Yes, Jeanne Sager, There Is a Line in the Sand.

“But now that she’s been located, the Guatemalan mom can’t simply get her child back. Because the American parents who adopted her think Anyeli is theirs.

“So who’s right? They both are.”

(Wasn’t that cute, though? the way she just co-opted the “they are all my real parents” thing some adoptees have been saying for years to justify a kidnapping?)

A commentor opines that both sets of parents are victims in this case. Not so. The parents who lost their child are victims. The Monahans are victors. They used their position of relative power and wealth to buy stolen goods and insist on keeping them. They appear to have done everything legally, but they did not do everything right. How do I know?

Hands up, everyone who knew by 2008, when Anyeli left Guatemala, that some Guatemalan adoptees had been stolen. OK, one, two, three, four–what? We stopped doing adoptions from Guatemala over this kind of thing when?–thirty-three, thirty-four, thirty–2007?

Keep your hands up, please, I’m still counting. Fifty-eight, fifty-nine, sixty… (I doubt I have that many readers, but you get my point). Thanks, you can put’em down now. If the Monahans didn’t know adoption from Guatemala was corrupt, it’s because they didn’t want to know.

They didn’t do their homework because they could simply buy an “A.” I’m sure their adoption agency assured them everything was above-board. And, just as we do not have major purchases like houses or cars inspected before we buy them when the sellers tell us they are honest, they wrote the check and took the seller’s word. I truly believe they didn’t know–but I think that has no bearing on the case.

Sra. Rodriguez asked for Anyeli back in 2009, three years ago, after having spent the intervening years searching for her. So two years of this child’s being out of her family can be laid at the feet of the kidnappers, but the other three are on the Monahans. Because in cases like this, if you fight long enough and spend the most money, you almost always win, especially if you’re USAians and the other side aren’t. (It’s worth noting that Anyeli spent one of those intervening years waiting to be adopted. Unnecessarily languishing, one might say.)

It seems the Monahans could have done the right thing three years ago, but chose not to. Speaking of “the right thing,” if I were a drinker, I’d suggest a new drinking game for this case. Look through the comments to any article about Anyeli and take one shot for every…oh, let’s say every three times you read “Giving her back would be the right thing, BUT…” Even at three comments per shot, you’ll be dead of alcohol poisoning before you even know you’re tipsy.

I believe, because I see no reason not to, that the Monahans love Anyeli, and that sending her back to Guatemala will tear them apart emotionally. I think this is what commentors refer to when they keep saying there “are no easy answers” here, but the answer is the one easy thing in all of this: Return the stolen child to her mother. It’s what comes after that that will be hard for everyone. The Monahans, if they want to do what’s in the child’s best interests, will let her go and do all they can to help ease this transition. That will hurt like Hell–I don’t even know how to imagine that kind of hurt. I don’t know how to imagine the hurt of having my kid snatched from me either, let alone the hurt of being told to “just let it go, she’s in a better place now.”

If you haven’t read this yet, please do. It’s long, in part because its author is more interested in being fair to all parties involved than I am, but please read the whole thing.

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26 Comments

Filed under Colonialism ROCKS!, Srsly, You're going to Hell for this.

26 responses to “Yes, Jeanne Sager, There Is a Line in the Sand.

  1. Why not have the Monahans move to Guatemala so that the adoptee can be close to all and have them part of her life!

  2. She’ll recover from her return to Guatemala. What about that little girl back in the 80s, I think it was, whose parents fought and fought for her and finally got her back? That wasn’t even a kidnapping. She doesn’t remember her adopters now. She’s pretty happy with her life as it is, even with her parents having divorced and her dad having lost his job. They’re a lot more resilient than we give them credit for being.

  3. jmrose11211

    You are right, T. Laurel Sulfate. Entirely right. Anyone else having trouble with the link to the article mentioned in the last paragraph? I can’t go to it…

  4. The Baby M/Jessica case? (Think its Jessica)

    Well the only right thing would be for the child to be placed back with her family – and the best way for that to start is to get her Guatemelan mother back into her life for a little while so the child is familiar with her before the transfer.

