The Orphans That Aren’t And The People Who Resent Them

Why So Few Syrian Christian Refugees? For the Same Reason You Can’t Find Orphans in Haitian Orphanages

This snappy title is from something called The Stream. Stream of what they don’t say, but it does call to mind a certain Monty Python sketch about Oscar Wilde.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that an online daily whose first stated principle is, “Every human being has equal value and dignity,” will call the desperate people who risk their lives trying to get into America “illegals” and not notice the contradiction. This twisted reasoning easily carries over into the adoption realm.

The part of the above piece that got my attention was this: The Curious Case of the Orphanless Orphanage. I will now pick it apart without mercy:

That’s not a misprint. Orphanages are one of the last places you’ll find a real orphan in Haiti. We were in Port-au-Prince interviewing an evangelical couple who had moved down there a few years earlier to start an orphanage and adopt a child. They began by visiting some orphanages to learn the ropes and had even found an orphan child to adopt.

White, hetero (goes without saying), Christian couple decides to “start an orphanage” in Haiti. God knows there are not enough kids in the U.S. who need help. So they move to Haiti, and ask around to see how it’s done. Did you catch that, too? They moved to Haiti. Then they start to formulate a plan. At other orphanages. They “even” land themselves an orphan. Oh happy day.

But then one day they asked about the nice Haitian lady who was coming every weekend or so to play with the little kid. Oh, that’s the child’s mother, one of the staff explained. The American couple was shocked. They thought they were adopting a true orphan, a child whose mother and father were dead or irretrievably lost and gone. But here was a loving mom, showing up every few days to dote on her child.

What? What kind of rip-off is this? They find this orphan, (God no doubt preordained it), but he/she/it has a “loving mom,” who dotes on the child. Well, at least there’s–

It turns out the mother brought the child to the orphanage because she was broke and didn’t want one more mouth to feed.

–um, okay. So the loving mother doesn’t want one more mouth to feed, but visits the child every couple of days to dote on said child. Well, this can’t be typical–

The American couple started investigating and found that this was typical. The vast majority of the kids in the orphanages weren’t true orphans. Each of them had one or two living parents, often ones who cared about them and stayed in contact.

Wow. It’s almost like there is a huge communication gap; a vast difference in language/culture, causing all this failure to comprehend. It’s like these centers are not “orphanages” the way we think of orphanages. And – I know this sounds crazy – but it’s as if people in other parts of the world don’t know what adoption is, as if it’s not natural, and they expect their children to be cared for temporarily when necessary and not sold to foreigners.

Being an “orphan” in an American orphanage is a coveted spot. It means three meals a day, a decent bed, school and books, maybe even an adoption to the United States, which then means the “orphan” can eventually grow up to send money home to his parents.

Well, this is just mind-blowing. So you’re saying there are “American orphanages” and “Haitian orphanages” and in ours they treat children like actual human beings? With food and shelter? Well, it’s just a wonder that people send their poor, hungry children there. And the kids know the objective is to send them to unsuspecting people in the States for adoption, thinking they are free and clear of any entanglements like biological relatives? So when the plan works, the ungrateful brats GROW UP and send money home, because he will remember his parents’ names and address when he was put on a plane at the age of two and forced to acclimate to another culture and language. Maybe they’re sleeper agents, and when they wake up on their 18th birthday, they suddenly recall French Creole and their mission to earn money and mail it home.

And because it’s a coveted position, the last person with the connections and resources to navigate his way into an orphanage is an actual orphan! He doesn’t have a parent to work the system. He probably also doesn’t have any paperwork. So how does the orphanage even know for sure the kid is free and clear of any claim on him? The last thing the orphanage wants to do is adopt a Haitian kid out to an American couple and then find out the kid had a Haitian parent who most certainly did not want her kid adopted overseas.

Ohhhh. So it’s the parents who are working the system! And here I thought it was the orphan, er, the not-orphan. No, of course, it’s the parents, with that sleeper agent scheme. Real orphans don’t have any paperwork, because documents certainly can’t be forged. I mean, that never happens. The last thing an adoption agency, sorry, orphanage wants is to adopt a child out and then discover he/she did not have a clear title. They just hate that. But with the conniving parents and their sleeper agent toddlers, how are they to know?

The orphanages don’t conspire to keep out true orphans. It’s simply that it would take so much more effort to take in mostly true orphans. The rescuers would have to swim hard against the system to do so. So the orphanages essentially become free boarding schools — some of them undoubtedly doing a fine job, but not fulfilling what they originally planned to accomplish: rescuing true orphans.

It’s haaaaaaaaard. They just want to rescue little orphans (for profit), and they get all these only mostly-true orphans. Orphan-lites. All gaming the system, treating what is supposed to be a legal human-trafficking shop like some child-centric haven. If they were supposed to be sanctuaries for children, they’d be called…orphanages.

Here are two recent accounts of Haitian Adoptees, by the adoptees themselves:

A Search For Family In Haiti Raises Questions About Adoption

Tinan, Testimony Of An Uprooted Child

Please, believe the ones who have lived it, not the ones who orchestrated it.

Elle Cuardaigh is author of The Tangled Red Thread and contributor to The Adoptee Survival Guide


twitter: @ElleCuardaigh


2 thoughts on “The Orphans That Aren’t And The People Who Resent Them

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s