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"Child Catchers" by Kathryn Joyce


mystikchick17

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There was a bit of a discussion about the book as it related to her excellent piece in Mother Jones referenced in this thread, but I'm nearly done with the book and just when I think I can't get more outraged, sick, or angry, the fundies somehow outdo themselves yet again. Her piece in MJ went into more detail about the specific case of the Campbells, but the way these organizations are operating with complete impunity since "God laid it on their hearts" is unconscionable. And the abuse suffered by some of these kids (she details the experiences of the Campbell Liberian adoptees) is sick. Who the fuck beats a small child to get them to talk?

Is anyone else out there reading it? What are your impressions?

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There was a bit of a discussion about the book as it related to her excellent piece in Mother Jones referenced in this thread, but I'm nearly done with the book and just when I think I can't get more outraged, sick, or angry, the fundies somehow outdo themselves yet again. Her piece in MJ went into more detail about the specific case of the Campbells, but the way these organizations are operating with complete impunity since "God laid it on their hearts" is unconscionable. And the abuse suffered by some of these kids (she details the experiences of the Campbell Liberian adoptees) is sick. Who the fuck beats a small child to get them to talk?

Is anyone else out there reading it? What are your impressions?

Ms. Joyce's "Quiverfull" was a damn good read, so I'm looking forward to reading "The Child Catchers." I just found out my local library has a couple of copies.

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There was a bit of a discussion about the book as it related to her excellent piece in Mother Jones referenced in this thread, but I'm nearly done with the book and just when I think I can't get more outraged, sick, or angry, the fundies somehow outdo themselves yet again. Her piece in MJ went into more detail about the specific case of the Campbells, but the way these organizations are operating with complete impunity since "God laid it on their hearts" is unconscionable. And the abuse suffered by some of these kids (she details the

experiences of the Campbell Liberian adoptees) is sick. Who the fuck beats a small child to get them to talk?

Is anyone else out there reading it? What are your impressions?

I read both the article (which is Campbell-centered), and the book, which goes into even more detail about the Campbell's as well as "Fundie" international adoptions. Nancy Campbell was one of my gateway fundies, and I'd always wondered why she and Serene never mentioned several of their adopted kids after initially extolling the "blessings" of Liberian adoptions. I was horrified to read what was actually going on, and totally disgusted with the agencies, churches and "Christians" who collaborated in the whole Adoptions For Jesus mess. They all seemed to believe that, as long as they mentioned God enough (and tossed out some money as well), they could justify anything. Great book, terribly tragic stories.

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I'm working my way through it. It's usually hard for me to get myself to read nonfiction, even if I'm interested in the topic :embarrassed:

I just finished "Suffering Is Part of the Plan" and...I don't really have the words. I kind of figured that "baby scoop" adoptions were over, but evangelicals are really after keeping them alive, regardless of how sneaky they have to b about it. Sounds like I haven't even gotten to the worst of it yet.

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The part about theology incorporating the idea that you have to be "adopted by G-d" (born again) to be a child of G-d is frightening. One day while hate-reading the One Million Moms page, a critic asked them, "Why do you hate gays when we are all created in the image of G-d? Aren't we all G-d's children?" A fan replied, "No, we are NOT all children of G-d. Only those who accept Jesus can claim to be G-d's children." I always assumed that the idea that we are all G-d's children was pretty accepted in religious communities, so reading that horrified me. Now I know where that idea comes from somewhat.

My cousin and his wife are pursuing adoption after years of infertility struggles. I doubt that they would go with overtly Christian agencies since they are Jewish, but the book really makes the case for how pervasive the language and methods of the evangelical adoption movement has become. I just hope that they are able to adopt in a way that is ethical and brings as much peace as possible to all parties.

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I've read it (a great book, I get so many recommendations for reading off FJ) and totally would encourage anyone to read it. It lays bare a very horrid secret about some forms of international adoption.

I also read some of the "Christian" adoption guides and they are nasty...for example telling the adopted parents not to encourage any sense of cultural connection to the adoptee's origins because biological parents are sinful and inadequate...

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No, we are NOT all children of G-d. Only those who accept Jesus can claim to be G-d's children."

Wow, just wow. As far as I was taught, Christian theology holds that all human beings are God's children, regardless of how they fall in on the Jesus question. Or even the God question.

I fucking hate these people.

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Wow, just wow. As far as I was taught, Christian theology holds that all human beings are God's children, regardless of how they fall in on the Jesus question. Or even the God question.

I fucking hate these people.

Wait until you read this quote from the book. Apparently disrupted adoptions have become so common in the evangelical community (with no legal oversight of what happens or where the children are placed when they're given up to respite workers/"ranches" etc) that there was a session dedicated to it at the 2012 Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit. The justification given?

[the session]...drew one of the event's largest crowds to discuss how disruption fits into God's plan for children to find families - sometimes an indirect route, advocates say, that goes through one or more failed adoptions first.

This makes me physically sick to read. These are CHILDREN. CHILDREN. Human beings. With emotions, needs, wants, feelings. Who have already gone through trauma and sometimes abuse and now you're telling them "no, sorry, you're not good enough because God said so? Ta!" It's disgusting. I guess God makes a nice justification for everything (and I say this as someone who believes). Unfuckingbelievable.

