Someone left a comment today that I think is worthy of its own post. The writer is of Haitian descent. I appreciate this perspective so much and I think it is an important one to consider for anyone in the adoption process:
The debate over Haitian adoption is not new. There are differing points of view and many considerations. The children have an immediate need for food, shelter, and security. But what happens when someone adopts a child of another culture to “rescue” that child because s/he believes that the “American way” is the only way?
Childhood is short relative to adulthood. What we learn as children shapes who we become as adults. Please consider your beliefs and biases. If you’re adopting a Haitian child, but look down on Haiti and the Haitian people, you will do harm in the long run. Can a Haitian child who hears only “Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere” or “Haiti is cursed” or “Haiti made a pact with devil” grow into an emotionally healthy adult?
Imagine moving to a place where your American culture and heritage are constantly maligned and marginalized. Imagine being the ONLY American in that place. How do you maintain a healthy sense of self in this environment? We’ve heard plenty about people with low self-esteem. People who feel they are not “good enough” generally do not make good decisions. In the US, the standard for deciding who is “deserving” is very high. Brown people, unless they are wealthy, are typically at the bottom. The brown people who succeed are usually the ones who have people they trust who tell them that they are deserving and are “good enough.” The people who oppose cross-cultural or transracial adoption fear that the adoptees will not receive the support they need to succeed in this world. As a brown woman, I can tell you that it is nice growing up with role models and others to encourage me. There is nothing sinister about that. I do not oppose cross-cultural or transracial adoptions. Please be aware that those in opposition are not the enemy and that they have valid reasons. If you adoption across culture or race, you have an obligation to be your child’s cheerleader and to validate who they ARE. Validating a Haitian child includes finding positive things to say about Haiti and Haitian culture. “Yes Pierre, [insert negative] is true, but did you know [insert positive]?” (emphasis mine)
There is a solution and we must constructively pressure the people in power to find one that is in the best interest of the children. Children already identified as orphans and released by their parents for adoption must be permitted to find a new family. Unfortunately, attacks on Haiti, Haitian culture, or the Haitian government will certainly hinder the process. Maligning the government will only cause it to further dig in its heals. This is not in the children’s best interest.