Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The World Watches: Ethnocentric Cultural Genocide

With the entire world watching, Madonna - hell bent on getting what she wants, reportedly "beefed up her legal team" with constitutional scholar Modecai Msiska, who argues:

"I concede that the petitioner is not a Malawi resident, but I urge the court consider the best interests of the child. … If residency were a requirement, it would be unconstitutional as it would negate certain rights of the child."

This is a bizarre claim as the residency requirement is in place to protect children form baby brokers and child traffickers. Team Madonna has claimed it is an "outdated" law having been out in place 50 years ago. Unlike sealed records in the US, however, which also came about over the same time period, the logic behind the residency rule is more needed now than ever before as child trafficking has escalated in the interim years.

The three-member panel of Supreme Court judges presided over by Chief Justice Lovemore Munlo has indefinitely "reserved judgment" hopefully while they seek to determine paternity of James Kambewa who Madonna's lawyer called an "opportunist."

The Pressures of Greed and Demand

Mercy James' grandmother, 61-year-old Lucy Chekechiwa, is reportedly against Madonna's decision to adopt. "Why doesn't this singer pick other children?" she allegedly told Britain's The Sun. "It is stealing. I want to go to to court. I won't let her go."

Yet, in a statement we can all relate to Grandma Lucy tells The Early Show that she feels bullied into the adoption, saying: “I did not want my granddaughter to be adopted. But because they have been persistent enough, I have been forced to let my granddaughter go."

Shame, shame, shame on Madonna for bullying people into tragic losses like this! The world is watching and whatever the outcome, you will be branded for life as a callous BE_ATCH who wants what she wants and pays off everyone to get it. It diminishes all her charity work to totally disregard people and their rights and heritage like this. What is she role-modeling Lourdes and her son...that might makes right and money can buy ANYTHING or ANYONE?

Attorneys representing children's rights groups also offered submissions in regard to the 50-year-old singer's bid to adopt Chifundo "Mercy" James. One can only assume that in addition to - openly questioning her lifestyle, this is a concern as well, though bn one in power in malawi wants to raise it as an issue and insult (read bite) the hand that is generously offering to build a school. Her giving with one hand and wanting to take something as precious as a human being with the other puts Malawi in a very difficult position and is in itself immoral, selfish and corrupt IMHO.

The NY Times reported that Lawyers for Malawi's Human Rights Commission and the group Eye of the Child - who supported last month's High Court decision - briefly addressed the hearing as friends of the court.

"Our contention is that the issue of residency is of paramount importance in the determination of this matter. The courts should make inter-country adoptions an option of last resort," Jones Gulumba, the attorney for Eye of the Child, told the court. "In the absence of regulation, inter-country adoptions should be decided based on the best interests of the child - and should be carried out under all applicable laws and procedures," he said.

Maintaining international adoption as a last resort is not just a Malawian law – it is the ethical standard of all international adoption set by the Hague convention and the U.N.

Will Madonna become the poster-girl for all who wish to buy the kids they want? I pray the song Madonna will be singing when it's all over is: "You can't always get what you want" -- but we wait the final act of this real-life drama.

The focus on this case is not unfounded or merely about star gazing. The world adoption community is watching this as a microcosm of world child supply and demand - emphasis on demand, which leads and trumps all else.

Adoption today is a bizzaro upside world of reverse Robinhoodism in which those with "means' TAKE from those of lesser means. It is done not only with impunity and justification, but is praised as rescuing "unwanted" children. It is done with arrogance and entitlement; with the power of privilege and with the ethnocentric belief that the material end justifies the means and the tragedy of familial separation.

Motherhood, once revered because upon it depends the future of the human race, has become a “class privilege in America, and much of the industrial world,” a matter of who can afford to have children. For the rich, “today it is possible to order babies from a menu of convenient options,” including purchased eggs and sperm, gene selection, or renting a womb—options obviously not available to the less wealthy. Entitlement to a baby—even one’s own—is often based on financial ability or the advantages one has to offer.

The Stork Market, Page 18

Poor and resourceless mothers, instead of receiving the support they need to keep their families intact, are often exploited instead for a coveted and much sought-after commodity: their children. Historian and author Ricki Solinger found that “adoption only exists on the backs of resourceless women.” It is a relatively recent shift, notes Solinger—since the Reagan administration—that Americans have begun thinking that unless a woman has enough money and resources, she has no business being a mother.

The irony of it all is that she wants Mercy as a sibling for David - so that he can look into the face of someone who looks like him yet she blindly rips them both from all else familiar.


osolomama said...

I support the residency requirement totally and it would be great to see her actually do it instead of wanting everything on her terms. Latest is that she's starting an adoption campaign. Like we need this. Look who's trumpeting adoption now--Focus on the Family (save the souls for Christ) and Madonna. Everyone else has moved on to discuss reform.

". . .unless a woman has enough money and resources, she has no business being a mother."

Now this is a bit of a sticking point for me when it comes to the developed world. Like it or not, this is a free-enterprise non-collectivistic society that expects people to take care of themselves to a great degree. In your country, you guys don't even have free health care. Socially, we do not live in tribes, unless they're of our own making. So in general, I would agree with the principle that if you don't have the resources to parent--social, emotional, financial--you should avoid parenthood. Where's the birth control discussion in all the adoption discussion, Mirah? Let's not make the babies to begin with and let's not encourage young woman to think of early motherhood as a career destination somebody else pays for.

AdoptAuthor said...

". . .unless a woman has enough money and resources, she has no business being a mother."

Where does this quote originate from?

The U.S. is sadly lacking in health care as well as child care and many other supports for families in crisis that the rest of the industrialized world provides its citizens.

I wholeheartedly support access to birth control and sex education that includes the preventable causes of infertility. Having said that, we will always have to deal with failures of birthcontrol as well as rape.

We do not - and should not - however have a financial litmus test for who was a "right" to be a parent. What is needed is for the U.S. to fill in the gaps - NOT to punish struggling families more by removing their children from them.

I know of no individuals or gvt policies that "encourage young woman to think of early motherhood as a career destination somebody else pays for."

On the contrary, I know of gvt policies and benefits that encourage the redistribution of children via adoption under the guide of helping special needs children but with no stipulation tat it be used that way.

Society in general has been lulled into believing that material "advantages" are optimal over kin connections.

AdoptAuthor said...

Yes, Madonna is now allegedly working to help single mothers adopt.

Read: single mother with money have some alleged "right" to take the babies of UNWED mothers without.

What have we become as women and as human beings?

Osolomama said...

The full quote was taken from your post:

"It is a relatively recent shift, notes Solinger—since the Reagan administration—that Americans have begun thinking that unless a woman has enough money and resources, she has no business being a mother."

I also don't know of any government policies that "encourage young woman to think of early motherhood as a career destination somebody else pays for."

I just don't want there to be any.

AdoptAuthor said...

Are you OK with gvt benefits for adopters? And subsidies paid to strangers to foster instead of using the same funds to help families remain intact?

Osolomama said...

Not sure what benefits you're speaking of, though there is a new IA credit for Canadians. Don't really think this is an incentive to adopt. If I were to reform IA, I'd start with the $$ charged for the adoption itself. Personally, I never got a penny and didn't want anything.
Re: fostering, you're asking about kids coming into the system for a whole variety of reasons:
Would the $$ redistributed to original families address all the problems of kids in foster care? If so, how do we know this?
What would be your rationale be for stopping payments to effective foster families?
Poverty strains all relationships and all families, but unfortunately, in our societies it's not likely to be eliminated soon. You can change the whole system and make it Scandinavia—and there's good evidence that their system is more humane, more kid- and family-friendly, and less violent and dysfunctional than ours, but how much traction would you really have in the US where even universal health care seems to be a tough sell?

AdoptAuthor said...

I do not believe in simply accepting things because alternatives are difficult. Some call it idealism. I call it persistence. I will no more give up on family preservation as the best option as i would give up on world peace and an end to hunger as best.

In the U.S. there are tax benefits given to adopters on the pretense that it helps get the kids in foster care adopted. However, there are no such stipulations put on the benefits.

