Are international adoption critics really wrong?

Yesterday we learned an upcoming article of Elizabeth Bartholet is quoting a post made on Pound Pup Legacy, so we got curious about what she had to say. It turned out we had already read the article in an earlier draft, which at the time not yet contained a reference to our website.

On the one hand we am glad we are being noticed, on the other hand the article again pointed out to us the ivory tower from which Ms. Bartholet operates.

The article is called International adoption: The human rights position and is a 39 page long plea for the expansion of inter-country adoption. The most remarkable section of the article is called: Why the International Adoption Critics are Wrong, of which especially the subsection Adoption Abuses Don’t Justify Limiting International Adoption is especially mind boggling naive and devoid of any realization what inter-country adoption is like outside the legal frame work.

Let's walk through the section:

Adoption abuses exist, as in every area abuses of the legal system exist. But there is no persuasive evidence that adoption abuses are extensive. Nor is there reason to think that they would be extensive.

This very first passage already shows Ms. Bartholet doesn't consider adoption to take place as a child welfare activity, but as something part of the legal system. Formally that is not necessarily incorrect. In the end adoption passes a judge, but it ignores the fact that most of the activities in adoption have nothing to do with the legal system. The acquisition of customers, the allocation of adoptable children, the preparation and screening of prospective adopters, all of that has nothing to do with the legal system, but are part and parcel of every adoption. So the abuses that take place in inter-country adoption cannot singularly be placed as part of the abuses of the legal system in general. On top of that two wrongs do not make one right. Abuses in the legal system are not an apology for the abuses in inter-country adoption.

The aspect of persuasive evidence that adoption abuses are extensive, is of course tricky. To begin with, what is extensive? Just this week an article was published about adoption abuses in Guatemala, citing a report that shows 333 out of 672 children adopted between 1977 and 1989 were stolen. Is that extensive? Well one could argue either way, since we have never defined what extensive is. One point of view, and the one we adhere to, calls it a disgrace that 49.55% of the children were stolen. One could of course also state that 50.45% were not stolen, which reduces the discussion to whether one is a glass half full or a glass half empty kind of person. Apparently Ms. Bartholet takes the glass half full approach.

But even when there is enough evidence, as this list of cases shows, there is still the hurdle of persuasion to take. So who has to be persuaded? Ms. Bartholet? The National Council for Adoption, which gladly cites her work? Adoptive parents, who in spite of ongoing news about child trafficking in Guatemala and adoption bans in Europe, caused a huge boom in adoptions from 2003 onwards? Political leaders, who do not dare to burn their fingers on the subject in fear of losing potential constituents? The public at large that has worries about unemployment, health care issues and national security? Who exactly needs to be persuaded before adoption abuses are being considered true?

Critics claim that adoption facilitators are wrongfully taking babies by paying money to induce birth parents to surrender their children, and even by kidnapping. The sad truth is that even if there were many intermediaries capable of such crimes – and these are crimes everywhere – there is no real need to buy or kidnap children, since there are so many millions of desperate, impoverished birth parents incapable of caring for their children, and so many millions of orphaned and abandoned children.

This reasoning is a reductio ad absurdium. What Ms. Bartholet says is: because there are so many orphans in this world, child trafficking is not likely to happen and therefore it doesn't happen. The sad truth is, it does happen. So the fact that there are so many orphans does not diminish the trafficking of children.

So why is it that this ivory tower logic doesn't work in the real world? Much of that has to do with the fact that inter-country adoption is not a children's rights issue, but an industry to provide children for people that want to adopt. From that perspective it does make sense children are being trafficked despite the many orphans in this world.

There are source, at least as far back as 1883, claiming: the demand for adoptable infants exceeds its supply. This is a common message throughout the 20th century and it's still true today. Oddly enough almost every news paper that reported about this imbalance between supply and demand claims it to be a recent development. More than 130 years of recent development, in my opinion, is a pattern and that pattern extends to sending countries outside the Western World. Despite claims of huge numbers of orphans, most of those orphans are not infants.

The dead don't procreate, so most children come into this world with one or two parent alive. Like in the rest of the world, people become parentless at a higher rate the older they get. Infants are the least likely to be orphans of all people on this earth. But infants are the most wanted of all children when it comes to adoption, to the point that one American adoption facilitator even provided ultrasound images of the unborn children people wanted to adopt.

Law reform oriented to facilitating lawful adoption would do much to reduce such adoption abuses as exist. The Hague Conference Report providing the rationale for the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption made this very point, finding that then-existing difficulties created pressure for corrupt practices that would not exist in more effective systems for matching children with prospective parents (Hague Conference on Private International Law, 1990, p. 188). Better enforcement of laws prohibiting adoption abuses is the obvious additional answer. When parents violate laws prohibiting child maltreatment, we don’t shut down the system that sends newborns home with their parents. We call for better enforcement of laws prohibiting maltreatment.

My first question: how can law reform be achieved? Ever since 1956, the United States has tried to create Federal laws to abolish baby brokering. It failed in 1956, it failed in 1960, it failed in 1964, it failed in 1977, it failed in 1984, despite 5 congressional hearings on the issue.

Politicians don't like to burn their fingers on inter-country adoption regulation, they much rather pander to their constituents like the Bush administration, Prime minister Berlusconi and several other political leaders did by putting pressure on Romanian pipeline cases.

Even worse than that are the actions of then first lady Hillary Clinton who used her political influence in 1995 to have trafficked children enter the US. Of course we can add Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer's support for the Guatemala900 initiative, which was carried by 51 of her colleagues. It is striking in that sense that even the Masha Allen case was not brought to congress as an adoption case but as a child pornography case.

In the Netherlands the Ministry of Justice even blocked investigations into corruption of adoption from China because it would have a negative impact on diplomatic and economic relations.

There is no political will to reform law and when we look at the Hague Convention it is obvious that no such will has ever existed. Central authorities, the key aspect of the Hague Convention, only centralize corruption, if that corruption wasn't already centralized (like it was the case with India and China). The Hague Convention is a toothless paper tiger that does nothing to prevent child trafficking, it streamlines the adoption process between sending and receiving countries.

International adoption critics argue that it is naive to think that adoption laws can be enforced in certain countries, given corruption and limited capacities for governance. But even if adoption abuses occur on more than an occasional basis, and even if eliminating them would be hard, shutting down international adoption is wrong. Zero tolerance for adoption abuses may sound good but it will hurt children. The evils involved in such abuses must be weighed against the far more significant evils involved in denying children homes.

This is a very curious passage. It is indeed naive to think adoption laws can be enforced in certain countries. The influence on a country like China is most unlikely, they don't even allow UNICEF inspections, let alone accept criticism from other countries. Ethiopia, one of the other big sending countries, is such a mess that law enforcement itself is decades away. In Guatemala critics of inter-country adoption have to fear for their lives. So yes it's very true that it's naive to think that adoption laws can be further enforced in sending countries.

But the curious thing is that while more or less acknowledging some corruption could take place, Ms. Bartholet seems to see it as wrong to stop a practice that can not be bettered. If her reasoning is true, it's better to steal a child for inter-country adoption than not adopting the child at all. The evil of stealing a child weighs less in her opinion than not providing a child (that already had a home) a replacement family. This is very curious apology for child stealing to me, unless we look at it from the business point of view where indeed it is worse not to have supply when demand is so high.

The situation in Guatemala helps illustrate. Claims that adoption intermediaries were giving birth mothers payments in connection with their surrender of babies helped shut down international adoption. But there is no good evidence that these payments were used to induce mothers to give up children they would have kept but for the payment. Instead it seems likely that given their desperate poverty and limited access to birth control, virtually all mothers given such payments would have surrendered regardless. Payments for anything except expenses are illegal, and probably should be since it would be hard to know when any such payment influenced the surrender decision, and thus hard to draw the line between lawful payment and unlawful baby selling. But there is no terrible evil in a poor birth parent who would in any event surrender a child being given funds which will help her survive along with any other children she may have. Shutting down international adoption programs in Guatemala deprives thousands of children per year of the chance to grow up in nurturing homes, rather than life-destroying orphanages. That’s an evil that should count for more.

This passage leaves us flabbergasted. Ms. Bartholet is a Harvard professor, so her words should be considered as part of academic discourse, yet her presentation of the Guatemalan situation is speculation at best, but more likely a gross misrepresentation of the situation.

First a fact. Guatemalan babies were literally stolen and there is proof for that, a crime that somehow doesn't seem to fit the argument Ms. Bartholet is trying to make. Then she uses a very weird trick by saying that the money paid to some mothers could probably not have induced them to surrender, because they might have done so anyway. That's about the same as saying: someone who hires a hitman is not involved in the murder, because the hitman could also have made the killing without the payment. Anything is possible in Ms. Bartholets world, except the most likely that offering poor women money in exchange for children induces them to surrender.

But even if women are paid to do so it's not to be seen as a bad thing, because otherwise the child would not be adopted. The point that Ms. Bartholet seems to ignore here is that the children being sold do not live in "life-destroying" orphanages. They live with their family and are being taken care of in often difficult situation. Offering money for children creates orphans and international adoption is the cause and not the solution to that.

Baby buying is generally not thought of as a serious evil in today’s world in other contexts. Commercial surrogacy is the institution in which true baby buying takes place systematically. Surrogacy contracts specify that the woman who provides pregnancy and childbirth services, and often her egg as well, will receive money in exchange for turning over the baby born, and terminating her parental rights. Commercial surrogacy is flourishing in the United States and many other countries, and international commercial surrogacy is spreading rapidly, as those who want to become parents turn to poor countries for surrogates who will charge low prices. Some of the countries which have shut down or significantly restricted international adoption are now engaged in the rapidly expanding international surrogacy business. Private lawyers who used to arrange international adoption from Guatemala are now earning a living arranging for Guatemalan women to get pregnant in order to surrender for a fee their babies and their parenting rights. India, which has significantly restricted international adoption, including by requiring that 50% of all adoptions be in-country (Dohle, 2008, p. 131), is engaged in a booming international surrogacy business, and is on the verge of regularizing it through facilitating legislation (Smerdon, 2008, p. 15; Gentleman, 2008). Russia, which has also significantly restricted international adoption, is enthusiastically embracing international surrogacy (Lee, 2009, p. 284). UNICEF and other critics of baby buying in the international adoption context, are interestingly silent about international surrogacy.

This passage, like most of this section of the article is simply nothing more than being apologetic in the sense that two wrongs make one right. The fact that surrogacy has still flown under the radar in many situations is because international surrogacy is a relatively new phenomenon. Inter-country adoption started before the second world war between the United States and Canada, while becoming serious business immediately after the second world war. It took at least 40 years before serious criticism started to evolve with regards to inter-country adoption. So it's no surprise that international surrogacy has not gotten the attention it deserves. On a national level though it has raised questions. Germany for example has made it illegal after serious dispute about it. That debate has not taken place in the United States that much, and may have escaped Ms. Bartholet's ivory tower.



When adoption advocates use the word "orphan", I am reminded of Bill Clinton's attempt to clarify/define the word "is", as it is used in relation to sex.  What is "is" ?  Care to take a guess? And by the way, Mr. President... what is an orphan?  [I guess it all depends on what your definition of is, is.]

Here is another care-to-voice-an-opinion-because-it's-anyone's-guess sort of question.... Is abusive practice pervasive in adoption?  I suppose that depends on how one decides to define "abusive".  Is instilling fear or guilt for making "the wrong choice" an abusive act?  Is using money as a means to "convince" an abuse of power?  Are ALL adoptions in this world nearly as ethical and without any form of abuse as we, the earth's people, want and wish them to be? 

I'm thinking adoption is looking more gray than pearly white right now.... but then I have been doing my homework.... and yes, much of it makes me lose my lunch and my color.

What IS being done is this:  children are being kidnapped/abducted, and brought to orphanages/agencies, where documents/papers are created and filed.  Not everything put on these papers is the God's Honest truth... and many people know this.

THIS practice related to adoption has been taking place for centuries, and those "in-the-know" don't doubt for one minute there are liberal liars and well-paid deceivers still playing the falsified orphan card.  Why?  Because many people considering adoption do NOT want older children with all sorts of emotional baggage.  They want healthy babies... they want them young, and they want them before any serious damage is done.  Most troubling of all, there are many desperate and anxious people ready, willing (and able) to pay for said "desirable" babies, and they are not asking questions like -- "Is this child really an orphan?".

So what IS an orphan? 

If we were to follow the PAL (Positive Adoption Language) as it's being sold in the video, "Fly Away Child", even a non Harvard Graduate can hear and see children are being taken away from existing families because a profit (somewhere) can be made.  This news is neither new nor is this practice going away any time soon if adoption advocates insist international adoption is the solution to all family-planning/child placement problems. 

Are these children being persuaded out of the arms of their parents/families true orphans?  Or are they something different?

