As Promised

October 31, 2007 at 10:46 pm | Posted in M'ijo | 15 Comments
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My little Halloween monkey

Monkey Eat Banana.

Monkey & Banana

Monkey at the Cat Door

A Halloween Trick for UNICEF

October 30, 2007 at 11:58 pm | Posted in Political Animal | 2 Comments
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Pictures of Pepito in his adorable monkey costume will no doubt come later.

In the meantime, for all those who were interested, here is my donation to UNICEF for this Halloween (right click to download).  For background on why UNICEF is on my poop list, go here.

It’s meant to be photocopied double-sided. Some charities that I recommend as substitutes for what you would have thrown in the UNICEF box this Halloween are:

http://www.behrhorst.org/

http://www.wingsguate.org/

http://www.concernamerica.org/

Please feel free to pass this file along to family and friends!

The World is Unfair

October 28, 2007 at 12:54 pm | Posted in Linky Love, Political Animal | Leave a comment
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I’m so sorry Cali.

I wish there was more I could do.

If you want even more to get enraged about, check out my latest post at lesbian family. Let’s just say there will be no Tonka toys at our house any time soon. Grrrrr.

A Helping Hand (now with more links!)

October 22, 2007 at 10:24 pm | Posted in Linky Love | 4 Comments

One of the mainstays of my little corner of the internets is Calliope. She’s always there for others – celebrating with them when they achieve their dreams and mourning when those dreams come crashing to the ground. And – she’s a full time caregiver for her grandmother, who has alzheimers, which is a valiant, but decidely unremunerative occupation.

In the meantime, she’s been on her own quest for motherhood.  IUI after IUI did nothing – and still she perservered. The dream finally seemed like it was in reach when she was chosen to be a donor for a shared IVF cycle. She passed all the pre-cycle testing with flying colors. And then, today, as she sleeps on a friend’s couch in a strange city, undergoing stims and monitoring – a routine blood test for hepC came back positive.

Despite the fact that she was negative in the pre-cycle testing – and this is 99.99999% likely a false positive – the clinic has canceled the shared donor cycle even before doing a second test. They will let her continue, assuming that her repeat test is negative – if she foots the bill.

There’s no way this woman can do that. And if anyone ought to be a mom, it’s Cali.

If you possibly can, please go to her blog and donate to her paypal account. She needs to pull a lot of money together very quickly in order to be able to continue and every little bit helps.

Please

Won’t you please donate?

If you donated… click here – and thanks.

If you didn’t donate (and you can afford to skip a latte or two and spare five bucks)… click here.

In Case You Needed Another Reason Not to Support Unicef (updated)

October 16, 2007 at 11:55 pm | Posted in AdoptThis! | 45 Comments
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I got this link to Multicultural Toybox (which is a pretty awesome site in and of itself) from my one of my must-read bloggers, cloudscome. Unicef, the oh-so-enlightened guardian of children, is using black-face in an advertising campaign (!).

Unicef is opposed to inter-country adoption, and has been very virulently anti-adoption in Guatemala. What they say is that they “believe that children should remain within their extended families or communities, whenever possible.” I don’t have a problem with that. What I do have a problem with is the fact that they have essentially offered Guatemala money for orphanages, etc. if and only if they stop adoptions.

If UNICEF really cared about children, imho, they would address adoptions by working to change the root causes of the poverty, racism, misogyny and lack of access to health care and nutrition that force so many women to place their children for adoption in the first place – without requiring that adoptions be stopped prior to offering that aid.

I’m working on a little flyer, in the shape of a twenty-dollar bill, that I can put in kids’ UNICEF boxes this Halloween. It will explain that this is money I would have given to UNICEF, explain why I am not giving money this year, and ask that the recipient forward this “bill” along with any other donations they collect to UNICEF so they can see how much their short-sighted policy is costing them.

If you’d like me to send you the pdf once it’s done, drop me an email. In the meantime, watch this:

And if you need something to cheer you up once you’ve done that, check out this.

UPDATE:

I’ve gotten a few comments on this post, urging me not to single-handedly destroy UNICEF and the important work that this great organization does. Interestingly, most of them come from people with IP addresses that belong to UNICEF. Hi UNICEF staffers! Thanks for the full disclosure, folks! To follow up on their comments…

Kendra (UNICEF USA ip address) says: “Please check the facts before jumping to such an ugly and unfounded conclusion about this organization (and before taking such destructive action), that has always stood first and foremost for the welfare of children.”

