- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 30, 2003

The benefits and barricades of adoption

“Angels in Adoption” (Culture, yesterday) brought to mind our thrilling experience with adoption. We knew our son and his wife had applied for adoption with an agency. We also knew that word of being selected to become adoptive parents could come on very short notice.

In mid-December last year, our life was changed completely, beginning with the “miraculous” unfolding of this infant’s life. As prearranged, we were waiting for our son and daughter-in-law to drop off their frisky golden retriever and be on their way to catch the ferry to Cape May, N.J. Two hours after a call indicating delay, they arrived carrying an automobile infant carrier, and nestled therein was a sound-asleep, pink-clad infant, their newly adopted daughter — and our first grandchild. Unbeknownst to us, their application for adoption had come to fruition with a call the previous day. This 11-day-old infant would be theirs the next day. We are so thankful this baby’s mother chose life for my granddaughter.

We agree wholeheartedly with Steven Curtis Chapman — “Every part of it is a miracle.”



MARTHA VARNEY

HEFFERON

Rockville

• • •

It was with great amusement that I read the article “Angels in Adoption” that appeared in your newspaper.

Unlike Geoff Moore, who is quoted in this article, I don’t believe “God is in the adoption business.” He has left it to the greedy profiteers profiting off of others’ misery — and passing the buck on to adoptive parents and our children.

No doubt the Chapmans should be heralded for their efforts in adopting their daughters from China, but greater issues affecting international adoption are not raised by this insipid award. Not many of us have the $40,000-plus it took to bring their daughters home.

Why should it be that average people have to raid their savings and their retirement funds and obtain second mortgages on their homes to finance a foreign adoption? Isn’t something wrong here? Isn’t adoption supposed to be about helping a child who does not have a home and not about filling the coffers of corruption in foreign lands and of agencies here in the United States?

Where does all that money go that parents pay to these agencies and their foreign contacts?

I can guarantee you it isn’t, by and large, going toward the children in foreign orphanages or their birth families.

It is horrible that neither Sen. Mary L. Landrieu nor Rep. Frank R. Wolf mentioned the largest piece of pending legislation sitting in the federal registry right now: the Hague Regulations. Surely, that deserves more of a mention than having this Angels in Adoption Awards raise “awareness for the cause.”

Do Mrs. Landrieu, Mr. Wolf and the other representatives who form the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute not want this information out there?

ELIZABETH CASE

Walden, N.Y.

Freedom of expression in Tunisia

Hani Sabra’s Sept. 1 letter to the editor, “The problem with Tunisia,” unfortunately does not present a fair or accurate picture of human rights and freedom of expression in Tunisia. With high ratios of access to the Internet and to satellite television, Tunisia’s communicationsandmedia landscape is, as indicated in an article Aug. 20 (“An ‘Arab country that works,’ ” World), one of the most open in the region. Constitutional and legal reforms have been implemented consistently to advance the cause of human rights and individual freedoms.

Zouhair Yahyaoui, who is mentioned in Mr. Sabra’s letter, was not tried because of his opinions, but for breaking the law, specifically the law against fraudulent use of communications installations belonging to a private business to disseminate fictitious claims of terror attacks.

It is gratifying that Mr. Sabra lauds Tunisia’s economic achievements. He misses, however, the fact that the dividends of economic prosperity, which are shared by the overwhelming majority of the population, have in fact served to buttress human rights achievements and promote the opportunities of self-fulfillment for all citizens.

TAOUFIK CHEBBI

Press attache

Embassy of Tunisia

Washington

It’s all natural

There is a lacuna the size of the Grand Canyon in Clifford May’s piece “For a livelier campaign” (Commentary, Sept. 21), in which he outlines five “Big Ideas” for the presidential contenders. One big idea is to stop funding terrorism by becoming less dependent on energy from Arab states. His solution is to “[b]uild safe nuclear power plants, as the French and the Japanese already have done, and utilize American coal, which can now be burned cleanly.” Mr. May also plugs hybrid vehicles and fuel cells.

How can Mr. May possibly overlook America’s safest, cleanest, most plentiful and efficient alternative to our dangerous energy dependence — natural gas? Natural gas is by far the cleanest of the fossil fuels, and unlike oil, natural gas is domestically abundant. There is enough natural gas here in North America to last far into the future, and thanks to new technologies, our resource base actually has grown over the past decade.

What’s more, despite the recent price volatility in the natural-gas market, over the years, natural gas has been America’s best energy value. The recent spikes in natural-gas prices are mostly because outdated laws and regulations have prevented producers from gaining access to some of the most promising new supply areas. As a result, supply has been unable to keep up with growing demand, causing price increases and volatility.

Mr. May’s oversight notwithstanding, the message is clear. By allowing the natural gas industry access to America’s abundant supplies of natural gas, using exploration and production technologies that are far more environmentally friendly than in the “bad old days” of 30 years ago, our nation could be more energy-independent and even improve its environmental quality of life. That is one “Big Idea” worth serious consideration.

BRUCE G. KAUFFMANN

Director of executive communications

American Gas Association

Washington

It doesn’t add up

Recent reports in your newspaper on home sales and starts suggest that all is well with housing, an industry that has bolstered consumer confidence despite a dismal jobs picture.

Unfortunately, a Bush administration proposal to transfer oversight of Fannie Mae (Federal National Mortgage Association) and Freddie Mac (Federal Home Mortgage Association) from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to the Treasury casts dark clouds over prospects for American home buyers (“Reining in Freddie,” Editorial, Sept. 13). If the Treasury is put in charge of approving new programs at these secondary market institutions, homebuyers can start to worry about the availability of innovations in housing finance — such as low-downpayment mortgages — that have helped expand housing opportunity. After all, the Treasury tends to be more concerned about seeing that families are paying their taxes than worrying about what kind of housing they can afford.

Congress is under pressure to move quickly on the administration’s proposal. Considering that the continued good health of the nation’s housing industry could be at stake, it needs to slow down and proceed with caution.

JERRY HOWARD

Chief executive officer

National Association of Home Builders

Washington

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide