August 16 2004


August 16 2004


‘Does aggressive marketing dehumanize kids up for adoption? No. Do what needs doing, and do it before their anguish is irreversible.' Arnprior, Ont.

Lynn Grinstead

The needs of children

We enjoyed your story on the “Ethics of hard-sell adoption” (Cover, July 26) about using websites and videos to “market” children for adoption. As parents who five years ago adopted our now 11-year-old son, we are excited and very supportive of the excellent use of technology to raise awareness for children awaiting adoption—they will benefit so greatly from a supportive family environment. Blessings to those who are willing to think outside the box to meet the needs of children.

Karen wight, Queensville, Ont.

I wonder what the real pressure is that warrants “ethically dicey” adoption strategies. Is it that the recent deluge of children into publicly funded care is unaffordable, and that nothing short of a yard sale will clear the backlog and bring the budget under control? Fay Martin, executive director, Family Services of Haliburton County, Haliburton, Ont.

I cannot stress enough the importance of open adoption, where adoptive and birth parents share information. As an adoptee who is now an adult, not knowing who my birth parents are has been devastating. All I have ever wanted was to see someone who looks like me, say thank you for having me, chat about medical history. End of story. They never need see me again. Unfortunately, my birth mother has placed a veto on my records, allowing no contact. I’m still hopeful that one day she will change her mind. Possibly then the black void in my heart will heal. Michele McAdam, Victoria ■

I was surprised to read your assertion that, “The vast majority of the remaining [unadopted] children grow up without the love and security they’d get from committed parents.” My wife and I have been foster parents for five years and have had 24 children pass through our home, in addition to our two biological children. We take kids from ages 4 to 10 and we raise these children like our own. We are loving, committed, and a lot of the children who have passed through

our home and family have wished to return. Ask the kids, they’ll tell you.

Richard Clark, Niagara Falls, Ont.

Even though still a teenager, I have seen far too many children being moved from foster home to foster home, in and out and back again, and the damage that it can do to these young and delicate lives. These kids need permanent structure, and anything that is done that even remotely creates awareness of this problem is a step toward the solution.

Jocelyn Sakai, Swan River, Man.

My partner and I are proud adoptive moms. We applied through a private agency in

Olympic spirit I A glory worth savouring more than gold riches

In our latest cover story, “The myth of rich,” we pondered what qualifies someone as wealthy nowadays. The timing of it struck Calgarian Sudhir Jain. Along with his family, he’s on his way to Athens. He’ll be travelling economy and staying in cheap hotels-and cheering on his paddler daughter, Kamini, as she competes for Canada. “If this is not being rich,” he says. “I don’t know what is.”

Alberta last year and after only five weeks on the waiting list were selected for an instant placement of infant twins. Ours is a story that proves same-sex couples can also provide loving homes for children in need. So the question must be asked: with over 7,000 children in care, and the hard-sell push by Alberta Children’s Services to find homes for them, why the resistance to placing these kids with suitable families of all sorts? Rhonda Lothammer, Edmonton

A bad rap

I find it entirely Canadian that we are putting the Greeks under the microscope when it comes to finishing the Olympics on time and on budget (“Athens under the gun,” Olympics, July 26). Does anyone remember how our unfinished stadium for the 1976 Montreal Games went well over budget? Why are we pointing fingers?

Don Horne, Cobourg, Ont.

As a Greek-Canadian and an Athens 2004 volunteer, I am dismayed that a respectable Canadian magazine has joined the yellow journalism ranks in publishing yet more negative news about Athens 2004. Unlike what happened at the Montreal Games, the Athens stadium is completed and the roof is working. As for the dust, the landscaping is well in hand. The beautiful new streetcar system is now in operation, and the fast rail link to the airport is about to be finished. This will be the best modern Olympics ever.

