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President Basescu at the European Commission, 22 April 2010

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Adopting 'Orphans' - The Lie We Love

It is not without reason that my book subtitles the untold story of the Romanian 'orphans' -
The children in Romanian children's homes were no orphans.
Slowly the world starts acknowledging where the orphan myth is leading to: to demand for adoptable children.

The US and Unicef definition of 'orphans' is that children with one parent are also considered to be 'orphans'. Unicef recently acknowledged that it is time to revisit the use of the term `orphan' and how it is applied to help overcome the confusion.

Unicef- majority of orphans have families

See also:



The Lie We Love


By E. J. Graff


November/December 2008

Foreign adoption seems like the perfect solution to a heartbreaking imbalance: Poor countries have babies in need of homes, and rich countries have homes in need of babies. Unfortunately, those little orphaned bundles of joy may not be orphans at all.

ALEXANDER MARTINEZ/AFP/Getty Images
Who's your mommy?: Parents might never know if their adopted child is truly an orphan.

We all know the story of international adoption: Millions of infants and toddlers have been abandoned or orphaned—placed on the side of a road or on the doorstep of a church, or left parentless due to AIDS, destitution, or war. These little ones find themselves forgotten, living in crowded orphanages or ending up on the streets, facing an uncertain future of misery and neglect. But, if they are lucky, adoring new moms and dads from faraway lands whisk them away for a chance at a better life.

Unfortunately, this story is largely fiction.

Westerners have been sold the myth of a world orphan crisis. We are told that millions of children are waiting for their “forever families” to rescue them from lives of abandonment and abuse. But many of the infants and toddlers being adopted by Western parents today are not orphans at all. Yes, hundreds of thousands of children around the world do need loving homes. But more often than not, the neediest children are sick, disabled, traumatized, or older than 5. They are not the healthy babies that, quite understandably, most Westerners hope to adopt. There are simply not enough healthy, adoptable infants to meet Western demand—and there’s too much Western money in search of children. As a result, many international adoption agencies work not to find homes for needy children but to find children for Western homes.


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