Sunday, January 31, 2010

Short Update on "Christian" Child Lifters in Haiti: "We Didn't Understand"

It's only mid-afternoon, but it's become clear I won't finish my follow-up on the New Life 10 today, though I'm working on it. There is so much material to wade through.

In the meantime, I recommend that you read Mike Doughney's latest blog, Personal CEO Arrested While Returning from Free Child Shopping Trip to Port au Prince. Also read his previous blog below it. This is very important stuff. I have linked them both under "Featured Blogs" on the right sidebar.

Here is an excerpt:

Looked at from the point of view of an entrepreneur, what are these things? First, establish a warehouse for the merchandise, and processing facilities to make the merchandise suitable for the customer. Second, expedite the process of governmental approval which customers must obtain, making them as comfortable as possible while they fulfill the government’s mandate of a 60-90 day stay. Third, provide financing for the customers. Fourth, provide food and refreshment to the customers, which along with the lodging provides a “bubble” in which customers need not interact with the locals.

But as a business plan, there’s nothing to it, if the people putting it forward can’t seem to grasp the basic illegality of its initial premise. The children of Haiti are not theirs to process and export, to satisfy the endless demand for adoptable children without history, a demand their mythology creates.

Also go to the Baltimore Sun site for an AP video of the baby lifters trying to explain it's all a "misunderstanding"...they need God's love." According to raid commander Laura Silsby, IRL, the CEO of Personal, they "did not understand that there was additional paperwork required." Quite a big different from her quote in Reuters (and other articles) last night "I was going to come back here to do the paperwork."

Yeah, Laura. Trafficking children across national borders is a bit more problematic than selling leopard print pajamas over the Internet.

Later today I will be posting another Very Important Persons entry that I had started before the New Life baby raid.

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Breaking News: Do-it-yourself Evangelicals Popped for Attempting to Take "Orphans" Out of Haiti Illegally

Reuters and other news sources are reporting that a band of 10 US evangelicals with Idaho-based New Life Children's Refuge were arrested at the Malpasse border crossing (above picture in better days) trying to take 33 undocumented Haitian children into the Dominican Republic. The five women arrested were from the Central Valley Baptist Church in Meridian, and the five men from the East Side Baptist Church in Twin Falls (new reports indicate a couple men were actually from out-of-state). The 10 are currently housed in what I assume is the extremely unpleasant Haiti Judicial Police headquarters.

I have pulled quite a bit of information on New Life and the child smugglers, and intend to write about this incident at length tomorrow. I don't want to put out wrong information so, I need to clarify some of the documents I've collected. In the meantime, I've thrown a little bit together to get the word out. Here are the relevant parts of the story as published so far (my emphasis):

Authorities said the Americans had no documents to prove they had cleared the adoption of the 33 children -- aged 2 months to 12 years -- through any embassy and no papers showing they were made orphans by the quake in the impoverished Caribbean country.

"This is totally illegal," said Yves Cristallin, Haiti's social affairs minister. "No children can leave Haiti without proper authorization and these people did not have that authorization."...

...But Laura Sillsby [sic] from the Idaho group told Reuters from a jail cell at Haiti's Judicial Police headquarters, "We had permission from the Dominican Republic government to bring the children to an orphanage that we have there."

"We have a Baptist minister here (in Port-au-Prince) whose orphanage totally collapsed and he asked us to take the children to the orphanage in the Dominican Republic," Sillsby [sic] added.

"I was going to come back here to do the paperwork," Sillsby said. "They accuse us of children trafficking. This is something I would never do. We were not trying to do something wrong."

NOTE: I wonder if Silsby (her name is incorrectly spelled in the news report) tells the judge when she's popped for driving without a license, "I was going to get it next week." And what about the part where she says she had permission from the orphan master in Port-au-Prince to traffick the kids across the border. Bastardette hereby gives her Dear Readers permission to stick up a convenience store and to use her permission as your defense.

But back to the news.

The Associated Press reports further:

Silsby said they had documents from the Dominican government, but did not seek any paperwork from the Haitian authorities before taking 33 children from 2 months to 12 years old to the border, where Haitian police stopped them Friday evening. She said the children were brought to her by distant relatives, and that the only ones to be put up for adoption would be those without close family to care for them...

Sean Lankford, the father of one of the US detainees told the AP (my emphasis)

The plan was never to go adopt all these kids. The plan was to create this orphanage where kids could live. And kids get adopted out of orphanages. People go down and they're going to fall in love with these kids, and many of these kids will end up getting adopted.

According to CVBC's latest newsletter, which includes an itinerary of their child snatch mission, New Life is:

in the process of buying land and building an orphanage, school and church in Magante on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic...He (God) has provided an interim solution in nearby Cabarete, where we will be leasing a 45 room hotel and converting it into an orphanage until the building of the NLCR is complete.

And a prayer request:

NLCR is praying and seeking people who have a heart for God and a desire to share God's love with these precious children, helping them to heal and find new life in Christ.

As we suspected, God caused the earthquake and the deaths of tens of thousands of Haitians so old and new-made "orphans" could not only be reborn as cornfed adopted Americans, but reborn in Christ through the good services of New Life Children's Refuge and others of their ilk and trade. Isn't that the same thing?

There are growing reports of children missing from orphanages and hospitals, but this is the first solid report we have of do-it-yourself baby lifters caught attempting to remove children from Haiti illegally--for the good cause of adoption and redemption, of course.

I suspect due to the chaotic circumstances in Haiti, the US Embassy, which has its hands full already, will lift the traffickers visas and kick them back to Idaho, but I'd really really really really like the Haitian authorities to prosecute them for child stealing.

I'm sure that by tomorrow morning we'll hear the bellowing of the missionaries slithering their way through Haiti: "Christians are being persecuted--for the children"

This is a significant story. These people just weren't spur-of-the-moment stupids They planned and publicized their raid. I hope the incurious press doesn't let it die.