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The title may be a sardonic tip of the hat from Joyce to Doug (is a tool) Phillips.

After the publication of Joyce's book "Quiverfull", which contained unflattering interview material with either Doug or some VF interns -- I've forgotten -- Doug bestowed upon Joyce the “2009 Vulgaria Child Catcher of the Year Awardâ€.

http://www.visionforumministries.org/issues/news_and_reports/the_return_of_the_child_catche.aspx

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I'm reading it now, am about half way through. So far for me the worst bit has been when Stephne Bowers, who runs an "orphanage" (put in quotes 'cause the kids aren't really orphans) in Ethiopia, says, "We can't compare first world families with third world families............ It's not as we understand families."

She basically says that adopting kids who still have living parents is fine, because Ethiopians aren't as attached to their children as Westerners are. 'Bowers went on to discount children's claims of having surviving family by arguing that Ethiopians call everyone "brother" and "mother".' She describes the people there having "low understanding, low education, and low intellect." She says that the people there don't value children because they are too busy surviving, and it's okay to take kids away from a living mother because they don't get as attached to their kids, compared to the American adoptive parents who are tender and soft and understanding.

It is so absolutely disgusting it is not even funny. Does it even occur to this woman (who is a South African btw) that these are the *exact same arguments* used to separate slave families in the US not so long ago? She knows that these kids have families, she knows that she is misleading the families and the adoptive parents. When kids come over here, learn English and tell their new families 'hey, you know what, I'm not actually and orphan and what the hell did you do with my parents?' that they are being manipulative and lying to get ahead, to get what they want.

Oh, also, her ministry, the Children's Cross Connection, on the Sodo Christian hospital grounds, (I want to put in all these terms so they show up on google) which partners with the US adoption agency, Christian World Adoption, - they're apparently the type who when they do feeding programs, give food to those who attend a worship service. Only. 'Cause you know the only truly deserving hungry are the Christians, right?

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It's so deeply problematic. Like where do white Americans (or Americans in general, but the subjects referenced in Child Catchers is exclusively white) get off on throwing temper tantrums because other countries decide their priority is to keep children who are eligible for adoption domestic, and make that the priority, over and above international adoption? So much about this book made me want to cry and rage simultaneously, both at the misguided good people she discusses, and the corrupt, venial, privileged, racist (at times) individuals who are perpetrating a deeply problematic economic structure in which children (gag me, that feels so gross to write) are the good being sold.

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You mean Stephne Bowers, who runs Children's Cross Connection, which partners with the US adoption agency, Christian World Adoption, only gives food to people who attend a service?

C'mon google, pick it up, pick it up.

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I was horrified by the whole chapter detailing Sam and Serene (Campbell) Allison's treatment of their kids. A lot of it was detailed in the Mother Jones article that someone linked awhile back, but I think it was even worse than the article made it sound.

They basically "adopted" the kids so that they would have literal slave labor around their home. They purposely didn't finalize the adoptions with the US courts so that the kids' citizenships were questionable. That made it easier to send their adopted son back to Liberia alone at age 13. He couldn't even read because, after 4 YEARS with the family they hadn't even provided that much education. And the local authorities didn't even care because the Allisons were allowed their freedom of religion :angry-banghead:

I felt so bad for their oldest adopted daughter. She basically got out, to the point she had her own life and own family, but they struggled because she had almost no education and at first couldn't even prove she was authorized to work in the US. She eventually "reconciled" with the Allisons, but I'm pretty convinced she did it because it was the only way for her to know that her younger sister was safe. Out of 6 adoptions that Sam and Serene did, only the youngest girls' were considered successful...and those were the ones who were beaten with plumbing line. Sick, sick, sick.

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I'm reading it now, am about half way through. So far for me the worst bit has been when Stephne Bowers, who runs an "orphanage" (put in quotes 'cause the kids aren't really orphans) in Ethiopia, says, "We can't compare first world families with third world families............ It's not as we understand families."

She basically says that adopting kids who still have living parents is fine, because Ethiopians aren't as attached to their children as Westerners are. 'Bowers went on to discount children's claims of having surviving family by arguing that Ethiopians call everyone "brother" and "mother".' She describes the people there having "low understanding, low education, and low intellect." She says that the people there don't value children because they are too busy surviving, and it's okay to take kids away from a living mother because they don't get as attached to their kids, compared to the American adoptive parents who are tender and soft and understanding.

That is so wrong on so many levels. However, the practice of adopting kids who already have families is not confined to evangelical Christians. I recall that both Madonna and Angelina Jolie (neither of whom are anything close to fundie) adopted kids via the gray market, if not the black market. I specifically remember that the father of the little African boy Madonna adopted wanted him back, but she took him anyway.

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That is so wrong on so many levels. However, the practice of adopting kids who already have families is not confined to evangelical Christians. I recall that both Madonna and Angelina Jolie (neither of whom are anything close to fundie) adopted kids via the gray market, if not the black market. I specifically remember that the father of the little African boy Madonna adopted wanted him back, but she took him anyway.

