but will continue here: Romania for Export Only BLOG

President Basescu at the European Commission, 22 April 2010

Friday, 11 December 2009

Samoa's stolen children

Adoption Scam? I would rather call it Adoption Crime.

And as long as such crimes go unpunished, and the biggest risk is losing the adoption licence, these crimes will continue over and over again.

Focus on Children scam: No jail time in adoption-fraud case
In a plea deal, four defendants get probation and are banned for life from the business.

CBS News will present, "The Lost Children," a "48 Hours" special, on Saturday, Dec. 12 at 10 p.m. ET/PT - the culmination of a two-year investigation by "48 Hours" into one of the largest foreign adoption scams in U.S. history.


Watch CBS News Videos Online

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Romanian Grandmother looking for her Grandchildren

The Romanian newspaper Curentul today published an article and video about alleged child trafficking for adoption by Klaus Werner Iohannis, who is a candidate to become Romania's new Prime Minister.

... The Iliuţ family tragedy begins in the years 1990-1991, when, taking advantage of early loss of parents of three children, appears on the line school inspector Klaus Werner Iohannis. He, together with his wife, Carmen Georgeta Iohannis brokered at the time more adoptions of children in the county of Sibiu for Canadian and American citizens. About these children nothing is known today, says "Justice". The Committee on Research of Abuses, corruption and Petitions of the Chamber of Deputies investigated the case, and in 2004 Maria Iliuţ was heard, the grandmother of three brothers adopted by a Canadian family through the gang of Iohannis, together with another girl aged only two months...

Full article in Romanian HERE

Monday, 23 November 2009

Recommended reading:

Mirah Riben about how the US treats its children:

Suffer the Children:
The Exploitation of America’s Most Vulnerable

by Mirah Riben / November 23rd, 2009

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest—tost to me,”

And we will send you ours?

Full text HERE

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Madagascar. Adoption of a child. A mother victim of a scam

One by one, mothers who saw their children disappear for intercountry adoption are speaking out. This time a mother from Madagascar, whose child is somewhere in Europe.

Yesterday I read the following statement:

Should original mothers on this planet ever stand up en masse and demand their children back, there will be a revolution the likes of which this planet has never seen.

Let's spread the word, let's give these mothers a voice

Madagascar. Adoption of a child. A mother victim of a scam

By signing papers without having read, Olivia Rakotoarison, the biological mother of Elisa has made the greatest mistake of her life. She wants to see her little girl.

Six years after the "abduction" of her daughter, Olivia Rakotoarison is tired and comes out of her silence. She gave birth January 28, 2003 to little Haja Elisa Andrea. Feeling the victim of a process she calls a plot, Olivia wants to reconnect a close relationship with her daughter and her adoptive parents.
"I confied, in 2003, my daughter to Madame Jacqueline, also called Mother, who was presented as being responsible for a rehabilitation center for children. We agreed that Eliza could stay at the centre, this after having signed an Act before a police officer. Now, I realized that I made a big mistake in signing papers I did not even know the content of, "says she.

For the record, starved and exhausted by a long march they had made, Olivia and her little girl stopped not far from home "Mother" in Ambohimiandra Mahazoarivo. Playing the good Samaritan, Madame Jacqueline supported them.
After a few exchanges the two women agreed that Elisa would be entrusted to Madame Jacqueline, a staff member of a rehabilitation center for children.
"At the police office, Mother asked me already if I wanted the adoption of my daughter by a foreign couple. I replied in the affirmative, provided they would allow me to stay in touch with my Elisa and especially with her adoptive parents, witnesses Olivia, while not remembering having given a precise answer on the subject.

A few days after concluding the agreement with a police officer, Ms. Jacqueline and Olivia went to the court. "I was asked about the reason for my decision to leave my child in a center, but there was no question of adoption. I remember, however, that a European couple was also in court, but their presence did not attract my attention. However, I confirm that I have not signed anything when we were in court, "Olivia insisted...

Full text in French on Abandon & Adoption

Friday, 6 November 2009

“Gotcha” from a mother's perspective

I strongly recommend Jane Trenka's article What does “Gotcha” mean?, in which she gives her mother a voice.

It is no longer a secret that intercountry adoption, in the past and present, is not about 'saving orphans', but about taking children from vulnerable families.

The abuses of the Korean adoption system, spelled out in THIS ARTICLE are not typical for South Korea. They can be found in most if not all other sending countries. Same system, same abuses.

What does “Gotcha” mean?
By Jane Jeong Trenka | Published: November 3, 2009

Lee Pil-rye, Trenka's "birthmother"

November is National Adoption Month. What would such a celebration of adoption, whether in the U.S. or another country, mean to my Korean birthmother?

At the time my mother became a “birthmother,” I was six months old, and my sister was four years old. Because she passed away about nine years ago, I will take the liberty of imagining what she might say about the meaning of adoption in her life, if she could read other people’s blogs in English, and if she could blog back.

What Adoption Means to Me
By Lee Pil-rye

I did not give birth to my child “with my heart.” I gave birth to my child with my body – painful, and tearing.

I did not “give” my child to another mother as a “gift.”

I was desperate and without the means to earn enough money myself. I and my children were victims of domestic violence. There was nowhere for us to go. No one would help us. We were so alone. I had no other choice but to relinquish my children.

But my children did not feel relinquished. They felt abandoned. I am so, so sorry.


See also: Truth and Reconciliation for the Adoption Community of Korea TRACK

Monday, 26 October 2009

Adoption Agencies: GET US CHILDREN. NOW!

Surfing the Internet to look more into the background of the European Convention "Challenges in Adoption Procedures in Europe: Ensuring the Best Interests of the Child", this is what I found.

The Nordic Adoption Council was careless enough to give us a look behind the curtains. Leaving their Members only site open, they gave us a look into their desperation to GET CHILDREN.

Children from other countries. But now that these are more and more reluctant to give their children to foreign child greedy adoption agencies, now they are refocussing on getting children for national adoption too.

Denmark, for example, proudly announces that soon they will have new legislation which will give more Danish adoptions without consent of the parents.

What is going on? Were the Nordic countries not proud of their social system that was such that there were hardly adoptable children? What has changed?

The DEMAND has changed. Until now, the European Adoption Convention adoption was allowed by married heterosexual couples or single persons only.
When Sweden in 2002 allowed gay adoptions, they wanted to withdraw from the European Adoption Convention.
As a result, the Convention was changed: adoption of GLTB is allowed, married - non married. Everything will be allowed.

The revised European Adoption Convention in fact takes away most precautionary measures. For example, adoption may now be granted without that the child has been in the care of the adopters (no testing period):

See how this article got changed:


Article 17

An adoption shall not be granted until the child has been in the care of the adopters for a period long enough to enable a reasonable estimate to be made by the competent auth
ority as to their future relations if the adoption were granted.


Article 19 – Probationary period

States Parties are free to require that the child has been in the care of the adopter before adoption is granted for a period long enough to enable a reasonable estimate to be made by the competent authority as to their future relations if the adoption were granted. In this context the best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration.

I will blog more about this revised Convention later.
Now back to the Nordic Adoption Council.

