Canada is undergoing a good deal of soul-searching on the subject of international adoption…..Yesterday I saw this from the Globe and Mail–the argument that shutting down adoption relations with states where there are questionable practices relating to the veracity of documents actually–yes–protects children!
I am astonished that an adoption professional would make such an argument….How far down the list of governmental priorities adoption is….Instead of jumping in and working hard at removing problems from national systems, the “child welfare” solution is to shut down the adoption system. If living without a family is a form of child abuse, and a severe one, how could it be “beneficial” to shut down the possibility of adoption for those children who really need it? It may not be possible to verify every single document in every single adoption–and it is possible to identify systems in which problems are rife–but the lack of official energy to put things right is appalling. Adoption cannot be thought of in terms of “countries”–but rather individual children. Isn’t the crying need enough to make us move with urgency and determination to visit, negotiate, investigate? The UN is not doing this job, and cannot do this job. And we know that they are all too eager to recommend “moratoriums” that seem to last forever….
Check out this recent article from Moscow…I have been unable to find the report from Unicef that is referenced…..Take aways from the article: The social orphan problem is still terrible, many children are still living in state care, and the promises of “family like alternatives” have failed to materialize in any adequate sense.
I count myself as one who is curious and deeply distressed by the stories of abuse of Russian children in adoptive American families. These stories are so completely at odds with what I know about the wonderful, loving, highly motivated adoptive families of children from Russia and everywhere else…It is baffling. But it must be faced and understood. Is it a combination of things at the margins–poorly prepared parents who believe that corporal punishment is a way to deal with post-institutionalized children?? I truly do not have the answes…Could there be a small cohort of adoptive parents who really do not know what they are doing? But this cannot cast a shadow over adoption from Russian institutions. I think all involved know that the vast, vast majority of these adoptions work out amazingly well….What is the Russian state doing? Blame the orphanage directors? the state-run care system? Profiteering by one and all? I can say for certain that paid stranger foster care is not the answer, and will simply create new problems. We need an urgent dialog between the Russian and American authorities and child welfare experts–not, may I say, Unicef! (Unicef is not an objective participant in this conversation…) and try to root out the problems, while furthering the project of permanency. Let’s have visits by objective observers to Russian orphanages–and for that matter, to our own foster care system. Let the children go. Either go back to their original families, or go forward to a new one….
If there is a “string of crimes” to be identified, there are lots of criminals here.
As it happens, I have recently posted an article to srrn that will be appearing in the Michigan State International Law Review in the near future….(see link below)
It went onto ssrn just as the Kony video by Invisible Children was”going viral”….My article is on the subject of what I believe should be a right under international law–the right of the ultra-vulnerable to humanitarian intervention on their behalf…..My prime example of a long running and completely unnecessary conflict is the war waged by Kony against the children of Uganda…I am delighted to see this terrible problem getting the mass attention it deserves! My article makes the point that an “international legal regime” worthy of the name would have a robust and effective solution for such problems. It is just not that hard to stop low-tech tyrants like Kony, where the international will exists to do so. Do check out the article!
Really, you must ask: What is it that people want? How much proof do we need that adoption has to be expanded, urgently? The most recent bad news is that a Russian woman who hid the fact that she lives in the US adopted, and then abandoned, two adorable babies in Russia. This is tragic–an apparent act of madness–but like all the bad news on adoption, says little if anything about the overall and indisputable fact that adoption–much more of it–is needed for children who are growing up vulnerable and parentless. How can this message not be clear to all? Yet the journalistic machine cranks out the stories, with the message that adoption should be halted, adoption is profitable, adoption is wrong…!
Who are the people writing these articles??