So I did a new thing this week, which was to write my [Friday Wrap Up] before Friday…gaspI know! But there were so many things already, I felt I had enough for a post.
Then I found a bunch of new things…so I’m back, to share a few more pieces.
Related to the theme of changing narratives around adoption…Reuters has blown it out of the ballpark with this stunning, heartbreaking series that investigates the underground “re-homing” scene.
Through Yahoo and Facebook groups, parents and others advertise the unwanted children and then pass them to strangers with little or no government scrutiny, sometimes illegally, a Reuters investigation has found. It is a largely lawless marketplace. Often, the children are treated as chattel, and the needs of parents are put ahead of the welfare of the orphans they brought to America.
The practice is called “private re-homing,” a term typically used by owners seeking new homes for their pets. Based on solicitations posted on one of eight similar online bulletin boards, the parallels are striking.
I don’t know which is more sad to me, the fact that this is happening at all…or the fact that it’s been happening for years and only now are people starting to get it. Some people might argue that articles like this will deter “good, well-intentioned” people from considering adoption, increasing the number of children in a broken system. This argument fails to do justice to the fact that it’s a broken system…and the only way we can start changing that system is by shining a strong light on it, exposing the dark side and that has gone unexamined.
The Adoption Policy and Reform Collaborative has issued an official statement in response:
The APRC is acutely aware of the unethical and dangerous “rehoming”* practices that have occurred for more than a decade. We have expressed our concerns with alarm. We look forward to collaborating, from the perspective of adult adopted persons, with other powerful change agents to fully, appropriately, and ethically address adoption disruptions and dissolutions.
*Please note: while the APRC recognizes “disruption,” “dissolution,” “displacement” and “re-homing” as industry terms, APRC members regard these terms as sanitized and rationalizing practices terminating the parent/child relationship. While using industry vernacular in this statement we do not endorse their usage for the reasons indicated.
In response to this New York Magazine article, RH Reality Check’s Martha Kempner offers this follow-up on the idea of “pulling out”, or coitus interruptus, as a method of birth control. Kempner focuses in on research around efficacy of withdrawal, condoms, and other contraceptives, pointing out the obvious, which is withdrawal, when practiced by someone who really knows their body well and has good self-control, is still better than no contraception at all. Kempner quotes Deb Hauser, president of Advocates for Youth:
“I believe that young people should be given honest, accurate information. They have the right to all of the information and when empowered with that information are more able to take agency over their sexual health. That means we should teach youth about withdrawal as an option when they don’t have anything else with them. Withdrawal is much more effective at preventing pregnancy than using nothing. To withhold that information is misguided.”
On the theme of health disparities, this is probably not new news…but still, glad to see folks are bringing it up:
A Women’s eNews analysis finds that 45 percent of U.S. Baby-Friendly hospitals are in cities and towns that have African American populations of 3 percent or less.
A full 83 percent of U.S. Baby-Friendly hospitals are in communities where the African American portion of the population is 13 percent or less.
This geographic segregation of breastfeeding care and support may play a significant role in the lower breastfeeding rates among African American mothers, which in turn means the mothers and the infants do not enjoy the health benefits of breastfeeding.
And finally, this infographic on the geography of unintended pregnancy from Huffington Post, which really speaks for itself: