Peace Corps or adoption army?

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In an interview with Le Parisien, The French Secretary of State in charge of foreign affairs and human rights, Rama Yade, has announced she is creating some sort of Peace Corps for international adoption.

Each year we adopt in France 3 000 to 4 000 children, but painfully. Between 2006 and 2007, we recorded a decline of over 20% of international adoption in France for example while in Italy it increased by 9%.

So in order stay competitive with the Italians, who obviously manage to do better in recruiting children for international adoption, the French will now train an army of young volunteers to facilitate adoption by French families. The younsters will be will be sent out to several third world countries, to begin with Cambodia, followed by four other countries in October and the remaining 74 countries in 2009 and onwards. They will stay on site for two years.

The project will be funded both by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European private companies.

The interview appeared in an article called: Des Peace Corps à la française afin d’aider les familles, which roughly translates to: French Peace Corps to help the families. It is clear the French are most of all interested in their claims for children, not so much in the interest of the children involved. France, now preceding the Council of the European Union, is expected to push forward new European legislation to expedite international adoption. The push for faster and more adoptions is supported by Italy, that like France is facing a growing demand for children.

According to another article in Le Parisien, French celebrities Gerard Depardieu and Johnny Hallyday support the project. With that support Hallyday, who together with his wife, Laetitia, already adopted a girl from Vietnam, will soon see his family extended, The girl had demanded a brotther.


Has anyone warned Cambodia?

which private companies are funding this?

which private companies are funding this?

I don't know yet which private companies are funding the the French "Peace Corps", but I am certainly going to do my best to find that out. For now all we know is Gerard Depardieu is going to use his address book to find people willing to finance it, but there is much more behind this, which I will try to write something about in the coming days.

Groupe Zannier

According to Le Figaro, the first voluntary leave in August to Cambodia, for projects funded in large part by the Foundation Roger Zannier, "the first" private contributor, who has founded several orphanages in Cambodia.

Oooh, a clothing company!

Does this mean if  there are any orphanage child left-overs, they will get labor-opportunities at a factory that specializes in children's clothing??  [According to the GZ website, they ARE "the world leader in kidswear".]

maybe it is to provide new

maybe it is to provide new clients to boost his sales...

i fear this may be part of the rainbow family craze. 
baby on one hip, prada bag on the other.

A new fee can be found, I'm sure

I can just picture it:  for a small added adoption-fee, you can get a child with the "coming-home" outfit of your choice!  OOOOH!  How delightful if they could create adopted mommy-and-me ensembles to go with their future baby-brochures!

"First I fell in-love with the face, then I saw the fabrics...  I just knew I had to make them mine!"

Yes, I'd say that would be a match made in industrial heaven.

I have adopted two girls from Holy Baby

Dear Kerry

Reading through your and other emails, I would like to let you know that I have adopted two little girls from Holy Baby (Groupe Zannier) and looking at the emails, I am afraid you might not have the full picture. I have been to both orphanages for many times and it is sad to see that your comments are biased and based on nothing. The orphanages are doing a wonderful jog and groupe Zanneir are not in the forground at all. My girls are now 5 and 3 years old and they are happy and hopefully they will grow up without prejudice and also hope that they will NEVER see these hurtful comments as they know they are adopted from Holy Baby as they has a passport with their last name HOLY....I thank you for your consideration is any, Debby

My own personal opinions on adoption...

... are based on personal experience and feedback given to me from adoptees, AP's, and those who have worked within the child placement industry.  I, myself, am an International Adoptee who was not told anything about my true heritage, origins or identity.  Do I blame my AP's?  Not wholly.  I blame the adoption agency and an industry that sells one side of the adoption-story, (the side many AP's like to keep with them), making adoption look very appealing and noble to so many.  That's as true today as it was 40 years ago.  

True, each adoptee will see his/her own adoption experience not as a universal truth.  For instance, I was not abused, neglected or raped by first-family members.  That came later, post-placement,  thank-you.  I feel sorry for any adoptee who is told one version of the truth, only to learn much later in life what was written "on record" was not the full-story. 

So personal opinions being what they are, (and yes, I am known for my dripping sarcasm, a trait very common among fellow adoptees....)  I cannot for the life of me, think an AP knows for certain what an adoptees sees, thinks or feels when it comes to "pre-existing conditions", losing personal identity, and general loss and grief -- especially if that loss is through an orphanage/agency that caters to the needs of those not living/working there.

