Chantal criticizes Madonna, Jolie for adoptions.

By Adrian Chamberlain/Canwest News Service
June 22, 2009

Celebrities such as Madonna and Angelina Jolie are making a mistake by adopting African children, says Canadian pop singer Chantal Kreviazuk.

Kreviazuk - who on Tuesday (June 23) plays a fundraiser in Victoria for War Child Canada - said she believes Madonna and Jolie are well-intentioned, but the celeb adoption trend is merely a Band-Aid solution to a complex problem.

``It's traumatic; the (adopted African children) never truly feel they belong. They always wonder where their siblings are,'' Kreviazuk said in an interview from Los Angeles.

Kreviazuk's performance, along with her husband Raine Maida Our Lady Peace, also features a talk by War Child Canada founder Dr. Samantha Nutt. Unlike typical pop singers who proffer shoot-from-the-hip opinions on politics, Kreviazuk's in a position to know what she's talking about. For a decade she has worked with War Child Canada, an organization providing humanitarian assistance to war-affected children around the world. As well as helping with fundraising, Kreviazuk has visited War Child projects in Asia, Europe and Ethiopia.

Like Madonna and Jolie, she, too, considered adopting after witnessing the plight of orphaned African children. ``But then I changed my mind about international adoption,'' Kreviazuk said.

Instead, Kreviazuk prefers to support such War Child Canada initiatives as one now providing clothing, food, medical aid and educational assistance for 55 young Ethiopians. In many cases, these children took care of AIDS-stricken parents who have since died. Typically, unskilled teens in such a situation - having missed out on high-school educations - turn to prostitution and criminal activity to survive. War Child Canada enables them to stay at home with their siblings.

``The number 1 thing children want when they lose their parents is not to be separated,'' Kreviazuk said.

Madonna recently made international headlines when her bid to adopt a Malawian (southeast Africa) was successful. A Malawi court had previously rejected her petition to adopt the four-year-old. However, Madonna - who promptly forked out $22.5 million Cdn to six orphanages - is now legally the proud mom of Mercy James. (She had already adopted another infant from Malawi, David Banda.)

Easily rivalling such multi-million-dollar-baby shenanigans is movie star Angelina Jolie, who has adopted children from Cambodia, Vietnam and Ethiopia. This trio joins her three biological children. Jolie was reported as saying: ``We have so many kids that we just have year-round birthdays. It's fun, you know?''

At first glance, such efforts seem 100 per cent noble. After all, Madonna's Mercy will join her adoptive mom in New York at her $47-million townhouse with 13 bedrooms and 14 bathrooms. This is an impressive step up from an African orphanage.

Yet not everyone is jumping for joy. Reportedly, Mercy's grandmother didn't want her granddaughter to live with the American pop star who used to cavort in pointy bras. (Mercy's biological mom died soon after she was born. It's not clear why the child was living in a orphanage rather than with grandma.)

Not surprisingly, the grandmother's protest paled when pitted against one of the most powerful celebrities in the world. If anyone doubts today's pop and movie stars wield the clout once possessed by royalty, Madonna's neo- imperialist baby collection settles the question.

Meanwhile, Kreviazuk said the thousands of bucks Jolie blew at the fanciest hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, while on her adoption mission likely rivalled the $200,000 a year it costs to help the 55 young Ethiopians in the War Child Canada program.

``The entire program could have been run by the flight and the nights staying in Ethiopia,'' she said.

Rather than plucking tots from Third World cultures and dipping them in Western opulence, Kreviazuk said, it's preferable to build better social systems in these countries. Adopting children from African orphanages sends an unrealistic message to parents unable to keep them: There's a chance a rich Westerner will miraculously save their child. Such antics also divert attention away from African governments, sometimes more intent on retaining their individual wealth and power than in helping the people.

``That's not progress,'' Kreviazuk said. ``These people need to become sustainable in their own right.''

In talking with Kreviazuk (who speaks so fervently and quickly, it's nearly impossible to get a word in edgewise) one does get the sense she's a zealot. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, yet it can cloud judgment. For instance, Kreviazuk was also critical of Angelina Jolie's film career in which she's ``making movies where (she) shoots up people.'' It's naive to think role choices are any reflection on an actor's private life. Otherwise, Anthony Hopkins wouldn't get invited to many dinner parties.

Kreviazuk also said she makes children attending her own kids' birthday parties (she has three) donate to War Child Canada rather than letting them give conventional gifts. This seems to me a touch grim and humourless - more about adult concerns than those of the children.