Perhaps, just to make it easier, we can call a spade a spade and say the children taken away from their families for financial reasons are wanted orphans... and the children who have no parents, no family, no home and no government fighting to keep them within their motherland are unwanted aliens.

How many people want to adopt a wanted orphan and how many want to take-in an unwanted alien?  If you ask me, there IS a huge difference.

7 unwanted aliens?...unwanted children?

I adopted 7 children.  All were unwanted aliens because they had severe special needs; and the government didn't want the responsibility.  We had the insurance to pay for the medical needs. 

One surgery, shortly after coming home was $60,000.00; which the surgeon cut down to $13,000.00 and the insurance company paid.  Now, if the government of VietNam would have been willing to foot the bill... or if there had even been the possibility of VietNam HAVING such a surgery available???  Not gonna happen.  My daughter has life-saving medicines available to her every day; full blood work-ups every three months; or sooner, like now since her report isn't quite right yet and we are adjusting the meds.  In VIetNam she had the medicine to keep her alive until I could pick her up at age 18 months.  Any longer and she would have died because they didn't have available "to her" the proper continued health care.  Am I a saint?  NO!  Just a mother who loves this child with my whole heart!  Her first mother knew there was something wrong and that her daughter would probably die.  She left her on the clinic/orphanage bench on a cold February day, in hopes that she could be saved.  NO other information ever was known.  I saw the bench and met the people who found her.  Now, was she unwanted?  I don't think so because she was kept four months before being placed on that bench.  So that makes her a wanted child...  You tell me if it was wrong for me to adopt her?

What did I ever do to deserve this... Teddy

On the bench

You tell me if it was wrong for me to adopt her?

I, personally, believe it's wrong and sickening to learn just how much and how badly a motherland ("the government") fails it's own people.  I believe, specifically, government failure -- failure to help those who are sick and in need of professional health-care, especially to those who really need it -- is the shame each sending and receiving country has to bear because this trade-for-money concept is really going to the dogs.... especially when you look at what governments are investing in. [AKA, "war-effort"]  It's a shame governments would rather take money and spend it on wars than take money and help it's own poor.  A damn shame.

So how different is Vietnam from America, in this sense?  Even in America, only the wealthy can afford good quality health-care.  WHY?  Because health-care is a business... a very lucrative business... just like adoption is.  People need to see the health-care connection to international adoption:  no money=poor care.  If you want better, you have to pay for it...[choose your sacrifice... money or child], and if you can't afford to give what is wanted/needed... Good bye! 

Meanwhile, do we really want to start discussing the cost of medications given to adoptees?  [This is where the mental-health sector, and pharmaceutical company-interests scare me.]

Is it wrong to adopt a foreign child because that country refuses to provide care for it's neediest people? In my opinion,'s wrong to enable/encourage these governments to bully for dollars.  It's wrong to financially support a government  that refuses to take care of their needy because it will cost them precious money.  There is right, there is wrong, and getting rid of people because they can't foot a medical bill is WRONG.  [That's my own deeply personal opinion... and it reflects my belief that money really is the root of all evil.]

Do I condemn those who already adopted a child from a so-called poor country?  How can I condemn an individual if that person didn't know how they were contributing to a very bad system?  I condemn and criticize the political motivations and machinations behind money-making power schemes....especially if that scheme continues to hurt parents and children on both sides of the adoption-coin.  AND I truly hope, in time, others will be more critical of future international adoption-plans, too. 

Meanwhile, it may be asked, "What if a country can't afford quality health-care?"  As Niels has written many times, if a country can host the Olympic games, it can afford health-care.  Will that "affordable" health-care be enough?  That's for the government and it's people to decide.  As far as the poorest of the poor countries, I believe those particular countries do require outside assistance, if they wish to survive.  In these cases, I believe assistance can and should come in the way of non-religious/non-political humanitarian efforts and philanthropy. There are many not-so-famous faces contributing money, services, materials to "local" schools, programs, and hospitals.  In many cases, these programs to help the locals re-build are funded by good decent people who make frequent visits, making sure corruption is not taking place.  [See:  Haing Ngor, Orphans, Orphanages, Cambodia ]

Knowing how so many can benefit from the kindness of strangers "coming-in" to assist those who need help, I strongly believe it's wrong to remove a child because some American or European wants to adopt a poor orphan child.... [because doing so looks and feels good].  Is it wrong to want to bring a very sick ("foreign") child "in" and provide medical care in Europe or in the States, because that medical care is much better?  No.  But please bring that child home, so that child can grow and become a functioning contributing member of his God-Given society.  In other words, there are so many things that can be done to prevent international adoption from being an option... but how many people are willing to work and make the sacrifices needed to limit the adoption industry?

