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Adoption gets another blow, this time from Nepal

It’s happened again.  The poo has hit the air circulator again with another negative adoption story.  This time the bad news comes from Nepal.

In case you haven’t figured it out from my earlier posts, adoption is an emotive subject for me and one I will argue in favour of with a passion equalled only by my love for my daughterlets.  But there’s no arguing with the horror of children being stolen from griefstricken parents.  And this is exactly what’s going on in many of the adoption countries.  The adoption world in Nepal is the latest to come into the spotlight, but it is not alone.

The main problem as critics will immediately point out is that there are just too many other factors involved besides the welfare of the children.  It’s not, unfortunately just a question of bringing a child out of poverty and providing him and more often her, with a good home in the West.  Oh no.  That’s a cliche that’s been left behind long ago.

The fact is that there are millions of children around the world who need loving parents, AIDS orphans, disaster orphans, juvenile heads of families, children who are created because their parents needed another breadearner - you can see them from your taxi windows in any number of countries, from Bangladesh to Zimbabwe.

But the fact is that the ragged urchins rich western tourists see in poor countries are probably never going to be adopted out of the country.  Countries wanting to adopt kids out have to have adoption treaties with individual countries wanting to adopt kids in.  And along that pipeline, stand a lot of middlemen and an awful lot of money passing hands.

It’s a story I just don’t want to hear. A couple of years ago, a Dutch family found out that the boy they’d adopted from an Indian orphanage six years earlier, had been stolen, his DNA traced and his biological and still heartbroken family found.  And his mother - understandably - was desperate to get him back.  Equally understandably, his adoptive parents, gutted though they were, couldn’t part with him.

A dreadful reversed Sophie’s Choice.

I live in terror of hearing that kind of news.  I couldn’t part with my girls, never, no way.  But neither could I ever live with the thought that their presence in my life was a constant torture for either of the woman who bore them.

Until international adoption laws ensure that large sums of money are taken out of the adoption equation, until agencies in the developing world don’t stand to make vast profits everytime they hand over a child to a Western couple, then adoption will still always be related in some way to child trafickking.

That’s a hard thing for a loving adoptive parent to accept.

But it’s true.

2 Comments on “Adoption gets another blow, this time from Nepal”

  1. #1 sarla
    on Feb 4th, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    A very balanced view which you have the courage to write about as your two much loved and loving daughters give a personal touch to this sort adoption-debate.
    There are easy solutions to the plight of adopting parents and their adoptees who as grown up adults might realize that their biological parents are alive and well and are still looking for them.

    But what should we be looking at : the good intentions of the adopting parents who give their time and love to bring up the “orphans” or the possible consequences when they realize that these children might be “stolen”.

  2. #2 corinne
    on Feb 6th, 2010 at 6:15 am

    Anything that involves large numbers of people means that there will be the risk, and occurrence, of corruption, but we should not, dare I say it, throw out the baby with the bathwater.
    In most medical interventions there is also risk of inadvertantly doing harm, but this risk is weighed up and if the benefits outweigh the risk then usually you go ahead with the intervention. I strongly believe the risks are worth it to give a child love and nurturing rather than an institution. But I also believe these risks can and must be reduced through careful monitoring and the reduction of incentives for corruption(money).

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