Letters: Adoptions, Mo Rocca, Osama's Beard

Melissa Block and Robert Siegel read from listeners' e-mail regarding coverage of Guatemalan adoptions, comedian Mo Rocca and Osama bin Laden's beard.

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.


And I'm Robert Siegel.

Thursday is the day we read from your letters.

BLOCK: And our report yesterday about Guatemalan adoptions touched a nerve with a number of listeners, many with firsthand experience adopting babies from that country.

SIEGEL: This comment in particular from a UNICEF representative prompted people to write.

MANUEL MANRIQUE: This in an adoption paradise because there are very loose regulations. The only requirement is that you have 25, 30 or $40,000.

BLOCK: Well Christy Fiefield(ph) of Farmington Hills, Michigan sent this: I am extremely disappointed by the one-sided coverage, she writes. As a person in the middle of a Guatemalan adoption, I can assure you that simply having money does not allow you to obtain a Guatemalan child. Your story made it sound as if a person wanting a child could go down to Guatemala, cash in hand, and come home with a child. That is utterly ridiculous.

SIEGEL: Listener Frank Miller(ph) called our coverage unbalanced and naive. He writes: As a recent adoptive parent of a Guatemalan child, I was surprised to hear that the most emotionally and legally grueling experience of my life was an easy and unregulated adoption process. While there is certainly a need for adoption reform in Guatemala, to pronounce it in unregulated business is an overly simplistic conclusion. NPR's sensationalist approach to the story is contributing to an undeserved legacy of shame for my son's life as an American.

BLOCK: Listener Daria Cunningham(ph) of Lunenburg, Massachusetts writes to share her experience. She says she was adopted from Guatemala without her birth mother's consent. She writes: At the age of 20, I returned to find my birth family. It was not the happy adoption my family and I thought it was. I think adoption is a great thing. However, it must be with the consent of both sets of parents. I also think adopting parents should think about the impact the adoption will have on them and their children in the future.

SIEGEL: Well, changing topics now. Donnie Hampton(ph) of Kansas City was upset by another story we featured about the changing color of Osama bin Laden's beard. I am extremely offended, he writes, have you all lost your minds? This man is a mass murderer and you chitchat about his physical appearance as if he were Britney Spears.

BLOCK: Comedian Mo Rocca went out on the streets of New York to chitchat with voters. He challenged them to say something nice about a politician from the opposing party.

MO ROCCA: What do you like most about Hillary Clinton?

KEAN STAVA: What I like - I don't like much about Hillary Clinton. I'm sorry.

SIEGEL: Well, Mel Rocca's experiment prompted this note from listener Steve Lamont(ph) of San Diego. Unfortunately, I cannot find anything nice to say about Mr. Rocca's piece. Slow news day? Must be. This tarnishes your ability to be considered a news service.

BLOCK: Whether you think we're doing a good job or not we want hear from you. Write to us. Go to npr.org and click on Contact Us at the top of the page.

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