Government Oversight of International Adoption

An often heard refrain in the adoption community is that, if my government is allowing the adoptions to happen then they must be ethical.

Makes sense but here is some information that makes me question this assumption.

1. Canada suspends all adoptions from Liberia over a year ago over ethical concerns. Adoptions continue from the USA until just recently when the adoptions are stopped by the Liberian government.

2. A couple of years ago adoptions from Vietnam close in Canada but remain open in the USA, now the situation is reversed.

3. Adoptions from Guatemala to Canada stop a couple of years ago due to concerns. USA does this a couple of years later but seemingly only because the Hague treaty came into force.

How does one explain these inconsistencies?

Well there is this comment from E.J. Graff (journalist responsible for a recent series in the Washington Post) that worries me deeply.

Governments often do know what’s going on (you should hear what I’ve heard from some of them!) but they cannot act until they have an overwhelming amount of evidence of wrongdoing–much of which they cannot make public, out of conern for the families’ privacy. The stories I’ve heard of birthfamilies asking for their child back, after it was adopted to another country, just make the hair on the back of my neck stand up in horror.

I have no reason to believe Ms. Graff is just making this stuff up and since it fits quite well with the pattern of decision making that goes on in the IA world it is just very believable to me.

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2 Responses to Government Oversight of International Adoption

  1. Barry says:

    An easy explanation is that our governments are both imperfect and have agendas. The acceptance of the zero tolerance policy under George Bush in the social service arena makes the situation even murkier. On comment #2: an US official embraced the zero tolerance policy in an interview on Vietnamese TV. 10 months later the MOU ended, without much official effort to renew it on either side. Why? It was the US agenda to prevent anything embarrassing. So, they published their documented irregularities, 9 out of 1400 cases, on the Embassy website. They used a theme format so they could use the cases more than once. If two cases involved a hospital, they could write: “In more than one case, a hospital…” And it wouldn’t even have to be the same hospital! Releasing information in a case study format could, as Graff notes, create a “concern for the families’ privacy.” Smooth! Sick, but smooth…
    I don’t have any reason to believe that Graff is making any of this up either. Reforms will ALWAYS be needed. But we can’t give sources a blind pass – especially when they are NOT social service trained and tasked. The Department of State is charged with diplomacy and protecting US interests around the world. Such a grand, sweeping responsibility can easily be at odds with processing a visa for an orphan to enter the US. Or at least make such visa processing a really annoying distraction, especially when it comes under scrutiny.

  2. Kristine says:

    Say the orpanages that Canada works with in a given country are the not same as the ones that the UK works with? Cananda uncovered a problem with an orphanage they deal with. Why would UK stop immediately just because one of the orphanages that Canada was dealing with was inappropriately run?

    Guatemala was open and closed off an on in the US before the most recent halt. Each time a new step would be involved: DNA test, another DNA test later in the process…

    No government is capable of stopping every illegal action. 9 out of 1400 is less than 1%.

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