We have this dramatic feast of a movie this holiday season, Les Miserables, based on Victor Hugo’s grand tragic novel (in 365 chapters), and a principal focus of that extraordinary tale of redemption is how ex-con Jean Valjean, a victim of disproportionate punishment and abuse, resists rage and adopts the orphan, Cosette, when her mother Fantine dies, and raises her as his own with love, kindness and at great risk and sacrifice.
Jean Valjean saved Cosette from the Thenardiers, a cruel corrupt couple, who forced Fantine’s illegitimate daughter, Cosette, to work at their inn while treating their own daughters, Eponine and Azelma, so kindly.
When we walk from the darkened theater, we may overlook how little has changed from this artistic recounting of real historic suffering to the present day.
There has been a recent story about adoption and children that makes this crystal clear.
Russia has put a stop to American adoptions of Russian Children. The media, with rare exception, has covered this as if it is only a reprisal for America criticizing Russia’s human rights violations. Citizens are screaming bloody murder, how could Russia do that to the children we would adopt? But it’s more complicated than that. It is more like how could we do what we have to the children from Russia adopted by Americans?