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Thanks for stopping by! Whatever Things Are True covers politics, policy, and parenting in international adoption. Too often, the way we talk about international adoption reminds me of that old fable about The Blind Men and the Elephant – we tend to confuse one small part of the animal for the whole beast. Although I’m the mother of three via international adoption, I try to take a child-centered approach to adoption issues. I hope you’ll stick around and share your thoughts, too.

For More About International Adoption

  • All the Social Orphans
    Suffolk University Law Professor Sara Dillon on International Children's Rights and Social Orphan Policy
  • Center for Adoption Policy
    Center for Adoption Policy provides research, analysis, advice and education to practitioners and the public about current legislation and practices governing ethical domestic and intercountry adoption in the United States, Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa.
  • Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute
    Educates federal policy makers about the need for adoption reform, and coordinates efforts of policy makers and public groups to improve the lives of children.
  • Harvard Law School Child Advocacy Program
    The Child Advocacy Program (CAP) at Harvard Law School is committed to advancing children's interests through facilitating productive interaction between academia and the world of policy and practice, and through training generations of students to contribute in their future careers to law reform and social change.
  • Joint Council on International Children's Services
    Adoption advocacy organization comprised of adoption agencies.

« Writer Joyce Maynard Talks About Her Disrupted Adoption | Main | Media Picks Up the Story of American Family Arrested in Ghana on Adoption Trip, and New Details Emerge »

June 23, 2012

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Pineiro Comstock

It is just very right to imprison people who commit child trafficking. This has been a problem for centuries and until now still the problem is evident worldwide.

Sharon

Hi Lisa,

I think we are in agreement about most things -- but I read that quote from the Ghanaian official as referring to the two white CHILDREN and four black children that the Moghadams had with them, not two white parents. Christine is Chinese American and Sol is Persian, born in Iran. I get what you are saying, that an American is viewed as an American first when visiting other countries; what I'm saying is that many people of all cultures have an expectation that family members will "match" each other. A family that doesn't "match" attracts more attention, or is assumed not to be a family.

Lisa

I think child trafficking is a world wide problem and not necessarily limited to developing countries - sometimes we do not want to believe that is is happening right under our noses. The instance I was referred to was actually Americans taking advantage of the situation of the post-earthquake chaos in Haiti to traffic children from Haiti to the Dominican Republic ostensibly to bring them to the U.S for adoption. There have been fairly recent cases in 2 pretty liberal cities near where I live that involved child trafficking and human slavery and these ills still continue today (think Berkeley and San Francisco). And there was not much public outcry - I think people want to continue to believe it is only a problem in developing countries.

I think the Ghanaian officer's assertion that Sol and Christine are white added more weight to my assertion that most people do not look at Americans through the race lenses - they simply saw 2 white Americans with 4 Ghanaian children leaving the country and they did not have original adoption decrees. I cannot really use my experiences from living in 2 African countries to make generalizations about a huge continent like Africa, but of my 2 decades in East Africa - I was simply an American as were all the other Americans of multiple racial make-ups who were living there. Race was really a non-issue - we were Americans, Brits, Norwegians, etc.

Sharon

You're right, I'm definitely speculating about what might have happened -- I have no idea. I have spent a lot of time in other developing countries, though, and met many people who really didn't understand what adoption means from the point of view of the adoptive parenting -- and with so much trafficking of children in developing countries for labor, sex etc, you can't really blame people for being suspicious! With the Moghadams you have a family in which no member looks that much like any other member; even the bio kids. The fact that no one is "matching" may have fueled suspicions that this isn't a "real" family. Not really a race issue so much as preconceived ideas about how a family should look. I may be totally off base, and making too many assumptions about my experiences in other places. Anxious to hear the full story, and hoping this has all been just a misunderstanding.

Lisa

Not sure how teens do it - but when I try to single-finger type on my phone, I leave a trial of nonsensical sentences!

Without having any information from the Ghanian officials on why they took the actions they did, any assumptions on their motivations would simply be based on pure speculation - and we all know how off base that can be! I think we may be projecting America's race issues onto Ghana and seeing racism where they was none. The world by and large sees Americans as Americans and do not really spend as much time as Americans dissecting everyone's race and putting them in their respective boxes.

I think charges of child trafficking are pretty serious (and I by no means implying that Sol and Christine were engaged in any child trafficking) and warrant serious action by all involved. I firmly believe that the racial makeup of the couple had nothing to do with the accusations of child trafficking - tragically, it has happened before, and the culprits were by and large caucasians (remember the attempted trafficking after the earthquake in Haiti).

Sharon

Hi Lisa,

Thanks for pointing out that English is the official language of Ghana -- I didn't realize that. I am the first to admit I've never been to Ghana, but I would imagine, based on my time in orphanages in India and Ethiopia, that many of the caregivers in the government orphanage in Accra where the Moghadam children were placed do not speak much English; those jobs tend to go to women who haven't had much formal education, and usually staff members speak many different languages and it's kind of a soup. But there are probably some supervisors at least who speak English who may or may not be interacting with the kids. I think it's a pretty horrific situation for these children regardless.

Lisa

Not to make light of the tragedy that is this situation, but Ghana's official language is English and I presume Sol and Christian's children speak English. I have curious about blogs including information on the bio children's inability to communicate with anyone in Ghana may because they do not speak the local language (actually multiple are languages are spoken in Ghana). While some sre simply ignorant of the fact that Ghana's official language is English, others know better but continue to try to evoke more sympathy for a situation that is already tragic enough on its own without any embellishments. I think this would be pretty offensive to people from Ghana.

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