For some reason I like to keep up with Ms. Jolie - "Saint Angie Jo," as Michael K at dlisted.com calls her.

Her daughter Zahara was conceived during a rape and Zahara's mom consented to the adoption. There were pictures of the baby/toddler Z and both her moms in at least a couple of mags that I thumbed thru in the grocery line. Very odd, to me. Madonna I have never had a moment's interest in. In 2006 Joan Rivers sniped about Madonna's children having 1 rich dad and 1 poor dad - Lourdes and Rocco. I thought the adopted boy was in the fam by then, but maybe not.

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Angelina Jolie adopted Zahara legally...in fact, one of the requirements of the adoption was she keep her name. Otherwise, god forbid, she would have been named Marley. Yes, she has a living mother, but that mother agreed to place her for adoption.

I don't know much about Maddox and Pax, though.

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I was horrified by the whole chapter detailing Sam and Serene (Campbell) Allison's treatment of their kids. A lot of it was detailed in the Mother Jones article that someone linked awhile back, but I think it was even worse than the article made it sound.

They basically "adopted" the kids so that they would have literal slave labor around their home. They purposely didn't finalize the adoptions with the US courts so that the kids' citizenships were questionable. That made it easier to send their adopted son back to Liberia alone at age 13. He couldn't even read because, after 4 YEARS with the family they hadn't even provided that much education. And the local authorities didn't even care because the Allisons were allowed their freedom of religion :angry-banghead:

I felt so bad for their oldest adopted daughter. She basically got out, to the point she had her own life and own family, but they struggled because she had almost no education and at first couldn't even prove she was authorized to work in the US. She eventually "reconciled" with the Allisons, but I'm pretty convinced she did it because it was the only way for her to know that her younger sister was safe. Out of 6 adoptions that Sam and Serene did, only the youngest girls' were considered successful...and those were the ones who were beaten with plumbing line. Sick, sick, sick.

I was equally sad and stabby when I read the part about how the children really wanted to go to school (there is no free education in Liberia). Whenever a school bus went by on the road, they asked Sam and Serene why they couldn't go. Sam and Serene told them that it would be too hard for them, that they would be teased. To one of the children, they said, "Black people don't go to school in America."

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The title may be a sardonic tip of the hat from Joyce to Doug (is a tool) Phillips.

After the publication of Joyce's book "Quiverfull", which contained unflattering interview material with either Doug or some VF interns -- I've forgotten -- Doug bestowed upon Joyce the “2009 Vulgaria Child Catcher of the Year Awardâ€.

http://www.visionforumministries.org/is ... atche.aspx

That's really full-blown, disgusting Dougie, at his worst. What an asshole.

I'm still 3rd in line on a library waiting list for Child Catchers.

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You mean Stephne Bowers, who runs Children's Cross Connection, which partners with the US adoption agency, Christian World Adoption, only gives food to people who attend a service?

C'mon google, pick it up, pick it up.

So, you are saying that Stephne Bowers, who runs Children's Cross Connection, which partners with the US adoption agency, Christian World Adoption, only gives food to people who attend a service?

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  • 1 month later...
The title may be a sardonic tip of the hat from Joyce to Doug (is a tool) Phillips.

After the publication of Joyce's book "Quiverfull", which contained unflattering interview material with either Doug or some VF interns -- I've forgotten -- Doug bestowed upon Joyce the “2009 Vulgaria Child Catcher of the Year Awardâ€.

http://www.visionforumministries.org/is ... atche.aspx

LOL! That was the first thing I thought about the title of her newest book, that it was related to her "award" from Doug Phillips. But Kathryn said no.

I just got a call from Barnes & Noble. My copy of Child Catchers is in. Going to pick it up tomorrow.

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anachronistic, I wanted to quote your whole post. The Ethiopian adoption issue is a biggie for me because I married an Ethiopian and he saw the dark side, working with missionaries connected with adoption agencies. He was so put off that he has difficulty with the idea of adoption at all, even done ethically. :(

He is from Sodo, and it seems like many Ethiopian adoptees end up being "from" there or going through there somehow. I worked with a doctor who did clinics and feeding programs, and none of that was dependant on people attending prayer or worship services. Her biggest "requirement" was people consistently finishing their med courses, and she would drop people who couldn't/wouldn't because she didn't want to contribute to drug resistance (like with TB) but doling out partial courses. But no requirements for prayer, or church membership, or anything like that. I'm surprised and sad to hear that there may be others who make such a requirement for giving aid. :(

As far as the living parents things goes, I do think there is a huge chasm between the western idea of adoption and the way Ethiopians view it. It's not a matter of intellect or education, it's a cultural difference.

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I read the book over the Fourth of July weekend and thought it was very good. One of the things that really stood out to me was the whole attitude towards adoptees as perpetual children, unable to have an adult view of their situation/overall situation - thinking specifically about the Korean adoptees and the oldest daughter who changed her name back - Takumweira (?) - sorry, don't have the copy of the book with me.

I enjoyed the analysis of the patriarchy in S Korea as well.

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