Rumor Queen & The Dangerous Desire to Adopt a Haitian Baby

One (analogy) for another

That blog-piece was indeed very good, hitting on all the right targets.

I especially liked the blogger's analogous response to the very popular lone starfish story, as used in one of the posts here on PPL.  Atlasien writes:

Let me try another analogy. Let's say you live with your child in a house that burns down. You're dazed, confused, and burned. Your neighbor says, "I think I should take care of your child". You say, "Thanks for your offer. But my child really needs me now, and I think they wouldn't sleep well in a strange house. If you could just give us a tent and some food and some bandages so we can camp out while I get better and look into rebuilding, we'll be OK." Your neighbor says, "that's too logistically complicated and I'm concerned about the security situation. I just want your child." You say, "Thanks again for your concern and I'm grateful for any help you can give me. If you're so worried about my child, maybe you could let both of us stay in your guestroom for a while? That way my child could be safe and would sleep well too." Your neighbor says, "No, we have an interdiction-at-sea policy and visa restrictions will not be relaxed. Just give me your child. Actually, nevermind. I don't even need your permission anymore. I'll just take them."

I also liked how this AP warned others about the realities behind adoption.  I think far too often people looking into adoption fall in love with a photo, a captured image, forgetting the many realities that cute sweet face and body have been through.  Just because a child may look perfectly "normal" in a photo does not mean that child is without serious medical, emotional, or developmental problems.  Just how many people (paying tens of thousands of dollars in adoption fees) are prepared for this? 

Furthermore, as much as I do believe there are some incredibly selfless people in this world... doing amazing things, like traveling and living in really rough and dangerous situations, offering help and working hard for those who really need assistance, let's not forget all the frauds trying to get involved in "humanitarian efforts" simply because it will help improve a tarnishing image. 

This fake-savior image is something abused/neglected adoptees know all about.  We know the difference between a good person who genuinely likes children and loves to parent, and the self-serving two-faced actor who wants praise for "saving a poor child", through international adoption.  We know a person must do more than lift a child from dust and rubble, (or a poorly funded orphanage) before confirming that person is a quality, loving, safe parent-figure.  We know there is a difference between a person with a generous heart, and a person with a very needy (freaky) ego.  In addition, we know there is a difference between the person who is kind, because that's a natural disposition, and the person who does "things", just to impress friends, family, neighbors or a church congregation.


People need to remember, just as there are those who want to give to the poor, there are those who want to take from them, too.  In that sense, international adoption, pitched as a humanitarian effort, really disturbs me.

Thanks for adding the blog link for others to read... it's good to see there are AP's voicing concerns about the rush to adopt poor "orphaned" children.


I especially liked the blogger's analogous response to the very popular lone starfish story, as used in one of the posts here on PPL.

For the record, I used the starfish story to illustrate one child's private fundraising efforts for children in foster care.  It was certainly not used to garner support for Haitian airlifts or international adoption.  But thanks for the reference.  That was very kind of you.



Before your cited post, I never heard that starfish story before....  but according to Atlasien, "International adoptive parents are really fond of this starfish metaphor and this is not the first time I've seen it in play."

The example used was a simple, very abbreviated version of the full story you posted.

I'm quirky and very nerdy....  I tend to prefer full-stories, not abbreviated versions.

Back into the surf

The starfish story goes way back.  I think I first heard it when I was a teenager some 35+ years ago.

The starfish metaphor doesn't really work for (international) adoption, though.  It's not like the dancing boy scooped them up and flew them back home with him.  He did throw them back into the surf, after all.


A NEW starfish story

We just came up with a new and improved version of this story. You might enjoy checking it out.

Sources and Solutions

Indeed, I do like the improved version, and think a written copy of the script would be good to pass around.

For those who did not listen to the audio version, in short, it goes a little like this (hope my own words don't ruin the couple's message) --  A wise-man wants to know what this particular boy down by the surf is doing.  He walks up to the boy and makes his inquiry.  Once the boy explains he's saving lives, the wise man considers the situation before him.  Here he sees a boy placing beached starfishes back into the water, one at a time.  There are hundreds, maybe thousands of starfish all around, and the littered beach seems endless and overwhelming.  Still, the boy does not seem discouraged.  He continues the straightforward task that seems to ease a small starfish's struggle:  he takes one stranded starfish into his hand, tosses it back into the water, then finds another starfish, in similar condition (alive but struggling) and helps that fish get back into the sea, so it can join the others.  The boy does not seem bothered by the fact that he, alone, cannot help or save each and every beached starfish.  Instead, the boy seems proud and at peace, knowing he's doing what no other person around him wants to do...  returning seemingly insignificant starfish to their home, giving as many as he reasonably can, a second-chance at life.  At this, the wise man asks the boy if he knows what is causing this strange problem.  What, specifically, is forcing the starfish out of the water and onto the sandy surface, in the first place?   

It turns out, there is a fisherman on the other side, standing on a cliff, using dynamite to capture fish.  His dynamite explosions are continuous, causing starfish displacement and death.  The wise-man tells the boy he can do more good, and save more lives, if the dynamite-throwing fisherman was stopped.   

If we apply this story to child placement services and adoption reform, I think many can and will agree....sometimes the criticisms and suggestions coming from the small fishes (who somehow survived the rough tides caused by a  fisherman's deeds) are not as irrational or outlandish as those outcries immediately seem.

Kudos go to the couple who recognize the role of the unseen fishing man, acting as if he's doing nothing wrong.

Pound Pup Legacy