Victoria Times Colonist

0

Chantal Kreviazuk

Chantal Kreviasuck is nothing but a fame whore. She boasts on her myspace that she is friends with Perez Hilton, a man who makes his living off of ripping apart other peoples lives, she has her million dollar homes, and multiple nannies for her kids (nannies that she had no problem pulling out of Sudan), but she'll preach and dictate how others should spend their money or the decisions they make? What a hypocritical joke. She just loves having her name in print. As for her kids birthday gifts, Joan Crawford used to do something like that (the gifts were given to charity after) and we all know what Cristina thought of that ;) Sorry Chantal, none of this makes me want to run out and buy your next CD to help pay your nannies and your lifestyle you volunteeringly shove down our throats in Hello magazine so much.

Um...

Personally, I have no idea who this Chantal celebrity is.  [Only famous Chantal I know anything about is Chantal Thomass.] 

In any case, yes, it's well-known some will do just about anything to extend their 15 minutes (years) of fame.  [See:  Foreign Adoption: goodwill or good PR ]

Meanwhile, the story about Joan Crawford has always fascinated me because it raises the question:  How bad could it be to be adopted by a (big Hollywood) celebrity?

  Crawford never had any biological children of her own. Some speculate Crawford was too vain to have children but she felt her need of unconditional love would come from children. Joan Crawford suffered from a loveless and an abusive childhood herself. Joan was a disciplined person and the combination of her discipline and her own childhood made her a strict parent. Being a strict parent and wanting the best for your children does not make you an abusive parent. Crawford was known for having strict rules and chores for her children because she didn't want them growing up be spoiled Hollywood brats. In the era when Crawford raised children, a slap on the ass was a common thing when disciplining children among many families in America. Ask anyone that grew up from 1940-1960 and I am sure many will tell you they had "fear" instilled in them as a child of their parent(s). Regardless of what happen in the childhood of Joan Crawford's children, Joan was not around to defend herself. Horrendous accusations were made public right after Joan's death and Joan was not alive to give her side of the story. Thankfully, pictures speak a thousand words and there are many pictures below that show Joan with her happy children.  [From:  http://www.legendaryjoancrawford.com/crawfordchildren.html ]

Oh, yes, the many photos of the happy adopted children!  Funny thing is, I know many adult adoptees who were badly abused by their good strict adoptive parents, yet still managed to smile for the camera.  Why?  Because they were told to.... otherwise "it looks bad".  God forbid anyone questions the goodness of an adoptive parent, especially if one is a celebrity.

taking a good look...

You speak of pictures and this brings tears to my eyes...
I never told my kids to smile for the camera because I would only get "goofy" looking pictures; I got what I got.  One person, after-the-fact of abuse, said, "I noticed your daughter never smiled in the pictures."  So I take a closer look at ALL the pictures, and then watch ALL the old videos of the family.  And you know something?  I've convinced myself I CAN see SOMETHING!  Which makes me SICK to my stomach.
What exactly do I see?  Do I see abuse in her eyes?  No... I see a tiny little girl who seems to separate herself from the others; makes a fake, distressed smile of her face, and stays close to her mom.  And what does that tell me?  WHY DIDN'T IT TELL ME   S O M E T H I N G???????
Adoptive parents want to believe they are WONDERFUL!  Don't biological parents think the same thing??? But I do believe adoptive parents have to prove a lot more by taking someone else's child as their own.  And with the abuse I read about here, abuse is rampant in foster/adoptive homes.  Biological parents do seem to have a greater bond with their children; which makes adoption a risk from the beginning, IMO.  So I can see the concern here for adoption, as being valid.  Weren't they adopted and abused; some stating that the bio kids were treated "differently?"  Why can't adoptive parents get rid of the blinders and look around? 
 Because of the abuse in my own home (adoptive), I am forced to feel a great obligation to the five children who call me mom.  Being called mom is a huge blessing; but to deserve it takes commitment.  This was my dream, to be a mom.  I hope these last five will look back some day and see my honest efforts to make up somewhat for their loss of a whole family.  It's not my obligation; it's my desire to be a good mom.
Teddy does not toot her own horn...

What did I ever do to deserve this... Teddy

mother of happy adopted children, no blinders

I want to help my son and daughter continue to have a positive outlook on life.

I am an adoptive mother in a non-abusive home. I'm sorry for the abuse you suffered, but please know that this is not standard fare. People go into adoption in order to make a family and help a child. If things go badly, it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with adoption.

My children both suffered albeit short-lived abuse in their biological families. They are with us now. They are safe and happy.

I identify with them and their not needing biological connections and I am sensitive about people's comments, and questions, loaded questions like - Aren’t you sad that you do not know about your biological family?

It may seem normal to have a curiousity about them, but normal is different for different people.

I appreciate that having adopted, I may have a perspective on adoption that others, who have not, do not share.

First of all, I believe that all loving parents believe that they love their children more than anyone else could. I believe this. I know this to be true. I love my children more than anyone, more than any bio mother, could love a child. Just the same way as I'm sure you think you love your chidlren more than anyone else could.