The adoption market is faced with their own 'FINANCIAL CRISIS' now that the supply side of the market is drying up. The traditionally succesful Nordic countries are the last 5-7 years faced with strong competition from the South (Italy and Spain have reinforced their position the last years - and France already was a strong competitor.

To find children for the new client group, is an extra challenge. For the moment only the United States of America allows their children to be adopted abroad by European same sex partners.

So, now the Nordic countries push to get access to European children. They are a specially invited guest at the European Adoption Conference in Strasbourg.


THE RISK? Instead of having a social system in place to help families, or to provide services and care for children who can for whatever reasons not be cared for by their parents, let's free the children for adoption.

There is a strong demand. Adopters are willing to pay a high price.
The government saves money.

A WIN WIN situation ?



Nordic Adoption Council

Panel Discussion
Debate in Reykjavík
Saturday 16 - 17, the 5th of September 2009.

Moderator: Inga Näslund, Adoptionscentrum, Sweden.
Summary: Gunn Kvalsvik, NAC Board Member

A panel consisting of: Jennifer Degeling (Permanent Bureau, The Hague), Mia Dambach (ISS/IRC, Geneva), Michael Paaske (Adoption & Samfund, Denmark), Erika Bernacchi (ChildONEurope, Firenze), Bente Hoseth (Central Authorities, Norway), Neel Pryds (Central Authority, Denmark), Meit Camving (Central Authority, Sweden), Hanna Rantala (Central Authority Finland).

Issue 1.
The new situation: Fewer children and desperate waiting parents. How to deal with it?

Erika Bernacchi (ChildONEurope):
They asked this question in a survey to all European countries. Trying to find out how countries are dealing with this issue. Some parliamentarians are lobbying to get more children, which is not good.

I do not have answers – I do agree that it is a new situation creating new challenges.

Jennifer Degeling (Permanent Bureau):
I feel that some politicians are using a lot of energy on this issue. Receiving countries making pressure on giving countries is not a good situation. Romania is newest example where politics (EU membership) and adoption were mixed.

Meit Camving (Central Authority, Sweden):
We need to educate and inform parents about the new situation. Which include the information that adoptable children mostly are older than before and with special needs.

Bente Hoseth (Central Authority, Norway):
In Norway I think it is the organisations that strongly feel the situation of today. We are not working so close up to applicants and therefore do not have the first hand information on how it materialises.

Neel Pryds (Central Authority, Denmark):
In the waiting period – we have noticed that some people are quite creative in trying to solve the new situation. Because we have this rule in Denmark giving a possibility to adopt a child outside the normal track, if you have a special connection to the child some are trying to use this to what is it worth. The Good Practice Guide tells us to be even stricter with this practice.

Michael Paaske (Adoption & Samfund):
I am a representative of the parents. I think we have to stress the issue we discussed earlier. We need to tell the Southern European countries about ethics in adoption. Because if their practice continues – they end up taking the whole market.

Hanna Rantala (Central Authority, Finland):
More and more information is the way to deal with this issue.

Mia Dambach (ISS/IRC):
Also at ISS we are aware of the Nordic model. And we are interested in telling the rest of Europe about good moral and ethics.

Sanna Mäkipää (University of Oulu):
It is so important that we come together and discuss this matter. There are tensions also between Nordic countries – we have people asking why Sweden gets more children than us and so on.

I do look forward to the article we will make as a group and hope we also can publish it in our internal magazines.

Hanna Rantala (Central Authority, Finland):
The attitude in the media has changed towards more aggressively asking why we are not willing to help these poor children on orphanages in the world.

Sten Juul Peterson (NAC):
Yes I do think we could publish an article on the Nordic Approach also in the internal magazines of member organizations.

Issue 2.
We need to teach the countries of origin about their rights to make limitations on how many organisations should work in their country. Is there anybody who can tell us how to do that?

Erika Bernacchi (ISS/IRC):
We do not deal with this.

Jennifer Degeling (Permanent Bureau):
One of our most important talks when we travel around is to tell countries about their rights to say no and to limit the number of organisations. This it not specifically mentioned in the convention.

We also try to inform them that they should preferable work with Nordic countries because of your ethics.

Meit Camving (Central Authoritiy, Sweden):
We always discuss these matters when we travel around.

Neel Pryds (Central Authority, Denmark):
Agree with the Swedish answer.

Bente Hoseth (Central Authority, Norway):
I also agree with the Swedes.

Hanna Rantala (Central Authority, Finland):
We do not deal with countries in that way, because we do not travel around.

Mia Dambach (ISS/IRC):
We like the Swedish system (SIDA) very much. Because their contributions are not directly connected with the institutions where the children are staying, there is no way they can mix their roles.

Øystein Gudim (Adopsjonsforum):
We should never forget to be ethical in how we do our jobs. Because there are some organizations out there who are not working in the right way, we have to keep our standards.

A Swedish woman:
I have a dream that we see more assistants from our central authorities when it comes to working together with new countries.

Marianne Wung-Sung (DanAdopt):
I do agree with Denmark and Sweden. We are under heavy pressure – and we do have a competition with other countries. We need more assistance from our central authorities.

Issue 3.
What about recourse centres for adoptees? Do we need it?

Michael Paaske (Adoption & Samfund):
We are finishing a pilot project in Denmark. The evaluation tells us that there is a need and we hope that the project will continue.

Sanna Mäkipää (University of Oulu):
Our project is also about teaching people working with adoptive families about post adoption issues. We find that tit an important issue. We would like to recommend our government to make a centre for adoptive families.

Meit Camving (Central Authority, Sweden):
I always stress this issue when I meet with politicians. I do think it is even more important now when the children are getting older and older when they arrive.

Bente Hoseth (Central Authority, Norway):
The organisations are stressing this issue.

Hanna Rantala (Central Authority Finland):
It is a political question and it takes a lot of money. We can hope.

Issue 4
The issue of national adoption and the right also Nordic children have to get a family, what is the situation?

Neel Pryds (Central Authorities, Denmark):
We do the matching between family and child in our office. Between 10 and 20 adoptions a year are national adoptions. From 1st of October we will have the new legislation which will give more adoptions without consent of the parent.

Tina Tammi (Save the Children, Finland):
We do work with domestic adoptions in Finland. All together we have about 50 domestic adoptions a year. We also look into the possibility for open adoptions.

Bente Hoseth (Central Authority, Norway):
The matching is done by us. The number is only between five and ten children every year. We also have had this discussion in Norway, and especially about the open adoption systems.

Issue 5.
How will/and can our central authorities use the good practice guide?

Bente Hoseth (Central Authority, Norway):
Our plan is to use the guide and discuss it in a common meeting in October. Then the Nordic authorities will meet again.

Issue 6.
There’s a special challenge when special need children are offered to more than one county. Often we see that the Nordic countries loose the competition with for instant USA, because of our system of slow bureaucracy.

Øystein Gudim (Adopsjonsforum):
This problem we do face often.

Marianne Wung-Sung (DanAdopt):
It is also up to us as organisation to not be part of this carrousel. It is up to us to question this kind of practice. We have to tell them that we don’t like it.

Inga Näslund (Sweden):
We also have this situation in Sweden, and uses to work with it.

Other issues addressed:

Erika Bernacchi (ISS/IRC):
We will put something on our web-pages about how you work with post-adoption. The purpose is to tell other countries and organisations about different ways of dealing with post adoption matters.

