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African children are not an accessory. by @vohandas



I have never been this angry in a while. I literally can’t believe what I’m seeing. I log on to tumblr and few scrolls down what do I see? This. A post by justgirlywishes ​, a blog about girly bucket list  things, that girl like and/or want to do. Things such as “baking a chocolate cake”, “traveling the world” “Looking cute and hoping he would notice” and my “favorite” “Adopting an African Child.” WHAT? I’m not going to channel all my anger towards them alone because I realize they are not the only people guilty of this.  However, I am tired, so tired of people, mostly white celebrities going to Africa and literally picking up a baby and just saying “yup, i want this one” (…it’s that easy If you’re a white American or European and have money) and then parading the child around to the media. “Look at the good deed I have done, look at me, I have gone allllll the way to Africa and saved this baby from disease and famine.” 

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not against adoption. However, adopting a child and dehumanizing them because you have the money to do so and all your friends are doing it… is wrong. Do people realize that these children are people also? Do they realize that adopting a child takes alot of responsibility, just as it would to give birth and raise one? The part that makes me angry is the fact they go to developing countries with cameras and press, and exploiting the adoption process for their own sake. If you really felt it in your heart that you wanted to make a difference in a child’s life and wanted to offer them an opportunity at things they might never be able to have due to their unfortunate situation, would you really need the media? To me that raises a lot of questions. These are the same people who hide their own kids behinds doors because they want them to live “normal lives away from the tabloids”, however, the adopted child? Bring them out! take all the photos you need. “___ have adopted a child from ___” “____traveled to rural village and brings back baby ___”

Between 2003 and 2010, said the report, the number of children adopted from Africa increased three-fold. During that time, 33,434 children were adopted internationally from Africa’s top 12 source countries — the vast majority of these adopted children ended up in the United States.

Celebrities’ adoptions of African children have been glamorized to an extent, oversimplifying the practice and neglecting to address some of its major issues.” (Jacey Fortin)


All I’m saying is, please. Do not adopt a child because it’s “cool” to do so. Do not adopt an African baby or an Asian baby because they are -cheaper- to adopt.  These are all wrong reasons and It is not fair at all to the child; I would hope when it comes to the adoption process, people took into consideration, the child as a person and not as anything less

I open the table for a discussion for anyone who would like to voice their opinion on this..

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In almost every state in the US it costs less to adopt a child out of foster care from within your home state than it does to travel abroad many times in order to adopt internationally. The up front costs vary, but many states will reimburse the family once the adoption has been finalized. Many states provide ongoing financial & other support systems for the family & the child following in-state foster care adoptions, as well. And adopting a child locally means that in some cases you have a chance to keep them connected to members of their biological family, which can be healthy for their growth & development, depending on their individual circumstances.

I’m a big advocate for adoption, and don’t see an issue with adopting internationally or interracially in general, but when there are literally hundreds of children who desperately need homes & families in our own neighborhoods (262 in my home state as of today, multiplied by 50 states = roughly 13,000 children in the US right now who are wards of the state, waiting to be adopted), the motivation for specifically going out & bringing home an international child as a first-resort comes into question. Everyone who dreams of adopting internationally should seriously evaluate why it’s important to them.

The back story of Suzanne (“crazy eyes”) on Season 2 of oitnb is a perfect example of what happens when a white family views an adoption as “saving a little black girl” to prove their righteousness instead of a adding a member to their family. Children are very delicate little people, not badges of honor.



I was riding in a van with a television crew who was doing a piece on HONY. The cameraman, Duane, was behind the wheel. At one point he casually remarked on how bad the traffic was in Ethiopia.
"Ethiopia?" I asked. "What story were you working on there?"
"It wasn’t a story," he replied. "We were picking up our daughter.

He then told me the most amazing story. He told me that he and his wife were not able to conceive. “But I’d always resisted the idea of adoption,” he said. “My wife wanted to adopt right away, but I was just never sure if I’d be able to fully love a child that wasn’t my blood.” So time went on, and they remained childless. 