Maybe I'm really old-fashioned or just plain stupid, but I think like this:  Just because someone helps does not mean that person should expect he/she is entitled to a tangible gift.

While I see both sides of

While I see both sides of this argument, I must add my 2 cents. First of all, I read the article that was referenced to about the 333 children kidnapped for adoption in Guatemala. This article specifically stated that these children were stolen during a time of Civil War. Although in no way do I think that this is justifiable, it is not an argument to use for corruption of the system in general. As a person who has just returned to the States after 2 years living in Guatemala, I saw first hand and even experienced first hand the horrible consequences of the closed door for adoptions in Guatemala. This country doesn't need to be punished for the wrongdoings of some, but helped to fix the corruption in the system. Children are being punished for the corruption of some, and forced to live in horrible situations. We saw a case in which a child was given to a Guatemalan family who could not even afford a bed for this child. He was going to have to sleep in a hammock. How will that family afford to feed him? And there are literally thousands of families who could give this child a home, but are not allowed to because of the actions of corrupt lawyers and workers. It is a sad, sad, situation!

Repeating offensive patterns

Guatemala is neither the first, nor the only country that used "conflict" as an excuse to punish parents and remove their children.

This "remove the unwanted" (whist making money) took place during the early child migration period, the Franco-era, and it took place during the Second World War, under the name of the Lebensborn program.  However, putting "the unwanted" children in orphanages so they can be sold to the highest bidder isn't limited to these examples.  After all, how did the America-Vietnam and America-Korea conflict affect children (with living mothers) and their final placement in this world? 

These are things people need to think about... the corruption is not limited to doctors, lawyers and social workers.  The corruption revolves around a political-party's "special interests", and these factors must not be forgotten.

In other words, "saving orphans" from a horrible regime is not going to prevent more families, more children from being hurt from the power money and acquisition brings.

These are far more than simple little "adoption issues" that can be resolved with a little (paid) psycho-therapy.

These are huge global issues than cannot and should not be ignored and dismissed.

All of this IS sad... it's VERY sad.  It always has been.  That's why we need to see change.  We need to see global adoption reform and we need PAP's to stop pushing for faster, quicker adoptions... because that push for "more" will only make serious matters worse.

Yes... that means the drive to adopt from foreign countries has only added to the many ways in which a country can continue to ignore it's own people.

This brings me to the real reason behind my own critical look at international adoption.  I was a so-called foreign baby.  Born in Canada... a country known to have struggles of it's own when it comes to foster/family care.  I was purchased because my Aparents wanted a little girl to complete their family.  I have no doubt they paid good money to a private agency to get me.  [The Catholic-church affiliated agency they used has been closed for decades, thank-goodness.]  For the life of me, how can American Adopters (seeking foreign-trade) turn their backs on their own children?   If people are adopting because they want to "help"... why are they not helping locally?

Why are so many American politicians and adoption advocates pushing for foreign-trade when we have so many HUGE domestic problems?!?

about Guatemala

The 333 stolen children reported over the period 1977-1989 very much is indicative of the corruption taking place in Guatemala. It laid the legal infrastructure for much larger scale adoption in later years. The military regime in that era was very much responsible for removing the children, but it needed the legal system to cover up their act. Records had to be falsified in order to make the adoptions in the era 1977-1989 look legitimate. That practiced continued after that period as long as adoption from Guatemala was practiced.

The ban on inter-country adoption was instituted by Guatemala itself, so the country is not the victim of the United States closing the door on them, but made its own decision that continuation of adoption practices would only lead to more corruption. The statistics speak for themselves. Despite overwhelming evidence of corruption and illegal practices the demand for Guatemalan babies only grew. From 2003 to 2004 the number of adoptions tripled, despite the knowledge of corruption, or maybe it's not entirely unfair to say, because of the knowledge of corruption. Afterall more corruption means easier access to infants.

