As events continue to develop in Haiti, Kyrgyzstan, Guatemala and Nepal Joint Council would like to get your thoughts and opinions on five key subjects.
Please give some consideration to the following and enter your thoughts and answers as a comment to this post (just click on the word ‘comments’ below – you can enter just your first name if you would like to remain semi-anonymous).
What is an orphan to you? Our guess is that you would say an orphan is a child who is without permanent parents, for one reason or another. Or maybe is a child who has had both parents pass away?
If so, it might come as a shock to you that your definition of an orphan isn’t the same one that UNICEF, Save The Children UK, and at times the U.S. government use. UNICEF has long used the definition that an orphan is a child who has had both or just one parent die. By this type of a definition, a child whose father has died but is living with their mother is considered an orphan. But a child in an orphanage for 10 years, whose living parents have never visited, is not an orphan and does not need to be adopted. If we used this definition, then none of the children in U.S. foster care would be eligible for adoption. And the 600,000 children in Chinese orphanages would not be adoptable. Why do UNICEF and others use this definition? Find out why UNICEF uses it by clicking here.
Do you find the UNICEF definition appropriate? Do you think that a child whose parents have permanently abandoned them is an orphan? Does that child have a right to be adopted?
A Child’s Well-Being
If you were to determine a child’s well-being, what factors would you look at? Health, nutrition, education? Should whether or not a child lives within permanent parental care be included as a key indicator of a child’s well-being? Family life is not included in the indicators of a child’s well-being by UNICEF, Save The Children UK and the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. Here are a few examples:
- UNICEF – out of over 100 indicators of a child’s well-being, not one is specific to a child living withpermanent and legally recognized parent or parents.
- Save The Children UK – Only health nutrition and education are included in their indicators for well-being.
- United Nations Millennium Development Goals – Of the 8 goals and 20 targets, none are focusedon ensuring that a child lives with permanent parental care.
- Millennium Challenge Corporation – Created by the U.S. Congress and spending 7.2 billion dollars since 2004, does not include any programs which directly ensure family life for children.
The United States has long held the family as the cornerstone of society. Given the importance of family to the American people, should the U.S. use tax dollars and donations totaling over 1 billion dollars since 2004, to support organizations that do not share in this core American value and in this basic human right?
The Hague Convention
The Hague Permanent Bureau recently conducted a meeting on intercountry adoption, in which UNICEF and governments from around the world participated. Similarly, UNICEF and the Hague Permanent Bureau often convene teams to advise governments on implementing the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption. Yet neither UNICEF nor the Hague Permanent Bureau has ever conducted an intercountry adoption. In fact, the US Fund for UNICEF has repeatedly told Joint Council that “Intercountry adoption is not what UNICEF does.”
Should adoption professionals be included in the meetings held by The Hague Permanent Bureau? Should trained adoption professionals be included in advising governments on intercountry adoption?
Let Us Hear From You!
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and answers with us. We look forward to posting a summary of your comments. (all identities will be omitted from our summary report). Thanks again!