My family just finished watching 8 episodes of The Last Kingdom on dvd from Netflix. I was reflecting on how kidnapping is a genocidal strategy of war. Most recently, we’ve seen Ukrainian children taken to Russia. I’ve seen some adoptees refer to their adoptive parents as kidnappers and really it is not far from the truth. Georgia Tann who was behind my mother’s adoption believed in taking children from poor families and unwed single mothers and placing them with wealthier couples would improve their outcomes and in some small way the human race.
In the movie we’ve been watching, a Saxon boy witnesses the killing of his father by the Danes (and of course, having recently learned that I am 25% Danish, it interested me). As the movie depicts, the Danish culture becomes part of the movie protagonist, Uhtred’s personality. I’m certain that is in Putin’s mind as he seeks to erase the Ukrainian people who he does not see as legitimate and instill a stronger Russian identity in these children.
In 2008, it was estimated that 40 percent of child soldiers worldwide were in Africa, and that the use of child soldiers in armed conflict was increasing faster than any other continent. Additionally, average age of children recruited as soldiers appears to be decreasing. Children’s greater psychological malleability which makes them easier to control, deceive and indoctrinate. The majority of child soldiers are forcibly recruited either through abduction, conscription, coercion, or by being born into an armed group. Many no longer have the protection of family having witnessed the murder of their loved ones before being taken.
The seizure by kidnapping or hostage-taking places a heavy psychological burden on all involved. The seizure affects not only the individual or individuals who are abducted, but generates an anxiety in a larger group of people as the location and welfare of the abducted are unknown, as demands and actual intentions of abductors are in doubt, and the prospect of rescue is hazardous at best. If “terrorism is theater,” kidnapping and hostage-taking can be imagined as drama. However, children raised in a foreign environment will be impacted for life, regardless of whether they are returned to their place of origin or not.
In the battle between good and evil that many in the evangelical and pentecostal religions believe they are engaged in, adoption is one way to increase the flock of believers and insert their beliefs into the young. That is why so many become adoptive parents, regardless of issues of infertility or simply a desire to do good. The strategy of taking children from their original parents and raising them within a different family ethic or even different cultural context is very old and not likely to change entirely anytime soon. Even so, adoption activists seek to make a tiny dent in the number of children taken from their biological family by encouraging even financially challenged single women to attempt raising their baby rather than panicking and surrendering them to adoption.