End of discussion.

Gunn Kvalsvik, 10th of September 2009.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Romanian Government opposes resumption of international adoptions

Yesterday the Romanian Secretary of State for Adoptions, Bogdan Panait, handed in a proposal to re-open intercountry adoption.

Bad news for the Adoption Lobby, because today the Romanian Prime Minister announced NOT to change the adoption law.

Full article HERE


Thursday, 15 October 2009

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

The French and the Adoption Market

With courtesy to ABANDON & ADOPTION where the full text can be read in French.


The French adoptive families are increasingly faced with requestf for "gifts" to the adoption countries. The Associations
affected by this are divided on the practice. The President of the French Adoption Agency, Yves Nicolin, outraged Enfance et Famille d’Adoption, the main association of adoptive families, when he recently mentioned, seeming justifying the practice of requesting "envelopes" from families at the time they receive the child: "I am not there to promote a practice, but it is reality, we must break the taboo and help families by indicating the reasonable sum.
Adopters "are free to give or not, but, those who do not give or do not give sufficiently, must know that they are -- quotation marks – putting "at risk" the adoption of prospective adopters, Yves Nicolin said on radio on August 27.

For the association EFA, this "value” given to unofficial donations is not welcome,
while adoption is regularly suspected of financial and ethical abuses, based on the strong demand.

"Giving more, to adopt more»

While it is "normal" to help the countries of origin, "without returns”
"to create child protection services or to support families, "it should in no way encourage them to monetize their children and create human distress," she counters. "It is abnormal that the president of a public authority encourages himself an attitude which could be summarized with the motto "give more, to adopt more" "
adds the association, who refers to the risk that international adoption
"market economy"….

The number of adoptions in France has dropped 20% in two years(3,162 in 2007 against 4,136 in 2005).

Saturday, 19 September 2009

China's Adoption Myth further unraveled

Some Chinese parents say their babies were stolen for adoption

In some rural areas, instead of levying fines for violations of China's child policies, greedy officials took babies, which would each fetch $3,000 om adoptions.

By Barbara Demick
September 19, 2009

reporting from Tianxi, China - The man from family planning liked to prowl around the mountaintop village, looking for diapers on clotheslines and listening for the cry of a hungry newborn. One day in the spring of 2004, he presented himself at Yang Shuiying's doorstep and commanded: "Bring out the baby."

Full article HERE

Friday, 18 September 2009

Suspension of adoptions from Ethiopia:

Netwerk TV yesterday evenening announced the suspension of adoptions from Ethiopia:

The biggest adoption agency from the Netherlands, Wereldkinderen, stops per immediately with adoption procedures from Ethiopia because of a new adoption scandal.

From research done by the organisation it appears that the background information of the adopted children is not always in line with the information in the files.

In a number of cases the mothers of the childern appeared to be alive, while in the files it was mentioned they were dead.

It is the so-manieth scandal in the adoption world. Recently the former director of Wereldkindren resigned after she was intimidated by the Ministry of Justice because of research into adoption irregularities in China.

This comes head over heels on the Australian revealing documentary FLY AWAY CHILDREN

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Guest Blogger

Today I am guest blogger of my mother's blog. My name is Anne-Catherine and I am seventeen years old. I gave up breakfast and lunch for two days's, not three, as we are on holiday in lovely Greece with a large group of friends and I don't want to lose my good mood!

I do have dinner as we go out to restaurants every night, but it does not help to eat a whole lot as I only get more hungry the next day. It's very hot and we're trying to be not too active. It has been hard at times but I noticed quickly that hunger passes.

Whenever I thought I could not handle it any more, I brushed my teeth, swam or read a book. As long as you're distracted it's not so bad! Once, I was floating on the water on an inflatable mattress, sobbing while thinking of chicken souvlaki and ice-creams, so my mother swam to me to bring me an orange juice and reminding me of the purpose of the hunger strike. I thought of those mothers and many more in the world who are missing their children and how lucky I am to be lying here in a swimming pool, enjoying the sun, on holiday with friends and family.

Even though I am only doing this for two days instead of three, I am glad I did this. I really do hope that this international hunger strike results into something good and at least brings the cases in the news! I've heard enough about these cases to know how horrifying the industry behind adoption is and so I had no doubts when I spontaneously joined my mother in this strike.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009


Today I join the INTERNATIONAL HUNGER STRIKE that was called to support three mothers in Guatemala in getting back their stolen daughters. These daughters were adopted by US families.

In joining this international hunger strike I will fast for three days in the hope that it might help forcing the US side to take appropriate action: to give back these daughters to their mothers.

I am writing these lines from a beautiful terrace in Greece, where I am currently on holiday with my daughter. This makes me realise even more the difference in situation with these mothers whose children were taken away from them against their will, and sold through the children market for intercountry adoption.

Not only am I in a position to enjoy a luxury time off, I also never had to be afraid to lose my child to intercountry adoption because children for this are taken from poverty stricken mothers in countries where the rights of women and children are systematically broken.

These three days I will dedicate not only to the mothers in Guatamala, but also to all other mothers who lost their children unwillingly to intercountry adoption. Mothers in Ethiopia, India, Nepal, Vietnam and so on...

I am proud my daughter spontaneously joined the hunger strike too. She will be my Guest Blogger one of the next days.

Three Days/Three Daugthers

September 1, 2, 3, 2009. Join Us.

Imagine if your child was kidnapped.

Imagine when you reported this to authorities, you were ignored, bullied and dismissed.

Imagine thinking you would never see your child again. And that you could do nothing about it.

Three Days for Three Daughters is an international hunger strike to be held on September first, second and third. The strike is named after three girls who were kidnapped from their three mothers in Guatemala. These mothers, like hundreds of other mothers and fathers in developing nations, wait without answers, help or justice.
In continuation of the hunger strike that was started by Norma Cruz and Fundacion Sobrevivientes in Guatemala on July 15, we are striking for three days, one day for each daughter, to seek justice for the mothers in Guatemala, and to bring attention to the problem of child trafficking in international adoption.

For further info - see previous posting

Friday, 26 June 2009

Guatemala's stolen children

This story about Guatemala is sad example of the result of the demand-driven adoption market. Lawyers, doctors, facilitators bend over backwards to get children for adoption.

That's not just the case in Guatemala, read what Yuri Pavlenko, Ukranian Minister for Family, Youth and Sport, has to say about this: Full text HERE:

... But most of the trouble has been caused by middlemen, who allegedly help foreign families to adopt Ukrainian children and charge $30,000-$50,000 for their services. This is precisely what gives rise to talk of public officers’ supposedly corrupt practice. “They come to the Department and make impudent demands. The system that appears to have been formed in the early nineties has penetrated deep into the country and affected boarding schools, orphanages and maternity hospitals”- says Yuri Pavlenko...”

