April Fools' Day has been a long-standing tradition, with everything from the legendary BBC story about spaghetti trees to the current vogue for funky food pranks to play on the family (hello, Jello drinks!). But this year, charity Kars4Kids went in a direction that's less funny and more likely to offend more than a few families out there.
Their "joke" was a play on their name—and suggested that they now give you a kid if you give them a car. There's an extensive video showing kids just showing up on people's doorsteps, and even a "kidventory" with photos and videos of available children and a tool to determine whether you'd be compatible, based on the type of food you eat, your homework prowess, and what traits you desire in the child you pick: cute, smart, and gluten-free are a few options.
But it's a little insensitive to adoptive families like mine, who already face lots of weird comments like, "How much did she cost?" and "It's terrible that their real parents threw them away." (Yep, both actual things that people have said to me about my daughters.)
I'm sure it wasn't their intention, but a "joke" like that just helps perpetuate the idea that kids can be bought and sold, which is not exactly the kind of thing you want to be associated with, with child trafficking still a major world human rights issue. And their prank encourages people to continue to think that adoption is simply a business transaction—and I'm sure, will lead to more than one person to joke to an adoptive family that they could get a cheaper kid if they simply trade in their car. Not so funny.
I appreciate that April Fools' pranks sometimes miss the mark (as Virgin prez Richard Branson is currently discovering, as this year's "boobs" logo prank is attracting some negative attention), but when you're a children's charity, it pays to perhaps think twice about making a joke that could unintentionally create problems for the very people you serve.
Lisa Milbrand writes Parents.com's In Name Only blog and is the mom of two girls.