But that reprise was short lived. A recent news (Feb. 19) report from Nepal states that the "West is not impressed by changes in the adoption process," and goes on to quote the US Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs, Janice Jacobs, through a spokesperson: “Assistant Secretary Jacobs noted that recent changes to the adoption process in Nepal are inadequate to address concerns about the origin of the children being matched for inter-country adoption,” said Heather Steil, spokesperson at the US embassy, when asked about the US stance on the recent reform measures, citing a continuing "lack of integrity" in the system.
We know what the words mean--that children continue to be kidnapped off the street, that sleazy adoption practitioners buy and sell street children--or outright kidnap cute ones--that birth certificates and adoption papers are falsified, all in order to feed children into the willing and hungry market for babies. Pound Pup Legacy has documented all kinds of cases, and written about the shoddy practices of Nepal and other poor countries who export children, as we might export cars and washing machines.
I freely admit the Nepal situation bugs the hell out of me because I know where one of those 60 children is. She will grow up and be well taken care of; she will be well educated. Before this adoption happened, I tried to pass on the UN Report about the situation in Nepal, but I do not know if she ever read it. What I heard from several mutual acquaintances is that this woman had to go through innumerable hoops and a long waiting period to adopt. Of course, the child may have been truly free to be adopted; nor am I against all adoptions, as noted in the page (What We Think about Adoption), but I find I can't get this little girl out of my mind whenever the word "Nepal" comes up, or there is a new report about the adoption situation in this poor country.
And to read yet is a new book, Little Princes, by an Irish guy, Conor Grennan, who set out to have a year-long adventure and ended up starting a nonprofit organization, Next Generation Nepal (NGN), dedicated to reconnecting families in Nepal torn apart by child trafficking:
"We care for over 50 rescued children at one time from ages 3-17 while our teams locate their families in remote regions of Nepal. These families have often given up hope of ever seeing their children again. To date, NGN has located over 300 families and reconnected them with their missing children."A cursory look at Little Princes, and other reading, indicates that these children were sometimes simply picked up on the street, and other times they were left in the temporary care of an agency, but with no thought by their parents that they should be adopted. I know Nepal is a terribly poor country, and living conditions there are nowhere near Western standards, but that does not mean that wealthy people from anywhere have a right to their children. Somewhere in Nepal is a sad and grieving mother who has lost her child, or the woman is dead.--lorraine
For more information see: Ethica: An independent voice for ethical adoption
and Pound Pup Legacy
Update: From Huff Po: Orphaned or Stolen? The U.S. State Department investigates adoption from Nepal, 2006-2008:
...For the Americans in Kathmandu, this [closing down adoptions from Nepal] is a shocking disruption of their lives. But for longtime watchers of international adoption, the story is painfully familiar. Just in the past decade, this has happened to families hoping to adopt from Cambodia, from Vietnam, and from Guatemala. It may soon be about to happen to families hoping to adopt from Ethiopia. Once a U.S. Embassy begins to spot "irregularities" --signs of fraud, coercion, corruption, baby buying, and other serious problems--in adoptions from that particular country, it begins to post carefully worded cautions to prospective parents on the Embassy's website and on the State Department adoption website. Sometimes the nation reforms its adoption process. But if not, eventually the U.S. State Department comes to think it has no choice--given its limited powers to regulate or oversee adoptions--but to stop approving adoptions from that country altogether, lest the U.S. unwittingly approves adoptions of children whose birthfamilies never intended to give them up. U.S. adopting families get caught in the middle of this policy change, legally responsible for children they cannot bring home.And....
[I]n 2001, some international adoption agencies and facilitators discovered Nepal. International adoptions spiked from a total of 8 in the year 2000 to 394 in 2006--an enormous leap in a small country undergoing a civil war, when opportunities for corruption and fraud are often particularly rife.
With that rapid expansion, NGOs and the news media began to report on systematic adoption irregularities much like those that had already been seen in Cambodia and Vietnam. Orphanages were being started (or converted) specifically to focus on international adoption, rather than to offer temporary children's shelters and boarding schools for poor families during periods of illness or financial stress. Illiterate parents who left their children in these child-caring institutions, expecting to bring the child home a few months later, would discover to their shock that the child had been adopted abroad. Apparently, once some corrupt officials and unscrupulous individuals discovered what large amounts of Western cash were available for each international adoption, they began to "find" the healthy infants and toddlers that Westerners most wanted to adopt. In 2007, plagued by these accusations, the government of Nepal shut down its international adoption program for reform.