Foster: From separation to permanent resettlement

Last year, Donald Trump was shamed into ending the policy of separating children from their parents when they crossed the U.S. border seeking asylum. Time magazine immortalized the crisis on its cover with an illustration of a hulking Trump looming over a small child crying for his mommy.

Now The Associated Press is reporting that not only are children still being separated, they are being funneled to adoption services for permanent resettlement in the U.S.

“The Trump administration says it can’t reunite missing migrant children with their families; instead, many of the children are being shipped to a Christian adoption agency with ties to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos,” reported AP’s Michael Stone.

In March, the Trump administration told a federal court it would require too much effort to reunite migrant children with their parents. In truth, the administration has deported thousands of parents to their native countries and didn’t bother to match these parents with their children, who remained in U.S. custody.

Despite a massive federal bureaucracy, the administration said it couldn’t keep track of the children and families and wanted private charities to undertake the work. In some cases, when courts ordered children returned to their native countries, they were placed on planes without notifying the children’s families when and where the children would be arriving.

Instead of working to reunite families, the administration also is concerned that reunification would “present grave children welfare concerns” because the children would be removed from their “sponsor” homes, the AP reported.

Jonathan White, who leads the Health and Human Services Department’s efforts to reunite migrant children and families, said the government should be focused on reuniting children currently in its custody, and not those who already have been released to sponsor homes.

Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley said the entire situation is horrific and tweeted: “This is what evil looks like.”

Earlier this year, the American Civil Liberties Union tweeted:

“BREAKING: Tonight the Trump administration filed documents that didn’t dispute the recent report that there may have been thousands more separated kids. They’re arguing it would take too long to figure out where those kids are because they have no tracking system.”

Some of the contractors hired to house and feed these families also aren’t in a hurry to see kids reunited with their families. These companies, often donors to Trump’s campaign, receive hundreds of dollars a day for each detainee under their care with contracts running into the millions of dollars.

Consider the fate of thousands of children the Trump administration doesn’t want to reunite with their parents. Progressive Secular Humanist previously reported that many of the migrant children ruthlessly taken from their families are being shipped to Bethany Christian Services, an adoption agency with ties to DeVos’ family.

Rewire News reported on the condition of some of these children linked to Bethany:

“Migrant children in Michigan who have been separated from their parents by the Trump administration are attending ‘a special school’ run by Bethany Christian Services, an anti-choice organization with a record of coercive adoption practices that has yet to receive instructions about how to reunify these children with their detained parents.”

Fact-checking website Snopes confirms the well-established links between the DeVos family and Bethany Christian Services. Tax filings archived by ProPublica show that between 2001 and 2015, the Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation gave $343,000 in grants to Bethany.

Between 2012 and 2015, Bethany received $750,000 from the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation. Further, Brian DeVos, a cousin of Betsy DeVos’ husband Dick, was the senior vice president for Child and Family Services at Bethany as recently as 2015.

Democratic Underground explains the deceitful methods of the “radical Christian adoption trafficking mill” being run by Bethany that has “no intention of trying to find, much less uniting parents with their children.”

To better understand operations like Bethany, read Kathryn Joyce’s book “The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the News Gospel of Adoption.” The book outlines the “alarming trend of conservative Christians adopting children removed from their natural parents through nefarious means to feed the business of Christian adoption and serve the agenda of Christian theocracy,” Stone reported.

— John D. Foster, a Carthage resident and former editor of the Panola Watchman, is a regular contributor to the Saturday Forum. Email

Today's Bible verse

“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”

— Psalm 42:11

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