Saturday, February 6, 2010
Way to Go Idaho
Let's say there you are living in Idaho. Your on-line shopping business is fraught with legal woes. You've defaulted on your mortgage. You don't seem to get that traffic laws or car registration requirements apply to you. You also consider yourself something of a do-gooder. In fact, you think you're some kind of missionary.
So, you get this idea that wouldn't it be great to head over to Haiti and save some kids. You inquire meagerly about what the laws are. You then decide that those don't apply to you. Cause after all, you're a do-gooder. You're on the right side of doing what's right. Laws? Schmaws. You're gonna do some GOOD.
You convince a few other do-gooders to fly over there and help you be humanitarian. You rent a bus. You head out to a village where parents are more than willing to hand their kids over to you on promises of a good education, shelter and food. Of course they give them to you. They do it willingly. Their situation is dire. Food, education, shelter and clothing look pretty damn good when you don't have it. This makes you firm in your belief that you are doing the right thing. You are, after all, a do-gooder.
But alas, you get snagged at the border and those pesky laws that you didn't think applied to you come down like a ton of bricks. What? You're doing the "right thing!" You're saving helpless children! You're saving the world! You believe in God. Surely, that makes up for this whole stealing of children thing you've got going? You're mad. You're righteous. You're a missionary for heavens sake.
Tell you what. It's you that have thrown a big fat wrench in to really doing any good in Haiti. Sure, you wanted to do it fast. But instead your actions will delay the positive action of helping orphans and children while actually following the laws - by months. By years possibly. Look at Vietnam. Look at Cambodia. Both countries who had thriving adoption processes in place. Processes that were doing-the-right-thing. Until somebody from no-wheresville-Idaho decides that those little things like taking children from their families (no matter whether they give them up willingly or not) and moving them to another country, simply don't apply to them.
You're a putz. Keeping families together in this time of crisis is the only right thing. Get them food, get them shelter, get their country moving towards supporting itself again. Helping to work within the system to help children who are truly orphaned find other family members to care for them - and then provide them support - is the right thing. Placing orphans that don't have any where else to go find loving and supportive homes outside of Haiti is also a right thing. But do it the right way. You just don't put them on a bus and decide that this is good or right or humanitarian.
You and your buddies are not do-gooders. Instead, you just managed to do a whole lotta bad.