There are challenges to be faced with adopted children, we have some, I appreciate, but some of our worst challenges come at us from outside of ourselves. I worry about and try to buffer as I can the impacts on our children of some basic mainstream misperceptions that perpetuate stigma around adoption, namely:

1. That adoption is an inferior way for a family to be born. (FALSE!!!!!)
2. That an adoptive parent cannot love their child as much as biological parent. (FALSE!!!!!!)
3. That a child that is adopted must feel sad about it and want or need to have a connection with his biological family. (FALSE!!!)

These are badly formed ideas that are pitched at us and our children in some form or other all the time through mainstream culture’s movies, journalism, and people’s inconsideration and/or innocent questions or comments.

As for myself, I was told, by our adoption education facilitator, and mainstream media, etc., that it was normal and healthy to process actual grieving around infertility.

But when, at 16, after some investigation, I was told by my doctor, not that I “would never be able to have children”, but that “someday, somewhere, some child would need me to be their mother,” I felt called, and blessed, and honoured by this amazing future quest. I have had not one moment of grief for a non-existent biological child. Not one. That was my reality. My normal.

For our children, at the time of their adoption, adoption was the normal way families happened. Our son was in the orphanage from a time before he could even remember, and when our daughter arrived at the orphanage, he had pieced it together and he told her this: “You are in an orphanage. You have to be here a while and then your new mother and father come for you. They visit for a while and then they come back for you and you go and become a new family. “ He had seen it happen to numerous other children at the orphanage whose registered available-to-be-adopted-by-foreigners dates had come up. This is the way things worked. This was normal. I think their orphanage experience was a benefit to them in this way. They were all in the same boat and normal was coping and anticipating.

When we arrived there, they were waiting for us. They were ready for the next chapter. They were very happy with the prospect. There was no stigma.

But now here, they are bombarded with these notions and the usurpation of the word ‘real’, as in real family and real mother, when in every way that is meaningful to them now, we are their real family. Before they even knew the English word “biological”, or this wacky notion of "real", they would refer to their “bio” family as their “first” family, and to us as their “last” family. This parity seemed correct somehow.

Our son, although he has never said, we have to believe was well loved in his first family, because he knew what a family was, he knew he wanted one, and he was so very sweet and loving with us, and still is, much of the time. When he was small, he would say sweet things like . . . “I love you so much I can’t believe it,” and “you are my best and last mama,” served with a hug, and once after they’d been with us a year, when at a little country restaurant on the out way to visit my sister’s family, saying grace, he said “thank you for this food, and for our family, and for us visiting our cousins, and for making this not a dream”; our daughter is happy, assertive, funny, creative, confident, and she knows deep down to her toes that she is loved to death, and she tells her father and I on a daily basis how much she loves us. She is also a teenager and has all that going on so the bowl isn't completely full of roses but in balance, we are very happy for both our children's happiness.

I do not bring up their first families very often, but sometimes, especially around mothers’ day, I do. I share with the children thinking grateful thoughts to their first mothers for bringing them into the world, and for later allowing them to be where they were safe and taken care of at the orphanage and where we could find them and become their family.

Anecdotally, we know people who are adults now who were adopted and who have never reconnected to bio families and have never wanted to.

I talk to a lot of people about adoption, and I know a lot of people who have adopted. As rare as with biological families are the cases that have serious problems.

Please don't let people like Chantal Kreviasuk and her naive supporters brainwash you into believing what too many people do. If you were an adoptive parent you might feel completely differently.

Thank you for listening.

How do you know...

Anonymous wrote:
Anecdotally, we know people who are adults now who were adopted and who have never reconnected to bio families and have never wanted to.

Do you know your biological mother and father?  I'm guessing that you do.  Do you know if you have biological siblings?  Cousins?  Aunts and uncles?  Have you ever met your grandparents?  Do you know if they're still alive?  If not, do you know where they are buried?  Do you know your family's health history?

Are these things important to you?  I'm guessing that they are.

As an adoptive father to two children, I'm here to tell you that it's easy to take for granted the things which you and I considered our simple birthright.

These adult people you know who were adopted... how do you know they wouldn't jump at the chance if given the opportunity for reunion?  How do you know they haven't the slightest interest in these things which you and I hold dear yet take for granted?  How do you know if they are holding back their searches out of misplaced loyalty to their adoptive parents?  How do you know if they're telling you the full truth.

I cannot imagine being adopted and not wanting to know.  Can you?  Really?

When we started our parenting classes, the director of our agency told us in no uncertain terms that if we did not support our children searching for their biological roots...  we could find another agency.  There's the door.

