Entitlement Through Poverty

Here are some quotes ands links collected this week, relating to International Adoption or to some of the factors which influence the rates of adoption and the way in which adoption is seen as a solution to problems a country may have in feeding it’s population. The way in which food aid is managed leaves ample room for corruption, for exploitation and for aid to never reach those who most need it. When parents are unable to feed their children either through their own efforts or with assistance, adoption is so readily seen as the solution and the opportunities to mislead parents, misinform them about their rights and what they are involving themselves and their children in through adoption, are seized upon with alacrity by the unscrupulous, the profiteers, those who devalue family life and those who see ways to save souls. When you add AIDS, famine, crisis, a different understanding of what adoption means and natural disasters to the mix, children as the most vulnerable members of any community are the first to suffer, to be the subject of exploitation, the victims of child rescuers and those who kidnap, steal, buy and deceive for profit. The naive, vulnerable, ignorant and blinkered are at their mercy and willingly assist in forming the market for children which keeps Transnational Adoption alive and still kicking.
A piece on the Hague Convention and Guatemala –The United States – responsible for 95 per cent of adoptions – has not signed the convention, but Unicef says the US government has signalled it will soon.
“People are rushing because they know that the convention will be in effect in the US and shortly from now there will not be possibilities to continue with this way of running the adoption in Guatemala,” said Manuel Manrique, Unicef director.
Many Guatemalan mothers believe they are giving up their children to a better future.
But for many others, it is also a heart-breaking moment forced on them by poverty, and too often someone else is reaping the financial rewards.

US pressuring Guatemala for babies – Americas – Al Jazeera English.

And a piece on food aid which is closely linked to adoption – Meanwhile, charity groups rallying for a change say that the current setup is outdated. In the 1950s, the federal government wanted to boost struggling farmers’ profits, so they bought up surplus grain and — realizing they then had way too much of it on their hands — decided to ship it overseas to needy countries. And even though the government changed its farm policy in the early 2000s, we’re still managing foreign aid the way we did 60 years ago.

Here Are the U.S. States That Benefit Most From America\'s Wacky International Food-Aid Program – Olga Khazan – The Atlantic.

Entitlement through poverty – For many adoption reformers, the Silsby affair changed the script for how adoption is discussed. Karen Moline, a board member of the watchdog group Parents for Ethical Adoption Reform, says Silsby “put a face to the worst part of what international adoption can be, which is entitlement,” meaning American parents’ sense of entitlement to developing nations’ children.
Susie Krabacher, an American and devout Christian, is director of Mercy and Sharing, a Haitian orphanage founded in 1994 to care for severely disabled, abandoned children, which does not perform adoptions. She says there is enormous economic pressure on Haitian parents to relinquish children. Many orphanages in Haiti provide for children whose parents can’t afford to feed them but who remain involved and visit often. But Haiti also has a history of unethical adoption programs. Post-earthquake, Krabacher says, they have become “the biggest money-making operation in Haiti.” Indeed, many orphanages, mindful of high international adoption fees, tell struggling parents that they should give up one of their children. The financial desperation in Haiti is so intense and the coercion so pervasive, Krabacher says, that the vast majority of Mercy and Sharing’s 181 employees “would have to look at the option of giving up a child if they didn’t have a job.”

The Evangelical Adoption Crusade | The Nation.

Ethiopia and the business of adoption –
For a while, adoptions slowed to nearly a halt. Policies were given an overhaul. Unfortunately, this turned out to be for the better. Why unfortunately? One: because now children would remain institutionalized far longer than necessary; or, far longer than necessary if transparency, honesty, and the children’s best interests were top priority. Two: because now adoption agencies would work even harder to hide what they knew, or could know, in order to quicken the process and promise potential adoptive parents unrealistic wait times. Money being a motivating factor in the business of international adoption, the children, it seems, often end up becoming a mere commodity, with no regard to the fallout of lying to one human being, about another human being’s background, existence, and/or circumstances

Dina McQueen: Open Letter to the Ethiopian Adoption Community.

Denmark and the relationship of “social, economic and political marginalization and discrimination in sending countries as well as the practices of the adoption industry” – We are also getting a bit closer to a more comprehensive investigation of unethical and unlawful adoption practices not just today, but also historically. This is something we need to push further through by documenting that these practices are neither new nor unusual. These past few weeks have been intense, but we are perhaps getting a bit closer to some significant changes in Danish adoption practices. As adoptees we have to come forward and support a comprehensive review and reform of adoption in solidarity with those families in the sending countries who have not yet had a voice in the debate.
BUT we also need to do this in a manner that respects the diverse range of adoptee experiences, good or bad. We can not let this become reduced to a discussion about whether adoptees had a good or bad experience as adoptees. It is about the right to know one’s family and background, and the rights of birth parents and families to access alternatives to transnational adoption. This in turn requires us to address issues of social, economic and political marginalization and discrimination in sending countries as well as the practices of the adoption industry.

Update on the adoption debate in Denmark following the revelation of “Child Harvesters” in Ethiopia. | Adoptionskritik.

Whoever said adoption was simple and all about beauty and love just wasn’t working hard enough. So often prospective adopters and new adopters have not done their homework, they believe everything they are told by agencies and other adopters. They go with their feelings, their good intentions or the instructions they are given and believe everything will be well because all will be taken care of and love will be enough to make it right. Sadly that concentration neglects the side of adoption that is about adoptees – their losses, trauma, abuse and the things they need to deal with and will go on dealing with all their lives.
Of course there are adopters who are very aware of what adoptees face day to day throughout the adopted life and who make every attempt to be the best they can in adoptive parenting. Sadly they are rare, particularly where home studies are inadequate and the vetting process made a nonsense by the need for those doing them to make money.
In 2010, a year when international adoptions overall fell by 13 percent, Bethany Christian Services—one of the nation’s largest agencies, with adoption-related revenues of around $25 million—announced that its placements were up 26 percent and international placements were up 66 percent for the first six months. Adoption inquiries had nearly doubled. Bethany’s numbers have since declined in tandem with the fortunes of the industry, but the countries still experiencing adoption booms—among them African nations such as Ethiopia, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo—have been the focus of intense missionary activity. “I think if evangelicals weren’t driving a lot of the adoption business, there would be no international adoption, period,” Moline said


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