Finally the issue of poverty, which does indeed exist in Guatemala. My question is, why focus so much on Guatemala, while its neighboring countries like Honduras and El Salvador are not doing much better. Could it be that the poverty argument is being used because Guatemala recently was providing infants for adoption. World wide at least 600 million live in abject poverty and adoption is not and cannot be the solution.

Only a century ago many children in the US lived in abject poverty, working in factories under horrible conditions. Had China at the time been a rich country, would it have been the right thing for them to demand American children to be raised as their own?


"Records had to be falsified in order to make the adoptions in the era 1977-1989 look legitimate."
In 1989 I went to Guatemala to finalize the adoption of my 3 month old son.  I dealt directly with the birth-mother and the missionary she worked for.  It was quick... but it was down and dirty even though the birth-mother was in full agreement.
When it was finalized, we went to the town of Qatzaltenango, where he was born, and they took out the birth registration and replaced it with a new one that stated that he was born to me.  My name is in the registry as being his birth mother. I had NO clue what was going on until lately, being here.  It made no sense to me, but Guatemala as a whole made no sense to me.

What did I ever do to deserve this... Teddy

Name-changes on BC's

we went to the town of Qatzaltenango, where he was born, and they took out the birth registration and replaced it with a new one that stated that he was born to me.  My name is in the registry as being his birth mother.

I was adopted during the Closed-Era, so the BC "given" to me is an unofficial copy... it states my adopted (changed) name and titles my Aparents as my birth mother and birth father.

Words cannot BEGIN to describe how difficult the search for my first-family was, because I was not born within the United States, and because all the factual information on that certificate was changed, to appease the paying AP's.  [For the record, I never found anyone from either original family... but I did find an interesting paper-trail.]

Perhaps now other AP's can begin to appreciate the reason for anger and resentment when an adoptee does NOT agree with the belief that name-changes on a BC is a good way to maintain a child's sense of identity.    [See:  A tale of two dads... why birth certificates make me laugh! ]


But I KEPT all his original birth information for him!   He knows where it is and he's read it...  And if he ever so chooses, he has names, dates and places.  He's 20 years old.  He says he would never be interested.  But just in case...

What did I ever do to deserve this... Teddy

That's good to know

Adoptees SHOULD have the option to learn all they can about the circumstances surrounding their birth and final relinquishment.

ABC's Are Table Scraps

Keeping the original birth information but still allowing the original birth certificate to be sealed and an altered (falsified) one issued?
Table scraps. Adoptees SHOULD have what all non-adoptees have and take for granted: Their Original, Unaltered, Unsealed, Unfalsified Birth Certificates.

I do understand...

And in a perfect world... everyone would be loved and cherished for who they are and not what can be gained from them.

"...still allowing the original birth certificate to be sealed and an altered (falsified) one issued?"

Right...  and if this is the way adoption works, and an AP has no say...  but yes, I see where you have a right to hate all adoptive parents for what was done to you.  I have hated all men for what was done to me.  I do understand.  Yet I have learned right here that men are NOT all alike.  I do hope there comes a time when you realize adoptive parents are NOT all alike.  I am saddened for what must have happened to you; just as I am saddened for what happened to my husband to make him... what he is...

What did I ever do to deserve this... Teddy

Not naive

This is an EXCELLENT POST! It is on a level with the previous debunking of Prof. Barthelot's lies, Red Thread or Slender Reed which was published in the TennLaw Review! I will be rereading it and cross posting it on my blog, and sharing it widely. (Too bad it's not published on its own try!)

I have just one point of disagreement: You are far too kind to Prof. Barthelot to excuse her as being naive. She is anything but! She is a slick party-line spokesperson for the legal community who depend on adoption for the livelihood and her goal is to keep them in business by keeping those baby coming - NO MATTER WHAT!

She will lie and twist and distort facts, such as the number of orphans in orphanages, which she KNOWS full well is overinflated 9 times!! At last year's NY Lw Center conference she stated that "heritage is over-rated" and said she prefers the term baby selling to child trafficking...

Th biggest concern of those participating at the conference was the fact that the Hague was closing adoption agencies and putting people out of work. That is their concern - not mothers, not babies, no families! Not even adopters.

Just like the NCFA, they (she and the AAA etc.) LIE. She is trying desperately to hang on and stop the pressure to close down adoptions. But they know the general public, and especially tose seeking to adopt prefer to believe their lies than the truth!

The lies they all LOVE!!! And the more you repeat a lie, the more power it takes on...