Liudmila Volynets, Head of the Ukrainian State Department for Adoption and Protection of Children’s Rights is of the opinion that the Hague Convention would be a great benefit in the matter of a full-fledged protection for children adopted by foreign families, and counteraction to corrupt middlemen. Unfortunately experience has proven otherwise. Under the Hague Convention these middlemen set up their own adoption agencies, and business continues as usual. Better regulated, but with a devestating effect on local child protection. Romania, the first country to fully implement the Hague Convention, is the proof of that. For more on this read


To get the full picture, read my book Romania, For Export Only

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

No More Angels - Operation Babylift

With Courtesy to the Humanist, Published in the May/June 2009 Humanist

For the full article click HERE

No More Angels For You

Vietnam is currently experiencing social and economic growing pains similar to those South Korea went through during the 1970s and 80s. Korean children were the hot commodity in international adoption up until many adult Korean adoptees put the South Korean government’s feet to the fire and made it acknowledge the mass production aspect of its adoption policies. In early 2008, the U.S. State Department investigated a growing number of inconsistencies in the documentation of children’s orphan status and reports of child trafficking. This led to a halt in adoptions between the United States and Vietnam in September. But, much like the attitude exhibited by Americans in 1975 when Operation Babylift commenced and they were criticized for seemingly taking advantage of a bad situation, many prospective American adoptive parents today are incredulous about the charges of official corruption and baby selling. These children only need a home and a loving family, they plead. Who would ever deny them that?

To this day, first-generation transracial adoptees from Korea and Vietnam are generally referred to as “war orphans” in the media and by people we encounter on a daily basis, as if it is a self-applied term of endearment. The main assumption is that we were rescued from a tragic past and handed a hopeful future, and that to look back and piece together the facts behind our orphan status would be counterproductive and even unhealthy.

Yet, this is exactly what we are doing. We dare not only to question the historical interpretations of the Korean and Vietnam Wars, but also other people’s motives and methods for transporting us out of our birth countries. The question we ask is one few people are willing, or even prepared, to answer: Who made us orphans in the first place? In order for us to have gained our second set of parents, we had to lose our first.

Yes, people can say that we were saved. But we’ll be damned if we let them have the last word.

Born Nguyen Duc Minh in the Gia Dinh district of Saigon, Kevin Minh Allen was adopted at nine months and flown to the United States in August 1974. He grew up in a suburb of Rochester, New York, and as an adult moved to Seattle, Washington, where he is currently enjoying the view. He has completed his first, as yet unpublished poetry manuscript, titled The Wind above the Coast.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Adoption: In The Best Interest of Madgeness

Mercy's world of Madgeness

EXCLUSIVE by Nick Owens 21/06/2009
Tot flown 6,000 miles from home to meet new mum Madonna and family in London.. and is whisked straight to a Kabbalah meeting

Little Mercy James spent 12 hours flying 6,000 miles to start her new life with adoptive mum Madonna yesterday… then was driven straight to a Kabbalah meeting.
Under cover of darkness in Malawi on Friday the three-year-old was taken from all that was familiar to her, put on a private jet and flown into Madonna’s arms in London.

But Mercy wasn’t allowed time to play with toys or settle into her new life. Instead, within hours of arriving, Madonna whisked the child and her new siblings Lourdes, 12, Rocco, eight and David, three, to her first lesson in the controversial Kabbalah faith.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Madonna, Adoption, Kabbalah & Colonialism

It's a done deal: after pledging 12 million dollar to Malawi, the Malawian Supreme Court allowed Madonna to adopt Mercy James.

The Guardian's below article is worth reading:

Madonna, Mercy and Malawi: her fight to adopt a second African child

Three years ago a storm of protest blew up when Madonna adopted David Banda from a Malawian orphanage. Today the country's highest court is due to decide whether she can now adopt four-year-old Mercy James. Jacques Peretti tracks down the girl's family and asks: what's best for Mercy?


Well these days adoption is a hot thing,
you can get a child for nearly nothing.
You take them home to a nanny,
buy off ur guilt with toys and candy.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Safe Haven Bill, New Brunswick, Canada

I gladly pass on this call to action:

Call To Action
Government Of New Brunswick, Canada
Bill 60 - An Act to Amend the Family Services Act
[Safe Haven Bill]

The new proposed safe haven bill is a dangerous leap in the wrong direction for Canada’s child welfare system and most importantly for the rights of the child. At a time when the emphasis of global recognition is directed towards placing more safeguards for children and respect for the preservation of identity, the New Brunswick government is taking into consideration Bill 60 which would actually allow for safe havens to become part of New Brunswick’s system of Family Services.

Safe Haven’s have been introduced in the United States after lobbying efforts were successful. The rush to establish Safe Haven systems in the U.S. has allowed an opportunity for Canada to learn from the consequences of such “anonymous abandonment” systems. The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute released a detailed study in 2003 regarding the effects of the Safe Haven laws: “Unintended Consequences: ‘Safe Haven’ Laws are Causing Problems, Not Solving Them”. This study concluded that indeed the unintended consequences of the Safe Haven laws created addition problems without addressing the underlying issues that contribute to child abandonment. Below are just a few examples of the many negative consequences of Safe Haven systems.

 Safe Haven laws contribute to additional anonymous abandonment’s and do little to prevent unnecessary relinquishments.
 Safe Haven systems do nothing to preserve the rights of the child in respect to identity and biological history.
 The First Nations Adoption Act cannot be adequately respected under Safe Haven systems due to the lack of information on ethnic identity.
 Safe Haven systems dismiss the paternal rights.
 Safeguards against child trafficking will not properly be upheld if Safe Haven systems are allowed into Canadian laws.
 Minimal support is given to parents and little time is offered to ensure that the decision to surrender is fully done in the proper frame of mind and with the best interest of the child at heart.

As a community that has been touched by adoption on multiple levels, we reach out to the New Brunswick Government and respectfully request that the proposed ‘Bill 60- An Act To Amend Family Services Act’ is not instated. It is important that all provinces within Canada recognize the growing trend of child trafficking for adoption and the coercive methods used by the adoption industry to procure children. It is important that the Canadian government takes the firm approach necessary to put in place all safeguards possible to ensure that the children who are relinquished are done so under voluntary measures and are free from undue pressure and corruption. Counselling and adequate time should be offered to any parent who chooses to surrender their child. Proper identity of the parents and all necessary procedures to preserve the identity of the child must be taken.

In the year 2009, it is no longer considered acceptable to allow for anonymous abandonment’s of children. We now know that this method is not only harmful to the child, but also to the parents and the community as a whole. Preservation of identity and laws are more important now than ever before.

It is our hope that the New Brunswick Government will take into consideration the moral and legal dilemmas associated with Safe Haven laws and work to properly establish more support and education systems geared towards preventing infant abandonment. Ideally with a well-structured system that includes multiple safeguards, the best interests of the child and parents will continue to be a priority. Allowing Safe Haven laws to become part of Canada’s system of family services would be a shameful step in the wrong direction.