Here is a picture of 8 of the 10 New Life child stealers with text from the AP:

American citizens pose for a photo at police headquarters in the international airport of Port-au-Prince, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2010. Ten Americans were detained by Haitian police on Saturday as they tried to bus 33 children across the border into the Dominican Republic, allegedly without proper documents. In the front row from left to right are Carla Thompson, 53, of Meridien, Idaho, Laura Silsby, 40, of Boise, Idaho, Nicole Lark Ford, 18, of Middleton, Idaho, and in the back row from left to right are Steve McMullen, 56, of Twin Falls, Idaho, Jim Allen, 47, of Amarillo, Texas, Silas Thompson, 19, of Twin Falls, Idaho, Paul Thompson, 43, hometown unknown, and Drew Culborth, 34, of Topeka, Kansas. The names of the two Americans not pictured are unknown

The New Life 10 are scheduled to appear in court on Monday.

Thanks to Luanne Pruesner-Van de Velde and anon guy

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"Important Blog: Adoption Kids Out of Satan's Haiti..."

Baby Love Child has published stunning blog today: Adopting Kids Out of Satan's Haiti for the Glory of His Kids & The Slowing of Child Export Flights. It is separate from her ongoing Hatian series.This is by far the best piece I have seen anywhere (and I've downloaded lots of stories and blogs) about babylifting, it's impetus and purpose. This is a long piece that will turn the stomach of anyone concerned about the ethics and purpose of adoption. This is a small excerpt:

This from the “religion” section of their page on Haiti:

“Mission work in Haiti faces enemy onslaught as this is a country that is yearly dedicated to Satan in a contractual form. There are voodoo practices and worship of the dark.”

While some may find that statement rather stunning, it is sadly a more common attitude within the evangelical and “missions” subculture than many would care to think. Pat Robertson’s comments along these lines were merely a reflection of a commonly held belief across numbers of people within his subculture.

An historic explanation of the role of Voudou symbolism, language, and drumming is beyond the scope of this post, suffice it to say, all played a role in Haiti’s revolution, a fact that was not lost on slave owners in the United States and elsewhere.

The deliberate suppression of Voudou thus became important politically and culturally to as a means of maintaining control. After centuries of “demonizing” indigenous African religious practices brought to the west, few should be surprised when people in for example, Texas begin using such as a basis for “saving” children from countries and culture they are religiously unwilling to coexist with.

The flight of For His Glory’s kids out of Haiti must be understood within this missionary context- they are not merely removing children from Haiti and placing them with American would-be-adopters, they view their adoption ministry work as removing children from a “Satanic” and “dark” land.

BLC's blog also gives sickening details on the two babylifting "orphan ministries" I've written about in my last two entries: Maison de Enfants de Dieu ala For His Glory and HIS Home for Children.

As some of you know, one of my big interests outside of adoption is theocracy and theonomy and the emergence in the US of a theocratic state doctrine. Adoption theology plays a huge role in the evangelical promotion of that ideal state. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to articulate without a lot of Biblical and cultural context, both of which BLC puts into this piece.

This information needs to go out!

Addenda: Earlier today I signed up for the Maison de Enfants de Dieu email list. I to got my first mailing this evening. Kim Harmon, president of For His Glory Outreach calling for a nationwide day of prayer and fasting on January 28, to release the orphans of Haiti from the clutches of the evil Haitian goverment and UNICEF:

Unfortunately, there now seems to be a mountain standing between the orphans who remain in Haiti and the safe and loving homes of their adoptive families. That mountain is the Haitian Government's new, and still undefined, exit process for children with foreign adoptive parents. With limited resources available to Haitian orphanages, this process has stopped the departure of orphans with humanitarian parole status and directly affects our ability to care for those children orphaned since the earthquake...

The press release is also published on the For His Glory website.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

God Brings Another Haitian Adoptee to Ohio

There is no rest for the wicked. Like yesterday, I didn't plan to post today on Haiti, but some things just lend itself to plugging away on the keyboard. More disaster evangelism, disaster adoption, and Very Important People appeared in today's Columbus Dispatch with the arrival of Nephtalle Jean-Pierre, soon to be renamed Gracie Hansley. Nephtalle is a former resident of Maison des Enfants de Dieu aka For His Glory Adoption Outreach in Port au Prince.

Home from Haiti

First, as if we don't already know it, we learn that God, with his super quake powers, is the great distributor of adoptees. From the way people talk lately you'd think that without God's hand in natural disasters there would be no adoption.

"God really did bring her sooner," Hansley said after she stepped off a plane from Florida yesterday and strode into the terminal at Port Columbus holding Gracie in her arms.

But what God can't do with an earthquake, our local pols can:

Gracie and other Haitian children arrived in Florida on Saturday, where Hansley and her father were waiting. Red tape, confusion and delays ensued, and at first it was not clear that Hansley could bring the little girl home. Frustrated, she and her father got on the phone. She credited U.S. Rep Pat Tiberi, a Genoa Township Republican, for helping her cut through the bureaucracy.

Last I ran into the toadish Tiberi (pronounced Teaberry) he was chatting up Ohio Right to Life on how unfair it is that RTL is so broke has to depend on volunteer canvassers to get out the vote, while the Dems have Hollywood doing their dirty work for them. Here is his press release offering his Very Important Person services to "frantic adoptive parents."

This must be the red tape, confusion and delays Tiberi made go away for Ms. Hansley. From the Maison des Enfants website:

Seventy-nine of the 106 children from Maison des Enfants de Dieu (Children of the House of God) orphanage, who were granted humanitarian parole, arrived in Florida on Saturday, January 23rd. The Haitian Government has blocked the remaining 27 children, including the adopted son of the For His Glory (FHG) Adoption Outreach President, Kim Harmon, from departing Port-au-Prince. In a surprise announcement, Haitian Prime Minister Bellerive stated that all future cases of humanitarian parole would have to complete an exit process with his office. He has not yet defined this exit process so no action can be taken to bring the remaining children to their adoptive parents in the United States.

Obviously, Kim doesn't know the right kind of Very Important People. Imagine, an orphanage director tuned away at the gate!

Also in today's Dispatch is pap couple, Shanna and John Gordon, from Gahanna. They have been trying to adopt Jolanda, whom they met in a Haitian hospital last September while on a mission trip with New Life Church (planted by a team from Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, in 1985.) Although they were barely into the pipeline, they'd planned to move to Haiti "to stay with Jolanda" during the adoption process. Move to Haiti? Shanna complains in her best tntitlement American style:

"The Haitian government just keeps changing the rules," she said. "We hear good news and then we hear bad news.

