01 of 05
Are All Families the Same?
American Girl dolls are given at special events: a Christmas surprise, a Hanukkah present, a reward for a straight-A report card. The dolls aren't cheap, and they are often gifted by grandparents, who don't mind "spoiling" the child. American Girl dolls are a lifestyle choice. Their magazine, American Girl, celebrates the variety of children who make up the American landscape today. The doll line is not homogenous, because America is not a single-heritage place. While the dolls... have become more reflective of the country's multiculturalism--and parents accept that--the magazine stepped in unintentional "doo-doo" when it published an inspirational story in its Nov/Dec 2015 issue. It focused on a young girl rescued from foster care by a father, who had been in foster care too. The problem? This empathetic dad doesn't have a wife. He is gay and shares his life with a male partner.
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02 of 05
A Controversial American Girl
Amaya Scheer is the 11-year-old whose personal tale of how she and her biological brother were rescued from foster care by her dads has erupted into a call for a boycott of American Girl dolls and all Mattel products. The One Million Moms group has organized to fight the brand and the "promotion of the homosexual agenda" and a "desensitizing of our youth." The essay in the magazine chronicles how Amaya had felt "worthless" when she was shuttled about in the foster care... system. Being adopted by Rob and Reece Scheer allowed her to develop self-esteem. One of the reasons why Amaya felt so adrift is that the foster care system bundled her belongings up in a big plastic trash bag. That action would make any young child question her value. (I can testify to this. I am a Christian adoptive heterosexual mother of multiple children and have lived through the trash-bag scenario.)
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03 of 05
Charity Amid Controversy
Her father Rob Scheer, whom she calls "Daddy," recognized the implication of the trash bags and began a charity to eliminate that horrible stigma. He and Amaya, along with other members of the family (the Scheers have four adopted children in all), spearhead the Comfort Cases charity. Through this fund, a backpack or a little suitcase filled with toiletries, pajamas, a blanket, coloring books, crayons, a journal and pencils, a stuffed animal or some other toy are provided for foster-care... children to pack their meager belongings inside.
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04 of 05
Rob and Amaya Scheer, an American Family
Concentrating on the parental gender has blinded the One Million Moms to the uplifting, charitable--dare I say, Christmas--feeling of the story. When Rob Scheer talks about how his newly adopted daughter couldn't get over the purchase of a princess nightgown for her, only a hardened individual would not feel a sense of joy that she finally had a "forever family" of her own. And just think that a pair of PJs could elevate her spirits. Unbelievable!
Keep in mind, American Girl dolls are not... inexpensive. They are not the playthings of the homeless, the children living in shelters or kids worrying about where their next meal comes from. There is a cachet associated with the brand, but there is also a recognition of what America means.
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05 of 05
A Gift for the Holidays
America is a beacon of freedom; it is a place where people can reinvent and rebrand themselves. To quote a very popular president, Ronald Reagan, it is "a shining city upon a hill." And in America today, that means people of all backgrounds, races, incomes, belief systems and sexual preferences reside there. American Girl magazine is reflecting today's America. Calling for a boycott of the doll line and the magazine is the last thing we need in America today. Stores are shuttering... their doors; employees are being laid off. Business is having a tough go at it. Rise above the gender divide. Concentrate on the children. Consider making a donation to Comfort Cases. That's what a compassionate American, concerned about real-live American girls, would do.