2018-07-09 22:39:57 UTC
When news reports first began to emerge that 81 of the migrant children recently separated from their parents had been sent into the care of one of the largest adoption agencies in the country, the response was swift alarm. Was the government planning on creating “social orphans” out of the children, then offering them up for adoption?
Horrified observers had already drawn parallels between the separation crisis and the blatantly assimilationist treatment of Native American children, starting with their mass removal to boarding schools in the late 19th Century and continuing through the Indian Adoption Project, which from the late 1950s to early 1970s removed 25 to 35 percent of all Native American children from their families. Or how U.S. slavery systematically broke apart families, selling children away from their parents. A number pointed out that the forcible transfer of children from one group of people to another fits the United Nations definition of genocide.
To adoption reform advocates, who monitor unethical and abusive practices in child welfare, it looked like any number of adoption crises in the past, like the airlifts out of Haiti in the wake of its cataclysmic 2010 earthquake. Then, masses of unaccompanied children were suddenly labeled orphans and became the focus of a deafening campaign in the U.S. to rescue them through inter-country adoption, even as Haitian adults were being warned not to try to come themselves.
Fears of a new adoption rush in today’s border crisis weren’t groundless. There was reason to be concerned. The former head of U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement under President Barack Obama warned that some of the children who’d recently been separated would remain separated “permanently” and potentially be adopted. Reports surfaced of mothers who were told that their children would be adopted as an incentive to “behave.” On Tuesday night, the Daily Beast reported that the threat of adoption has become weaponized, as a Guatemalan mother detained by Customs and Border Protection earlier this month was allegedly presented with the ultimatum that if she didn’t abandon her asylum appeal, she would be jailed for a year and her daughter put up for adoption. And conservative figures deeply hostile to immigrant families, like Fox News provocateur Laura Ingraham, herself an adoptive mother, toggled between mocking the detention of children as akin to “summer camp” and calling to “make adoption easier for American couples who want to adopt these kids.” ... (cont)