*Since the Jan. 12 earthquake in Port-Au-Prince at least a dozen Americans have been accused of illegally trying to take children out of their native Haiti under the guise of giving them a better life in the United States.

Is it just me or do some White people have a need to posses people with brown skin at worst or have a fantasy of being their great white hope at best? I’m just saying what everybody else is thinking.

While I applaud the effort of Americans who want to help others in need, the number of child trafficking cases around the world leads me to question the motives of some people who are overzealous in their actions.

It’s true the earthquake has left tens of thousands of Haitians without the basic necessities, and nobody wants to see people suffer. But separating children from their parents, other relatives and their culture might do more harm than good.

Everybody needs food, clothing and shelter, that’s a given.  But the money and material possessions some Americans seem so eager to offer like a bandaid over a wound don’t’ take the place of the love and support these children are sure to need if they are to overcome this tragedy and become productive upwardly mobile adults. It’s not always about the money.

The United States foster care system is overflowing with more than half a million children who need a stable home with supportive parents. So it makes me wonder why so many people choose to adopt outside of the United States when there are so many children in need right here.

Just like in Haiti, there’s a sad story that goes with each child in America who ends up in foster care.  And most of these children need ongoing psychological counseling, or medication and even physical theraphy to undo the mishaps they have experienced.

I don’t know what qualifications are needed to adopt children from other countries, but in the United State every state has its own rules for placing children with foster and adoptive parents, including criminal background checks and minimal hours of training. It’s the least that should be expected of someone who wants to be guardian over the life of another person.

If I ruled the world every person who planned to foster, adopt or even considered having children themselves would have to pass a parenthood 101 proficiency test before being allowed to take a baby home. Maybe then there wouldn’t be so many children in foster care.

Steffanie is a freelance journalist living in the Dallas, Texas metro area. Send questions, comments or requests for speaking engagements to Steffanie at [email protected]. And see the video version of her journal at youtube.com/steffanierivers.