The article also includes a curious interview with Ohio State University-Mansfield professor Terri Bucci who heads the Haiti Empowerment Project that sends OSU faculty to Haiti to assist in teacher and classroom development. Her program is working to get 20 orphaned girls into the US who according to Bucci "have been granted humanitarian parole status to live in Ohio for two years while Haiti rebuilds. I find it difficult to believe that once here the girls will be sent back, though judging from the article they are not adoptable at the moment. Call Pat Tiberi!

The comments on the article are not what I expected. Not many tears over God's awesome plan for adoption. There's a few snarks about immigrants. And who knew the always-elected Tiberi is so disliked? But other posters responded like this:

Why is this mom changing the girl's name? Gracie? At least name her Natalie (closer to her real first name) & keep the Jean-Pierre so that she can remain connected to her roots! These poor babies.

Nice to see some civilians get it.

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Snapshot: Disaster Evangelism in Haiti--"God Brings Something Good from a Horrible Situation"

I wasn't going to post anything today until I ran across this article from today's Toledo Blade a few minutes ago: Quake in Haiti hastens long awaited adoptions.

It's about Seth and Amber Newlove who find a silver lining (see yesterday's entry on disaster silver liningism) in the destruction of a country and its people. The earthquake, see, is an awesome example of how God works in mysterious ways. Why, without the earthquake, she and Mr. Newlove would still be waiting to bring Snyder home to Arlington, Ohio from H.I.S. Home for Children, a Lima, Ohio-based orphanage and non-denominational ministry in Port au Prince. According to Wiki, Arlington has a population of about 1350; 99.48% of which is white. We're with ya, Snyder!

It's just a good example of how God can bring something good from such a horrible situation," Mrs. Newlove said.

Then we have the Wassinks from Lima, Joe and Michele, waiting for delivery of Alin who they've been trying to adopt since 2008. Mrs. Wassink's brother, Hal Nungester and his wife Chris, just happen to run H.I.S. and his mother is secretary of the board. Other board members are "Christian leaders" from west central Ohio and northeast New York.

The H.I.S. webpage tells us that the orphanage has around 125 kids between the ages of birth to 13 and three fulltime staff. (right--pre-quake mealtime) Many are "orphans" while others have been abandoned there by "a single parent who is unable to provide for them due to extreme poverty." We have no idea if abandonees up for grabs--or if anyone at H.I.S. thought to help those mothers.

School is held in the on-sight classroom for children 5 and older. Our Christian teacher conducts the classes in both English and Creole with older students learning French. The 3 and 4 year olds began attending pre-school classes off-site at Quisqueya Chapel in September, 2005 with a volunteer Christian teacher. On Sunday mornings Sunday School classes are taught at HIS Home for our children, and children from another community orphanage as an outreach ministry to share the the gospel of Jesus with the children of the community. Following Sunday School, the children attend worship services at Quisqueya Chapel.

We are pretty sure those "Christian" teachers aren't Catholic.

The Blade reported that 56 children from H.I.S. had been released to travel to the US and the Nungesters were working on getting another 22 released. Since the quake, the whole entourage--listed as 114 kids by the Blade-- has been living in the US Embassy. Because the orphanage has substantial structural damage, Hal Nungester is looking for a rental mansion for them.

H.I.S. posted an update on their orphan movement status at 12:33 PM today:

Last night 67 children arrived in Orlando and are traveling today to Miami to be united with their families Hal remains in in Haiti with 59 other children, 12 of whom are waiting for visas. The remaining 47 will remain with him in Haiti.

There is no explanation in the discrepancy between the 114 in the Embassy and the 126 listed in the update.

Continued from the Blade:

Like the Newloves, Mrs. Wassink said she and her husband, who is associate pastor at Grace Community Church in Lima, feel the Haitian adoptions' hastening was a bright light that came from the devastation.

"One of the first things my husband brought to my attention was Isaiah 61:3: 'The Lord will bring beauty out of the ashes,'" Mrs. Wassink said. "We will never see all the purposes He has in this, but the ones we do see, we can celebrate and know He is doing wondrous deeds."

It all makes sense now. Those adoptions in Haiti were just too damned slow, so God knocked the country off its foundations so a few hundred "orphans" could slip into middle christian America where they belong. Or conversely, maybe Pat Robertson was right. God is punishing Haiti by sending its children to the US for evangelical indoctrination.

Ultimately, as I wrote yesterday, it's all about adoption. It's all about us.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

It's Not About Haiti, Damn It! It's About Adoption. It's About Us!

As I wrote last week, Washington politicians couldn't even wait for the aftershock to figure out ways for the Haitian earthquake tragedy to be all about adoption

January 15, 2010, The Seattle Times:

Adoption advocates met Thursday in the Capitol Hill office of Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., (right) to discuss the quake's impact on adoptions. Many parents have been pushing to see if the State Department can expedite adoption proceedings, because they fear orphanages will need to serve other children left homeless or alone after the quake.

Although we've seen the quotables of random politicians since then, and the highly publicized Rendell baby lift of healthy uninjured BRESMA " orphans," some without "adoption plans," we heard no more about the Landrieu sit down. Now we have a January 20 letter, [pdf] addressed to Hillary Clinton, Janet Napolitano, and Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator Designate, US Agency for International Development, signed by 50 Senators and Representatives (Landrieu, below right, the lead signer) posted on the JCICS website.

The letter outlines the Haiti adoption "concerns" of politicians and their adopta constituents. While signatories commend Homeland Security's Office of Citizenship and Immigration Services for extending humanitarian parole for a small and limited number of children with "established adoptive relationships with US adoptive families," they clearly aren't happy that the high end figure of 600-700 in-process (or unvetted?) paps weren't extended the same privilege. We say high end, since according to the US State Department the yearly average number of US placements from Haiti is around 225 (1998-2009). Adoptions in Haiti, in fact, can take several years to complete, which until now has discouraged a stampede by the desperate.