Then one evening Duane was watching a television show with his wife. The show was about aid work in Ethiopia. “They were showing before-and-after photos,” he explained. “I remember this one girl. She was skin and bones. But she still had this amazing smile and spirit in her eyes. The aid workers rehabilitated her, and six months later, she looked like a normal little girl. Right then, I turned to my wife, and said: ‘I’m ready to adopt.’” 

But it wasn’t as easy as he’d hoped. “At first I thought we needed an infant,” Duane explained. “I just couldn’t imagine missing out on all those early moments of our child’s life.” But for healthy infants, the waiting list was years. “So then we went we moved up to three or four year olds.” But still, the waiting list was one to two years. “The only children you could get immediately were seven and up, and who had physical handicaps of some sort. I just didn’t think I was ready for it.”

But then Duane and his wife went on vacation. And toward the end of the trip, “after a few drinks,” Duane’s wife brought out a brochure from the adoption agency. One of the pictures showed an unsmiling seven year old girl, standing against the pink wall of an orphanage. She had been blinded in one eye. “That’s our daughter,” Duane said. 

Three years later after the Watkins adopted her, Chaltu has blossomed. She has grown over one foot, is fluent in English, and although blind in one eye, plays soccer, gymnastics, and basketball. She’s doing great at school, and has tons of friends. “She is the greatest daughter in the world,” Duane said.

“That’s an unbelievable story,” I told Duane. “Can I share it on HONY?”

“That’s fine with me,” he answered. Then he sort of stared at the ground for a second, shuffled his feet, and asked: “Would there be any possibility that you could help us raise the adoption fees to get her a brother? We’ve already found him, but aren’t financially ready yet.”

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Barry Farmer’s family is unusual, but not just because he is black and his son is white.

Although, he admits, that is pretty unusual.

“I would have never thought in a million years that I would adopt a white child,” he said with a laugh. He tells his son, Darrell, 10, that their family is unique. “You probably won’t see anybody like us in your lifetime. It’s rare.”

“I have no problem adopting outside of my race,” he said. “Everybody deserves love and deserves a family.”

The heart, he said, knows no color. Farmer’s extended family embraced Darrell with open arms.

“He fits right in. He doesn’t look like he fits in, but he fits in,” Farmer said. “He’s like a little rock star when he goes to my aunt’s house. When they hear he is coming, they get so excited.”

Farmer’s route to becoming an adoptive parent didn’t have many detours. Not only is Farmer single, he is also 25 years old. He started the process to become a foster parent when he was 20.

“I’ve never been the type of guy to party or go to the club,” he said. “I wanted a family. I wanted a child to take care of and to show them different things and share experiences with them before I got too old.”

When he first considered fostering, he didn’t think beyond providing a temporary, loving home to a child in need.

“I just thought foster kids go back to their birth families, or they move along,” he said.

Farmer describes the early stages of the process for him as “going out on a limb.” At the time, he was working in a daycare and knew it was his calling to work with youth. Now Farmer is a behavioral counselor working with children with emotional issues.

“I thought this was the perfect chance to make a difference,” he said. He saw an ad in the newspaper for foster parent training and investigated. Although he was young, he said the social worker with whom he met saw potential in him.

Part of the desire to become a foster parent was his own experience of his grandmother raising him after his birth mother neglected him and his siblings.

“I know the feeling to have nothing, to be hopeless,” he said. “I knew I could relate to these kids on that level and give them hope, some light at the end of the tunnel to show them they can come out of it.”

He credits his grandmother with helping him become the man he is today.

“Living with my grandmother, she taught me independence, to go out into the world,” Farmer said. “She taught me to mingle with different people, to not just stick to one characteristic of people, to broaden your horizons.”

His first foster placement, when Farmer was 21, was a teenager who arrived at Farmer’s apartment on his 16th birthday.

The teen was considered a “high risk placement,” Farmer said, and stayed for eight months.

Farmer said he did well, and formed a tight bond with the youth. Ultimately, however, the teen was moved to a residence that could attend to his special needs.

“I hated to see him go,” Farmer said.

A month later, he received an email about a 7-year-old boy named Darrell.

“I only got to meet him for 30 minutes,” Farmer said. “By the end of the week he was in my home and has never left.”


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