the Haitian adoptions, I have repeatedly underscored the cultural and legal differences between Haitian and American style ‘adoptions’ and how informed consent under these circumstances is sketchy at best. Also, here on my blog, I’ve mentioned again and again how “orphanages” utilize “temporary care” as a means to pry loose kids who are immediately made available for adoption, simply due to having been labeled or mislabled “abandoned.”

The other Ministry mentioned above is actually For His Glory Adoption Outreach: a ministry to the people of Haiti, yet another great commission based adoption ministry based in Texas and its Maison des Enfants de Dieu (’House of God’s Children’ or ‘Children of the House of God’) “orphanage” in Haiti.

FHG likewise, makes it clear some of the kids have living relatives:

The creche, Maison des Enfants de Dieu, is home to approximately 125-130 children that have been abandoned either by loss of parents or by birth parents that cannot care for them.

For His Glory’s take on Haiti?

This from the “religion” section of their page on Haiti:

“Mission work in Haiti faces enemy onslaught as this is a country that is yearly dedicated to Satan in a contractual form. There are voodoo practices and worship of the dark.”

While some may find that statement rather stunning, it is sadly a more common attitude  within the evangelical and “missions” subculture than many would care to think. Pat Robertson’s comments along these lines were merely a reflection of a commonly held belief across numbers of people within his subculture.

An historic explaination of the role of Voudou symbolism, language, and drumming is beyond the scope of this post, suffice it to say, all played a role in Haiti’s revolution, a fact that was not lost on slave owners in the United States and elsewhere.

The deliberate suppression of Voudou thus became important politically and culturally as a means of maintaining control. After centuries of “demonizing” indigenous African religious practices brought to the west, few should be surprised when people in for example, Texas begin using such as a basis for “saving” children from countries and culture they are religiously unwilling to coexist with.

The flight of For His Glory’s kids out of Haiti must be understood within this missionary context - they are not merely removing children from Haiti and placing them with American would-be-adopters, they view their adoption ministry work as removing children from a “Satanic” and “dark” land.

Ever the fans of “nuture” over “nature,” core to the evangelical mindset is that people can change if placed in the “right” context with the “right” influences.

Importing these children, who at least before the quake had living relatives, from Haiti to the United States, then is viewed as both great commission work, and “saving” the kids from life within a “Satanically” controlled and dedicated country.

For His Glory’s Statement of Faith makes it explicit:

As a Christian international adoption ministry, FHG seeks to place orphaned children in Christian homes and fulfill the Great Commission by offering the good news of the Gospel to those individuals with whom we come in contact.

The mission statement lays out thier goal:

For HIS Glory is unique in that our goal is to fulfill the Great Commission, reaching out to a physically and spiritually starving nation and giving God all glory as He works in and through us.

For HIS Glory is dedicated to offering the good news of the Gospel to birth parents of voluntarily orphaned children and those living in the surrounding areas, providing education and discipleship and preparing them for eternity.

Gotta love that phrasing, “voluntarily orphaned.”  Apparently placing a child at (or losing a child to) the FHG “orphanage” is enough to become “orphaned.”

Clearly with definitions of “orphan” being flung around like this, the word can mean whatever missionaries want it to.

The kids, naturally, are thus only placed with potential adopters deemed spiritually worthy:

FHG accepts adoptive families that agree with the basic Biblical truths for salvation presented in this Statement of Faith, although they may differ on other points.

Above and beyond most of the other so called “orphanages” (or mission projects) Maison des Enfants de Dieu has been used as a central visual  ’justification’ throughout the last week or so for those advocating child exports.

Perhaps because it is a religious institution, perhaps because it is so central to and emblematic of what evangelicals are doing in Haiti,  it has been featured repeatedly in media reports, both secular, christian, and LDS/Mormon (as some of the kids ended up in Utah.)

Throughout the last week numbers of kids both at the “orphanage” and in transit continued to fluctuate report to report, webpage to webpage.

The 79 who had received humanitarian parole status came into the United States on a flight Saturday, January 23.

Here is a typical example of coverage from earlier in the week from Faux news:

The night before, on the 17th, Geraldo Rivera included the “orphanage” in his two hour special. The For his Glory webpage made mention of humanitarian aid having arrived by the 17th so clearly it had been receiving at least some aid.

January 17, 2009 6:24 PM We just received word this evening from Frankise that the orphanage has 30 UN soldiers issuing medical care to our sick babies! Praise the Lord! We have also received aid today from the Salvation Army and the Red Cross.

CNN’s Soledad O’Brien did a number of stories, some more propagandistic than others, about the “For His Glory” kids.