Now that Haitian court records are destroyed and Judge Rock Cadet dead, the sharks are circling. Fast trackers seem to think there is nothing in the way to stop forced fast adoption from Haiti. Politicians, paps, evangelical zealots in the Beltway and on the ground in Haiti, and an uneducated public demand that Haiti "cut the red tape." They insist that the US sweep aside family and child safeguards, and legal, ethical and professional standards to bypass Haitian and US law to "expedite" the adoption process on "humanitarian grounds." They never mention parent and child support, individual child sponsorship, family reunification or other programs to keep families together. Adoption for them, is always the right answer, to complex, often temporarly domestic situations, including natural disasters. We are, generally speaking, no fan of red tape but we heartily agree with Jane Edwards, eloquent blog published a few days ago on the First Mother, Birth Mother Forum: "Red tape holds families together."

The politicians' (awkwardly written) letter to Very Important People reads, in part:

We appreciate that a limited number of cases with access to private planes have been processed and evacuated from the country, but clearly not all adoptive families are in a position to put forward those resources to ensure the safe and swift travel of these orphans to the US... .

..In our view, the chaos that has ensued is a direct result of a lack of logistical inter-agency coordination, a lack of communication to the public, and ad-hoc processing of travel documents by the US Embassy Therefore, we are writing to ask for your personal assurance that the State Department, in collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security, the US Agency on International Development and the Department of Defense, puts in place a plan to directly ensure that ALL of the 600-700 orphans affected by Monday's announcement of humanitarian parole are safely and efficient evacuated within the next ten days.

In other words, elected officials expect the US government to turn into an international child trafficker by turning over children to potential adoptive parents whose applications to adopt have not been thoroughly investigated and completed and whose petitions to adopt have not been granted by the Haitian government. Matthew Mancuso must be kicking himself for not waiting a few years for a quick Haitian fix. Lookout Third World! Or Second World! Or even First World! Today it's Haiti. Tomorrow it's some other country that impedes the immediate gratification of the neocolonial child merchants and their customers.

At the teleconference I participated in a few days ago, Homeland Security officials were clear on procedures to remove-for-adoption a child from Haiti. Category 1 cases, where adoptions had been finalized by Haitian courts before the earthquake were clear cut. They are good to go with appropriate paperwork.

Decisions on Category 2 cases; those "in process" where no Haitian finalization has taken place, require a long and wide paper trail, at least in theory. As we see in the Rendell baby lift where 7 children, with no adoption plan were removed to Pittsburgh, these protocols have not been followed due to interference and intervention by Beltway bigwigs and the White House going over the heads of US Embassy staff.

The paper trail , demanded by the US (again in theory) includes, but is not limited to:

---Proof that the child is actually available for adoption: surrender papers, correspondence or letters or records with agencies or authorities with a Case Number.

---Service provider proof that a potential match was made on or before January 12, 2010 and that paps and child have met in Haiti: hotel receipts, airline tickets, passport, visas and other secondary documents that paps have in their possession.

---Significant evidence of adoptive relationship and intention of paps to adopt that specific child: copy of the referral letter, an amended birth certificate with their names on it

We absolutely reject pipeline placement. The definition of "in process" (as the word "orphan") is continually challenged and redefined by politicians, waiting adopters, and evangelical child lifters to mean whatever they want it to mean, leveling child acquisition to anyone in any stage of Haitian adoption: a case a few days away from finalization to an application emailed to an agency 2 hours before the quake. The wail, "give me my child" can be heard all the way to Washington. In the give-em-inch-take-a-mile adoption industry, an exception one day is normalized the next. Look at 'safe havens."

A little relief may be on the way. JCICS reported on its blog, Be the Answer today, that the Haitian government, in response to all those fast tracks to the US and other countries , has established tougher standards for child removal. The report is unconfirmed as of this writing.

The JCICS blog reports:

It is Joint Council’s understanding that the government of Haiti, in protecting against the inappropriate movement of children to the U.S. and other countries, has announced that the Haiti government must approve the international movement of each individual child. This includes children that are bound for the U.S., whether through the visa process or humanitarian parole. It is also our understanding that the U.S. government is actively engaged on this issue with the Haitian government. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services, which authorizes humanitarian parole for each child, continues to process cases at the US Embassy in Port au Prince... .

..It is Joint Council’s understanding that this new requirement is in response to concerns that children who were not in the process of adoption, leaving Haiti for the U.S. and other countries. Joint Council shares in the concerns over the inappropriate movement of Haitian children

Political panderers and US mainstream media have focused much of their Haitian time on adoption, and the plight of paps-in-waiting as if they, not the Haitians, are the tragic victims of circumstance. A writer for the Baltimore Sun actually described the earthquake as a "small silver lining for families in the adoption process."

The political and media focus on adoption erases the suffering in Haiti. Tens of thousands of Haitians are dead; more are homeless, injured and sick. They are living in hospitals, camps and in the streets. Children are being trafficked off those streets and in those hospitals and camps. God squads of evangelical missionary traffickers, complaining of government and aid inertia, are flying into the country at a record rate with talk of snatching up "orphans" under the guise of humanitarian relief

The Tampa Times calls amputations the defining injury of the earthquake. The number of field amputations, according to Deanne Marchbein from Doctors Without Borders is unprecedented since the Crimean War or the American Civil War. While aid agencies struggle to save lives and limbs, the US military diverts relief transports to the Dominican Republic so Washington fat cats and baby lifters can hog up runway space with unnecessary rescue missions and make political points back home.

While I was finishing this piece, I ran across an article in Sunday's Washington Post about four severely injured children refused entry into the US for treatment:

Late last week, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) said Homeland Security officials had told him the agency would grant "humanitarian parole" to about 200 severely injured Haitian children. Even after that, Nelson said, he got a late-night e-mail, with the subject line "HELP," from a Miami neurosurgeon doing relief work, saying the U.S. Embassy in Haiti would not allow three critically burned children to be flown to a Miami burn unit. Nelson also said the State Department had issued a memo saying that a 17-year-old named Samantha, with a broken back and a father in Michigan, "would be ineligible to board an aircraft to the United States."

"Typical bureaucratic crap that needs to be cut through," Nelson said in an interview.