No, I do not think $$ is the answer to all problems. That is why I do not think that financial advantage should be the criteria in child removals and adoptions.

What I am saying about foster care stipends is that the same $$ could be given to moms or extended family members.

For more of my research and conclusions I strongly suggest you read my book.

I also urge you to read others'research, listed at:

Osolomama said...

Actually, I have read a great deal of what is on your list. I haven't read your book though, yet. Does it talk about the foster system too?

"What I am saying about foster care stipends is that the same $$ could be given to moms or extended family members."

The official position of Canadian provinces is to seek care with extended family first. We do have kinshp care in some (most?) provinces and it is paid for. However, this has not ruled out the need for stranger care, as you term it. So again I was asking, would money spent in the foster system guarantee that kids can stay with their original families? Not if the parents can't parent. And why not pay effective foster parents? It seems to me that we need all options--consulting extended family, kinship care, foster care.

Osolomama said...

Just to add one more comment. It's true that the way services are funded, the $$ doesn't often go to addressing problems or needs in the first place and that sometimes the only way for kids to get some services is to come into care. However, there will always be a need for some children to separate from truly bad parents. I look at my best friend, taken into care numerous times because of rotten (and I mean rotten) parents, and wonder how restructured funding would have ever addressed their shortcomings. My friend later applied for and got all her reports from foster care. A tragic story. Abusive parents basically ruined her life. Not saying adoption was the answer either.

AdoptAuthor said...


We need all option but in the right order of priority in practice and dollars spent on each option.

The first priority must be family preservation. After that kinship care. I am not at all familiar with Canadian laws or practice but in this country there is an assumption that if the parents are incapable then the whole family is a wash.

My book covers a non-profit, non-government program that is finding double-digit numbers of family members for kids aging out of foster care. Why are these family resources not soguht out earlier by the social services depts removing thse kids???

My book also covers SOME of the programs that work to foster mother and child in need and provide in-home care rather than removal as a solution for every problem - even drug addiction. these programs have better success rates than tradition foster removals and are more cost effective - yet they are sparse.

The final option for any child who has absolutely no extended family capable of caring for him safely should be permanent legal guardianship - NOT adoption which severs all ties permanently and denies those adopted in the US (in most states) access to their original BC FOREVER! There is absolutely no need to do this in order to care for children in safe permanent ways within loving, caring families.

All of this becomes perfectly clear when we see adoption and child care as being in the best interest of children - not in the best interest of those who want a child to fill *their* needs.

AdoptAuthor said...

Unless and until child care becomes such a priority that funding allows for each case to be looked at on an individual case-by-case basis, accidents will occur in either direction: children will stay w]too long in harmful environments (natural, foster and adoptive) and others will be removed far too quickly with little justification. I have personally witnessed both extremes of this among neighbors and schoolmates of my children.

I have also read about children removed at birth simply because other children were removed prior. This allows no room for change, growth, rehabilitation - HOPE. Many today are being placed as you have stated for need of care parents cannot afford and that is a SIN in an industrialized nation! And it is happening more and more as the economy falters. That is an issue of national and state spending priority! We are not putting families first.

Children should never be left in danger. But there are ways to ameliorate the danger or possible danger: drug rehabilitation that keeps babies with their others; anger management training; parenting classes; supervision; and temporary foster care that is truly temporary.

I also hear from mothers in difficult situations who are scared to death to turn to their gvt for any financial aid because of the fear that their children will be removed if they cannot afford to provide them with all their needs. i have heard of kids taken from homes for the simple reason that there was not 3 days supply of food in the home when a social worker visited. This is flushing the baby with the bath water! It is NOT the way to fix the problem!

Again, I do not know about your country but here it is well known that foster care is a hot bed of abuse including sexual abuse.

RussiaToday Apr 29, 2010 on Russian Adoption Freeze

Russi Today: America television Interview 4/16/10 Regarding the Return of Artyem, 7, to Russia alone

RT: Russia-America TV Interview 3/10

Korean Birthmothers Protest to End Adoption

Motherhood, Adoption, Surrender, & Loss

Who Am I?

Bitter Winds

Adoption and Truth Video

Adoption Truth

Birthparents Never Forget