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The 73 Haitian kids deserve genuine justice, not a premature release of the scavengers

Let’s pull all the way out to the wide focus for a moment by way of a starting place. All of the writing and detail work I have been writing over the past month about the situation in Haiti is due to the fact that this is a Bastard blog, written in Bastard voice about adoption issues.

But such must ALWAYS be understood to be far down the rungs of priorities in terms of the ongoing human suffering and needs of the people of Haiti in the wake of the earthquake. This is an unfolding crisis still fully in progress (ever more so in the race to immunize people living in the ‘camps’ and as the impending rainy season and hurricane seasons loom.)

I write about these details because that’s what this blog is about. That is the field I choose to tackle in terms of terms of my own work.

Human needs and human rights come first. Once again, I felt it was important to reiterate lest anyone miss that key point, because that is also what my blog is about, even if at times it takes a somewhat seemingly indirect path to explain such.

The primary and immediate focus does not belong on the ten scavengers, it belongs on the search for food and shelter that is daily unfolding for the people of Haiti. It belongs on what the Haitian people are enduring and yes, that does include what Haitian children are suffering now in the aftermath from hunger to human trafficking attempts.

That said, pushing the case of these “New Life scavengers” aside, or releasing them prematurely only opens the floodgates to additional child trafficking, the likes of which we’re already seeing sure signs of.

While the timing is an added burden upon Haiti, the Americans’ attempt to remove children without authorization needs to be given the full gravity the charges deserve. There are 73 kids who were affected by their two attempts to remove them from their home country. As 40 of those kids were simply dispersed back out into the streets by the police officer who thwarted the earlier attempt, questioning them, or any guardians they might have would be a difficult task at this point.

While we may never know many of their names, they deserve justice. Genuine justice, not to merely have charges swept aside and their attempted extra-legal exporters released prior to a full investigation.

Their stories are part of the broader humanitarian crisis in Haiti.

But for the earthquake, the American missionaries with their “get ‘em while we can!” gold-rush mentality would not have loaded up (at least) two busloads of (these) kids and headed for the Dominican Republic border.

To focus upon the crisis does demand we also focus upon the human rights violations and outright lies that the Americans told their guardians to procure the kids. They were enabled by the catastrophe, and attempted to utilize it to their advantage.

A full investigation would require information gathering in at least three countries at this point, the United States, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti itself. But even from what little we can see of the missionaries own materials of actions through the media, we can easily contrast their marketing attempts to remove the 33 children from their parents and guardians with promises of schooling and swimming pools as well as parental visits or ability to reclaim the kids with their mission plan written back in America prior to the trip.

The full color quarter page “brochures” they distributed in Haiti speak of a non-existent “refuge” in the Dominican Republic, while the mission plan speaks clearly of a rented former hotel and of adoption.  Or to be more specific, adoption as a potential for “EACH” child they managed to collect (emphasis added is my own):

We will strive to also equip each child with a solid education and vocational skills as well as opportunities for adoption into a loving Christian family.

(See my earlier post dissecting the missionaries’ “mission plan” also note that Carla Thompson’s husband’s name, “Eric Thompson” is encoded into the document itself.)

If “intent” is the critical legal question, their own materials make it plain enough, their intent was to outright lie to parents and guardians in an effort to collect children, children who were being gathered explicitly for purposes of adoption.

Focus not on the perpetrators, but on the victims of their deceptions.

Focus not on the 10 American team members in Haiti (or their three additional American team members in the Dominican Republic), but instead on how as part of the broader crisis (at least) 73 children were almost taken to the Dominican Republic for purposes of inter-country adoption resale, and how those who did this to them have suffered few consequences for their scavenging the disaster zone for children to redistribute, most likely at a nifty price, other than having to sit in a cell under the glare of the international media for days on end.

These kids, and whatever families they have left have been victims of a crime.

The question is then not whether the parents and guardians consented to giving the American scavengers their children, but on whether they were intentionally deceived into expressing a willingness to relinquish their children.

The Prime Minister has spoken in no uncertain terms about how he views the story of the American scavengers to be a “distraction“,  a focusing upon 10 Americans when you have over a million Haitians in dire need.

As I wrote in my initial piece after the quake:

People still trapped in the rubble, hunger, death, and complete social collapse.

What’s the story here in America?

Adoption.

In my second piece I reiterated:

Let’s be perfectly clear here, Inter-country Adoption is not humanitarian assistance.

Taking children from Haiti is not altruism, it is child export, and utilizing the collapse in infrastructure to personal advantage .

Here in the US adoption has become THE story.

Certain Americans, completely unable to get their heads around scale and scope of human suffering, (recent estimates put the population of the region around Port-au-Prince at between 2.5 and 3 million people) have instead decided to focus on institutional interests or all the way down to a vested self interest, their personal demand for what they disingenuously deem “their” child.

Speaking as an adult adoptee myself, I find it absolutely disgusting that there are those who feel “adoption” is somehow vital to focus upon, as opposed to the massive scale of human suffering and needs in Haiti right this very moment.

But as so much of the current American government and media, is likewise disproportionately representative of those who have adopted, particularly internationally, prospective adopters find in judges and elected officials a welcome mat to their demands.

and

But adoption is not what matters here.

It shouldn’t be the story. It shouldn’t be where resources and personnel are focused, and it’s damn shameful that that’s what’s happening.

Chock it up to a lack of empathy, or a complete inability to get their heads around scale, but what genuinely matters here is getting lost, buried under the rubble, and lack of attention span.

There are people, right now, in desperate need of help.

Both of these two pieces were written BEFORE the 10 American missionary scavengers became the story.

‘Prediction’ is simple when you’ve seen the pattern so many times before.  In the wake of disaster and loss of identification papers, those who would move children as mere product can be relied upon to make their appearance like clockwork.  We’re talking about children that at least one ‘orphanage’ was marketing at $10,500 each, pre-quake.

They hold economic value to some, even in the rubble and remains, so it was merely a matter of time before the scavengers came in to pull out what they could, all towards filling domestic demand in what are politely referred to as “receiving countries”.

Everything that I write beyond that is a sad detailing of where resources and attention are in so many ways misspent.

But this is a Bastard blog, and so here, I write about these issues. The Haitian crisis has been nothing if not a massive turning point in American adoption-land and American adoption related  foreign policy. So it is important to step back and look at the damage being done. I will detail more of the big picture as it relates to adoption-land in a separate post.

For now, all any of us can do is write, and  wait, and watch, and hope that these 73 kids receive at least some measure of justice for what was done to them.  If these 10 scavengers are released tomorrow or soon thereafter without so much as a in-depth investigation it will speak more to Haiti’s own desperate need to focus on what matters most, the survival of its people, than of guilt or innocence.

If they are prematurely released, that too, will make ripples and have consequences, both in the meta scale to human rights, and on the micro scale of adoption-land. If they do manage to get away with what they tried to pull without consequences landing upon them, these 73 kids may merely be an early wave of what will later tally to an untold many.


Return to the Table of Contents of my Haiti series.

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