Apparently, these children aren't adoptable so they are expendable

Which leads me to my final point. Baby Love Child is publishing a collection of blogs on Haiti. Haiti Series: "It is madness. It is insane"...Bribes, bullies and traffickers extract kids. The first three parts were published in one entry today.

Go here:

Part 1: Basic Haiti to the U.S. adoption statistics

Part 2: A snapshot of the Haitian Government reaction to the exports
Part 3: The Article I’m using as my framework for this series
Part 4: Kids not in an adoption process being exported, bullies and bribes
Part 5: The Do It Yourself-ers (DIY)
Part 6: One of many American examples of a fundamental denial of the pre-quake corruption
Part 7: France and the European Union
Part 8: The Bethany Christian Services/ God’s Littlest Angels planeload of human cargo
Part 9: Kids disappearing and the “orphan” trade
Part 10: As if “being in process” alone makes Haitian adoptions somehow “ethical”
Part 11: Those that remain in Haiti- the race to protect the kids vs. “You don’t work, you don’t eat”

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Friday, January 22, 2010

A Little Bit About Important People in Their Own Words

The shark pool grows hourly. I've been reading news articles, blogs, and tweets of numerous mock heroic evangelical childlifters "leading" babies out of Haiti like they are Henry Stanley bringing out Dr. Livingston.

But just a few days ago, it wasn't the never-heard-if-'em church crowd, but important people, connected people, people who aren't connected but know somebody who is connected that lead them out. I may write more about this at some later time, but tonight I'm adding three quotes about the Rendell lift as a supplement to what I wrote earlier today. This is about important people and priviledge--in their own words. The quotes are from an article accounting in great detail Rendell's "rescue mission" into the heart of darkness I missed earlier today.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. January 19, 2010
Haitian orphans settle in; rescue team discusses trip

It's Who You Know: The White House
..."I called the White House and told them I had two constituents who wouldn't leave those kids," the congressman said.

"Over a period of hours it was cleared by the National Security Council. Everyone at the State Department who was involved with this issue dropped what they were doing," Mr. Altmire said...

Expediting Adoptions : Get 'em while they're hot!
Catholic Charites (sic) also set up a "comfort room" on the third floor of the John G. Rangos Sr. Research Center adjacent to the hospital. at Children's Hospital where children can sleep, play and be comfortable while awaiting placement with their adoptive or foster families, she said. The Red Cross stocked it with bedding and "we purchased additional toys to make it as homey as possible," Ms. Kushma said.

The children are now in the comfort center eating chicken fingers and pizza. The younger children are eating baby food, bananas and playing with teddy bears.

Allegheny County Children Youth and Families will begin to work to process the children, many of whom have clearance for adoption. A family court judge will set up across the hall from the comfort room to handle placement of the children.

Marc Cherna, head of CYF, said he expects many of the children to be adopted today. Most have the paperwork completed and the adoptive parents have traveled to Pittsburgh. Mr. Cherna said as many as three quarters of the children may be adopted today. The others will be placed in temporary shelter here until their paperwork is completed.

It's Who You Know: I'm the Governor of Pennsylvania!
He then heard the Haitian ambassador on CNN Saturday afternoon, and called him in Washington. The ambassador said it was important to have the governor of Pennsylvania on the relief plane in case any diplomatic complications arose.

UPMC helped arranged the Republic Airways plane, which left Pittsburgh at noon Monday and landed in Port au Prince Monday about 6 p.m. He said the fact that he was aboard did speed up the plane's ability to land on the one runway at the busy airplort (sic).

(Doesn't the P-G have a proofreader?)

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Adoption Business Trumps Aid

Yesterday I participated in a 2-hour government teleconference held by the USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) Office of Public Engagement and International Division "to outline Haitian adoptions policy and address questions and concerns." Partners in the teleconference were the Department of Health and Human Services, Department of State, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Customs and Border Protection. (The alphabet soup is actually bigger than that in terms of smaller divisions working in the mess that is Haiti, not to mention Pentagon operations which have largely been ignored by the press.) There was an extensive Q & A session. I never made it through, but someone asked a similar question that covered some of it. At the end of the session there were about 40 callers left hanging.

I will be writing about and referencing what was said in future entries after I type up the 17 pages of notes I made. I do, though, want to give a brief description of what is happening on the ground at the US Embassy regarding adoption and make some comments on priorities.

The Embassy (pre-quake picture) has been in a state of chaos. Some Embassy staff lost family members and homes and are unavailable. Until yesterday (I think) only one person has been handling orphan/adoption exit requests, and he has been working virtually non-stop with only 2 hours of sleep a night. A second person joined him yesterday and four more are scheduled to join today. (My notes are a little unclear on this, and there may be one more recent addition). Consular services has been pitching in, but they have their own duties.

Hundreds of adoptive parents, paps, orphanage directors with dozens of children, and even, apparently, loose children gather outside the US Embassy. Many come unannounced demanding entry. Officials have set up and are refining procedures for entry into the compound, interviews, and decision making. (Procedures were discussed in detail, but I"ll hold that for another entry.) They emphasize that the Embassy needs advance notice of petitioners so someone can go outside, locate them, and escort them through the gates. Only adoption cases are being handled. (Haitians with other Embassy business, including those with pending pre-quake visa and immigration applications are being turned away for now.) Once inside, Embassy staff is furnishing kids with food, water, and other care while their cases are investigated.

Officially, the process is just not whisking kids and their keepers through. Each child removal is fraught with paperwork, paperwork verification, questioning, visa applications and approvals, etc. Accept for "special" cases, like Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell's BRESMA Orphanage"rescue mission," in which 54 healthy "orphans" under the age of 4, earlier denied visas, were whisked out on the US government fast track. BRESMA is operated by photogenic Ben Avon, Pennsylvania natives Jamie and Ali McMurtie. They requested assistance from high places, and got a lot of TV coverage as a result. Here is the McMutrie Sisters statement after their return to Pittsburgh.

