Excuse the bad headline. I was once told a long, long time ago in an editing class in journalism school that alliteration should only be used in the rarest of circumstances because, as is applicable in this case, it’s a sign of laziness.
For today’s Lunch Links, I was not lazy as much as pressed for time. Here’s a quick run down of what I’ve been reading lately.
First, every American should sit down and read this lengthy, but excellent, investigative piece “The Child Exchange” by Reuters reporter Megan Twoney that exposed the seedy world of underground adoptions. The reporting is excellent, and it will blow your mind to learn that there’s an entire network of under-the-radar adoptions that (no surprise here) puts vulnerable children in the hands of predatory adults.
There’s even a North Carolina angle in the third part of the series where a Hickory woman somewhat involved in the practice tries to save children that were placed with questionable adults.
From the article:
When Megan Exon began moderating an Internet bulletin board in 2007, she viewed her effort as a way to help kids find better homes.
The group was called adoption_disruption, and it drew parents who were struggling to raise children they had adopted.
The North Carolina woman wasn’t a licensed social worker or an adoption specialist. She was a 41-year-old mother who had taken in a child herself less than two years before. Her husband had noticed a Taiwanese boy advertised on the Internet, in one of the online forums that support America’s underground market for unwanted adopted children.
The parents who were giving up the boy told Exon that the 4-year-old’s feet were too big and his ears looked funny. If parents could discard their adopted kids so callously, she reasoned, maybe she could help children find new families by moderating one of the Internet sites.
“We were just introducing people,” Exon says of the online group, where parents sought new homes for unwanted children in a practice known as “private re-homing.”
“The only thing we facilitated,” she says, “was bringing people together.”
Well-intentioned as that seemed, Exon would come to regret her role in the re-homing network, a collection of Internet forums where people seeking children can find one quickly. They are able to do so without involving the government and sometimes with the help of middlemen whose activities can be naïve, reckless or illegal, a Reuters investigation has found.
Exon grew alarmed on April 5, 2007, when she took a phone call from Lynne Banks, a woman in South Dakota who followed the activity on the online adoption boards. Banks warned of an Illinois couple using the Internet to obtain children. The woman sometimes called herself Big Momma. Her real name was Nicole Eason.
In her conversation with Exon, Banks said she believed that Eason and her husband, Calvin, were lying about being approved by the government to take in children. While surfing the Internet, Banks also came to suspect that a man who’d been living with Nicole was possibly a sex offender.
The people at the Pulitzer committee don’t really ask me for nominations, but I’d toss this one in the ring as a contender if they did. More importantly, hopefully we see some action to protect children that find themselves in these situations.
Here’s something else that’s getting North Carolina attention. A Randolph County school took Ralph Ellison’s “The Invisible Man” off bookshelves when a parent complained that it was “too much for teenagers,” according to an AP account of the latest ban the book incident.
The Invisible Man, which I’m a bit ashamed to say I haven’t read, is a narrative by the African-American author who considers himself socially invisible. It’s also on the state’s recommended supplemental reading for high schoolers. Here’s the original 1952 book review in the New York Times.
I’m headed to my library this weekend to check out a copy.
Hope everyone enjoyed their lunch links today, even if you did have to wait for it.