I simply find it very odd how there is a growing number of written and spoken comments within the adopted community... a sentiment not very popular or well liked by AP's... and that growing sentiment is this:  "Given the choice, I would have rather stayed in the children's home/orphanage than be adopted by the people who adopted me."  Truth is, if an orphanage is doing a really good job, why is there a need to take the children away from the friends and adults that have become a "second family"?

Surely that opinion and need to question the motives of some people has some worth, wouldn't you think?

Holy Baby - Zannier

Well, the relation Holy Baby - Zannier is not really a secret, neither the rest of the story:

Silence gêné
Silence gêné qui est aussi celui de l’ambassade de France où, visiblement, le sujet dérange : le haut fonctionnaire que nous avons rencontré n’a pas souhaité prendre de position publique et reste sur ses gardes. Les frontières sont officiellement fermées et, « de toute façon, les familles ne veulent pas savoir dans quelles circonstances leur enfant a été obtenu. C’est pour elles l’aboutissement de longues années d’attente, souvent traumatisantes, elles ne pensent qu’à l’avenir ». Il balaye d’un revers de la main la possibilité de malversations passées, notamment d’un cas mettant en cause le « Holy Baby Orphanage » représenté dans le film de Bertrand Tavernier, et géré par la fondation Zannier (propriétaire d’Absorba, Catimini, IKKS…) : « La mère a retiré sa plainte et rien n’a pu être prouvé. » La MAI a pourtant, en octobre 2002, émis un avis demandant aux parents s’adressant au Holy Baby Orphanage de se procurer des informations spécifiques sur le passé des enfants. « Impossible ! », répond la LICADHO qui assure que cet orphelinat n’est pas en mesure de prouver l’identité des deux tiers des orphelins.

A refusal to look

Here's the core issue many P/AP's aren't willing to address, and yet, it bothers me so very very much:  families do not want to know under what circumstances their child was obtained. For them the result of long years of waiting, often traumatic, they think only about the future.

Imagine having a future based on lies that eventually unfold when your childhood is over.

What is an adoptee to do then?

Only now is the adopting community beginning to see how adoption affects a family.  They are learning this because angry adoptees and disgusted AP's are speaking-out.

The question is:  do people really care, or should business continue as usual?

who cares?

As far as I can tell, people in sending countries eventually care more than people in receiving countries. When international adoption is halted it is usually a response of a sending country. Only rarely do sending countries say they don't want to receive children even when corruption and child trafficking is evident. What is gained by receiving a child  eventually weighs heavier than what is lost by the child and its natural family.


I understand how you feel

I understand how you feel when you read what we say here. I feel the same when I read your opinion as it to is kinda based on nuthing when you think about it. I mean what do you really know about adoption?. And Kerry's experience is not nuthing and the fact you would diss-miss her experience as nuthing is kinda like sticking your fingers in your ears and saying "la la la la la la I can't hear you cause I'm iggnorant"

I was adopted and given back 4 times... like I was a broken toaster oven. I had a whole bunch of stuff to say but...

If experience means nuthing to you... I feel for your kids... with your attitude ... and the way you seem to have tunnel vision ... I would not be surprised if a few years down the road we don't see them here or one of the other hundreds of sites filled with nuthing as you said.

Good luck with your purchased children. I have a feeling your going to need it.

Holy Baby Orphanage

The first private contributor to the French Adoption Army, the Rogier Zanier foundation, is funder of the Holy Baby Orphanages in Cambodia. LICADHO, the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights, wrote the following report about a case related to the orphanage in Takhmau:

In November 2001, a married couple in Phnom Penh, P & C, requested LICADHO’s assistance to recover their one-month-old baby. P & C were poor itinerants without permanent jobs or home in Phnom Penh. The mother, P, stated that on November 13, 2001 she took her baby boy to a medical clinic in Takhmau, Kandal province. P was taken there by another woman, who had told her that she would receive money if she agreed to give up her baby there. The clinic staff took the baby boy (after giving him a blood test to check that he was not HIV-positive) and gave P $85 in return, according to P’s testimony. P was asked to sign a document at the clinic stating that she gave up her baby voluntarily (the document did not refer to adoption of the child). She signed this document without the knowledge of her husband, C, who did not give his consent. A few days later, C, who had been out of town looking for work, returned home and learned of his wife’s actions. After discussion, P & C decided they wanted their baby back and approached LICADHO for help.

