Nepal: Next on the List?

18 02 2010

A Statement of the Joint Council on International Children’s Services on the True Character of Reform Efforts

It is our understanding that the U.S. government, following the lead of Germany, Sweden and Canada, is considering suspending the rights of Nepalese children to find a family through intercountry adoption.   Some in the child welfare community continue to call for the suspension of intercountry adoption until  “reform” can be implemented.

The history of suspensions clearly demonstrates that an ethical and fully functional intercountry adoption process is not the true goal of those calling for suspension.  Of eight countries where the chosen route of reform included the suspension of intercountry adoption, not one country has effectively reconstituted intercountry adoption as an option for children in need.    Suspension without a goal of achieving a full spectrum of permanency services, including intercountry adoption is not in the best interest of children and only replaces one abuse with abuse of another form.

Joint Council, as an advocate for the rights of children, strongly supports the protection of children from abuse – of any type – and we call for a holistic approach to issues of concern such as corruption, institutionalization, deprivation and unregulated local adoption.  The events related to the suffering of Nepalese children, including the current calls for suspension, serve to once again demonstrate the need for a comprehensive strategy as called for in the Families For Orphans Act.

The Families For Orphans Coalition, of which Joint Council is a founding member, has issued a CALL TO ACTION in support of the passage of the Families For Orphans Act.   If you are not sure why you should join our CALL TO ACTION, here are just a few reasons.

Romania – Suspension of intercountry adoption and a child’s right to a family, June 2001…continues to this day.

Cambodia – Suspension of intercountry adoption and a child’s right to a family, December 2001…continues to this day.

Georgia – Suspension of intercountry adoption and a child’s right to a family, August 2003…continues to this day.

Azerbaijan – Suspension of intercountry adoption and a child’s right to a family, May 2004…continues to this day.

Belarus – Suspension of intercountry adoption and a child’s right to a family, October 2004…continues to this day.

Guatemala –  Suspension of intercountry adoption and a child’s right to a family, December 2007…continues to this day.

Vietnam –  Suspension of intercountry adoption and a child’s right to a family, September 2008…continues to this day.

Kyrgyzstan – Suspension of intercountry adoption and a child’s right to a family, September 2008…continues to this day.

Joint Council again calls on you to end the abuse of children masquerading as reform.  Support the Families For Orphans Act and join our CALL TO ACTION.


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9 responses

18 02 2010
Katie Prigel Sharp

Well said.

18 02 2010
Dawn McDaniel

Agreed 100%. We’re passing the CALL TO ACTION forward wherever we can. Our prayers are also added to the cause daily. Keep up the active and vocal advocacy for the children!

19 02 2010
jenny

This “article” fails to mention why adoptions have been suspended in all these countries. Adoption no matter what the cost to the people involved is not a humane option. A Nepalese child in the process of being adopted by foreigners was actually abducted and the birth parents had frantically been searching. Do you really sanction this?
These children that you all want to “save” are from desperately poor countries where corruption is rampant. What if the shoe was on the other foot and masses of wealthy Asians came to the U.S. in search of healthy infants they could take home? And went about it, not caring if this was actually legal, and if the birth parents had been consulted and not coerced?
Please try to be a little more discerning and culturally sensitive and don’t think everyone wants to be forcibly converted to Christianity by white Americans (and to a lesser extent, Europeans.)

20 02 2010
Be The Answer

Jenny,
From what you posted, you might want to take a look at the Families For Orphans Act – you might like what you see.
We agree with some of your points, especially the abuse that is often the nexus of calls for reform. Joint Council is continually developing Standards of Practice for service providers and works with many governments to ensure that children are served ethically and in their best interest.
The main point of our posting is that “reform” is too often not actually reform, but closure – the elimination of what should be a viable option for children in need. True reform would include increased supervision and aggressive prosecution of those who abuse children. What we demonstrated in our posting was that reform in too many countries is simply an end of intercountry adoption. This type of a history calls into question the motivation of those calling for reform. Joint Council recognizes the need for and supports true reform – we just don’t support eliminating a child’s right to a family.
And we support comprehensive reform of child welfare and protection, including in-country domestic adoption and foster care. To think that abuse is somehow unique to intercountry adoption is simplistic and narrow sighted. No one at Joint Council sanctions abuse in intercountry adoption, but neither do we turn a blind eye to the abuse that exists when governments and NGOs fail to develop in-country local solutions, fail to prosecute violators and fail to ensure that children live within permanent parental care.
Lastly, we offer that insinuations without foundation do not advance the dialogue nor shed light on what is a global crisis. Joint Council does in fact promote putting the “shoe on the other foot” through the utilization of intercountry adoption for children in the U.S. foster care system. And the idea that only “healthy infants” are adopted by “white Americans” for conversion to Christianity, simply belies the facts. For example, over 55% of the adoptions from China are for children with special needs – and many would argue that every child who has spent time in the depravity of an orphanage is a child with special needs.
Please know that we, as you asked, strive for cultural sensitivity and discernment. And we respectfully ask that while we are recognizing adoption is not the best solution for most children, that you recognize not every child wants to maintain the culture of an orphanage.