Rep. Jason Altmire, (D-Pennsylvania), who traveled with Rendell's group, contradicts the number of denied visas, saying he understood that all the children were cleared to leave but the paperwork of 14 had been destroyed causing the Embassy to deny them exit visas. This doesn't make any sense to me, but I'm only reporting what was published. Of course, we don't know if there ever was any paperwork. Whatever, those 14 got out when Rendell & Co put the squeeze on.

According to January 20, 2010 CNN, via Rendell, adoption placement for 47 of the children was already underway before the quake. No mention of how far "under way" or what proof they were even in the pipeline was offered. 40 children were bound for the US and 7 to other countries. During the teleconference we learned that transfer to the intended destination countries of those non-US bound children would be a "complicated process." An additional seven children had no "adoption plans" prior to evacuation, which contradicts Altmire's statement. Adoptive parents will be sought for them. According to today's Pittsburgh Post Gazette, about 20 of the kids are housed in (Holy Nebraska Fiasco!) Holy Family Institute, a residential treatment center in Emsworth, Pennsylvania that houses around 50 other children. The facility was given 24 hours notice to get ready for the surprise delivery.Those who have no adoptive families lined up will stay there indefinitely Except one. Three-year old Fredo has been "adopted" by the McMutrie Sister's parents. Boy, that was fast! Wonder what they pulled that home study out of.

While still on the tarmac in Port-au-Prince, Mr. Rendell said, he learned that CNN anchor Anderson Cooper had "ripped" him on TV for his unilateral move amid efforts to coordinate the global response to the crisis. "I just didn't care," the governor said. "To see those faces. ..."

Mr. Rendell said he had learned Friday of pleas by two Pittsburgh-area women, working at the Port-au-Prince orphanage, to get the children out. An "anonymous benefactor" provided the plane, he said. A team of University of Pittsburgh medical professionals volunteered to go.

Mr. Rendell said he chose to go along to use his political clout if bureaucratic problems arose -- as, indeed, they did. "We were denied our slot [to land] until the pilot said, 'The governor of Pennsylvania is on the plane,' " he recalled.

France and Brazil have both complained in recent days that the U.S. military, which now controls the Port-au-Prince airport, has hindered their sending in some planeloads of food and medical supplies. The Red Cross and another aid group, Doctors Without Borders, have also cited trouble getting clearance to land. Some flights have been diverted to the Dominican Republic.

Mr. Rendell himself said planes were "circling forever to get runway space." As the Democratic governor of a big state, he was able to use his State Department and White House connections not only to arrange a flight into Haiti, but also to gain visas for the orphans. "The initial response [to the visas] was 'no,' " he said.

The governor spoke with federal officials he knew, including Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's chief of staff, whom he had gotten to know during Mrs. Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign. In the end, it took the National Security Council -- the agency charged with protecting the nation from the gravest dangers -- to break a deadlock over whether to grant all 53 orphans visas...

CNN's Anderson Cooper was critical of Rendell's "rescue mission" taking the governor to task during a live broadcast from Port au Prince. This is taken from and includes Rendell's reply.

“Again, I just don’t understand that decision, and allowing [a] Democratic governor of a state to fly out a group of orphans who weren’t severely injured, but, you know, who God knows deserved to go to the United States and be united with parents,” Cooper said on air Monday.

Cooper was one of the first anchors to hit the ground after the quake that caused hellish devastation to Haiti’s capital city and had witnessed agonizing scenes of suffering. He and CNN’s chief medical reporter, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, were visibly agitated about the lack of medical supplies and “stupid deaths” taking place.

But upon his return Tuesday, Rendell said there was no equation to be drawn between American officials pulling strings to rescue healthy children and the thousands still in need of aid and care.

Rendell said he was drawn to action after two Pittsburgh-area sisters, Jamie and Ali McMurtrie, who run the Haitian orphanage, used Twitter and Facebook to plead for help in evacuating the children.

“Anderson Cooper was mistaken and wasn’t equipped with the facts. CNN was mistaken. He said we had 28 kids. We had 53. He did not know that we were carrying 2½ tons of medical supplies, more than Doctors Without Borders,” Rendell said.

“This is one success. There needs to be a hundred successes. The good news we were told by the State Department is that what we did will probably be the breakthrough that will open it up for a lot more orphans to come to the U.S.,” Rendell said.

We're not sure how Rendell's "rescue mission" will open the door for "orphans" except to encourage other bigwigs to call in markers from their Beltway cronies. Outside of harvesting a lot of opportunistic publicity, Rendell's trip-- and other relief-delaying actions during the military takeover of Haiti --has pissed off aid groups that were denied landing and diverted to The Dominican Republic while Rendell sat on the tarmac. Brazil and France have filed formal complaints with Washington over routine military diversion of aid flights. The January 17, 2010 Guardian reports:

Brasilia warned it would not ­relinquish command of UN forces in Haiti, and Paris complained the airport had become a US "annexe",

The Red Cross has also complained, and Doctors Without Borders issued a press release, not only about the Rendell hold-up, but other problems with the US military control of the congested Toussaint l'Oeuverture Airport, which has forced them to land in DR and truck in (so far) 85 tons of medical supplies across the border.

Here is a portion of the press release:

“We have had five patients in Martissant health center die for lack of the medical supplies that this plane was carrying,” said Loris de Filippi, emergency coordinator for the MSF’s ChoscalSoleil. “I have never seen anything like this. Any time I leave the operating theater I see lots of people desperately asking to be taken for surgery. Today, there are 12 people who need lifesaving amputations at Choscal Hospital. We were forced to buy a saw in the market to continue amputations. We are running against time here.”...

...“It is like working in a war situation,” said Rosa Crestani, MSF medical coordinator for Choscal Hospital. “We don’t have any more morphine to manage pain for our patients. We cannot accept that planes carrying lifesaving medical supplies and equipment continue to be turned away while our patients die. Priority must be given to medical supplies entering the country.”

Clearly a lot more is going on here that the MSM (surprise!) isn't covering . US (re)militarization of Haiti, and the militarization of aid goes beyond the scope of this blog, though I will continue to discuss it on some level. Here are four good reference points, to start with for those interested:

Alternet: Is the Haiti Rescue Effort Failing?