She gave birth to four kids and adopted at least six kids from foster care.  She offered pro bono her services as a searcher and professional intermediary to scores of adopted adults.  She had a PhD in Childhood Development.  She was dead right.

How are you validating your children's grief over the loss of their biological family?

Dad

Much truth

These adult people you know who were adopted... how do you know they wouldn't jump at the chance if given the opportunity for reunion?  How do you know they haven't the slightest interest in these things which you and I hold dear yet take for granted?  How do you know if they are holding back their searches out of misplaced loyalty to their adoptive parents?  How do you know if they're telling you the full truth

I'm very glad an AP asked this question.  [Seems when an AP asks another AP, questions and answers have more validity and value.]

"Dad"'s recent adoption-story illustrates just how reunion for the adoptee is not reserved only for the birth-parents and relinquished child.  There may be siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents who truly wished the child was never sent away.  There may be SOMEONE wishing to see that child one more time, just to offer a little something that may make the whole universe turn around.  These are difficult issues to discuss with an AP who wants/needs his/her family to be the only family the adoptee wants or needs.

I know many adults who have been put-in-care and spent many years (decades, even) hunting down siblings because they were dearly missed.  In some cases, the separated siblings turned out to be very distant strangers, some turned-out to be real scary weirdos (creating a whole new twist to one's adoption-story).  And yet, in other cases, the siblings turned out to be the long-lost family members that relinquished child always wished to find.

In reference to the anonymous post, when an AP says it's not necessary to go back in time, as if this is for the sake of the child, I often wonder -- what is that AP afraid of finding?  Non-risk-taking AP's scare me.  Whether the adoptee asks or not, isn't the offer to "walk back in history" a true sign of love and respect for another human being?

Standard Fare

I read this response yesterday, and as I was reading it,  I felt that old stomach churning inside me go tight and brittle.  Rather than unleash immediately, I took a day to breathe before I gave my own adult adoptee perspective.

People go into adoption in order to make a family and help a child. If things go badly, it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with adoption.

Not ALL people go into adoption in order to help a child.  The sooner the general public knew this fact, the better/safer child placement services can become.  As far as going into adoption in order to make a family -- the question must be asked:  for whom?  Is a given adoption agency in operation because it provides a family for the adults, or is that agency in operation because it provides a safe loving family for the child?  Trust me, such a detail can make a HUGE difference, later-on in life.

My children both suffered albeit short-lived abuse in their biological families. They are with us now. They are safe and happy.

Please don't mistake gratitude and appreciation for a "better location" as long-term happiness.  If you were living in an unpleasant environment, and then moved to a seemingly much happier, safer place, does that mean the rest of your days will be safe and happy?  Please don't assume your adopted children's feelings, EVER.   There will be a day your safe happy adoptees will wonder, "What happened?".  In some cases, they might learn the parents who relinquished rights were indeed dirt-bags.  In other cases, they might learn the first-parents were nothing more than young inexperienced parents who needed help. In other cases, they may learn they were the product of rape.  Still in other cases, they might learn they were abducted/stolen so an adult could create his/her own family.  Does the adopted child have the right to know the truth?

For our children, at the time of their adoption, adoption was the normal way families happened.

Adoption was the normal way families happened.  That statement saddens me, for many reasons.

I do not bring up their first families very often, but sometimes, especially around mothers’ day, I do. I share with the children thinking grateful thoughts to their first mothers for bringing them into the world, and for later allowing them to be where they were safe and taken care of at the orphanage and where we could find them and become their family.

"Thinking grateful thoughts".  <laughing>.... yes, I used to get that speech too.  I was to be grateful for being saved and chosen.  My Amother has a collection of love-notes written by me.  I wanted nothing more than for her to love me, like a real mommy should.  Only when I got older (high school and beyond) did I feel as though I could tell my closest friends what was going on in my head when it came to my true-feelings, about my adoption and the people who wanted a little girl in their family.

Anecdotally, we know people who are adults now who were adopted and who have never reconnected to bio families and have never wanted to.

The only adult adoptees I know who never wanted to make some contact with their first-family members are those who remember being severely neglected or abused.

If you were an adoptive parent you might feel completely differently.

Exactly.  My Aparents see their adoption their-way....  I see their adoption a completely different way.  I would not wish my adoption experience on ANYONE. 

Bitch is crazy

Bitch is crazy- nuff said. I too was gonna mention Mommy dearest. It's funny that she'd condemn Jolie and Madonna for "buyng" these children from other countries, when she herself had strongly considered doing so at one point. She should know better and know that there are legitimate reasons to adopt these poor children. It seems as if the reporter did his/her job effectively and knew better than to buy into Chantal's weirdness.

Maybe she should worry about her kids before making judgments on other people's lives and actions.

What a crazy loon.

Pound Pup Legacy