22 02 2010
Thorzzz Daddy

So, Jenny, I take it you sanction starving children to death since their families cannot afford to feed them? That’s what is happening now in Guatemala, since the suspension. I suppose adopting those kids into white American Christian homes is too culturally insensitive, so we should just abandon them.

Maybe a few less straw men in your argument, please. Your horse is so high we can’t even see your face.

Nobody wants to see abuse of any child, and that includes leaving them defenseless and without a future. Very few of us who adopt are particularly wealthy, nor are we trying to convert the world. We are simply trying to have happy, healthy families and perhaps improve the life of one child at a time.

24 02 2010
Lisa

Jenny- Wow, not even sure where your comments are even coming from. I will pray for you to have a change of heart, and to look into the information that JCICS has provided you. Wow again. My heart breaks for you.

P.S. JCICS — YOU ROCK!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you for your tireless work on behalf of the children of the world. YOU ARE THE BEST!!!!!!!

20 02 2010
Patricia Arias

Many thanks to the members and leadership of the Joint Council for your continued advocacy on this issue.

It is heart breaking to think of the millions of children worldwide who are effectively being condemned to live in institutions rather than having a chance at what every child needs and deserves — a loving family. In a world full of cruel fates, international adoption is often a small miracle: a child in need, and parents who want and have the means to give that child love, education and protection, finding each other across land and sea to form a family. That is not said through rose colored glasses; it is my life.

That is why I am very puzzled as to why international adoption seems over the past several years to have become the favorite political whipping post of those who otherwise purport to have the best interests of children at heart, such as UNICEF. Your article implies that there are ulterior political motives at work. Can you speak to what those are?

I take it as a given that when a country like Nepal, with endemic conditions of extreme poverty, closes to international adoption, the result is that thousands of children will be doomed to live their young lives in orphanages — or worse. (Reports cite thousands of children trafficked out of Nepal into the sex trade each year.) The goal should be to implement reforms against abuses in international adoption, but within a philosophical framework that values adoption as an important option for the world’s orphans. Their interest – some would argue a human right – in having a loving family should not be so readily devalued.

22 02 2010
Thorzzz Daddy

The reason UNICEF is trying to shut down adoptions is because they are not making money on the deal in Nepal, or Guatemala, or other places where they have made a fuss. It is not about children, it is about money. Don’t for a minute think that anything the UN does is about improving anyone’s life except those of the bureaucrats involved. If it were about the children, they would provide oversight and cut down on abuses, but instead they wait for a political situation where they can get their kickbacks.

Simple as that.

22 02 2010
Paula

Well said Thorzzz Daddy. We have adopted two children from Guatemala and were disgusted to find out that UNICEF was the cause behind the shut-down. We are going to Guatemala this spring on a mission trip to serve the many children that now reside in an orphanage. Just a few weeks ago the orphanage, of which I am a board member, received a 3-day old baby left on the side of the road in a potato sack. According to Jenny, we should have left him to die instead of taking him into a loving, nurturing, and safe environment. Good thing we interfered. Now he is thriving and in the care of those who love him. If the shoe were on the other foot I would sacrifice anything I had to in order to make sure my children’s best interests were met; even if that included placing them for adoption. I have thought many times what it would be like to be in that situation. If it came to life and death I would choose life and give my child the opportunity to be in a home with a family that loved them. Being alive in another country with an adoptive family is better than dead on the side of the road.

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