In 1983, Peggy MacIntosh, a white university professor, wrote a now famous essay on some of the hidden privileges that, as a white person, she enjoys. Here’s just a sample:
by Joanne Thalken
The Oregonian newspaper recently ran a story entitled “Sending Black Babies North.” Gabrielle Glaser, a journalist who visited BC recently, and who has shown great interest in Canadian adoptions of African-American children, is the author.
What’s the connection between coffee and adoption? Not too obvious, you might think. So did I, until I visited the coffee warehouse of Ethical Bean, a company owned by AFABC members Lloyd Bernhardt and Kim Schachte. Their decision to adopt a child from Guatemala almost five years ago not only resulted in them becoming parents but also transformed them into coffee experts and the owners of the thriving, Burnaby-based company.
When Deborah Bailey and her husband Edward, first met their then three-and-a-half-year old daughter, Ola, in a Russian orphanage, her first words to them were, “You’re late.”
They immediately realized that this little preschooler was a force to be reckoned with. Deborah says that at the same time as Ola was being so forthright, she had a single tear in her eye. This was an early indication of Ola’s desperate need for belonging and her intense fear of it.
When my brother, Cam, and his wife, Karin, went to Fuling, China, to bring home a 10-month-old baby girl, they invited Karin’s sister, Nancy and I, the aunties, along for the trip. The four of us met in Shanghai to begin what turned out to be a momentous experience.
For a period in this country’s history (1868 to 1925), more than 80,000 children from British orphanages were transported via steamship to Canada. They were settled with rural farming families in Eastern Canada. The younger ones, three to five years, were often adopted and grew up loved and happy. Many of the older children, ranging in ages from four to 17, were treated as chattel. The conditions they endured were harsher than those from which they had been "rescued" in the slums of Britain’s industrialized cities.
The permanent ban on adoption from Romania highlights the political nature of international adoption. Romania is a country from which many Canadians adopted throughout the 90s to 2001, when the government brought a moratorium into effect.
The Romanian government has faced pressure from all sides, from countries whose citizens are eager to adopt, and from the European Union (EU), which appears to have political biases against international adoption.
The Decision to Adopt
Kathy and Rick Miller already had four birth children between the ages of nine and 16, when they decided to add a sibling group of two to their family. "We enjoy children a lot," said Kathy, who has a degree in Child and Youth Care. "We have lots of parenting experience, and we felt we had a lot to offer as a family." She and Rick, who is a teacher, wanted more children, but felt that it was better "to expand our family by adding children who genuinely needed a home, rather than biologically."