My blog posts have slowed considerably the last few days, as UNICEF has flexed its’ muscles in Haiti, encouraging the Haitian government to essentially shut down any adoption from that country.
Let us not feign surprise here.
UNICEF has been against international adoptions for a long time. They speak with a fair amount of warm hearted goobly gook about the ‘best interests of the child’, as if anyone who disagrees with their conclusions must by definition be against the ‘best interests of the child’, but in the end, once you cut through all the verbiage, they’re simply not in favor.
What would UNICEF do? In their perfectly ordered world, an orphan child would go through a process to verify that it’s an actual orphan. Then, they would try and match that child with an aunt, uncle or some other family member. If that fails, they look for another family in the country. If none shows up, they would look for a foreign national living in the child’s country of origin. If they can’t find a foreign national, then begrudgingly, they might be in favor of that child moving across a national border to a loving family.
I’m not sure what’s at stake here…the best interest of the child or the nation-pandering that UNICEF needs to engage in to keep this charade alive.
Let’s apply their logic and processes to….oh, let’s say Haiti.
Officially, there were 200 orphanages registered in Port-au-Prince alone in 2006. That’s an official number…who knows how many unregistered orphanages existed, as registering with the Haitian government was something akin to painting “Hassle us!” on the sidewalk in front of your building.
Those orphanages were almost all at capacity, whether that capacity was 8 or 80. Some children were adopted out – not as many as you’d expect though.
In 2008, only 301 children were adopted in the US. 301 children from a country with 200-plus orphanages in one city. We were not emptying their streets of children.
We don’t have an exact number, but anecdotally, I can tell you, many of the kids were not ‘technical orphans’. Most were given to the orphanage because a family member couldn’t care for them…and in many of those cases, they’d already been passed from family member to family member before the family gave up and asked the orphanage to take their child.
This is the ‘extended family’ that UNICEF wants to find for these kids…the same extended family that placed them in the orphanage. It’s hard to fathom them greeting little Jean-Paul with “We’re so glad you’re back! We couldn’t care for you before the earthquake, but now, UNICEF is here!”.
After the extended family is ruled out, for some reason UNICEF thinks the kids would be better off staying in Haiti, even if with foreigners…as if to not live in Haiti might rob these children of an opportunity. The opportunity to see sewage run in the streets or witness death everyday, perhaps. After all, that is the bulk of Hatians’ experience right now, and will be for some time. UNICEF doesn’t want a child to miss that rich cultural exchange.
UNICEF pulled this some years back in Romania. Romanian adoption has since closed as they became convinced that they somehow could deal with the needs of their children by drawing on the resources of their impoverished country.
I won’t begin to describe the effect. You can read this BBC acount of life in Romanian orphanages today. As you read that story, remember, Romania is rich next to Haiti.
Again, I’m not proposing the US government scoop children off the streets – although that’s the language used to try and scare people into thinking Uncle Unicef knows best.
I’m for orderly, legal, and responsible adoption.
UNICEF is for more of what you see now.
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