Corruption Not the Whole Story

As the parent of a 2009 graduate and  the mother of an internationally adopted child, I am writing to express concern about Theresa Pease’s article [on journalist E.J. Graff’s investigations of international adoption abuse]. This article [“Other People’s Children,” Fall 2009] develops the thesis that the need for the adoption of healthy infants and toddlers outside of the United States does not exist. Those international adoptions that do occur, the article argues, are the outcomes of corruption.

Having adopted a child born outside of the United States has given me the opportunity to become knowledgeable in this area, and, from my perspective, one feature that characterizes the system at large is its variability. The article captured none of this variability. Instead, we were presented with the proposition that because abuses occur in all countries, all countries have flawed adoption processes.

It is interesting in this regard to hear Pease describe [Graff’s work] as “the journalism of outrage.” Should outrage be the essential element informing research and scholarship? Or should this research and scholarship be driven by a commitment to fairness and carefulness, recognizing the many international adoptions that rest on a firm legal and moral foundation alongside problematic cases.

This piece is likely to discourage families from pursuing international adoption. If the author has overstated her position, then the impact is to deny children who need homes loving parents.

Virginia Branbender
Chester, Pa.

Branbender is a professor in the Institute for Graduate Clinical Psychology at Widener University in Pennsylvania.

Editor’s Note: E.J. Graff does not claim that “the need for the adoption of healthy infants and toddlers outside of the United States does not exist.” As the article denotes, “Graff … is quick to note that most international adoptions are not fraudulent; they are legitimate, beneficial and even life-saving.”

Feeling the Magic

It was my good fortune and delight to receive a copy of your magazine featuring Cesareo Pelaez, M.A. ’82, and Le Grand David 
Spectacular Magic Company [“It Has to Be Magic,” Spring 2010]. I have personally witnessed not only Cesareo’s very impressive performance in the art, skill and entertainment of ‘magic,’ but also his true being as a kind, thoughtful and intelligent person.

My good fortune enabled me to introduce Cesareo to members of the Magic Circle here in London when he came to our centenary celebration. He received a standing ovation by an audience of some 2,000 magicians from all over the world.  

Having read your magazine from cover to cover, I envy no one but wish I could have had the opportunity to study under Cesareo at Brandeis, learning the philosophy of the late Abraham Maslow, Cesareo’s mentor.

Thanks for bringing to life the history of a wonderful man who has taught so many such a lot to the benefit of all.

Henry Lewis
London, England

Lewis is honorary president of the Magic Circle of London and curator emeritus of the Magic Circle Museum and Archives.

Feeling the Magic

I am writing to thank Theresa Pease for her great work on our Brandeis magazine. It is a wonderful representation of our beloved university, and much of the credit goes to her.

In particular, I want to say thank you for the recent profile of Cesareo Pelaez, M.A. ’82. Through Professor Abraham Maslow’s class on humanistic psychology, I met Cesareo and knew of his talents. Yet I did not know of his background or all that he has accomplished over the years. Your story was extensively researched and so vividly written that I could almost feel the magic!   

Neil B. Kauffman ’69
Philadelphia, Pa.


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