Proposed Bill was introduced by Jody Carr -- Progressive Conservative member from Oromocto
Please write to each member of the New Brunswick Government below:

Phone: (506) 453-7494
Fax: (506) 453-3461
Mailing Address
Old Education Building, East Block
P. O. Box 6000
Fredericton, NB
E3B 5H1

David Alward
Leader of the Official Opposition
General Information: (506) 444-2324
Reception: (506) 444-2324
Fax: (506) 453-3461
Mailing Address
Old Education Building, East Block
P. O. Box 6000
Fredericton, NB
E3B 5H1

Social Development Minister Mary Schryer
Quispamsis, Electoral District 30 / Legislative Assembly
Phone: (506) 457-7866
Fax: (506) 453-2164
EMail Address:
Mailing Address
Sartain MacDonald Building
P. O. Box 6000
Fredericton, NB
E3B 5H1

Contact Information
Phone: (506) 453-2144
Fax: (506) 453-7407
EMail Address:
Mailing Address
Centennial Building
P. O. Box 6000
Fredericton, NB
E3B 5H1

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Why Bulgaria should learn from Malawi when it gets to children's rights

I strongly recommend the following article to anyone interested in children's rights and intercountry adoption. It analyses in an excellent way why Bulgaria should learn from Malawi: that it is the State's obligation to look after children, and not to expatriate them.

Madonna’s failed adoption attempt shows Bulgaria has a lot to learn from Malawi about upholding children’s rights

In 2009 - two years after having become a member of the European Union and thus fullfilling the EU human rights criteria - Bulgaria has decided to go back to their old practice: intercountry adoption as child protection.

Here a quote from the article about an intercountry adoption conference recently held in Bulgaria:

Five years later things seem to be going back to where they were before the ratification of the Hague convention and before the European Commission’s criticisms. On 19 March an international conference on intercountry adoptions took place in Sofia, Bulgaria. The conference was co-organised by the Ministry of Justice and the Association of accredited intercountry adoption agencies. There was very little information about the event, but apparently, children’s rights organisations were not present (and I am not even sure if the State Agency for Child Protection had any representatives - there was nothing about this conference on its website, which definitely means that none of its senior representatives has taken part in it). This must have left the field clear for the right type of discussion - unburdened by paraphernalia like children’s rights, UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, or Bulgaria’s own Child Protection Act.

‘Brilliant’ results were reported at the conference - the number of intercountry adoptions is going up again. The information about the conference published by the English language weekly Sofia Echo shows a steep upward trend: “Compared to 2007 when there were 81 approvals from the Justice Minister for children’s adoptions, in 2008 there were 169.”** (By the way, the author of the article explains the official legislative position in Bulgaria that intercountry adoption should be a measure of last resort as a ‘patriotic concept’! If he ever bothers to read a relevant document on the rights of the child, he will be surprised to find out that international law in this area is premised on the same ‘patriotic concept’).

I also had been looking for information about that conference, and indeed it could not be found on the Bulgarian State Agency for Child Protection's website:

However, information on the conference was only available on the website of VESTA, where it is said that Bulgaria is 'Defrosting after ice age' (Bulgarian adoptions were as good as closed the last four years).

VESTA is the partner of one the biggest US agencies: HOLT International Children Services. They also facilitate All God's Children International, Three of Life and Gladney.

On Holt's Blog, in October 2008, the following can be read:

Wharfield and Smith also met with Bulgaria’s Deputy Minister of Justice. The attorney and CEO of Holt’s Bulgarian partner agency, Vesta, is currently working with the Ministry of Justice to draft a new family code that will amend the law favorably for adoption practices, including children with special needs.

So, here we have a US Adoption Agency working on the new family code in Bulgaria!


Country Fee HOLT:

Depending on the country, fees for adopting healthy or minor special needs children are as follows:

Bulgaria $16,000
China $11,360
Ethiopia $9,690*
India $9,190*
Korea $17,215
Nepal $12,000
Philippines $9,890
Thailand $9,190*
Vietnam $10,325

Friday, 3 April 2009

MALAWI understands the intercountry adoption game

Congratulations for the Malawian judge who understood the risks and long term effects of celebrity adoptions.


Published: Today

POP queen MADONNA was "furious" today after a judge in Malawi sensationally denied her bid to adopt little MERCY.
Madonna was told she could not take the tot back with her to the US because the singer was not a permanent resident of Malawi.
Sources close to the star said she was "spitting blood" after the judge defied the Malawian government to deny the adoption.
But the judge launched a stinging attack on high profile celebrities flying in to poverty-stricken countries and adopting children.
The ruling said: “Put simply courts do make law by the process of precedence and Miss Madonna may not be the only international person interested in adopting the so-called poor children of Malawi.
“By removing the very safeguard that is supposed to protect our children the courts by their pronouncements could actively facilitate trafficking of children by some unscrupulous individuals who would take advantage of the weakness of the law of the land.
“Anyone could come to Malawi and quickly arrange an adoption that might have grave consequences on the very children that the law seeks to protect.
“Having considered this then, at the end of the day I must decline to grant the application for the adoption of the infant CJ.”


Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Monday, 23 March 2009

Ethiopians condemn the sale of children for adoption

Last week Canadian CBC gave a voice to Canadian adoptive parent's concern about their Ethiopian children. Contrary to what was mentioned on the adoption papers, CBC documented that the children were no orphans.

Full article HERE

The (French) videos can be watched HERE

The Solidarity Committee for Ethiopian Political Prisoners is coming to the rescue of Ethopia's children. Today the below statement was published online:

March 22/2009

The sale of Ethiopian children under the cover of adoption has now reached alarming proportions with more than 70 adoption agencies in action and the Ministry of women’s affairs and government backed middle men busy selling off children.

There are laws and regulations concerning adoption procedures in Ethiopia. These are not being observed at all. The official agencies engaged in the brazen sale of children are more or less all linked to the regime’s power holders (including Meles Zenawi) and documents are forged, evidence silenced and children given false identities and sold for the highest bidder. Ethiopian children are cheap to adopt (as compared to Russian and Cambodian ones) say many coming to adopt. The adoption racket involves not orphaned children only (of whom there are some 5 million) but children with parents who are sold off because the parents are poor. The child adopted by actress Angelina Jolie is not an orphan but with live parents who are Christian and not Moslem (and therefore the change of the child’s name to Zahra by her adoptive “mother” is improper). Many foreigners have adopted children who have parents after the authorities had informed them falsely that the children are orphans.

With thousands of Ethiopian children being sold off in their thousands at ten thousand dollars minimum per head the regime is reaping in millions. It is a profitable business that violates the rights of children and parents too. It is such a cruel undertaking that brothers and sisters have been separated and sold off for adoption to persons living in different countries. The waiting and investigation period prior to the adoption in accord with the law of Ethiopia is not observed at all. Thus, in Ethiopia now adoption is a racket, an illegal business and those who take part in it are abetting in the violation of the rights of children.


Friday, 20 March 2009

Children of the World for Sale

Twenty years ago, a Dutch Member of Parliament drafted a report on the sale of children. Not much changed since then...

Anyone out there having the full report?

With courtesy to PPL

Children of the World for Sale - Where end of the line is for some

December 16, 1987

Amsterdam - Along the seamy side streets of the Zeedijk, Amsterdam's notorious red-light district, money buys anything from a marijuana joint to a full-length pornographic video starring 10-year-old children.

"Everything is possible here," boasts a sex shop owner, explaining that the illegality of child porn does not deter its sale alongside adult movies. This, he says, is largely the result of police apathy and the roaring trade in sex tourism that it attracts.

"The presence of children of both sexes ready to satisfy the sexual appetites of organized tourist groups is very often an additional attraction," says Dutch Labor parliment member Piet Stoffelen. His recent report on the international trade in children links adoption, prostitution, pornography and slavery to the traffic in children from developing countries to the United States and Europe.

