March 2014 update:  Bail Romero has filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking to overturn the adoption of her son.  Carlos was taken from her and her parental rights were terminated against her wishes, largely in part because she entered this country as an undocumented immigrant. 

il·le·gal    [ih-lee-guhl]
1. forbidden by law or statute.
2. contrary to or forbidden by official rules, regulations, etc.: The referee ruled that it was an illegal forward pass.
3. Informal.  illegal alien.


In May 2007, Encarnacion Bail Romero was arrested during an immigration raid at a Barry County (MO) poultry processing plant. Her son Carlos was then seven months old. Bail Romero’s parental rights were subsequently terminated and her son was adopted by a Missouri couple.

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Too easy

In 2007, Encarnacion Bail Romero was picked up in an immigration raid at a Missouri poultry processing plant.  And she went to jail.  Subsequently the court terminated her parental rights, and her little boy was adopted.

Against her will.

She was deemed to have abandoned him because she did not contact him or provide financial support.  While she was in jail.  By the way, did I mention that she speaks only Spanish?

Now the Missouri Supreme Court has ruled that the court erroneously terminated her parental rights.  But don’t celebrate yet.  They are sending the case back to the lower court for retrial.

Of course, the adoptive parents are the “only parents the child has ever known.”  In addition, the child only speaks English.  So we know where the best interests lie.

And after the trial works its way through the court system again, Romero’s little boy will be even more strongly bonded to the adoptive parents.

Possession is nine-tenths of the law.  Or maybe 99 and nine-tenths.

A place to start

Once upon a time, I thought that white people who adopted kids of color might be a little further along in their education about race and racism.  Of course I also once believed that college-educated people (and in particular college professors) were similarly enlightened.  And I used to wait up for Santa Claus, too.

When I first started encountering white adoptive parents with kids of color, especially Asian kids, it was dismaying.  And discouraging.  And heart-breaking.  And painful.  And worse yet, sometimes these parents wanted to become my new best friend.

I wanted to think that these parents were anomalies.  Outliers.  The exception that proved the rule.  But they kept coming.  I tried not to see.  Still more came.

So I started wondering where the agencies were in the educational process.  Because I was still thinking about good old Santa.

Santa gives you presents. Apparently adoption agencies do too. Continue reading

Get one now.

From the Field Negro, “‘Good ole boys’ are everywhere:  Even in Maine“:

I have been to Maine only once in my life. I went in the fall one year and it seemed like a beautiful enough place. But I have to wonder about the folks inhabiting that wonderful part of the country. How could any right minded person elect Paul LePage to be their leader?

“Maine Gov. Paul LePage has constantly ruffled the feathers of the NAACP as he has declined invites from the organization …  He called the NAACP a “special interest” group and said that he will “not be held hostage by any special interests.” …

LePage feels that the NAACP is playing the “race card” and has an answer for that one as well.

In his best “I have a black friend” voice, LePage mentioned that his 25-year-old adopted son is black.”

Aha! The black son defense! Of course, white people who adopt children of color additionally gain Racist Kryptonite™! It’s a great two-fer and a wonderful addition to any family.

Well, you know I had to do some poking around after I heard about this black son. There is a group photo on LePage’s website that identifies the people in the picture plus the dog as: “Paul LePage II, Lauren LePage, Paul LePage, Ann LePage, Dog: Baxter, and Devon Raymond who joined Paul’s family like Paul joined other families in his youth. (not pictured daughters Lindsay and Lisa.)”

How did Paul join other families in his youth? Again, according to his website: Continue reading

Possession is 9/10ths of the law

Quick summary: Undocumented worker picked up in raid and jailed for two years loses her child to adoptive parents who now claim the kid should stay with them:

The Mosers argue that even if their adoption wasn’t proper — which is key to Romero’s case — it wouldn’t be in the best interest of the child to take him away from the parents he knows now and send him to another country.

The adoptive father has a criminal background, according to this story.  And the adoptive parents hired an attorney to represent the interests of the mother.  Uh huh.  Shades of A.M.H. (Those of you who followed the case may remember the Bakers’ attorney provided counsel to the birth parents.  In the birth parents’ best interest, of course.) Continue reading

The cult of culture

CULTURE!  Mmmph!  What is it good for?  Absolutely nothing!

Subtitle:  A very long meandering rant.  Get out now while you still can.

What is culture?

Culture of a way of life. Culture is about connection. Culture is “living, breathing human beings” (more on that later).  Culture is the air we breathe. It surrounds us; it is everywhere.  Culture binds us to others.

First and foremost, culture is a lived experience.

This is what culture means to me.

Often I find that my thoughts solidify when they clash with other viewpoints. Recently I have been thinking about culture a great deal because of my exposure (heh) to white adoptive parents. As a result, I’ve been thinking about how I define culture by what it is as well as what it is not.

I often find other people’s conceptions of culture lacking.  Culture is not merely owned by brown people.  We are not the only ethnic people.  Our ethnicity, our heritage and our culture are not add-ons.

Culture is not a knickknack you pick up on vacation. Culture is not the display of an object or a people. Culture is not inherently contained in things. Culture is not a toe-dip and a quick retreat.  Culture is not looking at people. Culture is not an optional yearly visit or an afterthought.

The proper descriptive term for these would be cultural tourism.   Not culture.

It appears that many adoptive parents now endorse the idea that an adopted child should be exposed to his or her culture. But what does this mean in practice?

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So you don’t have to™

Yoli somewhat presciently noted that I was unlikely to want to see Wo Ai Ni Mommy.

And yet I did.  What can I say, it is on the internet. I’m much more likely to watch a documentary if I don’t have to change out of my pajamas.

I knew this film was going to be bad, but I refrained from saying so to avoid the grief I get despite the fact that I am always right.  For example, I saw this and it was maybe even worse than I predicted or could have imagined.  If that is even possible. And I was completely right about this book.  It even had those misspelled italicized phrases.

But people are always screaming “How can you criticize something when you haven’t even seen it/read it yet?”

Hey, I can tell it’s a duck before it walks or quacks.

And I knew this film was going to be maddening and infuriating and awful.  It was.  And in addition it was terribly heartbreaking and sad.  Continue reading

In ten days

The New York Times: After Haiti Quake, the Chaos of U.S. Adoptions

The “chaos”?  Fraud, deception, under/unprepared prospective adoptive parents, lack of documentation, etc.  The article talks about “good intentions.”

Senator Mary L. Landrieu, a Louisiana Democrat and adoptive mother, has been a champion of the cause and pushed administration officials to help bring Haitian children here after the quake. “I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if there are some errors that were made,” Senator Landrieu said in an interview about the rescue effort, “but you want to err on the side of keeping children safe.”

So what does erring on the side of the children mean?  Continue reading

‘Not in the best interest of the child’

An 18-month-old boy is kidnapped from his home.  Almost six years later, an investigation reveals that the boy was adopted by a couple in the Netherlands.  At first, the adoptive family was receptive to the idea of contact with the parents.

But after advice from a Dutch adoption expert they became fearful that the child could be taken away, and refused to take a DNA test.

What do you suppose that advice was?

Now the mom is travelling to the Netherlands to appear in court. She had previously requested a DNA test, but was rejected by the court:

Going along with views of the special curator appointed for Rohit, the fast-track court in Zwolle-Lelystad decided “it was not in the interest of the child to know its roots.”

What next?

Remember the little boy who was sent back to Russia by his adoptive parent?   A recent news article reports that he may be adopted by a Russian diplomatic family.

In addition, WACAP (the adoption agency) filed a petition asking to be appointed the child’s guardian.  The National Council for Adoption has also filed an amicus brief.  I don’t know anything about the NCA, but I’m leery of a group that says its mission is to promote a “culture of adoption.”