The anti-globalist website, Global Research, The Militarization of Emergency Aid to Haiti: Is it a Humanitarian Operation or an Invasion? by Canadian economist Michel Chossudovsky who points out that US rescue is headed up not by civilian agencies or even the odious USAid, but the Pentagon and SouthCom. There are a lot of other articles on Haiti there, too.

Baltimore Chronicle & Sentinel: Disaster Capitalism Headed for Haiti The Transformation of Diplomacy or a New Manifest Destiny?: a 2007 article about the building of the current US Embassy in Haiti--the 4th most expensive US embassy in the world behind Baghdad, Beijing, and Berlin. Now that makes ya wonder what's going on that such a small country needs such a big compound. There are also some pictures of the complex so you can get an idea of how big it is and what kind refugee congestion is possible.

I fail to see how feelgood for the few export-for-adoption and premature evacuation of children to the US, and other western countries, where they stand little chance of family reunion, takes priority over food, shelter, medicine, running water, sanitation, electricity, and infrastructure for the many. We need to follow the axom: follow the money, and I suspect it goes way beyond the adoption industry. We are certainly down the rabbit hole. It is unconscionable that adoption business pushed by Beltway nabobs, trumps rescue and aid for the hundreds of thousands affected by the earthquake. This is about the globalization of children for profit and political gain. And what a jackpot they've hit!

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Women's Health Care All About Abortion

To read my pieces on Haiti, please go to American Life League Says No to Condoms and Contraceptives for Haitians, Bastard Nation's Statement on Haitian Adoption and Babylifts, Operation Pierre Pan Postponed; Politicians Pander, Haiti Child Evacuation: A New Operation Pedro Pan (my keystone Haitian entry), Haiti: Misc. Updates on Adoption and Pat Robertson, and Pat Robertson and Adoptee Rights .

Who knew that Haiti was so ripe for crisis tourism? Everybody (that is, the crony corporatists who run the US) want a piece of the pickins. It's a wonder any relief planes get in at all what with politicians and preachers in and "orphans" out." There are already dozens of articles and blogs on the corporate evangelical takeover of Haiti. (I'll leave the secular takeover for another day). Bible pounders are practically knocking each other off the plane playing who's on first. I hope somebody is making a compendium of these stories. I have quite a few and most likely will use some for reference in the coming weeks. At the moment, though, I'm continuing to comment on the evangelical demand for International Planned Parenthood Foundation (IPPF) that I wrote about directly below this entry, to bury itself under the collapsed PROFAMIL clinic in downtown Port au Prince. (below right)

In case you didn't read what I posted earlier, (admittedly a bit facetious, but I was annoyed), just go below, and then come back here. Despite what ALL, CWA, and their home girls claim in their I'm-the-hammer-IPPF is-the-nail poundings, the IPP Haiti page and says nothing about birth control or abortion. Here (and here) is what it says about its rescue work (emphasis theirs):

PROFAMIL's two largest clinics (that two weeks ago each served 200 Haitians a day) in Port-au-Prince and Jacmel have been destroyed in the earthquake.

We are working to help PROFAMIL resume services through a temporary static clinic and Mobile Health Units to deliver services in various tent cities where displaced persons have gathered, to provide basic first aid, as well as obstetric care and family planning. We need your help!

Your donation will help Haitian families receive immediate and necessary medical attention.

Because the damaged clinics are inaccessible, we are collecting money to mobilize staff and purchase supplies, including first aid and medicines. The PROFAMIL Haitian medical staff will be working in teams within the community. These are not foreign aid workers but Haitian nurses and doctors. The demand for more medical supplies is enormous. The news of the tragedy is not hyped for television; the local health situation is dire.

Ah, THAT'S the problem! IPPF Haiti is for and about Haitians, not the white man's burden and other post colonial homages.

Furthermore, on about com. contraception Dawn Stacey writes:

For the record, PROFAMIL is a fully staffed organization that is operated by Haitian nurses, doctors and volunteers. 100% of the donations being solicited by International Planned Parenthood Western Hemisphere Region will be going directly to PROFAMIL's operations - to help restore basic medical services at their clinics as well as to allow their mobile health clinics to bring needed services to people who are totally isolated.

On their Facebook Pages, Planned Parenthood is also advocating that people donate to Americans for UNFPA. (United Nations Population Fund). According to Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, UNFPA's Executive Director, "We are sending reproductive health supplies to meet the special needs of women, to prevent women from dying in pregnancy and to ensure safe deliveries."

In fact, UNFPA is prioritizing assistance to pregnant women in the impacted areas who are especially vulnerable during this crisis. Haiti has the highest rate of maternal death in the region (670 deaths per 100,000 live births); now, with limited or no access to health facilities, pregnant women are at an even greater risk for complications and death related to pregnancy and childbirth. The donations (Planned Parenthood is promoting) will help UNFPA provide emergency reproductive health kits. These kits could essentially function as OB wards as they contain essential drugs, equipment and supplies to provide life-saving services to pregnant women. During periods following a major natural disaster, women often lose access to basic health services, so UNFPA is also trying to ensure that women and girls have access to basic hygiene supplies, so that they can live with dignity (even amidst the worst circumstances).

UNPA estimates that there are about 20,000 pregnant women in their third trimester in Port au Prince alone. So providing life saving services and delivering babies in a clean and safe environment is "really about abortion." It doesn't surprise me. Here in a Ohio a few years ago, the self-named Cavemen at the Statehouse, the guys who wanted to rescind the state's ratification of the 14th Amendment (it's also "really about abortion") said that state-sponsored smoking cessation programs for women were "really about abortion," too. In fact, all health care for women according, to these male morons, is "really about abortion."

So, today, in response to IPPF's hellish mission of actually saving the lives of women and their babies, unlike the privileged neo-christers in ALL and CWA, Life Decisions International issued a wanky press release that includes the following:

"I hate to sound cynical, but I am--and my cynicism is based on experience," Scott said. "What better fund-raising tool is there than a photograph of desperate men, women and children who had been devastated by an earthquake? Planned Parenthood routinely uses natural disasters to raise money, but it addresses not one true need. When people are standing outside with a hand stretched out, they do not expect someone to put a condom or birth control pill in it. Planned Parenthood officials should be ashamed."

