Move over Ethiopia...Congo here they come!

A few stories from this month of interest regarding Hollywood adopting from the Congo (DRC) and the adoption agency "Celebrate Children International"... and the Congo. See a theme?

 1. "Jillian Michaels (star from "The Biggest Loser") to Adopt A Child from the Congo" Read: "Rescuing something"....Did she really say that?!! Seems someone needs PAP workshop class fast! "I'm going to adopt," she told Women's Health magazine last spring. "I can't handle doing that to my body. Also, when you rescue something, it's like rescuing a part of yourself."

 2. Hopefully Jillian has a Hague accredited agency with a better track record....drumroll please....Celebrate Children International is opening up in...the Congo! Read:


Hague accreditation

Pahleese, the J.  Michaels adoption story has to be one of the most annoying celebrity stunts going.

However, let's look at what it means for an agency to be "Hague accredited".

What exactly does that mean, in terms of ethical adoption practice, and the way in which "orphans" (children put in care) are treated.


Who are the Hague Evaluation Team

Let's just cut to the chase here please. Who are the members of the Hague Team that accredits adoption agencies?
Are some of the members of that team former social workers who worked or are WORKING for adoption agencies?
Interesting scenario.


I don't know about Hague. What I have come across quite a lot recently is an inflation in the use of the term ETHICAL, in reference to Ethiopian adoptions.

ETHICAL adoptions, some argue, could be guaranteed if further procedural precautions were taken.

That  would apply to a group of one thousandth of the entire orphan population of five million. Supply them with proper paperwork, and their adoption is ETHICAL.

At the same time, it is ETHICAL to save a child from institutional care.

Orphans (five million of them) suffering from institutionalisation are always good for justifying an individual decision to adopt.

At the very same time, the fact that there is such a small number of potential adoptees within an orphan population will serve as a justification as well. For something entirely different, however. It is used to proof that international adoption cannot be cause to all the wrongs in the system of orphan care/ adoption.

Come on, folks, show some decency in your choice of words!

Go ahead and ask for  the reliable clean white paperwork you paid for.


don't call that ETHICAL



There are some upsides to the Hague Convention, but they are few. The best part of the Hague Convention is that it either ended the business practices of the following agencies, or at least reduced their relevance:

Hague accreditation made it possible to correct some of the most egregious state licensing decision, but other than that it seems to have mostly changed the bureaucratic requirements for adopting children from foreign countries, only.

For many agencies, however, the Hague Convention means very little difference, since the majority of inter-country adoptions by-pass the Hague Convention anyway.

In 2009, less than 40% of the children adopted from abroad were placed under the Hague Convention, almost two-third of them from China alone. All together, the importance of the Hague Convention is vastly overstated; it never really addressed any of the ethical issues purportedly tackled. After all, the Hague Convention never stopped countries like Cambodia, China, Vietnam, Nepal and Guatemala from signing the treaty while continuing their child trafficking practices.  

Hague Accreditation is not enough

All together, the importance of the Hague Convention is vastly overstated; it never really addressed any of the ethical issues purportedly tackled. After all, the Hague Convention never stopped countries like Cambodia, China, Vietnam, Nepal and Guatemala from signing the treaty while continuing their child trafficking practices.  

As far as I'm concerned, the real sign of ethical design can be found within a sending - or receiving - country's response to the UNCRC.

The most widely ratified international human rights treaty, it declares that those under 18 years old must be protected from violence, exploitation, discrimination and neglect.

"Adherence to and application of the Convention will be of crucial importance for the children of Somalia, who are gravely affected by the ongoing conflict, recurrent natural disasters and chronic poverty," the U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF) said in a statement welcoming the move.

[From:  Somalia to join child rights pact: UN, 2009 ]

Much can be said about a country's refusal to ratify this particular offering, for the sake of the (adoptable) child (put in-care).


< loud whisper....>  The US, to date, still has not agreed to accept or ratify said treaty.

from: Adopting from DRC? Pray hard and reconsider.

There is an excellent warning-piece, written in June of 2012, by a woman who has done work with the vulnerable children in eastern DRC through Reeds of Hope.  She writes extensively about adoptions from Congo and is a must-read for anyone quite clueless about ICA arrangements made in unstable countries.  Her piece is called   Adopting from DRC? Pray hard and reconsiderIt begins with the following information and questions EVERY PAP ought to ask him or herself before alligning with an adoption agency:

I was directed to this  article today.   It will take just a second to look at the overview  of the article.

It says that DRC is the #2 "failed state" in the world  (it was #4 last year, and #5 the year before other words it is getting  worse every year).  I'll say it again.  DRC is ranked second in the world of  "failed states".  Right after Somalia!