His report, based on the findings of Interpol, the Anti-Slavery Society, the International Labor Organization, various U.N.groups, adoption agencies and local newspaper reports, reveals that some governments in Latin America and Southeast Asia condone the illegal child trade.

"Their cash-strapped economies and the need for foreign currency often drive developing countries to become embroiled in international networks of intrigue surrounding child traffic abroad," Stoffelen says.

Adoptions for profit in Guatemala resulted in the export of 166 children between October 1981 and March 1986. Of these, 79 went to the United States, 27 to Belgium, 16 to Italy, 13 to Canada, 12 to Norway, eight to Sweden, six to West Germany and five to France. In February 1987, Guatemalan police discovered a nursery of 14 babies who had been sold before birth. Others were snatched by gangs of cut-throat dealers who got $50 each. The nursery owner, meanwhile, received $20,000 for each exported child.

The Horror Stories
Similar horror stories are reported from El Salvador, which exports hundreds of babies to the United States and Europe, especially Belgium, West Germany and France. Baby hunters are scavenging in villages, refugee camps and the slum quarters of towns. According to official Salvadoran information: "The economic demand for children for adoption causes not only illegal trade and fraud, but also the counterfeiting of documents and the abduction of children."

Stoffelen says, "The adoptable child is, bluntly speaking, a commercial object commanding five-figure prices. In such circumstances, the interests of the children are not even of secondary consideration. The profit motive leads to many parents selling their kids for adoption. Pregnant mothers are persuaded to sign away their future babies in exchange for a few weeks' food and shelter in the immediate prenatal period."

The report paints a similarly dismal picture of the sexual exploitation of children. Studies by a French children's organization estimated that there are about 5,000 boys and 3,000 girls working as prostitutes in Paris. About 300,000 boys do so in the United States and - while officially classified as runaways - a proportion of the 15,000 juveniles reported missing in Britain each year become prostitutes. Part of the reason is that the prices for sex with children are up to five times higher than the adult rate.

Quoting a conference of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, the Stoffelen report notes that the prostitutes most in demand in Latin America are between the ages of 10 and 14: "Depending on her physique and the services which she is able to provide, a girl of 12 can earn as much as $500 a month, which is more than 10 times the amount an adult can earn by working all day long in a factory. Once a girl of 12 or 13 has earned so much money, there is little hope that she will give up prostitution . . . Over the years the prostitution of minors has become an industry, one from which many families make their entire living."

A similar scenario emerges for Hong Kong and Bangkok, where girl children are handed over for the equivalent of a few U.S. dollars to a pimp and soon find themselves locked into prostitution. Macao girls bought for $100 to $200 are worth 40 times as much on reaching the United States.

Despite the paucity of direct police evidence that children from developing countries, in particular, are sold in Europe and the United States for the explicit purpose of prostitution and pornography, Stoffelen says local newspaper reports suggest this is quite common. "Children are often bought from desperate, impoverished parents by false adopters who offer a better life abroad. They are also kidnapped and sold to middlemen who ship them abroad."

A typical report is that in which a Bolivian lawyer was accused of having paid kidnappers $40 for a boy whom he sold to a Belgian couple for $10,000. Such cases occur frequently, the report suggests; it claims many adoption rings and aid agencies operate as covers for the traffic. Occasionally this involves professionals - like the doctor who informed new mothers that their babies were stillborn while he was selling them to an adoption racket.

Disguised traffic involves the hiring of women or girls to work away from home in the entertainment industry as dancers, cabaret artists and bartenders. On comming into contact with prostitutes and pimps they often get involved themselves. Others are forced into prostitution to repay debts to the employment agency which paid their travel from developing countries and found them jobs in the United States and Europe. As strangers in a foreign land they seldom know their rights or to whom the y can turn.

Prostitution in West
Others are hired explicitly for prostitution in the West. According to Interpol sources, they are supplied along recognized routes - sometimes secretly, sometimes through established covers. "Few countries, with the possible exception of some with planned economies, are free of the international traffic," Stoffelen says.

"But it is not confined simply to a flow from the less developed to the more developed countries. It would be more accurate to say that the movement involves the traffic of poor women toward rich men, in all directions."

In any event, the flow is aided and abetted by the international "escort" agencies operating not merely in European cities like Amsterdam, Barcelona, Hamburg, Paris, Marseilles and New York, but also in Bombay, Macao, Singapore and Mexico City. Local contact bureaus arrange meetings in these countries, while inter-country contacts are made through international "marriage travel agencies."

Menger's Travels, an agency operating in West Germany, advertised the delights of "gentle, tender and faithful" girls from Thailand, Taiwan and the Philippines, until it was exposed. It guaranteed marriage within a year for German clients.

Clients of another agency offering similar services, the German Interpart Company, chose women from a catalog of photographs and reputedly paid the bureau $5,000 for a return ticket to Bangkok plus accommodation in a hotel, in order to visit their chosen partners. If a marriage were arranged, a further sum had to be paid to the company.

The report says that the kind of organized child prostitution usually associated with some urban areas of Southeast Asia, particularly Thailand, also exists in Latin America, especially in Brazil and Peru. African tourist resorts - such as Hammamet, Djerba, Abidjan and Dakar - exploit young African boys as shamelessly as their Thai counterparts treat young masseuses.

And a recent report by Terre des Hommes has highlighted the prostitution of small boys in Sri Lanka, where about 2,000 work in the capital, Colombo. "Pimps and procurers play the most important role in supplying young girls to the customers, by providing false identities for them," Stoffelen says. "For false identities to function, official bureaucracy and police authorities must collaborate at some stage with pimps."

Market for Pornography
The market for video pornography with children is also thought to function with at least the knowledge of many government officials. Even in the Netherlands, where controls on the abuse of Dutch children may be expected to be tighter, a recent scandal involving children used for pornography in the staunchly Calvinist village of Oude Pekala suggested local knowledge. The problem is also growing in Third World oil-producing countries, which have taken a leaf out of Amsterdam's homosexual guides, which contain addresses, hotels, rates, local agents and the allowable legal limits.

Other forms of child trade mentioned in the report include the purchase of children aged 10-15 from gypsy families in the South Serbia, Macedonia and Kosova areas of South Yugoslavia for about $30, for sale to gangs in Italy for about $7,500. After being taught the skills of theft and prostitution, the children earn many times their price. Those refusing to work are beaten, or chained for days without food or drink.

"There are so many varieties of child trade that a simple solution does not exist," Stoffelen says. "If one really wants to solve the problems involved there must be better and more development aid, improvement of education, and policies to eradicate social and economic misery in specific areas and towns. Poverty is no doubt the most important cause of the problem."

His report suggests the trade can be curbed, however, through new laws and tighter policing of existing legislation. These recommendations are under consideration by the 21-nation Council of Europe in Strasbourg.

"It's a long road ahead, but we must take it," Stoffelen says. "In a free market economy, where price determines virtually everything, it is inevitable that trade of this sort flourishes. But that should not deter our efforts to legislate against one of the most undesirable forms of trade known to man."