And Linda (UNICEF USA ip address) says: “Do you all really believe everything you read on the internet?? I would recommend that you read one step further, talk to someone in the organization and learn the facts, not the gossip.”

What makes you jump to the conclusion that I haven’t checked the facts, Kendra & Linda? The blackface ad isn’t a fact? Yes, I’d say using racist strategies to tug on heartstrings is standing first and foremost for the welfare of children. Why do you make the gratuitous and condescending assumption that my readers and I haven’t done our research (why yes, I’m sure we’ll get an unbiased perspective talking to someone in the organization).

The Convention on the Rights of the Child states that (article 6) “every child has the inherent right to life” and that parties to the Convention “shall ensure to the maximum extent possible the survival and development of the child.”

Article 18 states that “For the purpose of guaranteeing and promoting the rights set forth in the present Convention, States Parties shall render appropriate assistance to parents and legal guardians in the performance of their child-rearing responsibilities and shall ensure the development of institutions, facilities and services for the care of children… States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that children of working parents have the right to benefit from child-care services and facilities for which they are eligible.”

Article 24 states that: “States Parties recognize the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and to facilities for the treatment of illness and rehabilitation of health. States Parties shall strive to ensure that no child is deprived of his or her right of access to such health care services… [and] shall take appropriate measures: (a) To diminish infant and child mortality; (b) To ensure the provision of necessary medical assistance and health care to all children with emphasis on the development of primary health care; (c) To combat disease and malnutrition… (d) To ensure appropriate pre-natal and post-natal health care for mothers; … (f) To develop preventive health care, guidance for parents and family planning education and services.”

If Guatemala observed any of these articles and provided these supports, Pepito’s mom might not have been forced to make the choice that she, as his parent, freely and legally made, to place him for adoption.

If UNICEF truly cared about the children of Guatemala it would not spend its time, energy, and oh yes, money focusing on their right to enjoy the culture of malnutrition and infant mortality by closing the “safety valve” of international adoption. Those of us who are educators are familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. If your stomach is empty and you don’t have a roof over your head, you’re not going to be able to do much in the way of the self-fulfillment and cultural self-actualization that seems to be UNICEF’s spending priority for the children of Guatemala.

Until UNICEF directs its efforts to addressing the primary needs of children in Guatemala – which will, I believe, lower the number of children placed for adoption – I will not be directing my money to UNICEF. I will instead, be directing it to grassroots organizations working directly with women and children in Guatemala to help them gain the skills and rights they need to be in an economic position where they don’t have to choose between watching their child starve or placing him/her for adoption. And I will make sure that others know that this is where their money is better spent. Sorry if that cuts into your paycheck, Kendra and Linda.

I agree with you, Ina (not a UNICEF ip), that UNICEF does do good in the world. But if you compare their actions in Guatemala to their mission – “We believe that nurturing and caring for children are the cornerstones of human progress… to work with others to overcome the obstacles that poverty, violence, disease and discrimination place in a child’s path. We believe that we can, together, advance the cause of humanity.” – it seems clear to me that their primary mandate should be to alleviate the root causes of poverty – not to focus substantial amounts of time, effort and money on opposing international adoption.

Oh Speak Wise Ones (updated)

October 5, 2007 at 12:05 am | Posted in AdoptThis!, Linky Love, M'ijo | 13 Comments
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Tent camping with an 11-month old (how did that happen?): Yea, Nay, and if so, How?

A few points of clarification… and more questions for those who’ve done this:

  • Absolutely car camping.  We’re crazy, but not that crazy.  
  • Where did baby sleep? (P’ito is not used to co-sleeping, and I don’t think our tent will hold a pack n’ prison and us)
  • What did baby sleep in to stay warm?

Oh and some cute pictures of said 11-month old, just because.  Big thanks to Minnesota Nice who knitted this awesome hat.

Hat, actually on the head! Watch out! Hat, with two seconds to go!

I can’t even say how blessed we are to have this boy home. Please, please – go to Cheri’s site and read her explanations of the shit that is hitting the fan in Guatemala and what you can do to help. And then please, please – call your senator, call your congressperson – do SOMETHING. Thanks, from the bottom of my heart and Pepito’s cheeks.

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