Paul Papadopoulos, Athens

I was reading in your magazine about the children in Rwanda, about the many in Canada who have no permanent homes, and the thousands around the world orphaned because of AIDS and who now have the disease themselves. Then I turned the page. I learned that Greece is spending $1.6 billion on security for the Olympic Games. I love the Olympics and plan to watch the entire two weeks, but something is wrong when that much money is spent protecting athletes and spectators, and so little is spent helping the world’s children.

Luanne Warren, Castlegar, B.C.

Enforcing the vote

I read John Geddes’s article on “Saving democracy” (Politics, July 19) with interest, and was intrigued by the chart that provided


an international perspective on the low voter turnout in our last federal election. What about Australia? It was not mentioned, but should have been. There has been compulsory voting in Australian federal elections since 1924—one can be fined for not voting. In the last 2001 federal election, over 95 per cent of eligible voters voted. Something to consider, perhaps?

David Peacock, Saskatoon

Insure me, insure me not

I read with disgust about the tactics insurance companies will use to pick and choose their clientele (“Dear policeyholder...,” Personal Finance, July 26). We seem to live our lives trying to avoid making a claim for anything, bending over backwards to appease these companies in hopes of retaining the privilege to pay outrageous rates. From kids’ soccer games to school trips, from cars to houses, the insurance industry has its greedy hands in our pockets, telling us what we can and can’t do under a veiled threat of cancelling our policies. It’s disheartening and sad.

Laura Campbell, Halifax

Insurance companies are in business to make money. They take risks by insuring your property, and if the risk is too great it is within their rights to decline it.

Ravi Sharma, Calgary

Of course the insurance companies need to be able to reject some high-risk properties, but as long as people with mortgages are required to have home insurance, then the companies must establish guidelines for acceptance and refusal that are sensible— not simply based on maximizing profits. If they cannot do that themselves, then the government must do it for them.

Nora Reid, Port Colborne, Ont.

Insurance is not a charity, it’s a business. Derek Anger, Toronto

Insurance fraud is one of the main reasons why premiums are so high. If the insurance company finds out that you’ve broken the “utmost good faith” agreement by lying or failing to notify it of a change in your situation, this is grounds for cancelling a policy. This cancellation stays on your record, and if you try to get insurance with another

carrier, it will see this and either decline your application or increase your premiums. Sarah Adams, Ottawa

It is the same in the U.K. Insurance companies are in business to make money—they are not benefactors. The idea of insurance is you pay the premiums, and they accept the risk—except, of course, when they don’t. The only clients they want are those who pose no risk. Don’t expect the companies to pay out without a fight.

Ian Cooper, Cheltenham, England

Truth about sex

1 am writing in regard to your article “Can science give you a better sex life?” (Cover, July 19). The article suggests that the problem of female sexual dysfunction may be a myth manufactured by drug companies. But those of us who suffer from this frustrating and humiliating condition can tell you that it does exist. It might interest you to know that one of the side effects of clinical depression is sexual dysfunction. Since women are twice as likely as men to suffer


Those of us suffering from female sexual dysfunction can tell you this




clinical depression, the occurrence of sexual dysfunction is to be expected in the female population.

Sophie Cheney, Campbellvllle, Ont.

I have found that bright, witty, gentle, compassionate men have had the quickest, most effective results on my libido—but all the men I know who fall into this category are either taken or unavailable. Maybe there is a way our Canadian education system could produce better-educated men, who would then become more desirable lovers. The health system would benefit because women would not suffer as much from FSD and the pharmaceutical companies could concentrate on researching cures for real diseases. Christi Grout, Salt Spring Island, B.C.

Border dispute

In his letter complaining about how astronaut Julie Payette left out Newfoundland when she referred to crossing Canada coastto-coast from space, Paul Jackman had it partly right, and yet wrong (“Home is where the coast starts,” The Mail, July 26). Yes, a traveller crossing Canada would start his or her trek from St. John’s, Nfld., but would finish not in Vancouver, as he indicated, but in Victoria. I’m quite sure that Payette would be the first to agree that this is truly coast-to-coast.

Gilles St. Denis, Victoria