American would-be-adopters twitters and blogs went crazy, demanding the U.S. remove kids from the “orphanages” to the States after pieces of footage like this ran, in which the “orphanage” director alleges men with guns came to the “orphanage” twice, supposedly leaving each time without taking anything.

Would-be-adopters became convinced kids would be “looted” away from their clutches. Phones on Capitol Hill rang.

(This piece also contains footage from the BRESMA “orphanage” which was the sending “orphanage” in Haiti for the kids in the Rendell’s raid.)

Soon enough, O’Brien’s own story over time morphed into “orphanages” being “robbed”. Capitol Hill got yet another another earful as would-be-adopter hysteria ramped up further by late last week. The “orphanage” itself added to such by posting this on their website:

Others are beginning to rob them of what supplies they do have.

Not long thereafter we began seeing pieces such as this featuring ‘justifications’ without overt and direct calls to remove the kids from the Joint Council on International Children’s Services (or JCICS), an industry trade group/adoption industry lobby.

Both the National Council for Adoption (NCFA) and the Joint Council have made desperate attempts to appear “reasonable” and “cautious” even as their member agencies clamor for and engage in the child exports.

False distinctions between agencies and their industry representatives in Washington are insincere at best.

I have been unable to find the report below on the CNN webpage but it’s from the 12pm hour on Thursday January 21 on CNN.

The “For His Glory” kids were being kept in the back of trucks at the Maison des Enfants de Dieu. Some were already dehydrated and sick. The kids were placed on buses in the 90+ degree heat and driven towards the U.S. Embassy before getting caught in traffic and eventually turned back. (Over the course of the week several trips were made.)

According to O’Brien’s account from the 21, the kids were vomiting on the bus and dehydrated even before they set out. She does not go into great detail, but makes brief mention of the anger of medical professionals working with the kids, describing them as “furious” that the kids had been moved in their conditions.

This is the video clip of that segment, my partner, Mike and I have uploaded.

It is vital to understand what these people did to these kids, and what those here in America put these kids through.

Please click below for the important footage.

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

After living in the compound, the children were eventually dressed in clean clothes and taken towards their flight to the United States.

As the kids were being removed from the Maison des Enfants de Dieu, they were each marked with a magic marker on the arm “FHG” (For “For His Glory”.)

Naturally, this is only what CNN cared to show. More details of the rest of the send off can be found described here, in the Deseret News, a newspaper owned by the Mormon Church.

Each child who left Saturday had “FHG” written in Sharpie marker on the underside of his or her arm. The acronym stands for For His Glory, the nonprofit outreach program that supports the orphanage. Greg Constantino is the organization’s secretary and treasurer. He worked the phones from Salt Lake City.

Only kids with those letters on their arms were allowed on the bus going to the airport. And Kurt Tanner, a member of the Washington County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team, made sure of that. He checked each arm and rewrote on those whose letters had faded.

As each child stepped onto the bus, Rick Yeomans, chief chaplain for California-based Emergency Ministry Services, anointed each child’s head with oil from the Holy Land. He also led relief workers in a hand-holding prayer, asking God to bless this new chapter in the children’s lives. At the same time, a dozen nannies from the orphanage were rhythmically singing and dancing to send off the children.

We also learn of the “orphanage” attempts to ensure the kids would arrive stateside in clean clothes:

Nannies at the orphanage made sure the children who left Saturday traveled in clean clothing. Clothes have been strewn across the orphanage to dry all week. Each time it appeared the kids would be leaving, the nannies hand-washed their clothes in metal tubs.

“We are organized and ready to travel,” Tawnya Constantino said before getting the green light to head to the airport. “We’re just waiting for flight confirmation.”

Meantime, some 200 children played, cried and laughed in the Maison des Enfants de Dieu orphanage as several dozen nannies tended to their needs the best they could.

Several women mixed baby formula and cuddled newborns under a tent. Youngsters in fresh clothes lined up for a spoonful of cold cereal with milk. Seven toddlers clung to the rail of a crib. A dozen others played in a tent filled with mattresses.

But mostly the children wanted to be held. By anyone.

They walked up to strangers with arms outstretched and longing in their eyes.

Yeah, showing up in vomit encrusted dirty clothing and filth probably wasn’t going to go over so well with their soon-to-be-adopters. Might raise some unpleasant questions, that.

The answer to such basic human needs is not putting dehydrated and vomiting kids on 90+ degree buses to wait for hours, attempting multiple trips and facing long delays before putting them on an airplane for the flight to Florida.

The real answer is organized and effective distribution of humanitarian aid coupled with genuine access to medical care to the people of Haiti, all of them, kids and adults.

