Aside: The idea for Adoption Under One Roof was Sandra's and we are forever grateful for her starting this website. Due to circumstances beyond her control, Sandra was unable to continue with us shortly after our start up in January 2008, but we are delighted when she sends us guest blogs about adoption.
Sandra is a published author and talented writer. She resides in Seychelles with her son Sam and her daughter Cj. And in addition to all that, she is the sister of the famous Tom Hanks! ...Lisa Shahar
Over the years there have been a number of shocking stories in the news that plop the 'A' word into headlines and follow trails from abduction to adoption almost as if the two fit like soup and sandwich. The Zoe's Ark fiasco in Africa and the Baptist illegal child boost from Haiti come immediately to mind. Those were dragged across global media like snot from a virus-infected nose for quite a while and some attempted to target adoption itself as the culpable culprit.
Like a couple of stories in today's news however, the topic is actually crime and horror and has no more to do with adoption than cancer has to do with wigs … both may end up covering for some of the damage, but neither had anything to do with what caused the need in the first place.
Victoria Montenegro lived for 25 years under the name Maria Sol Tetzlaff, until she knew the truth. She was one of Argentina's "stolen babies". In 1976, only days after her birth, she was taken away by the security forces along with her parents Hilda Torres and Roque Montenegro, both left-wing activists. The couple was arrested as part of the crackdown on political dissidents carried out by the military government at the time, which is known as the "dirty war". Victoria's parents were taken to clandestine detention centres, where they were likely tortured and killed. Hilda was never seen again and Roque's remains were only identified a month ago - 36 years later.
In my time zone … GMT+4 … it’s Friday the 13th, and seeing how crap the rest of the week … month … year … has gone, I’ll be watching my back thankyouverymuch.
In prep for doing so, I gathered some info on history not my own concerning the reasons behind this particular combo of day and date having ominous overtones.
Friggatriskaidekaphobia is the bon mot coined to describe the fear of Friday the 13th, and if that’s not reason enough to stay in bed the whole day, head under the covers, and a refusal to speak to anyone for fear of having to admit to having the condition … well … I could think of a couple of others, but don’t need to.
Thankfully, planning ahead is possible — a stock of tea on hand, a couple of good books, that sort of thing — since every year has at least one … but no more than three … Paraskevi the dekatreis, and any month that begins on a Sunday is warning that the 13th on a Friday will happen.
Funnily enough, while most people now welcome Fridays with open arms and high hopes for a hoot and a half, historically, the whole TGIF thing wasn’t happening until recently:
The actual origin of the superstition, though, appears also to be a tale in Norse mythology. Friday is named for Frigga, the free-spirited goddess of love and fertility. When Norse and Germanic tribes converted to Christianity, Frigga was banished in shame to a mountaintop and labeled a witch. It was believed that every Friday, the spiteful goddess convened a meeting with eleven other witches, plus the devil — a gathering of thirteen — and plotted ill turns of fate for the coming week. For many centuries in Scandinavia, Friday was known as “Witches’ Sabbath.
Unlike moderns eagerly packing up cars and heading outta Dodge in a Dodge, as far back as the 14th century Fridays were considered an unlucky day to begin a journey, as Chauser suggests as he sees his folks off to Canterbury.
People outside the adoption community are often surprised to learn that there is no little contention on the issue, that there is a contingent of adult adoptees who are dead set against building families through adoption, that some consider international adoption as “cultural genocide” robbing children of their birth heritage. Those purporting such have their points, and I’m not here … today … to argue claims of wrongness about adoption; I’ve done that before … many times.
Nope. Today is not about what can go wrong in adoption … and, as it is in any case where mere humans are involved, shit does happen … but rather on what is so very, very right.
As long-time readers know, my dear friend Gay has been heading off to Cambodia to build houses ever since we brought Sam home. She does this through the organization Tabitha, a non-profit that does so much for so many … I encourage all to learn more and participate … or, at least, shop their store.
Tabitha was started by a Canadian, Janne Ritkes, personal heroine to anyone familiar with her work and her spirit, in 1994, and she’s been on the ground in Cambodia running the show ever since.
Lest anyone get the idea that I am inclined to chew on the ass of only one religion, I’ll range more widely today and slam effects of worship all the way to witchcraft.
Subscribing to a bit of the old double, double can seem nothing more than a giggle, but as is the case with all who take hocuspocus as gospel, be it the Eucharist or “He turned me into a newt!”, it always results in damage to some innocent bystander.
Today’s example comes from the BBC in this report on an increasing number of kids in Africa being accused of witchcraft, and the horrible consequences of those accusations.
A new Unicef report warns that children accused of being witches – some as young as eight – have been been burned, beaten and even killed as punishment.
(… burned, beaten AND EVEN KILLED … What the hell sort of sentence is that? Oh … never mind … )
In rounding up the usual suspects, it’s orphans, street kids, albinos and the disabled, mainly boys between the ages of 8 and 14 who are victims.
Unicef … always so good at counting atrocities, but not so hot on preventing them … reports that 20,000 street kids have been tarred with the black magic brush in Kinshasa, DRC alone.
Two things came across my desk this morning almost simultaneously. One is about international adoption. The other is not.
First, the not.
Thirty-three pinheaded Idaho bible thumpers attempting to illegally, unethically and immorally grab Haitian kids and bus them out of the country is NOT about international adoption, no matter how many times the term is slotted into the story.
It is about arrogance and ignorance, and I hope all of them, except perhaps the child who looks to be about 12 in the photo, see what life is like inside a Haitian jail.
What is about adoption came from my dear friend and hero, Adam Pertman.
A Webinar featuring Dr. Bruce Perry Monday, February 1st, 2010 from 7:00 to 8:00 PM Central Time (a recorded version will be available subsequently) This free webinar features Bruce D. Perry M.D., Ph.D., the Senior Fellow at The ChildTrauma Academy. He will discuss the likely impact of the many traumas children coming home from the orphanages in Haiti have experienced. The webinar will help prepare families who are now awaiting or have already received placement under the United States' expedited program. Dr. Perry will cover the impact of the multiple traumas on this group of kids, explain what parents can expect, and give advice on how they can ease the transition for their child. The webinar will have practical advice for adoptive parents, adoption professionals, and interim caregivers. Please forward this invitation to any family awaiting a placement from Haiti as well as staff and/or interim caregivers for these children. In order to give priority to families who will benefit the most from this live webinar, we ask that you refrain from inviting those who are just starting to explore the option of adopting from Haiti. Dr. Perry will address specific trauma-related questions from the audience as time allows. We ask that you submit questions in advance through the registration form. PLEASE NOTE: this session is intended for those families who were in process of adopting from Haiti prior to the earthquake and are therefore receiving an expedited placement of their child. The Haitian adoption process itself as well as advice for those looking to start the process of adopting from Haiti will not be covered. This webinar is brought to you by Adoption Learning Partners, the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, the Joint Council on International Children's Services and Heart of the Matter Seminars.