Many of them simply want a child, no matter how, no matter what. My blood is up today after just spending a few minutes looking at the the website of the Pound Pup Legacy. A commenter, using the name Henry Scobie*, yesterday left the link at our previous blog, about the United States ending adoptions from Nepal, due to the continued and widespread corruption and child trafficking practices that still are rampant there. What I found at the link he left will make your hair stand on end, starting--starting--with the incident of a father searching for his son who was adopted from an agency called Balmandir, which is openly selling children.
According to a Nepalese weekly, Taja Khabar, two children were sent to Balmandir (reasons unknown), and when the father went to get this sons back, he was told that one had been already sent to America. According to the translation:
This is not the only case in Balmandir -- more than 20 children a month in the name of adoption are sold to foreigners and are given permission to be taken abroad, and thus the hefty amount gained in this process is divided among them.
...The institution in which Her Majesty Queen Mother Ratna Rajya Laxmi Devi Shah is the sponsor ("preserver") [of Balmandir] and Rita Singh Baidya, the daughter of late Ganeshman Singh, is the President [and] has involved itself in selling children and taking commission.The article is from 2004; God only knows where the child ended up, but it could be your neighborhood; it could be anywhere. After reading that I put in "Nepal" in the website's search engine, and came up with this also disgusting factoid: After inter-country adoptions were suspended in Nepal (see chart below or link to website here) from May through June of 2007, the number of children in the Kathmandu valley who were found to be "abandoned," plummeted from 80 to zero; as soon as adoptions were again available, the number began rising again.
Also from Pound Pup:
There are over 500 children's homes and 60 orphanages in Kathmandu whose registration details include the stated intention of providing children for foreign adoption. Children are in demand, and every time a child is rescued from the streets the Administration Office gets phone calls from orphanages.
From the UNICEF/TDH report about adoption in Nepal:
This research found instances of undue pressure, coercion, inducement and solicitation of birth families to relinquish a child. Parents were misinformed about adoption, and misled, deceived or solicited with financial inducements. They were led to believe that their children would be sent abroad for a period of time only in orderto obtain a good education and upbringing. They were led to believe that their children would return to Nepal when they reached the age of 16 or 18 years. The legal consequences of intercountry adoption were either not explained at all or not explained fully. As a result, biological parents were unaware that once the intercountry adoption procedure was finalized they would lose custody of their child forever. They were also unaware that their child would lose his or her Nepali citizenship. In other cases, biological parents were not informed that their child had been sent abroad for adoption.But there's more there. I clicked through to child trafficking cases and found a long list of child kidnapping and outright buying of children in numerous poor countries of the world: Cambodia, Bulgaria, Brazil, Chile, China, Vietnam, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Georgia, Ghana, all to supply the foreign market for children. Our previous post links to the stories we have written about child trafficking from these countries. To say that I am disgusted and appalled is understating the visceral reaction I am having to learning more about the corruption in international adoption. Our friend, Mirah Riben, has also written an excellent expose about the situation, The Stork Market: America's Multi-Billion Dollar Unregulated Adoption Industry.
Perhaps this business about Nepal hits me so hard is because I am aware of an acquaintance's significant other having recently adopted a child of three from Nepal. Through the grapevine, I heard that it was an arduous process to determine the child's true status, many officials and lawyers were involved, but after being further educated at Pound Pup Legacy, one wonders how that child actually ended up "available" for export to a wealthy American woman. My other thought was, what if the situation were reversed: what if children were kidnapped from say, the streets of poor neighborhoods and sent to France, Brazil, China, wherever, for the benefit of wealthy families there. There would be an international scandal, a UN investigation, a million outraged voices urging it be stopped, the children returned. Let us hope that indeed the meek will inherit the earth.--lorraine
*Henry Scobie is almost certainly a pseudonym, as that is the name of a highly principled British police officer in West Africa after World War II in Graham Greene's wonderful novel, The Heart of the Matter. I think I'll read it again; I remember loving it when I read it the first time many years ago. Time for a revisit.