Weighing In: “Haitian Children and the Adoption Question”

I have added my comments to a blog post that ran yesterday in the NY Times entitled “Haitian Children and the Adoption Question.” While the blog included a pragmatic discussion among lawyers, and an adoptive parent/pediatrician (one of whom wrote a very helpful article referencing the problematic history of transnational adoption), you can see many of the comments ultimately obsess over the incident of the Idaho Baptist attempting to cross Haitian children over the border into the DR.

While some of these comments are self-conscious reflections on white privilege and hegemonic culture, they are a distraction from the blog’s prompt, namely, “What rules should govern in adopting orphans from Haiti?” This is a question I would argue is also a distraction from the flaws within the system of transnational adoption which (historically and as it presently stands) institutionalizes inequality and fails to integrate local, cultural understandings of kinship amongst global demand for children. Again, you can read my comment (#11) here. The debates over transnational adoption bring many charged feelings to the fore, and I do not intend to discount them for academic arguments; yet my current anthropological project seeks to historicize transnational adoption within its various cultural contexts, looking for a brighter and better future for children everywhere.

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