After Romania closed its doors to intercountry adoptions, the adoption business packed their suitcases and moved to Guatemala, Vietnam, Ukraine etc. Most recently the market is moving to Africa. Foreign adoption agencies are setting up children homes by the minute and thousands of children are flown out. Ethiopia is the saddest example.
But Africa is striking back. Congo, Zambia, Liberia closed their doors as questions are being asked about this new form of slavery and colonisation.
My fear is that soon the importing countries will pressure these countries to join the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoptions, and thus to legalise the trade. Unfortunately this Conventions holds no safeguards whatsoever.
Romania's example showed how the Hague Convention shaped a regulated market for children, in which the rights of children were betrayed. Instead of being a last option, as was intended by international conventions, intercountry adoptions was made into a 'normal' child protection measure. And the receiving countries' politicians, adoption agencies and adopters bended over backwards in their attempts to keep this market open. Political pressure, economical pressure, distorted media reporting - well, it's all in the book.
Not because of the need of children, but because of the need FOR children.
It is the demand side that rules this business.
Instead of saying SORRY to Africa for all our wroingdoings of the past, and pay compensation, the 'developed' Western world now wants their children.
Read this excellent editorial:
Liberia: Uproot Criminal Child Adoption
The Analyst (Monrovia)
EDITORIAL 7 February 2008
THE LATE PRESIDENT William Richard Tolbert described children as his 'precious jewels' and future leaders of the nation, endeavoring by so doing to drive home the idea that today's children are tomorrow's adults with the challenging responsibility to shoulder the affairs of the country. Some of the children of Tolbert's days are obviously today's ministers, directors, doctors, lawyers, rights' advocates to name a few.
IN ESSENCE, THE late President saw the strength of the nation in terms of the quality and quantity of its young people, whose development he considered as underpinning all calculations of national development planning and humanitarian endeavors. But current practice, especially, as an outgrowth of the war era, is the criminal enterprise of child abduction euphemistically camouflaged as adoption. In Liberia today, so called humanitarian workers including religious workers acting on catalogue orders of crafty child-seekers, come to the country under the name of benevolent institutions and establish what are referred to as orphanages. From these institutions, the good-doers capture en masse children of poverty stricken families and quickly fly them to childless couples abroad, who in turn defray their criminal deeds with mouthwatering financial rewards.
WHILE THE ATTITUDE of these child seekers is dangerous to the consistent retention of the population, parents who are easily conceding to the carrying out of these criminal designs must be blamed on the same scale. There is demand and supply that is fueling the evil transaction. But government institutions responsible for monitoring such charitable institutions cannot be spared from the same blame game because the organizations involved in these activities secure the necessary backings before going ahead. It would not be a mistake to say that these officials, not content with their wages as usual are financially trapped against using their best wisdom of nationalism to stem this practice. Like mindless shepherds, they widely open the gates for lions, leopards and other predators to devour their animals. What a shameful dilemma for the innocent children, the gifts of the Creator to both the parents and the country?
WHERE THEN IS the future of the country? What stakes have the country in these children that are carted away without future report about their wellbeing or social progress? In this way, we waste the future of our country without any national consideration of the devastating consequence this will pose for the country. We must learn to keep our children here and secure means of educating them to shoulder the future of the nation with capable leadership. In some ways, there is a similarity of slavery to the current practice of abduction now called adoption. Our ancestors, according to history were captured in the hinterland, herded to the coast and then stockpiled in the holds of ships and taken abroad to provide various forms of backbreaking agricultural supports. Instead of adults, as the current practice is, our younger ones, the tender children, Tolbert's 'Precious Jewels' are taken away in the 21st Century without public outcry or questioning by even 'authorities'.
A RECENT NEWS that provoked this analysis has it that some child adoption groups are now directly engaged in child trafficking. The disturbing news has it that two child adoption agencies Addy's Hope Adoption Agency based in Texas, USA, and Greater Love Children's Home in Liberia are at the center of controversy in this trafficking. According to the news, the two groups have succeeded in taking seven of ten children out of Liberia under the same scheme.
WE BELIEVE THAT this news is a dangerous signal of the extent to which this sad practice in our national history has evolved.