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Lecture examines adoption of Haitian orphans

Brett Saunders

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Jennifer Shoaff, a professor in the department of gender and race studies, will present a lecture tomorrow in Gorgas Library Room 205 at 3:30 p.m. on the adoption of Haitian children after a 2010 earthquake devastated the island.

“In the Face of a Child: Haitian Orphans, (In)visible Mothers, and the Affective Economies of Deviance and Suffering,” will dive into the culture of often overlooked birth mothers as well the families who adopted Haitian children in the aftermath of the quake.

The experiences of the white families awaiting permission to recover their children in waiting were prevalent in the media, a flyer promoting the event stated. The voices and faces of black mothers were not.

Shoaff will look at how the value meaning assigned to “good” and “bad” motherhood became starkly visible through the silencing and invisibility of Haitian women, the flyer stated.

Responding to the lecture will be Merinda Simmons, a professor in the department of religious studies.

Tim Murphy, associate professor of religious studies, said selflessness can be egoism of a different kind.

“After the earthquake in Haiti, many people from other countries were adopting orphans,” he said.

“There is a strong drive by some to make an impact in the relief for orphans after the earthquake, and I feel that this lecture will bring to light what the motivations were behind this,” said Joshua Gray, president of the Black Student Union.

Those present at the lecture will get an opportunity after the lecture to ask questions on the topic.

To find out more about this lecture and the speaker visit the religious studies website at


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Lecture examines adoption of Haitian orphans