    Sadly this is nothing new… these things have been happening for many years now within adoption and in different countries all over the world.

  5. Lauri Lee

    This is one thing that really bothers me about cases where it is clear that a child has been stolen, is that the argument is always trotted out by the adoptive parent’s party that the child is secure, and it would be wrong and damaging beyond repair to her/him to have to change family, culture and country that being returned would require. Anyeli is about 8 years now, and was about 4 years old when she was adopted. But I’m pretty sure these same adoptive parents and supporting parties did not cry out how wrong and damaging beyond repair it was going to be to be uprooted from her culture and language and all the people that made her life secure in Guatemala when they are adopted her. This argument is not trotted out when the adoptive child is an infant, when they are toddler, when they are school age, when they are 8 years old. The thing that gets trotted out is that “children are resilient, some adjustment period may be required but they are highly adaptive.” But think about returning the kid to her/his biological family and they cease to be resilient and adaptive, and it becomes down right damaging in the eyes of APs. I sense overtones of racism and cultural superiority and wealth prejudice with the assertion that adoption is not damaging, but returning a child to their mother is.

    Somewhere in my childhood conscious memory, I remember feeling spooked by how freaky and alien my adoptive family looked, and how alone I felt. During my reunion with my family I know how calming and pleasing it is to look into familiar faces even if they are so called “strangers” and the sense I belonged with these people (even though I know that I no longer belong in the right ways due to the length and type of separation). I instinctively know what family would have been easier for me to adapt to at any age.

  6. Lauri Lee

    BTW, excellent linked article, well worth the long read.

  7. Mei-Ling

    Harriet’s blog post is genius.

  8. Finding Fernada site has many details on this including the timeline…
    http://findingfernanda.com/blog-2/

    A forum called guatadopt dot com has many threads on this case as well – do a google search of the different names to find the threads as recent as 2011 and then back to the very first rumors of dna did not match / different lawyers / processed as abandonment.

  9. Laurie Lee put it well. If the child was stolen get them back in their family as soon as possible, minimize the problems that come with years apart. What never seems to be considered is an adoptee becomes an adult, what’s an adjustment as a child compared to a life trying to fit in a family your not related to? It’s not complicated, at least it wouldn’t be if it was about the [kidnapped] child and her mother

  10. A-Truly-Wonderful-Peep

    I have even started to read comments on other blogs possibly blaming the mother and the mother’s sister being involved? Some adopters will stop at nothing to degrade the natural family, even when a child has been snatched from her mother in broad daylight. Gotta make sure those adopter sensibilities are not overlooked, right?

    I don’t see how these people sleep at night knowing they have a child that was kidnapped and refuse to return her. It is all about their feelings, as usual. That this country is allowing this is even more sickening. What is next, children being snatched from our own streets and being taken to a “better place” with “better parents and opportunities?”

    Let someone snatch my son. Let him be adopted by people who refuse to give him back to me. I’d have to take the law into my own hands, since apparently I would receive no help from our “government”.

  11. SA

    Did I say something offensive not to have my comment published? I certainly didn’t feel I did…

    • Apologies for the oversight. I’ve been in bed and on painkillers most of the week.

      • …in fact, unless you posted it under a different name, your comment isn’t on my blog’s comments/comments awaiting approval page. It’s not in the Inbox, Trash or Bahleted folders of the email connected to this blog, either. I’m sorry, but I have no idea what became of it. )-: You’re welcome to resubmit it if you like.

  12. (D’OH! I’m *slow* sometimes.) Oh, *that* comment. It’s literally the only one I’ve gotten yet that I chose not to publish. It wasn’t offensive at all; I just didn’t find it appropriate.

    In other words, I didn’t want to, so (this being my sandbox and all) I didn’t.

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