Monday, 9 March 2009

Meet the Parents

Another Indian family desperately looking for their child. This time Mother Jones traced the child in the United States:

Meet the Parents: The Dark Side of Overseas Adoption

A Midwestern kid's family believes his birth parents put him up for adoption. An Indian couple claim he was kidnapped from them and sold. Who's right?
—By Scott Carney

—Photo: Scott Carney

March/April 2009
After hours hunched behind the wheel of a rented Kia, flying past cornfields and small-town churches, I'm parked on a Midwestern street, trying not to look conspicuous. Across the way, a preteen boy dressed in silver athletic shorts and a football T-shirt plays with a stick in his front yard. My heart thumps painfully. I wonder if I'm ready to change his life forever.

For the full article CLICK HERE


Sunday, 8 March 2009


Informal translation from Spanish: EL PAIS

NGOs denounce irregularities in the delivery of children with local families
ANA ROJAS GABRIELA - New Delhi - 03/03/2009

On the death of her husband, Nirmala Thapa, Nepalese of 35 years, was forced to surrender her three youngest children to a juvenile center. Offering them care and educate them while she recovered from her economic strangulation. But, when she wanted to retrieve them, she discovered they had been given up for adoption to a Spanish family. It is one of the cases recorded by CWIN, a Nepalese NGO for the protection of children.

The parents say they were deceived in signing the papers

The adoptive parents argue that children lived in extreme poverty

"The woman is since three years trying to have her children returned, but it is very difficult: she signed a letter in which he gave the power, but she was deceived as she can not read," said Madhav Pradhan, director of CWIN. Pradhan says that her NGO Thapa helped to report the case to the District government in Kathmandu. Her organization has supported five other families to reclaim seven Nepalese children who have been adopted by Spaniards. In her view, "most of Nepalese international adoptions have been made illegally."

A study last year by UNICEF and the Swiss NGO Terre des Hommes (TDH) said that poor regulation resulted in the sale, abduction and trafficking of children, and that an industry was flourishing in which "the economic benefit counted more than the welfare of the child." Adoptive parents pay up to $ 25,000 (20,000 euros) per child. The director of a center recognizes that often there is deception "the poor in rural areas say they take their children to a boarding school in Kathmandu, instead they are given up for adoption by foreigners." Seven out of nine parents signed the letter in which they relinguished their children without understanding, the report says.

UNICEF and TDH are not sure what percentage of children taken to Spain was in this situation, but say that the irregularities are not unusual. " Up to 80% of the children could have stayed in Nepal "and reunited with relatives," said the delegate from TDH, Joseph L. Aguettant.

Spain is the country that adopted most Nepalese since 2000 (681 of the 2314 delivered). Of these, about 170 happened last year. Sources from the Spanish Embassy in New Delhi claim that their role has been to provide the passport for the child if the documents were in order.
Spaniards questioned by this newspaper say they knew that their adoptive children had parents, but that in Nepal families are so poor that they believe their children will be better off abroad. "My daughter is big enough to express her wishes and wants to be adopted: their recently widowed mother could not keep all her children," said José Luis (assumed name). Mary (another nickname) has learned about the parents of her daughter when at the Ministry of Justice to declare for the second time they wanted to give the child up for adoption. "It was a poor family that was relatively calm and happy that their child could be raised in better conditions. Everything has been transparent," he says. Spaniards consulted agree on the propriety of the process. Also that the ideal is that the parents could stay with their children, but that it is "utopian" in such a poor country.

But child rights advocates say the opposite: "It's very arrogant to think that just because we are rich we will provide a better future. Children are always better with their family and if not, in their country. We are not opposed to international adoption, but it must be the last resort, "said the representative of TdH. This coincides with opinion of the Unicef representative in Nepal, Joanne Doucet. "We must promote domestic adoption," she says. However, only 4% of the children are placed with local families. The Secretary of the Ministry of Women and Children does not understand the position of UNICEF and TDH: "Many children will be better off," she says.

Meanwhile, children in schools and orphanages in Nepal there are about 15,000 children, many of whom have parents, and arrived there by fraud or coercion. Irregularities increased since 2000, when orphanages lost their monopoly and workers created their own juvenile business, "says the manager of TDH. In these places the children live in appalling conditions.

As concerning the young Nepalese who are in Spain and "who are not orphans in the strict sense of the word," experts believe that there is very little chance of them returning to their country. "Now it's too late. After the adoption has been declared they are Spanish citizens," laments the delegate from TDH.


To give children in adoption to foreigners is a good business for the orphanages in Nepal. According to conservative figures from Unicef and the Swiss NGO TdH, these practices bring the centers about two million dollars (1.5 million euros) in 2006 alone. And it could be much more, as the centers pressure adoptive parents to give more money after they grew fond of the children.

Spaniards interviewed denied having been extorted. "I did not see anything shady in Nepal, but, as elsewhere, there could be bad people that enrich themselves with this situation. The fault lies with the families who will take forward their checkbook," says one adoptive mother.

Since January this year, the Government of Nepal has introduced new regulations for the process as a result of pressure from workers for children's rights. Now children can only be given up for adoption through registered centres, and the Ministry of Women and Children assigns children to families. Still, advocates for the rights of children are pessimistic. "The situation is uncertain: the centers that were trafficking are still operating to cater for children and are accredited," said the delegate of Nepal TDH, Joseph L. Aguettant.

Another serious concern is that "the directors of the centers are the ones who decide which children are adoptable and are the recipients of the money: so it is convenient for them to consider many children as orphans and to give them for international adoption," says Joanne Doucet, Unicef.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Spain looking into adoption crimes

Spain, one of the main importers of foreign children nowadays, is now confronted with its past when children were unjustifiedly taken from their parents.

It took 60 years...

How long will it take China, India, Guatamala, Vietnam and many other countries, like Romania, until they will investigate why children were sold for adoption. Often the children concerned were from (disliked) minorities.

Spain looks back at dark chapter of adoptions
By DANIEL WOOLLS – 7 hours ago

SARRIA DE TER, Spain (AP) — As Antonia Radas left school one day in 1945, a cheerful third-grader growing up as a beloved only child, a stranger greeted her with shocking news. The little girl was not who she thought she was.

"I am your brother, and I have come to take you back to mother," Radas, now 70, recalls the man saying. He looked to be 19 or 20, and wore khaki military garb with a white cape; she was in the crisp gray uniform of her parochial school in Spain's Canary Islands.

Radas did not believe him, insisting she had no siblings, and stayed put. But that man was in fact her elder brother Jose.

It would take decades for Radas to learn the truth about her past: that she was one of perhaps thousands of child victims separated from their parents toward the end of the 1936-1939 Spanish Civil War and its immediate aftermath.

The ordeal of Radas and others is now putting Spain under pressure to take a closer look at a dark chapter of its past. Historians say government archives show that the right-wing regime of Gen. Francisco Franco waged a campaign to take away children of their enemies, Republican prisoners, and sometimes stripped women of newborn babies. The goal was to educate the children to shy from leftist thought, embrace Roman Catholicism and support the regime.

As part of an unprecedented ruling last year that accused Franco's forces of crimes against humanity, Spain's best-known judge, Baltasar Garzon, called for an investigation into the cases of people known as "the lost children of the Franco regime." He complained that "in 60 years they have not been the subject of any investigation whatsoever."

