Date: 1983-11-11

The Miami Herald
November 11, 1983

The Indonesian government is clamping down on a flourishing "cash-and-carry" adoption business that has been sending hundreds of orphans to the United States and Western Europe in recent years.

The clampdown started after the Asian nation's highest court ruled recently that private adoption agencies, known in Indonesia as "baby farms," must turn over their business to five state-authorized homes.

The government also is requiring that all adoptions go through state-approved agencies and that those applying to adopt a child be residents of Indonesia for at least three years. In addition, only children 5 years old or younger are eligible for adoption.

Until recently, private agencies had been providing a seemingly unlimited supply of infants for adoption at prices ranging from $2,000 to $3,000.

"It is a big money operation," said an official in Indonesia's Social Welfare Ministry.

"The foundations

private agencies> used to just whip the mother through whatever court would take the case, pay her 40,000 rupiah

$40> and the new parents were charged $200 plus the cost of papers and lawyers, which before devaluation amounted to a going rate of about $2,000."

"Right now, there's an outcry," said the official. "Even the president

Suharto> is calling it a baby trade."

The officials say they are worried the new regulations could force private adoption agencies into clandestine operations rather than curbing their activities.

"The fear is that they will simply be forced one more step below the ground, which happened when a court in one province clamped down on them two years ago," one official said.

Although reliable statistics are unavailable on how many children the private agencies send out of Indonesia each year, unofficial estimates range from 300 to 400.


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