Unlike, of course, their brethren at Faith Comes by Hearing who along with food, water and supplies is sending (so far) 600 "Proclaimers," that is solar powered bibles that speak in Creole, to preach to the hurt, homeless, and orphaned standing in the food line. Of course, this isn't opportunistic like IPPF. It's ...well...biblical, just like that guy on the bus with those warped Chick tracts.

According to Reuters:

The Faith Comes By Hearing organisation says its Bible, called the Proclaimer, delivers "digital quality" and is designed for "poor and illiterate people"..."The Proclaimer is self-powered and can play the Bible in the jungle, desert or ... even on the moon!"

Today Faith by Hearing posted (emphasis theirs):

"We already have 600 Proclaimers on their way through our ministry partner, Convoy of Hope," said Jon Wilke, Faith Comes By Hearing's spokesperson. "These portable, solar-powered Audio Bibles will be given to local pastors so people can hear God's Word in their own language—Haitian Creole."

Convoy of Hope has people positioned on the ground to receive containers of food, clothing and supplies that are being sent to Haiti. They are partnering with churches in Haiti that are ministering to those left in the aftermath of this deadly earthquake. Pastors will receive the Proclaimer units and will use them to minister to groups of hurting and wounded people who need the Word of God in their heart language.

"There is an immediate need for another 3,000 Proclaimers. We want to equip short-term groups, disaster relief teams, church teams and other ministries with the Word of God in a format the people can use," he said.

Evangelicals have attempted to "Christianize" Haiti for years since Roman Catholicism isn't Christian, at least according to them. They aren't about to miss their big chance to kick the big dog when he's down. And let's not even get started on Voudon. It will be interesting to see what happens when the solar bible folks run into the Scientology "volunteer ministers" that John Travolta is shipping in. No word if they are bringing their E Meters with them. It's easy, though, to picture a duke out between E Meter waving Scientoloigists and the more cerebral solar Bibleists. One thing about America. No matter what the tragedy, it's always about us.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

American Life League Says NO to Condoms and Contraception for Haitians

We knew it wouldn't take long! Judie Brown's (below right) American Life League (those rascally friends of the American Center for Law and Justice, NCFA, Tennessee Eagle Forum, and odious others who tried to stop records access to some adoptees in Tennessee) has blown a gasket over International Planned Parenthood sending condoms and birth control to Haiti. If we didn't know better, we'd think the press release came from Weekly World News. Many of ALL's press releases read like they do. ALL hints that that IPP is practicing secret eugenics and wants to kill off what Haitian women are left. ALL doesn't mention that IPP-Haiti is in the field giving primary and essential health care to earthquake survivors.

This is sick,” said Rita Diller, national director of American Life League's STOP Planned Parenthood project. “Planned Parenthood is exploiting Haitians dying of thirst as a backdrop for their next fundraising appeal. Bodies are still in the streets, children are wounded, Haiti looks like a war zone and Planned Parenthood is diverting funds for condoms.”

IPPF’s latest fundraising appeal asks donors to “Help Haiti Now” by donating to their PROFAMIL project which has offered Haitians contraception, condoms and sex-ed for teenagers since 1984.

“Haiti needs food, water, clothing and shelter - not condom demonstrations or birth control pills - especially when we see more than 25,000 lawsuits filed in the United States alone due to the dangerous side effects from the Yaz birth control pill, ” Diller said. “Condoms and birth control aren’t life saving relief, but rather life-threatening.”

The birth control pill increases the chance of death through pulmonary embolisms and blood clots. It also decreases bone density in young women. Last month a Swiss teen died from the pill prompting the Swiss Federation of Service to Patients to call for a ban on the pill related to the young woman’s death - a brand such as Yaz, Yasmin and Yasminelle.

Not only do the pill, patch, IUD and similar birth control products cause great harm to the woman herself, but these products also work as abortifacient – meaning, they work to cause early abortions inside the mother.

“Time is running out for Haiti. We call on Planned Parenthood to cease this ridiculous fundraising campaign that is keeping water, food and medical supplies from Haiti and to ask their supporters to contribute to the real needs of the victims of the this disaster.” picks it up from there, accusing IPP of "pushing" contraception on the Haitian people.

In other words, Planned Parenthood is asking for money to help it pass out condoms and birth control to children who are looking for their next meal and medical care for injuries they and their family sustained in the earthquake.

The Planned Parenthood Help Haiti fundraising site says its local affiliate "meets regularly with the Minister of Health to develop strategies for increasing access" to birth control and contraception and that the group regularly targets "rural communities where the people are totally isolated" and likely have little access to food and water now.

In the same article Wendy Wright (left), president of the the prissy rightwing Concerned Women for America (the born again response to NOW for women who like to pretend they care for other women), tosses racism and eugenics into the pot by complaining that IPP is only concerned with its "racist" agenda, and doesn't give a rat's ass about Haitians, who at this point need to start breeding to fill up the gap left by the still uncounted dead:

"Haitians need food, water, shelter, safety, comfort. They are wandering in a daze and in pain," she said. "Yet all Planned Parenthood thinks about is how to benefit from their suffering. Instead of offering a cup of water, they offer a condom." "As corpses fill the streets and the world wonders how few Haitians will survive this crisis of mass proportions, Planned Parenthood’s goal is to reduce their numbers even more," Wright said. "Planned Parenthood exhibits its racist intentions again. If successful, Haitians would be denied the joy of children and the hope that their country will live on," she added.

No mention, of course, of child trafficking past and current, institutional poverty (much caused by US policy), and the mass diaspora of Haiti's children to far away places with strange sounding name under the guise of child saving organized by the white and class privileged to which Ms. White belongs.

What Judie and Rita and Wendy are really upset about is the idea that Haitians might fool around in a tent someplace, in the midst of their own pain instead of following the strictures ALL/CWA decorum and Pope sex.

We realize this is just a blip on Haiti's Richter Scale right now, but besides annoying, is very much
liniked to special interest groups and ministries, and babylifting. These parasites never pass up an opportunity to exploit tragedy, or any issue they can play hammer and nail with.

PS Sorry for the different fonts. I cut and pasted the quotes and I can't get them to match up now.

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