LICADHO investigators established that the medical clinic is owned by Dr Keo San, a former Cambodian senator who is also director of the organization which runs Holy Baby orphanage in Takhmau. LICADHO investigators, attempting to establish whether P & C’s baby was there, visited the orphanage but were not allowed to see the young babies there.

On November 21, 2001, LICADHO contacted the Ministry of Interior’s police anti-trafficking unit, requesting an investigation and return of the baby to his parents. Subsequently, the police informed LICADHO that Dr Keo San and staff of the orphanage refused to return the baby, because P had signed a document giving up the baby. Holy Baby staff also informed the police that the baby would be adopted to a foreign country.

Six months later, the baby had still not been returned. The police investigation continued, supposedly, but without any result. In June 2002, LICADHO became aware that Holy Baby was supported by the Zannier Holy Baby Foundation in France and wrote to its director, Dr Pascal Hourtoulle, about this case. For the next four months, despite an exchange of letters between LICADHO and Dr Hourtoulle, the latter provided no information about the origins and whereabouts of the child.

Meanwhile, in July 2002, LICADHO became aware that the Cambodian government had approved the child for adoption to France in February 2002. Inquiries with the French Embassy confirmed that the child had been adopted to France in February.

The official adoption dossier included a document, signed by Dr Keo San and by Holy Baby center director Vong Lay Huort, which falsely stated that the child was “abandoned” and his parents are unknown.

In late July, the Ministry of Interior anti-trafficking unit – following a request by the French Embassy for information on its investigation into this case – requested a meeting with P & C at the ministry. LICADHO staff were refused permission to witness the meeting. According to P & C, senior ministry officials informed them at the meeting that their son was in France and would have a good life there. At the request of the police, P & C signed a document withdrawing their complaint against Holy Baby orphanage and their request for the return of their child.

LICADHO has concerns about the manner in which P & C were asked to withdraw their complaint. However, in subsequent discussions with LICADHO, P & C repeated that they do not seek the return of their child from France now that he is already there. P & C, who are extremely poor, feel that their son will have a better life in France. LICADHO respects their wishes.

Nevertheless, LICADHO remains concerned about alleged improprieties committed by Holy Baby personnel, including:

  • Alleged payment made to P in return for handing over the child at Keo San’s medical clinic;
  • Apparent use of the private medical clinic to receive children who are then sent to Holy Baby orphanage;
  • Lack of prior consent given by P and by C to the adoption of their son abroad;
  • Adoption of the child abroad after P & C had filed a complaint requesting the return of their child;
  • False adoption paperwork prepared by Holy Baby staff stating that the child was “abandoned”, parents unknown.

In October 2002, Pascal Hourtoulle, on a visit to Cambodia, agreed to meet with LICADHO. During the meeting, he acknowledged that the child obtained from P was the same child who had been adopted to France. However, he did not accept that Holy Baby had acted improperly in any way. In a February 2003 meeting with LICADHO, French businessman Roger Zannier – the funder of the Zannier Holy Baby Foundation – also indicated that he saw no wrongdoing by the orphanage.

Mission de l’Adoption Internationale (MAI), the French government agency responsible for international adoptions, issued a statement in October 2002 urging prospective adoptive parents seeking children from Holy Baby to obtain specific information about the circumstances in which the children entered the orphanage.

Holy Baby has no information about the identity of the birth parents of three-quarters of the children at the orphanage, Pascal Hourtoulle told LICADHO in October 2002.

This is the type of environment France is going to send it's young and unexperienced volunteers to, backed by the money of a French industrial who sees no wrong doing in fraud and child-trafficking.

Hi Niels Where did you get

Hi Niels
Where did you get this article from?
Please mail me at: susanne @ ulfur. net (no spaces).


Violence in an orphanage of the Zannier Holybaby Foundation

When the senators discussed the new draft law on adoption, the director of the Center is awaiting trial for assault on minors.

"The director of the orphanage was provisionally released pending trial," said Men Makara investigator in the advocacy organization Human Rights Adhoc, in charge of this case. The investigator said that the director has paid $ 500 to the Court of Kandal. He also pledged to meet all the invitations of justice.

