Sunday, August 8, 2010

International Adoption: Corruption as Usual

Mistake! Adoptions from Nepal only halted last Friday! (Not a month ago as originally reported here.) We so deplore the wholesale adoption of kids from poor countries to supply the American market with children. We do not contend that all such international adoptions are wrong; we believe it is better for a child to be adopted into a family anywhere than grow up in an institution. However, the pressure on poor countries to fill a worldwide demand from rich nations has led to all kinds of abuses, as the following report shows:

US suspends adoption of abandoned children in Nepal over concerns of fraudulent paperwork

By: DAVID CRARY
Associated Press
08/06/10 1:30 PM EDT

NEW YORK — The U.S. government on Friday suspended the adoption of abandoned children from Nepal because of concerns about unreliable and fabricated documents.

The State Department said the suspension would take effect immediately, although it will continue to consider adoption applications already in the pipeline on a case-by-case basis. About 80 such cases are pending. More than 60 Nepalese children were adopted by Americans in 2006. The number dropped to six last year as U.S. officials intensified warnings about possible problems.

The State Department acted after finding numerous cases where Nepalese children's birth certificates were falsified and orphanage officials refused to assist efforts to confirm information.
Because of the unreliable documents and "the general situation of noncooperation with and even active hindrance of investigations," U.S. authorities can no longer accurately determine whether a child qualifies as an orphan, the State Department said. It cited one case where the birth parents were actively searching for a child who had been matched with an American family for adoption.

Regarding the pending cases, the State Department said they would be approved only if supported by reliable evidence. "Every effort will be made to process their cases as expeditiously as possible with the best interests of children in mind," it said. (See quotes from US judges at blog sidebar regarding the 'best interests of the child.")

U.S. officials said the duration of the suspension would depend on the pace with which Nepal's government implements more rigorous oversight of adoptions. One step in this direction would be to ratify the Hague Convention, with sets standards for international adoptions. According to the State Department, numerous other countries — including Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Italy and Britain — have recently suspended adoptions from Nepal based on similar concerns.

Chuck Johnson, head of the private National Council for Adoption, expressed dismay at the suspension, saying it would consign many Nepalese orphans to longer stays in institutions. 

"It's a sad day for us children's advocates," he said. "When you suspend adoptions due to concerns of abuse, you're also preventing the adoption of legal and legitimate orphans. ... There will be suffering, profound psychological and physical effects."
So the reporter only quotes from the paid lobbyist for the organization (NCFA) which represents adoption agencies who are in the business of filling the supply needs of the agencies, that is, find babies for people who can afford the fees. A quote from the investigative journalist who has written extensively on the subject. E.J. Graff, would have been more appropriate.
Again, we are not against all international adoptions, but we are aware of so many abuses in the poorer nations of the world: India; Guatemala; China and Ethiopia that it is hard for us to accept them willly-nilly, as most of the world does. The 2008  UN Report condemning adoptions from Nepal is not even mentioned. As for our list of countries were abuses occur? That's just a start. Read E.J. Graff's stunning and eye-opening account of the world-wide situation to truly comprehend what's going on in the international child market. Some call it trafficking.--lorraine
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There will be more on this topic tomorrow. 

10 comments :

  1. I think "trafficking" is an appropriate statement with regard to children. The one thing that seems to be common in all cases of adoption that is questionable is the age of the child. Adoptions that are questionable are almost never adoptions of a child old enough to give testimony on their own in a believable fashion.

    The whole thing is very sad.

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  2. If you want to understand the U.S. suspension, read:


    Nepal Children's Organization (Bal Mandir) -- Victims of Balmandir

    http://poundpuplegacy.org/node/43654

    and

    Trade of Children (Voice of Children) at PEAR Nepal

    http://pearadoptinfo-nepal.blogspot.com/2010/06/trade-of-children-voice-of-children.html

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  3. "It cited one case where the birth parents were actively searching for a child who had been matched with an American family for adoption."

    I had to delurk because this sentence makes me want to hit things. I cannot imagine a scenario where the *American* parents of a kidnapped child who was being sent off for adoption in *Nepal* would be referred to as the "birth" parents in a news article. Same thing in that story about the Indian parents whose boy was kidnapped and is now probably living with an American family who can cooperate with the investigation as much as they feel like. If a stranger-abducted American child was found "adopted" in another country, there is no way that diplomatic hell would not rain down to get that child back. But these people are poor, they have no FBI, their country has no resources and no leverage, and many authorities probably think the child is better off anyway. Sorry, "birth" parents.

    I am really pleased that the State Dept takes this seriously enough now to suspend.

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  4. "We do not contend that all such international adoptions are wrong; we believe it is better for a child to be adopted into a family anywhere than grow up in an institution."
    You might not but I do.It is wrong to take children from their country, culture, language, families, religion especially where the ethnicity of some groups is threatened, by other factors as well as adoption by Americans.It is colonisation and imperialism on a grand scale.
    10-12 million adoptees in America now, all with a voice to speak out eventually.
    Institutions can be vastly improved, with goodwill, money and care, they can be the best environment for some children who will never adjust to life inside the institution of the family.It is too big an ask and immoral to put that expectation on adoptees.They should never be removed form their culture and be asked to learn a new one, it is too great an expectation but one Americans don't seem to think about or feel is in any way wrong.
    Corruption in adoption practice is rife, trafficking and baby selling widespread.Come on America get real!

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  5. I'm afraid I agree with Von on this one. One only has to look at the devastating effect that the baby scoop has had on Native (Aboriginal) North American families. The effects are being felt for generations. Removing one's culture is like taking part of their soul.

