Devonte Hart, 15, is still missing.
Devonte Hart, 15, is probably dead.
His adoptive parents, Jennifer and Sarah Hart, on March 26, 2018, drove their SUV off a cliff in a California after they were accused to child abuse by neighbors, the Baarts, who were concerned about Devonte’s claim of being starved to death by his parents. As of this posting, he, nor his other siblings, Hannah and Sierra, 16 and 12 respectively, have been found. They, too, are probably dead.
In the aftermath of this, I cannot even begin to try and comprehend why someone would do something this heinous — then I thought a little while longer. Why did Jennifer and Sarah Hart do this? Control. They did this because they could, and it would be six black children, whom they were legally responsible for (read: owned), no one would miss them.
The open dirty secret in adoption is black children are easier to adopt than white children. The second open dirty secret is there are still states in this country that do not condone, allow, approve adoptions for parents who identify as gay/lesbian/transgender. The third dirty secret is the United States foster care/child welfare system is overburdened, the employees inundated with more children than they should keep track of and tend to, with adoption being a release valve for the pressure of the influx of this same system.
Devonte didn’t stand a chance.
However, the reverberations which follow are as far reaching as the waves in the ocean the women charged with his care plunged into. Before setting off to murder their six adopted children, I wonder if the Harts thought about how tough it would be for the next queer couple to adopt? As they decided to destroy banking information, disregard their pets and perhaps smash their laptops, did they think about the community by which they said they belonged, and how this story may be parlayed to and for right-wing media to demonize and distort the intention of other or new queer parents?
I wonder when the picture on social media of the Harts with their new six black children made rounds on social media, did the workers at the Washington state adoption agency stick their chests out, only to be crestfallen not even three years later? As Devonte knocked on the door of these not-quite-sainted neighbors, asking for food, did he look scared or frightened? When he asked the food be left by a fence so his parents wouldn’t see, did they not want to protect him? The world rarely does that for young black men, even when their names and faces go viral. I want to know if they truly believed what he said was happening to him.
I want to know, if the neighborhood knowing Sarah had a domestic violence charge for beating her six-year-old black adopted daughter, would have looked at her differently? I want to know if the neighborhood they moved into knew and said nothing — incubating the abuse. I wonder what these neighbors thought when the CPS agent came to inquire of the Harts — did the abuse get worse? I wonder what was the intention of even adopting these children in the first place.
If Devonte was David, or Derek or Daniel, pale skinned and light eyed like this country loves it baby boys, would we be more apt to mourn and search for him? If Jennifer and Sarah were Jasmine and Shay, who drove six white children off a cliff, what would happen? Of course, this is a trick question. I know what would happen, just like everyone else! The first time David, Daniel or Derek knocked on the door of their white neighbors telling them what their mean adoptive black mothers did and were doing, the White Savior Rescue System would be activated:
- Save the white children.
- Demonize anyone of color.
- Secure the narrative.
This is where we are now. There are six human rinds of strange fruit cast in a portion of the same ocean their ancestors were cast into almost half a millennia ago. Three have been accounted for. Devonte Hart, 15, is missing and probably dead. He is dead because no one would care if he would be.
[image via Facebook]