Meth Narong, 55, was arrested in late October for hitting with a stick three orphans aged 14 to 16 years. One of them, head injuries, was taken to the hospital for care.

Because it was too hot in their dorm, teens had decided to install their mattresses outside, but in the night a dog partially torn them, leading to the unleashing of violence by the Director.

One of the brutalised teens said on Radio Free Asia that it was not the first time Meth Narong behaved this way with the children in his care.

Men Makara of Adhoc expresses concern about Meth Narong's release. And especially to continue its activities and to put pressure on the victims, because "he did not acknowledge his fault." The investigator also surprised that the trial has not been forthcoming because the Registrar has confirmed that the investigation was completed. Contacted by Cambodge Soir Hebdo, a representative of the foundation in Cambodia confirmed that Meth Narong retained his post as director of the orphanage Holybaby 2.

The vast majority of children adopted last in Cambodia by French couples come from two orphanages Foundation Zannier Holybaby company, located in the outskirts of Phnom Penh. The foundation also funds, in part, the Cambodian component of the program of voluntary international adoption, initiated in 2008 by Rama Yade then Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Human Rights.

(Translated from French)

I was going to blog about...

In France, they talk about filing quota in adoption and now, they are talking in terms of competition. Who is going to win? Italy or France?
If there are less orphans adoptable and they didn't achieve their goal, they were need to create more orphans, like it's already happening.


they will commit this atrocity and then make some truffault-like movie about the poor children twenty years from now.

this world has gone mad. 

kimette, the movie of your life can not wait.  there is no need for more children to suffer to provide subtext for a french film when you are here now. 
it needs to be dramatized - full feature length - i think it's the only way to slow this feeding frenzy. 

I guess they'll have no problems with their visas?

The younsters will be will be sent out to several third world countries, to begin with Cambodia, followed by four other countries in October and the remaining 74 countries in 2009 and onwards. They will stay on site for two years.

This reminds me of the LDS mission-work in Russia, where tougher visa laws are requiring humanitarian workers to leave the country to renew their visas.  [The church, of course is looking or loop-holes to this rule....  ]

I suppose these groups have built-in-budgets to take care of the paper-work problems most travelers have to deal with.


Voluntary vs Embassy

It is a clever move.... Whereas the Colombani report (made at the request of French President Sarkozy in order to see why France was doing so badly in adoptions) proposes to reinforce the activities of the French Embassies on intercountry adoption, they now get an army of volunteers in.

Young, bright, 'innocent' and not accountable....  and being under the wings of the French Embassies, they can get easy visas, and protection at the Embassy if necessary. 


Gap year students seek orphan kids for France!

By Brian Douglas.

There can be no doubt that Gap year students do a great job in many areas of volunteering including in the exchange of cultural and educational ideas which benefits both parties, however when it comes to seeking orphans for inter country adoption for French couples, then clearly one has to question the morality of such a project for gap year students who have no comprehension in reality of such subjects as Orphans and no qualifications to decide on such cases.

These young volunteers who are now described as Gallic Peace Corps will now go on a mission to search it is claimed for Orphan children as France is now low on foreign children for adoptions as most prefer to give a child to the US for instance were the agency fees are far higher for a child and as in all inter country adoptions the profit comes first the French feel let down.

Rama Yade who is Under secretary of state for Human Rights in France has stated the first group of volunteers would arrive in Cambodia in the next month. Perhaps this lady ought to consider her position very seriously in view of the fact it was only recently that the French NGO Zoe’s Arc was caught trying to steal children for French couples who were waiting back home for adoption from Chad. It was proved these children were not orphans but had the aircraft been allowed to leave Chad one can only question weather the French would have arrested the Zoe’s Arc group or let them give the children they had stolen for profit to French couples.

Clearly Gap Year Students who have no experience of childcare or the countries they are being sent to are not the ideal candidates to seek out orphan children.
Still today in Eastern Europe foreign volunteers who have no knowledge of the language, culture or medical services see babies in cots and claim wrongly they are orphans and until Romania banned inter country adoptions helped in placing these babies with often unregistered agencies who made huge profits out of children, who in many cases have proved were not orphans.

This will only lead to more cases like the Zoes Arc case and more children will be put through even more trauma as their lives are played with by unqualified people.

Mrs Yade like many others is looking to the needs of adults rather than the needs of the child and her only wish is to provide for the couples that can’t have children in France.

