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Nineteen-year-old Tarikuwa Lemma is a survivor, of an international adoption scandal. When she was 13, she was effectively sold from her native Ethiopia to an American family. The corrupt “adoption agency” convinced her father, who was a widow, that Tarikuwa and her younger sisters were headed to the U.S. as part of an educational exchange program, and that they would return home every summer and on holiday breaks. Little did he know, his daughters had been placed with adoptive couples in the U.S., never to return. Tarikuwa’s name was changed against her will, and she was forbidden by her American “family” from speaking her native language.
The issue of transnational adoption, its evangelical Christian component, and the exploitation of communities that sometimes results, is the subject of the book, The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking and the New Gospel of Adoption by Kathryn Joyce, who appeared, along with Tarikuwa, on last Sunday’s “Melissa Harris Perry” show on MSNBC.
Here’s Tarikuwa’s satirical look at the “rescue” of children from her home country, to “better lives” in America:
“It is a tragedy to travel to this deeply historical country of Ethiopia. We see the streets, the roads, the shack doors, crowded with poor Ethiopian mothers, women who have been collecting whatever scraps they can find to feed their hollow-eyed children. Teenagers, living on their own on the streets, shoot their own looks of desperation. Ethiopian men lie on the ground with exhaustion from not having been fed for days, for instead of eating, they feed whatever tiny amounts of food they get to their children.
I think it is agreed by all parties overseas that we should come up with a solution to help Ethiopian children we see on a late night TV programs: children with flies on their faces, no clothes, no food or water, begging for families to sponsor or adopt them. It is time that America comes up with an easy and simple solution to save all these children.”
Click here to read the rest at The Grio.
Remember the time I made a post about how someone I knew had two of their children kidnapped and then sold to white families in Europe? Remember how many people immediately jumped on that post and said that it was better that the mother lost her children and never found out what happened to her kids even though she’s been searching for the past 20 years because these kids would have a better life with the white people? Remember that?
It just goes to fucking show you that people are fucking monsters who don’t give a fuck about human trafficking or the lives that were destroyed in the process.
Human trafficking is a fucking problem in POC countries, especially when it comes to babies and children. If you don’t understand that there is a black market that exists solely for catering to white families in need of POC children and that the families of the POC children are often straight up lied to about their fate then you REALLY need to stay off posts that discuss it.
Human trafficking is evil you assholes, there are no goddamn exceptions.
"Westerners have been sold the myth of a world orphan crisis. [They] are told that millions of children are waiting for their “forever families” to rescue them from lives of abandonment and abuse. But many of the infants and toddlers being adopted by Western parents today are not orphans at all… and there’s too much Western money in search of children. As a result, international adoption agencies work not to find homes for needy children but to find children for Western homes.” [Source: Foreign Policy]
The Indian Adoption Project was a federal program that acquired Indian children with the help of the prestigious Child Welfare League of America; a successor organization, the Adoption Resource Exchange of North America[…]
“People have heard of the boarding-school era and know it was bad, but they don’t know our adoption era even exists,” said White Hawk, who was taken from her family on the Rosebud reservation.
Two Native people interviewed prior to the summit said they were separated from their families after hospital stays as young children, one for a rash, the other for tuberculosis. A third was seized at his baby-sitter’s home; when his mother tried to rescue him, she was jailed, he said. A fourth recalled that he was taken after his father died, though his mother did not want to give him up. A fifth adoptee described being snatched, along with siblings, because his grandfather was a medicine man who wouldn’t give up his traditional ways.
“Indians had no way to stop white people from taking their kids,” said yet another interviewee. “We had no rights.”
The aim was assimilation and extinction of the tribes as entities, as their younger generations were removed, year after year—just as it had been with the boarding schools, said White Hawk on the Association on American Indian Affairs report.
“We can’t be afraid to use words like genocide,” said summit participant Anita Fineday, White Earth Band of Ojibwe, managing director of Casey Family Programs’ Indian child-welfare programs and a former chief judge at White Earth Tribal Nation. “The endgame, the official federal policy, was that the tribes wouldn’t exist.”
As many as ONE THIRD of all Native children in North America were separated from their families between 1941 and 1967, according to a report by the Association on American Indian Affairs.
[TRIGGER WARNING: kidnapping, sexism, slut-shaming] From Australia to Spain, Ireland to America[…] young mothers say they were “coerced”, “manipulated”, and “duped” into handing over their babies for adoption. These women say sometimes their parents forged consent documents, but more often they say these forced adoptions were coordinated by the people their families trusted most…priests, nuns, social workers, nurses, or doctors.
Last month, a Dan Rather Reports producer and crew were in Canberra, Australia as Parliament released the findings of an 18-month-long investigation revealing illegal and unethical tactics used to convince young, unmarried mothers to surrender their babies to adoptive homes from the late 1940s to the 1980s. And we interviewed some of the victims — adoptees and mothers separated at birth.
In some cases, mothers in Australia were drugged and forced to sign papers relinquishing custody. In others, women were told their children had died.
Single mothers also did not have access to the financial support given to widows or abandoned wives, and many were told by doctors, nurses, and social workers that they were unfit to raise a child. Senator Rachel Siewert, who oversaw the Australian Senate Committee Report, says, “We heard practices that were either illegal or unethical and downright cruel.”
Two weeks ago, a prominent Canadian law firm announced that it would file a class-action lawsuit against Quebec’s Catholic Church accusing the Church of kidnapping, fraud and coercion to force unwed mothers to give up their children for adoption.
Attorney Tony Merchant represents several hundred women who claim that when they were in maternity homes in the 1950s and 1960s, social workers, nurses, doctors, and even men and women in the employ of the Catholic Church cooperated with Canadian government officials to force or, even coerce, young women to sign away their rights to keep their child never knowing they even had a choice.
In Spain, an 80-year-old nun, Sister Maria Gómez, became the first person accused of baby snatching in a scandal over the trafficking of 1,500 newborns in Spanish hospitals over four decades until the 1980s. The babies were either stolen, sold or given away by adoption.
The two most respected books on the subject of “forced adoptions,” Ann Fessler’s The Girls Who Went Away and Rickie Solinger’s Beggars and Choosers indicate that the tactics used to procure adoptable babies in Australia, Ireland, Canada and Spain were also implemented in the United States.
We have interviewed numerous women in the U.S. who told us that they were sent to maternity homes, denied contact with their families and friends, forced to endure labor with purposely painful procedures and return home without their babies. Single, American mothers were also denied financial support and told that their children would be better off without them.
In some cases, they too were told that their babies had died. Many signed away their rights while drugged and exhausted after childbirth. Others were threatened with substantial medical bills if they didn’t surrender or were manipulated through humiliation. According to Fessler, these seemingly unethical practices were used against as many as 1.5 million mothers in the United States.
When we asked these women who say they were victims of “forced adoption” to use one word to describe their experience giving birth, here’s what they told us:
“Sad,” states Angie from Colorado, who says at age 19 her pregnancy was kept an absolute secret and that she disappeared before her infant daughter was put up for adoption against her will in 1972. “Sad,” also states Chris from Massachusetts, who gave up her firstborn through Catholic Charities in 1969.
“Trauma,” states Valerie from Toronto who says in 1970 a Salvation Army matron at the Bethany Home for unwed mothers dropped her off at Grace Hospital in Toronto to labor alone. While crying out in pain during labor, she says a nurse called her a “slut.”
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