Fortunately, more and more TRUTHS are being spoken and published to counteract these lies.
Please see: http://tinyurl/adoptionfacts

If anyone will be in NYC in December - I urge you to try to attend the next Law Institute Conference. I will be n a panel about fees and ethics and need ll the support I can get as I will be IN THE LIONS DEN!!

Mirah Riben

Looking at the global market

She will lie and twist and distort facts, such as the number of orphans in orphanages, which she KNOWS full well is overinflated 9 times!! At last year's NY Lw Center conference she stated that "heritage is over-rated" and said she prefers the term baby selling to child trafficking...

Th biggest concern of those participating at the conference was the fact that the Hague was closing adoption agencies and putting people out of work. That is their concern - not mothers, not babies, no families! Not even adopters.

And what keeps hitting the headlines these days?  The story of a struggling adoption agency trying to make ends meet. 

Extra $4,000 fee is families' best shot at reviving Ontario company and bringing home a child, hopeful parents told

From:  Parents asked to bail out failed adoption agency  -- yet another article related to Imagine Adoption

People (PAP's, especially) will keep spending money, as long as they get what they were promised.  The only question that keeps getting asked is, "How much?"  [How much money will have to be paid, and how much money will be lost if the agency gets shut-down.]

What's the promise being made in this sort of "business" negotiation?  If you give us more (money), we will produce ("your" children).  Ah, yes, thank you... we'll gladly pay your many fees and services, as long as we get the child promised us.  It's as if a miracle, an act of God, took place, when the two sides can reach a working agreement!!

  PAHLEESE!  Show me the money, you'll get yer damn kid.

The question Harvard graduates need to ask is this:  When considering international adoption, where is my money going?  Is the bulk of my money going towards a child's care and his/her immediate needs or is the bulk of my money going to private workers, hoping to keep their positions while maintaining a steady client-base? 

"Is the bulk of my money

"Is the bulk of my money going towards a child's care and his/her immediate needs or is the bulk of my money going to private workers, hoping to keep their positions while maintaining a steady client-base? "

In 2002, I went to Vietnam without one paper needed for my dossier to be complete.  I was there to adopt my son before the country shut down the first of 2003.

Holt called the workers in Saigon/Danang to use all the overseas fees I had paid to make this adoption go through; make the government accept my dossier and give me 2 months to get that damn I171H back to them...  What they were really saying is this: WE/HOLT will send you more money to replace the money you spend on bribes.  I didn't know this at the time; only that we were going forward with the process. 

We did all the needed paperwork, meetings, Embassy requirements, and were allowed to hand in the dossier.  The money goes to make-things-right; make things happen. 

Not all the time is extra money needed to grease the wheels; but when needed, it is provided and the wheels are greased.  As it trickles down, the money is less and less in amount, given to lesser and lesser in standing workers.

  I know a couple in Omaha whose money and adoption were just before mine; their influence paved the way for my adoption to get greased. And what I got was kindness, not a child; the child would be mine.  

 Was there anything illegal about the adoption of my son? No.  I even met his mother who was pregnant by another man; had HepB; was leaning over the balcony flirting with yet another man who offered her money for sex... right in front of me.

  My son was almost 4 and had been in at least 5 other placements.  She was getting nothing from relinquishing him except what I took her as presents and freedom to continue her life.  All the money was above her, all the way up to the ones who took the most.

What did I ever do to deserve this... Teddy

Eyes, widening

She was getting nothing from relinquishing him except what I took her as presents and freedom to continue her life.  All the money was above her, all the way up to the ones who took the most.

Reads like political whoring where women without much money or means are led to believe selling parts of their bodies to those "in-need" is the easiest way to make an easy-living.  Taking the "useless whore's" children away is one way of teaching personal responsibility and accountability.  These stories are getting sadder and sadder and the cycle is going to continue to repeat itself because so many seem to think this is all OK.... "we're doing them a favor."

All things a system.  I could cry, knowing how bad it really gets... especially if you are a fertile woman with nothing.

If a well-paid prostitute gets pregnant, she's expected (by the pimp) to have an abortion.  [Business is business]

If an unmarried resident of the state does the same, there is always the adoption-option to solve the unwanted pregnancy problem. [Eliminate added costs whenever and where ever we can]

Amazing, isn't it?

<fading to deeper shade of black>

don't forget she was pregnant...