Mrs Yade would do well to realize that many countries now have either banned or reduced inter country adoptions as these kind of adoptions have proved not to be in the child’s best interest.

If the child’s best interest is to be put first then any child adopted can only benefit fully if adopted nationally in its own country were its birth culture remains.

Clearly this project designed for Gap year Students is just another case of filling quotas for foreign couples at a hefty price, rather than solving children’s real needs.



Yadé's Ark

or Arche de Yadé. From a commenter of my blog
"... We are here in the continuity of Automn 2007 in Chad. So, I have a name for the "Peace Corps à la Française": "L'Arche de Zoé". And I also propose 1. to nominate  Eric Breteau to be the head of this new structure 2. to provide it with the budget
"ransom and legal guarantees" to match it's ambition   - Anne Maginot. Le

the first volunteer

Short summary:

Clémence Fournier is the first international adoption volunteer who leaves tomorrow for Cambodia.

She says she does not feel any pressure to deliver (children). It is about helping children first, and only as a last option intercountry adoption.

C'est la première Volontaire de l'adoption internationale - Société - 21/08/2008

Alors que le plan Adoption est présenté aujourd'hui en Conseil des ministres, Clémence, 25 ans, s'envole pour le Cambodge.
La mission de cette pionnière : lancer des projets de solidarité et faciliter l'adoption d'enfants abandonnés.
Florence Deguen | 21.08.2008, 07h00

Elle parle vite, enchaîne les cigarettes et s'apprête à boucler ses valises sans regrets, presque étonnée qu'on s'intéresse à elle. Clémence, 25 ans, est déjà tout à sa future mission : Volontaire de l'adoption internationale, le titre lui paraît encore un peu étrange. Cette jeune Parisienne, ex-étudiante en communication reconvertie avec passion dans l'humanitaire, est la première à avoir signé son contrat de deux ans.
Avec pour tache d'inaugurer l'audacieux réseau de jeunes engagés dont Rama Yade, la secrétaire d'Etat aux Affaires étrangères et aux Droits de l'homme, a annoncé la création en juillet, sur le modèle des Peace Corps américains. Leur objectif : repositionner la France sur l'échiquier de l'adoption internationale en effectuant des missions de solidarité dans les pays où les Français adoptent à grand mal des enfants.

L'avion de Clémence décolle demain pour Phnom Penh, au Cambodge, où l'attend un petit bureau sous les lambris de l'ambassade. « Pour tout dire, je ne sais pas si je vais rester beaucoup enfermée ! » sourit-elle. « Moi, je ne suis bien que sur le terrain. »

«Je n'ai pas de pression, je ne suis pas là pour faire du chiffre »

Sa vocation est née il y a trois ans, lors d'un voyage bouleversant en Inde. Sac à dos, pataugas aux pieds et coeur en bandoulière, elle s'est retrouvée au milieu d'enfants atteints de poliomyélite ou du sida dans un dispensaire du Tamil Nadu. L'année d'après, c'était Madagascar et des flopées de gamins atteints de malnutrition sévère. Et pour finir, il y a six mois, la décharge de Phnom-Penh où vivent les enfants de chiffonniers. C'est là que Rama Yade l'a croisée, alors que germait l'idée de monter ce réseau. « Elle m'a convaincue », explique la jeune fille.

Dans ce pays déchiré et complexe, une vingtaine d'enfants sont adoptés chaque année par des Français, pour des milliers qui souffrent et croupissent dans des orphelinats. Ce seront eux, sa priorité. Il en va de l'image de la France, distancée sur le terrain par des organisations étrangères souvent bien plus efficaces.

Forte d'un budget avancé par le Quai d'Orsay, Clémence égrène tout ce qu'elle compte faire : sortir les enfants malades des institutions, repérer les zones où les mères abandonnent leurs bébés et monter des projets pour les aider, développer des programmes de nutrition, de formation… C'est comme ça, espère-t-elle, que les situations se débloqueront. Y compris pour les familles qui rêvent d'adopter un petit Cambodgien. Clémence fera le lien, à sa manière. « L'adoption, c'est le dernier recours, quand on aura tout fait pour aider ces gamins sur place. Je n'ai pas de pression, je ne suis pas là pour faire du chiffre… » Elle sourit. « Je suis sûre que ce sera efficace. »
Le Parisien

Pound Pup Legacy