Saturday, 28 February 2009

Adoption from Samoa - lost children

The US adoption agency Focus on Children misled Samoan families, and had their children adopted for the price of 13.000 US dollars each.

Is that a crime? Is that child trafficking?

Not so, according the the US judge who had mercy and gave no prison time:

Prosecutors accused the five of conspiring to arrange adoptions that violated U.S. immigration laws, and alleged the scheme included lying to Samoan birth parents and American adoptive parents. As part of a plea bargain with the U.S. Attorney's Office, all five pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the illegal entry of an alien, a misdemeanor.
Dozens of felony charges against them were dropped, and prosecutors recommended probation. Wakefield is expected to get the same sentence as the others.
U.S. District Judge David Sam instead sentenced the four to five years of probation and ordered them to contribute to a trust fund to help adopted children stay in touch with their birth families. He also ordered the defendants to never engage in the adoption business again.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Stolen and Sold for Adoption

Hearing the disturbing news of children kidnapped for adoption, Australian Julia Rollings followed her heart and traced her adopted children's parents in India. And not only that. She connected both families.

Let's hope more families follow her example.

Stolen and Sold
Broadcast: 24/02/2009

Reporter: Sally Sara

Sabila and Akil with their birth mother Sunama

View promo

What would you do if you discovered your adopted children were stolen and trafficked, and not willingly given up by their parents, as you'd believed?

South Asia correspondent Sally Sara investigates the insidious trade of children in India, and joins an Australian family in their moving search for the truth.

Sara reveals that dozens of Australian families are oblivious to the true background of their adopted youngsters, because of bureaucratic bungling and government ineptitude both here and in India.

It’s a remarkable story that reveals a shocking truth about some overseas adoptions.

We follow the journey of the Rollings family from Canberra.

For ten years Barry and Julia Rollings believed their son Akil and daughter Sabila had been given up willingly by their birth parents in Chennai.

But after hearing suspicions reports about Indian orphanages, they set out to locate the childrens’ birth mother. The news was shocking. Akil and Sabila had been taken from their mother, and sold to an orphanage.

The Rollings have now embraced their ‘Indian family’ as part of their own - Akil and Sabila have ‘two mothers’.

It’s an inspirational story of one family’s courage.

Sally Sara also investigates claims that dozens of trafficked Indian children may have been placed for adoption in Australia - their new parents oblivious to the background of the youngsters.

She speaks to heartbroken couple Fathima and Salya, whose child Jabeen was kidnapped from the streets of Chennai by traffickers. Jabeen was adopted to an Australian couple, and now lives unaware of her background, while her adoptive parents live in anguish.

It’s a story of crime and cover up - its victims both here and in India.

Camera: Wayne McAllister, Geoffrey Lye
Editor: Simon Brynjolffssen
Research: Simi Chakrabarti
Producers: Trevor Bormann, Vivien Altman

Further information

Julia Rollings' blog
"Love Our Way - A Mother's Story"

Thursday, 12 February 2009


With courtesy to United Adoptees International:


Samford University Cumberland School of Law



BY ARUN DOHLE - Aachen - Germany -


In historical terms, intercountry adoptions from India havehad a short run. Within thirty years of its inception, murky scandals of child kidnapping, falsifying paperwork, outright trading, and other tragic stories have ridden these intercountry adoptions. Worldwide, adoption experts widely believed that ratifying the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-Operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (1993) would help reduce malpractice in such adoptions. The Convention aims to minimize malpractice in adoption and "prevent the abduction, the sale of, or trafficking in children." But does regulating help in weeding outcases of malpractice? Or does the regulation of intercountry adoptions, because of the strong demand for children, lead to a legalized market for children without effective control? Dutch anthropologist Pien Bos studied the relinquishment process of unmarried mothers in India and came to the startling conclusion that the formal controls in intercountry adoptions are counter-productive:

"I am convinced that these Conventions, Regulations and Guidelinesare not appropriate instruments because they do not address the main concerns. . . . Instead of taking away threats, it takes away transparency and causes a mystification of reality. The more adoption is regulated and monitored, the more politically correct objectives get distanced from daily practices.... The transparency of surrender and adoption procedures is obscured by the taboo on the financial component of adoption."

Generally, receiving countries do not know the details of the scandals taking place in sending countries. The aim of this article is to give the reader an inside view of an adoption scandal and to explain how the system deals with the scandal. Therefore, I will often quote directly from documents gathered from journalists, as well as from High Court proceedings. In order to enable the reader to understand the violations, I will give a short overview of the Indian adoption system and regulations. This article illustrates the scandal surrounding the Indian agency Preet Mandir, as it is the agency that has weathered the most corruption and baby-trade scandals and is reputed to have immense clout with the Indian Government. Consequently, the organization's operations have continued nearly unhampered. Preet Mandir placed 518 children up for adoption during the period from 2004 to 2006, accounting for five percent of all the adoptions carried out by agencies registered with the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA). Of these 518 adoptions, Preet Mandir placed 358 children abroad, representing 13 percent of all Indian intercountry adoptions within this period.9 Preet Mandir works with all major receiving countries, many of whom also ratified the Hague Convention.
Complete article can be requested at UAI Research & Development

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Austria stops adoptions from Ethopia

Over the last years Ethiopia has become one of the biggest sending countries. This is mainly the result of the closure of Romania, Guatemala, Cambodia and others that closed their doors due to corruption.

Sadly, but understandably as it is inherent to today's adoption system, Ethopia seems to encounter the same problem: fake documents, children leave the country that are no 'orphans'.

But worst of all, a child protection system is building up that fully depends of the money coming from intercountry adoptions (in cash or in project aid).

Those who read Romania, For Export Only, will know that The Hague Convention will not fix that...

Unofficial translation; original article can be read HERE:

Stop for adoption

International Adoption: With mediations from Ethiopia forged documents were in the game - the TT reported. Now, adoptions have been stopped from this country.

INNSBRUCK - After two cases in Lower Austria, where children who were supposed to be orphans were mediated for adoptions, adoptions from Ethiopia to Austria have now been stopped. Those who adopt children from countries that are not able to ensure serious regulations, "have no guarantee that everything is lawful," says Marion Zeillinger of the association "Parents for Children", that offers information about the adoption, adoption courses, but does not mediate . In the past two years alone, 25 children were mediated from Ethiopia to Tirol - through the agencies “Family For You"(FFY) and "Bridge to Ethiopia”. "The freeze will be maintained for sure, until all outstanding issues are clarified. Many families have already researched, "said Zeillinger. Even when FFY “built up a lot", they have been too naive. There should have been more control, but at this distance that is difficult, "says Zeillinger. Therefore, parents who want to be sure, "should only adopt children from countries which have signed the Hague Convention."

Child Trafficking

And: "In countries with a lot of corruption, adoption can quickly become child trafficking. Imagine, in a country where in orphanages 80 percent are boys and 20 percent girls. If you want to have a girl, the home will try to find one - by all means, because the financing of the home is usually depending from it. "Around half of the foreign adoptions, according to Zeillinger, is illegal," but possible - with tricks that I do not want to mention in the Media. "The new Justice Minister Claudia Bandion-Ortner has already initiated a new international adoption law - a draft is available.

Further background CLICK HERE

Further Background in German: CLICK HERE

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