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You’ve got the kids, I’ve got the cash, let’s make some adoptions.

So today provides yet another profile of yet another Baptist evangelical scavenger, Mike Roberts, the North Texas CEO of “Source Direct.”

The Dallas Morning News has done an article on yet another scavenger on a “mission from god”  to do the kind of work in Haiti that can decide who lives and who dies, and to set up an adoption pipeline cash and supplies-for-kids scheme. Naturally, the piece is more of a glowing profile than an expose on Roberts attempt at child tafficking.

Yup, yet another attempt to build a system of  Haitian “orphans” sourced directly to a congregation.

See In Haiti, North Texas CEO tries to make order out of chaos. The full article is quite the read. But the adoption pipelining stands out.

He and his wife plan to return in about four weeks to begin the process of adopting a Haitian orphan – a touchy subject after 10 Americans were charged with kidnapping for trying to take 33 children out of the country without documentation.

Roberts visited three orphanages while in Haiti and used his jet to fly in supplies – soap, shampoo and diapers.

As stated earlier in the article that would be his $7 million private jet.

The day he left, he also stopped by to give money to the directors. “We want to develop a relationship so we can adopt your children as well as support you,” Roberts told Osvaldo P. Fernandez, director of the Rose-Mina De Diegue Orphanage. “We also want to give you some cash.”

Roberts unzipped a money belt and fished out a handful of money.

With apologies to the Pet Shop Boys, this is nothing more than You’ve got the kids, I’ve got the cash, let’s make some adoptions.

There’s no veneer on it, no finesse, just outright “let’s build a relationship here, you provide the kids, I’ll put cash and goods in your hands.”

Nor is Roberts merely sealing the deal for one of his own, he’s looking to build an adoption pipeline between these Haitian “orphanages” and his congregation, Park Cities Baptist Church back in Texas.

At first this commodities trading apparently didn’t go over so well (at least with a reporter there to cover such).

Fernandez’s eyes flashed in anger. In Spanish, his words tumbled one over another.

“You can’t pay me off for one of my children,” he said. “I’m not selling babies here. My kids don’t want money, they want affection.”

But soon enough, the “orphanage” director came around:

Over the next few minutes, translators smoothed over the misunderstanding. Fernandez accepted the money and his eyes softened as he watched Roberts play with a group of orphans.

“I can see he has affection for the children,” he said. “I can see he needs the love of a child.”

Which is, as seems to be so often in these cases,  putting the desires of the wealthy American would-be-adopters in front of the genuine survival needs of of the kids themselves.

The adopter is portrayed as needing “the love of a child.”

As opposed to the child, who needs clean drinkable water,  food, shelter, clothing, to be protected from child trafficking, have their human rights protected, and not be exported out of their own country at the whim of a wealthy purchaser.

Once the director took the cash, the details of the pipeline were hammered out quickly enough (emphasis added is my own).

Roberts said he hopes his congregation at Park Cities Baptist Church will connect with Haitian orphanages, send supplies and set up a system where members can adopt children.

Naturally, he can’t pass up the opportunity to kick in a catty remark about his competition for children in Haiti, NGOs such as Unicef that advocate the kids remain in their own country and are being brought to places of safety out of the reach of scavenging disaster opportunists like Roberts:

“You look at the lives of these children and their surroundings, and you just know we can do better,” Roberts said. “I’m not talking materialism. We can bring these kids up in a family unit rather than allowing them to be brought up in a platoon.”

Roberts views any policy or moratorium standing between him and his quest for “product” i.e. kids as “absurd” dismissing any previous history Haiti has had with child trafficking.

Haiti recently placed a moratorium on adoptions out of fear that some children and parents may have been separated during the chaotic aftermath of the quake. Roberts dismissed the policy as “absurd.”

“Are we going to sit back and allow thousands of babies to go without milk while all of our governments decide what is the best way to handle this situation?” he wrote his wife. “Try telling that to a starving baby.

Obviously, he’s merely yet another Texan evangelical fly-in who wants what he wants. Any pre-existing context or history Haiti has had with children being bought and sold means nothing to him. Such is simply dismissed, as he pulls out the usual “but think of the children” routine.

Maybe before opening his mouth and his wallet, he could take a moment to learn even the basics about what words like “Haitian Orphanage” have meant and continue to mean.

The New York Times published sort of a Reader’s Digest version of what many of us have been saying for years yesterday, Bleak Portrait of Haiti Orphanages Raises Fears.

His answer then, to  get questions of whether or not the kids are exportable settled quickly is to set up a photo catalog of ‘inventory’ i.e. kids not already (so often falsely) labeled “orphans.” Once again, emphasis is mine:

Why can’t we just publish a list with names and photos for any child that has not been documented as an orphan?

“This would allow any surviving family members to locate their missing child and we could return them once they are in a position to care for the child.

Sooooo, export the kids first, place them with American Christian would-be-adopter families, and them offer promises to return the kid should their parents or other relatives be able to provably identify them AND meet conditions deemed able “to care for the child.”

As I said at the beginning of all this, just after the quake, possession is 9/10 of what passes for law in these cases. Once the kids are here does anyone for one minute think they’ll be returned? Again, just ask the mothers of Guatemalan children who were brought to the United States how that getting their kids back has worked for them.

Roberts resorts to that time tested and well worn means by which to shut down any opposition or blow past any objections or rational arguments against his course of action: “You have to do what I want, what you’re doing now is KILLING CHILDREN.”

I know that they are attempting to protect these children by playing it safe but in reality they are killing them.

This is child buying, nothing more.

Despicable, yet also perfectly ordinary.

What with no less than former President Clinton (himself a Southern Baptist) working to cut a deal for as many of the set of  Baptist missionary scavengers sitting in jail at the moment as possible, clearly, missionary child exports are high priority in American foreign policy.

After all, who is going to make the consequences of such child trafficking actually come to fall on Mike Roberts, his family, his church, and the other American families in the congregation who stand to purchase children by way of this deal?


Return to the Table of Contents of my Haiti series.

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