    I feel it is better to sponsor - remember that many of these children in institutions do have families and it is only a few dollars that keeps them apart in many cases.

    As I have mentioned before, I personally do sponsor children and better step programs which helps keep these children out of the institutions in the first place, These programs keep children with their families, they keep their friends and their culture and in many cases, their standard of living goes up and their futures improved.

    The few bucks I send has helped those children stay in school, and even a school has thanked me for the books they were able to buy as they were sharing one book between 30 pupils. I was sent a wonderful picture of a whole class, each child beaming and holding high their books and pencils that had been bought with a few dollars.

    I also buy "Fair Trade". That stamp means that farm workers are paid a reasonable rate and that the people that employ them have to provide an education to the children of those workers. It is another way of ensuring that families don't end up being forced to put their children into institutions just because the West won't pay them a living wage.

    I agree with Von.
    International adoption is an excuse to keep these institutions and child trafficking going.

    80 to zero abandoned rather proves that point.

    A few bucks in the right place would make all the difference without depriving children of their families, their friends, their culture, their country - Cat.

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  6. "We believe it is better for a child to be adopted into a family anywhere than grow up in an institution."

    On the whole and with a few provisos I agree. But Chuck Johnson's tug-at-the-heartstrings argument why adoptions from Nepal should not be suspended is wrong, wrong, wrong.
    Doesn't he understand that there is suffering for stolen children, their natural parents and for naive adoptive parents who discover too late the harm in which they have unwittingly participated?
    Doesn't that matter to him?

    The NCFA is, to quote Adam Pertman, "an umbrella organization for adoption agencies that are mostly Christian and Mormon" http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/tgr/
    07/3/gr070310.html
    Mister Johnson is as much in the business of saving souls from heathen climes as he is in that of removing babies For Their Own Good from poor/young and/or unmarried mothers in America.
    So, suffer the little children, and bring 'em all in.

    While unlike some other commentators I don't abhor adoption (or America. Enough already!), I too am glad that the State Department has suspended adoptions from Nepal.

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  7. For one additional angle on the Nepal situation, which is without a doubt one of the more egregious examples of corruption, please see
    http://tinyurl.com/36952kd

    The author agrees but argues that "I also believe, after 10 years of working in grass roots childcare in Nepal, that it is overly simplistic to champion the use of family-based care alternatives in Nepal."

    One of the specific issues he raises is step-children tossed out of their families. Currently, at this guy's orphanage they care mostly for rejected step-children and children of prisoners.

    More:

    "From our first-hand experience, I am also deeply skeptical about the rationale and practicalities for providing family support to keep children with families. We tried and it didn’t work, even with our adopting the most focused of approaches as we tried to reunite a few individual children with families. We found that, unsurprisingly, financial support just won’t buy the love of step parents and, if material support is accepted, can force children to remain in a potentially dangerous domestic environment."

    So just another take on the broad issue worth considering.

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  8. Jessica, without reading the other post...but reading your report, I can not help but think of the lions who kill the cubs from other fathers if they take over the pride. In some ways, we are not so removed from that animalistic culture.

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  9. Jessica,

    We're not too far removed in the US from stepfather rejection. I can remember when divorced women with children were considered at an extreme disadvangae in getting re-married, particularly if the father was not paying support. Divorced women often had few job opportunities. Employers didn't want to hire them, considering them immoral or unreliable. They were barred from some professions like teaching. And of course as women, they faced severe discrimination in the work place. Since women had little economic opportunity, they needed to get re-married. I suspect this is the case in Nepal today.

    US women sometimes had to place children in orphanages or with relatives in order to attract a new husband. Other women settled for pretty much any man who would support them and "be a father to their kids."

    When women with kids got married, they often had to negotiate conflicts between their children and the step-father, or worse. Many adults today recount how their stepfathers beat them or sexually molested them. They say their mothers did not intervene, fearful of losing their husbands and source of support.

    One reason women of my generation surrendered their babies was because they were told no man would marry a woman who had a bastard kid. Women were presented with a life on welfare or working at a Woolworth's counter if they kept their babies.

    Having said this, I'm sure that women who give up their kids to get a man suffer great pain just as women who give up their kids for any other reason. The children may be better off in a well-run orphanage where they have contact with their mothers and some hope of reconciliation (perhaps when the stepfather leaves for a younger woman) than leaving their families and their country forever.

    Finally, the truth is that these older kids are not getting adopted in any great numbers. The desired kids are infants and they are the ones trafficked.

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  10. Jessica,

    We're not too far removed in the US from stepfather rejection. I can remember when divorced women with children were considered at an extreme disadvangae in getting re-married, particularly if the father was not paying support. Divorced women often had few job opportunities. Employers didn't want to hire them, considering them immoral or unreliable. And of course, as women, they faced severe discrimination in the work place. Since women had little economic opportunity, they needed to get re-married. I suspect this is the case in Nepal today.

    US women sometimes had to place children in orphanages or with relatives in order to attract a new husband. Other women settled for pretty much any man who would support them and "be a father to their kids."

    Once married, there were often conflicts between children and step-fathers, or worse. Many adults today recount how their stepfathers beat them or sexually molested them. Their mothers did not intervene, fearful of losing their husbands and source of support.

    One reason women of my generation surrendered their babies was because they were told no man would marry a woman who had a bastard kid.

    Having said this, I'm sure that women who give up their kids to get a man suffer great pain just as women who give up their kids for any other reason. The children may be better off in a well-run orphanage where they have contact with their mothers and some hope of reconciliation than leaving their families and their country forever.

    Finally, these older kids are not getting adopted in any great numbers. The desired kids are infants and they are the ones trafficked.

    ReplyDelete

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