People are inherently good, and there are plenty of them willing to do whatever it takes, personal consequences be damned, to provide a safe environment for children in need. People like volunteer firefighter and renowned 4X4 enthusiast Eric Breteau, founder of the French nonprofit Zoe's Ark, whose mission was to rescue children orphaned by the war in Darfur. Or Laura Silsby, founder of the Idaho-based New Life Children's Refuge, which aimed to provide a safe haven for orphans in the wake of the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
Both organizations were wildly successful at saving unwanted, abandoned orphans ... from their loving families.
"But could their families have given them the chance to become someone's new Facebook profile photo?"
In the case of New Life Children's Refuge, that meant telling desperate and terrified parents that their children would be kept safe in a brand-spanking-new Dominican Republic orphanage until the chaos from the quake died down. To be fair, this wasn't the initial plan: Silsby first tried to stir up a sufficient orphan supply by going door to door at existing orphanages and asking if they had any leftover kids. Only when that failed did she resort to persuading shell-shocked parents to hand over their children with promises of a life filled with soccer fields and swimming pools. The group managed to round up 33 kids -- all of whom had either loving parents or immediate family -- before being arrested at the Haitian border.
Eric Breteau's professed mission was to rescue Sudanese orphans from refugee camps in Chad and whisk them to France, where a number of couples had already put down deposits and were anxiously awaiting delivery of their shiny new war orphans. French authorities warned the group that their plan was likely super duper illegal, and Chadian authorities were duly notified. Breteau and Co. responded by registering the charity under a new name, donning freshly-printed "Children Rescue" T-shirts, and proceeding to convince Chadian parents that they were opening a nearby refuge where their children would receive top-notch care and a free education. Zoe's Ark managed to bullshit their way into 103 kids who were neither orphans nor from Sudan, but were definitely children, probably.
"Here's the son you ordered."
Cargo secured, the group went to the airport, disguised the kids as war casualties, and told the flight crew that they were being transported to France for medical attention. Thankfully, the criminal do-gooders were apprehended before the flight left the ground, bringing their ill-conceived vigilante adoption scheme to an end. To their credit, both Zoe's Ark and New Life Children's Refuge eventually succeeded in their goal of finding the children loving homes -- the exact same homes they were "rescued" from in the first place.
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For more people who should've thought twice about their altruism, check out 5 Popular Forms of Charity (That Aren't Helping) and 5 Famous Charity Songs That Were Insanely Harmful.
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