Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Ethics of the Fathers Day 11

In Chapter 1, we read,

Joshua the son of Perachia would say: Assume for yourself a master, acquire for yourself a friend, and judge every man to the side of merit.

I am observing a controversy right now about the practices of Reece's Rainbow.  I find myself actually understanding where both sides are coming from.

There are some (post has since been removed) who have had bad experiences with RR.  Children who turned out not to be available for adoption, agencies which turned out to be corrupt and unhelpful.   They are understandably eager to blame RR for its contribution to these disappointments.  And in fact, RR does have certain practices which appear to walk a fine ethical line.  In those cases where people are hurt by these practices, RR should take steps to fix the situation.  Unfortunately, some individuals have threatened and intimidated these people.  This does not help!

At the same time, I can see RR's defense, that while their practices (photolisting children against the laws of the countries where they are listed) are illegal in those jurisdictions, that they serve a greater good of bringing those children home.  This seems to me a form of civil disobedience.   Were some African Americans concerned that Rosa Parks' act of defiance might inspire lynchings? I am certain that they were!  And that concern was probably well-placed.  Nonetheless, civil disobedience did lead to the revolutionary changes in civil rights for all Americans.

So, is Reece's Rainbow engaged in civil disobedience, or just in......disobedience?  Arrogance?   Playing G*d?  Can the objectors' concerns be acknowledged without negativity and harrassment?

I certainly prefer to "judge both sides to the side of merit."  All who are involved in this dialogue ultimately want the best for these children.  We all want as many children as possible to be placed in loving homes where they can grow and thrive.  We do disagree on how to best achieve this aim.  As we enter an election season, let us all remember that rational people CAN disagree, and let us judge every man to the side of merit.

Thank you.


  1. I could have written your post. I could see it from both sides, too. Until they played G*d with my family. They have smeared us, told lies about us and actually paid people to discredit us in the country we were adopting from. Now a paper ready family is prevented from adopting because we got in the way of profits. They don't want paper ready families who are financially ready, they want families who need to fundraise and need time to do so. Is that really what is best for these children?

  2. If that is what happened and if you have an actionable paper trail, you can sue, which would be more effective than just mudslinging back.

    You can also coordinate with other families who had bad experiences and make a class action suit, which would be even more effective.

    Or you can start from the premise that Andrea Roberts is NOT evil, that she is actually trying to do her best and that she sees these circumstances as unfortunate exceptions to a system that works pretty well most of the time.

    From that perspective, you could once again network with other families with bad experiences but instead of counterattacking, approach RR with constructive suggestions on how to improve the process.

    You could even start your own advocacy website, and organize it "the right way". You would probably find that it is a lot harder to create something than it is to criticize someone else's efforts. You might find yourself making difficult ethical decisions. You might find that no matter how you decide them, there will be those who will criticize you for it.

    I think any of these 4 approaches (whether confrontational or cooperative) makes more sense than spreading anonymous bile with no meat behind it.

  3. I don't sling mud nor do I make anonymous smears. I simply and briefly told my story. How else do you think that people will network and find each other? If you don't want to hear from people with other experiences then you should note that above your commenting system. I am not on a crusade, I simply want to adopt a child with special needs.

  4. You make some pretty hefty accusations. If those have a paper trail behind them, you could probably take it to court, either alone or with other people in your position (although I am not sure how you can network through anonymous posts!). I do not at all discount your experiences. If Reece's Rainbow is at this time truly corrupt, it should absolutely be taken to task for its actions! But making anonymous accusations on random blogs is not likely to bring about change.

    And I feel the same way about RR supporters who insult victims of such corruption, as well. Whether these cases are endemic or exceptional, the people who were impacted deserve sympathy, not demonization.

    All I am saying here - to both sides - is to see each other's humanity and to be civil in our discourse.

    Sorry if my last comment was not fully in keeping with this goal.

  5. I guarantee if your family had been smeared, sabotaged and threatened you would not go posting initially with personal information. You would look for safe places with supportive people and be very cautious.

  6. I have no problem with anonymity - I don't put my personal info online either, even without threats etc. I think that's quite prudent!

    I just don't see the point of making the accusations in that manner. What do you expect to accomplish?

  7. Is Reece's Rainbow controversial? It is hard to say... but it's pretty clear there have been an appalling number of disruptions and deaths:
    Autumn Winkle kicked Yuri to the curb within months - Noknots.blogspot.com
    Renee Garcia did the same to lil Kellsey: myspecialks.com
    Shelly Burman has exiled Evelyn to crisis respite pending disruption - carringtonscourage.blogspot.com
    Laird Gardiners disrupted 2 special needs kiddos inside six months
    Kari Reilly exiled lil victor to crisis respite indefinitely in order to adopt cuter lower maintenance orphans from Ethiopia - somewherebehindthemorning.blogspot.com (one of her Ethiopians turns out to be bipolar. Maybe Jesus has a sense of humor??)

    1. First, when people disrupt and adoption, they aren't always "kicking the child to the curb". Sometimes these kids just don't get along with their families. Sometimes a child's needs are too great for the family to deal with. People make a heart-wrenching decision to disrupt an adoption.
      I don't think that people should judge these families. Also, it is nobody's business.
      And BTW, why are you keeping score?

    2. My bible ses to be missing the page where Jesus says it is okay to rid yourself of a child whose needs are greater than you expected.

      Keeping score? Yes. Cuz my heart breaks when utterly unprepared folks "save" and then dump an orphan within the span of mere months. Because the last thing any orphan needs is to be abandoned again.

      PS Your beloved Andrea Roberts? adopted and immediately disrupted 2 rr kids.

  8. Do you have a source for this? I have no personal attachment to Andrea Roberts. I believe she is overall trying to do a good thing. I believe her organization -- like many others -- is vulnerable to corruption. I have not heard of any stories about her personal experience with adoption/disruption.


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