She was pregnant at the time...  and if they made money off her/my son, just think how much more they were going to make off that new baby.  EXCEPT:  She was HepB positive (my son is a HepB carrier), and the country was shutting down within days of my leaving.  So what DID happen to that baby?  Well, I do believe they took that baby, too, just in case the country opened back up to adoption.  Maybe when it did open up for that short time a while back, that baby got adopted.  If not, then there is still money in keeping kids in orphanages.

What did I ever do to deserve this... Teddy

I find Bartholet's article

I find Bartholet's article basically well-reasoned and informed, and I agree with many of her points. I also think that those rabidly opposed to international adoption are prone to ignore the realities of poverty and illness in favor of the fantasy that children can and will be cared by governments or extended families. As a researcher who spends a good deal of time in developing countries, I see firsthand the damage to children that this sort of reasoning causes. As Bartholet says, "If the critics of international adoption prevail, the results will be disastrous for the many tens of thousands of children who could be placed yearly." This is hardly, as you say, speculation. If you haven't been to an orphanage in Vietnam, Cambodia, or the infamous Guatemala City dump, then you should. It is not adoption that creates orphans, but poverty, illness and lack of family planning.

speculation v reality

The speculation I pointed out in Ms. Bartholets article was the statement she made that Guatemalan mothers might as well have relinquished children if they had not been given money. Though I do also stand by the fact that it is hugely speculation to state "If the critics of international adoption prevail, the results will be disastrous for the many tens of thousands of children who could be placed yearly". That statement not only is pure speculation, like most statements that start with the word "if", it is also is a gross misrepresentation of what critics of international adoption want to achieve.

Ms. Bartholet and many other adoption corruption apologists fail to see that criticism is healthy. In that sense she responds like the people that call any criticism made by Americans regarding their own country as unpatriotic. Yet without criticism there can be no improvement and turning a blind eye towards corruption will only make things worse.

The statement "If the critics of international adoption prevail, the results will be disastrous for the many tens of thousands of children who could be placed yearly" is not only speculation, it is also wrong on at least two levels. First of all it assumes that all tens of thousands of children now placed need to be placed. That is a misrepresentation of the situation. Children are being stolen, children are being harvested, children are being obtained through coercion, children are being bought. Those children didn't need any placement. Their families may have needed support, but that by itself is not a reason to remove a child.

The second assumption made is that children placed in an adoptive family are better off. This can be concluded from the fact that not placing children would be disastrous. Though not all adopted children fare well through inter-country adoption. The following cases relate to children adopted from foreign countries while ended up in abusive families:

Finally, many of the children living in orphanages do not end up being adopted. Most of the children in inter-country adoption are infants that were placed in orphanages/baby homes for the purpose of inter-country adoption. As much as adoption advocates claim to be working in the interest of children that do languish in institutions, in reality not much is done for those children. They are used as part of a marketing ploy that lumps all children that are being adopted under the umbrella term "orphan" and hope to attract as many customers for the services of adoption providers.


What planet is she from?

"Baby buying is generally not thought of as a serious evil in today’s world in other contexts"

Surrogacy, which is illegal in many countries, does not involve the selling of one's own baby. Her gross support of the exploitation of the poor to provide infants is beyond the limits of morality and harms children who might possibly benefit from adoption. Indeed "The evils involved in *such* abuses must be weighed against the far more significant evils involved in denying children homes."

Yes, Prof B. - what about the kids left behind who are denied homes as you and your lot defend baby selling.

And don't even get me started on how OFFENSIVE this is the Guatemalan women whose babies were kidnapped! To continue spreading these unproven allegations about mothers being paid...PL _EEE-ASE!! That is part and parcel with the Guatemalan culture of victim blaming and is used to ease the guilt of those who want to continue adopting from nations that are intensely corrupt.

I've had use for Bartholet

I've had use for Bartholet since I read a book of hers (many years ago--forgot title and details) in which she suggested that all this triad/adoption suffering stuff was a joke, so way out in left field that it was obviously invented by people who need a reason to feel sorry for themselves. She called it the "tragic triangle." Hahaha. Her own South American children were still young enough to be cute at the time IIRC.

Is there another industry in which those who have benefited most are allowed to talk about how great it all is and it's rude if anyone suspects a thing? Maybe finance? Wave some bucks or babies or both around and suddenly all the experts believe what it is most convenient for you to have them believe.

Pound Pup Legacy