Would you consider adopting  from Somalia right now?  I hope your answer is "no way!".  Let me ask it another  way.  Would you consider adopting from a country that is described as having no  central state, no government, no law and order, and no economy (see here  for source of quote)?  (You would say, "no way!", right?  I sure hope  so!).

DRC is right behind Somalia and it is in a worse state than  every other country in the world.

Here is a part of a definition  of a "failed state" (bold and underlined my own).  The quote is from the  International Red Cross (here is  the link).

The political and legal  approach
Three elements can be said to characterize the phenomenon of the “failed State” from the political and legal point of view.
  • Firstly, there is the geographical  and territorial aspect, namely the fact that “failed States” are  essentially associated with internal and endogenous problems, even though these  may incidentally have cross-border impacts. The situation confronting us then is  one of an implosion rather than an explosion of the structures of power and  authority, the disintegration and destructuring of States rather than their  dismemberment.
  • Secondly, there is the political aspect, namely the internal collapse of  law and order. The emphasis here is on the total or near  total breakdown of structures guaranteeing law and order [2 ] rather  than the kind of fragmentation of State authority seen in civil wars, where  clearly identified military or paramilitary rebels fight either to strengthen  their own position within the State or to break away from it. [3 ]
  • Thirdly, there is the functional aspect, namely the absence of  bodies capable, on the one hand, of representing the State at the international  level and, on the other, of being influenced by the outside world. Either no  institution exists which has the authority to negotiate, represent and enforce  or, if one does, it is wholly unreliable, typically acting as “statesman by day and  bandit by night”.
From a legal point of view, it could be said that the “failed State” is one which, though retaining legal capacity, has for all practical  purposes lost the ability to exercise it. A key element in this  respect is the fact that there is no body which can commit the State in an  effective and legally binding way, for example, by concluding an  agreement.

Holly's tips, suggestions and questions PAPs need to ask are especially noteworthy, especially if one reads on an adoption website an "adoptable" child is "100% paper-ready".  <shudder> 

Glad some A-parents are getting it, but others are on the way

It's really good to see that some would-be or current adopters are getting it, like the author of this blog:

It would be tragic to see another Guatemala or Cambodia or Vietnam or Ethiopia happen in DRC (Uganda, Ghana), but the signs say it's happening already.

But from agencies, the story is different. The biggest player in Russian adoptions, European Adoption Consultants (EAC) is ramping up marketing for its Africa programs, including DRC. Fast! Healthy young babies!

Protesting APs

I agree, the emergence of AWARE individuals investigating various adoption programs IS encouraging, but one must not overlook the power of the popular AP blogger/author determined to maintain a blind-side when it comes to corrupt adoption practice, and the harms these practices bring stolen children.

For example, "Mamalita" (Jessica O'Dwyer, as mentioned in another piece I posted), maintains the belief that the closure of adoption programs is a crime and an injustice to children put in orphanages.  She has an uncanny ability to overlook the fact that many of these so-called orphans are NOT adoptable orphans.  Instead, these children are used as money-makers for orphanage directors, adoption "facilitators", judges, lawyers, medical staff, and anyone else involved in either a child-trafficking scam, or  an "ethical" adoption plan. 

APs like O'Dwyer, and her followers, strongly believe there is a "horrible prejudice" when a child born in Guatemala cannot live in a home in New Jersey.  

Um... there is a "horrible prejudice", that prejudice is, too many American adopters believe places like Guatemala or regions in Africa are unfit for children, and the people living there are beyond hope and self-improvement.  The prejudice revolves around the arrogance that Americans know-best, especially when it comes to raising children, providing a quality education, and keeping kids out of the streets, prisons and sex industry.

Excuse me as I laugh at the fact that the USA school systems are a travesty and our prison system has the highest population rate in the world, not to mention, one look at our own foster-care failures ought to illustrate just how blind-sided and self-serving those PAPs seeking "healthy infants" can be.

Truth be told, too many adopters are choosing adoption for very wrong reasons; they are also adopting blindly, meaning they think they have the tools to deal with and address the many problems a child put in-care brings in his or her own emotional baggage, but they DON'T!

But don't mention this on adoption forums or to AP bloggers who resist ANYTHING that resembles a critical/anti-ICA sentiment.

And so it comes as no surprise to me that European interests in ICA continue and grow, as sending countries resist the infamous American Adopter who may or may not follow the teachings coming from notorious attachment therapists.  [Hell, there's much money to be made from those in the EU who have no domestic adoption options open to them... why focus on only the USA?]

Sadly, as pointed out, the EU, with it's growing interest in ICA seems to be following America's lead in prejudiced practice -- the one that says ANY region that suffers with poverty and an unstable government is an open playing field for those profiting in child-trade.  Wow, can you stand the "humanitarian interest" and how all this puts MORE children in even graver danger than before?

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