Not needlessly risking medically “compromised” kids lives further by shipping them to another country.

After the first flight out, the Maison des Enfants de Dieu remained the poster child for the American media. Faux news also ran a number of pieces most of them along these lines.

Meanwhile stateside, there is at least some further examination being done on some of the would-be-adopters:

“One of the things we’re concerned about is making sure all the groups that are claiming the children here are actually vetted,” said Jacqui Colyer, regional administrator for Miami-Dade and Monroe counties for the state Department of Children & Families. “We have ramped up our diligence and vigilance in looking at who these people are.”

In South Florida and Sanford, meanwhile, child welfare administrators bolstered their efforts to screen adoptive parents as well, requiring last-minute criminal background checks, for example, for families whose screenings were done years ago.

Among the concerns of child welfare workers: ensuring that none of the arriving children end up in the hands of human traffickers, Colyer said.

Once again, we see kids brought into the states and be brought directly into “faith based” infrastructures, essentially the outsourced and privitized child welfare system of Florida:

The 50 children who arrived Monday spent the day at His House Children’s Home in Miami Gardens, where they were treated to a traditional Haitian dinner of black rice with mushrooms, chicken or turkey and a large sheet cake decorated with fruit in the shape of an American flag, said His House’s spokeswoman, Iris Marrero.

“Welcome to America,” the cake proclaimed.

His House’s Mission:

His House Children’s Home is a faith-based social services agency fulfilling God’s directive to “defend the cause of the weak and the fatherless” by providing excellent care and a safe place to call home.

Without a hint of irony, His House Children’s Home includes within its welcome statement on its webpage the following (emphasis mine):

His House Children’s Home is a healing place giving wounded children a warm, loving home and renewed hope for a brighter future. We are coloring away the darkness in little hearts all over South Florida.

The article also makes mention of Florida’s first foster case from the kids being brought in with medical needs, emphasis added is mine:

Meanwhile, a severely injured infant of uncertain parentage became on Tuesday the first survivor of Haiti’s Jan. 12 earthquake to enter foster care in Florida. A Miami judge ordered the baby — who is being claimed by a family in Port-au-Prince — into the custody of state child welfare administrators.

The baby girl, whose case was heard in court Tuesday, believed to be between 2 and 3 months old, was airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital on Jan. 16 after she was discovered amid rubble with a fractured skull and two crushed arms, a DCF caseworker said in court.

DCF, which has been heavily involved in the repatriation of Haitian-American families as well as the processing of adoptive children from the island, asked Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jeri Beth Cohen to place the infant under the state’s care while investigators try to determine whether she has family in Haiti.

Cohen asked the agency to look “diligently” for the girl’s family, while at the same time beginning efforts to place the girl up for adoption in Miami should no family be found.

“We want to help,” Cohen said in court. “We don’t want to further traumatize this family. We must make sure we work very diligently to find her family. That is very, very important.”

The baby girl, whose name remains unknown, is believed to be the first child brought from Haiti to enter foster care in Florida. Another child may have been sheltered by federal immigration workers last week, Colyer said.

While the infant was recovering at JMH last week, her identity a mystery, a man and woman who thought their baby daughter had died in the rubble got word that their child had been found and flown to Miami.

A journalist working for ABC News who was passing by the rescue took the baby to a field hospital in Port-au-Prince and later returned to the crumbled home to find the family.

There, a relative gave her contact information for Junior Alexis and Nadine Devilme, who believe the baby in Miami is their daughter Jenny. Alexis, 24, had searched for the baby for days after the quake, which knocked Devilme, 23, unconscious.

The couple moved to a camp in front of the Canapé Vert Hospital.

Last week, they told a Miami Herald reporter that they had no proof that the baby in Miami was theirs. But Alexis said he was prepared to take any test necessary to prove fatherhood.

The International Committee of the Red Cross was contacted by officials at the hospital as well as the journalists who brought the baby to the triage center in Haiti.

Workers with the organization in Haiti have been trying to get in touch with the couple, according to the Red Cross.

So in Miami at least, they’re dual tracking those kids coming in under medical necessity; search for family, BUT AT THE SAME TIME begin adoption proceedings.

Yet another tale of yet another kid not in any adoption mechanism pre-quake undergoing at least the preliminary steps towards an American adoption now that they’re on American soil.

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Finally, I strongly urge new readers to see my Haiti Series Introduction for a series of posts I have written as well as a number of links to pieces both here on the site and to what others have written in relation to the these Haitian adoptions and the ongoing human rights violations still unfolding.


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