People looking overseas for babies

By Rachel Grunwell

May 29, 2011 / 

It's not just stars like Madonna, Angelina Jolie and her partner Brad Pitt who adopt overseas children.

Large numbers of Kiwi parents want to do the same as the number of domestic adoptions plummets.

No single agency keeps comprehensive records of foreign children given homes in New Zealand.

But Inter-Country Adoption New Zealand (Icanz) says more than 900 have been adopted in the past 20 years.

The children are not just from perennially popular Eastern European countries such as Russia, but also Cambodia, Chile, India, Peru, South Africa, Thailand, the Philippines, Tonga, Moldova, Hong Kong and even Kazakhstan.

AUT University senior psychology lecturer Rhoda Scherman said there was "high interest" in adopting from overseas and parents just had to prepare themselves for the hurdles they must overcome to do it.

Icanz spokeswoman Wendy Hawke said some couples had to endure up to three years of bureaucracy and spend between $10,000 and $50,000 on overseas travel, hotel bills and paperwork, but she wanted to tell Kiwis it was possible to achieve their dream of becoming parents. According to Child Youth and Family, the number of domestic adoptions has fallen 40 per cent in five years.

Hawke said adoption laws in Russia, which were tightened after a mass of adoptions, were opening up again.

Two applications from Kiwi parents have been approved and she hoped they would be offered children soon.

Child Youth and Family spokeswoman Beth Nelson estimated about 200 overseas children had been given homes since 2005 but it depended how international adoptions were defined.

For example, her figures did not include the many children from Samoa who move to New Zealand to be cared for by relatives.

Internal Affairs records reveal 356 international adoptions by Kiwi citizens last year.

Scherman is set to publish groundbreaking research on inter-country adoption.


Veterinary nurse Sveta Dolgova Hawke was 6 when she was adopted by an Auckland family - but has always been aware of her Russian roots.

The 24-year-old says her parents Wendy and David Hawke were always open about her heritage.

She remembers little of being raised in an orphanage, but can recall being told "scary stories" to get her to sleep and getting a single orange for Christmas.

Sveta and Wendy have been researching her roots since she was 12. They have found her birth mother is dead, but also learned of another brother and connected with a previously unknown birth grandmother.

Sveta, who works for the SPCA in Auckland, is heading to Russia next week to stay with her grandmother and learn more about her birth country.

Wendy said it had been wonderful to help her daughter discover her history.


Why adoption will always win

Let's take the moral issue out of an abortion-plan, because I want readers to see WHY the adoption industry is "good" and why abortion clinics/services are "bad".  There is no future economy with an abortion-plan.  Meanwhile, members working the adoption industry will do whatever it takes to keep ICA alive and well, especially for the sake of the desperate paying prospective parent, who happens to be.... infertile.

Wendy Hawke said some couples had to endure up to three years of bureaucracy and spend between $10,000 and $50,000 on overseas travel, hotel bills and paperwork, but she wanted to tell Kiwis it was possible to achieve their dream of becoming parents. According to Child Youth and Family, the number of domestic adoptions has fallen 40 per cent in five years.

The vast majority of adopters want infants, not older children.  And it cannot be denied the lure of exotic travel, at reasonable prices, has it's own uber-strong appeal.

OF COURSE we stayed at the most expensive and glamorous hotels in the countries we adopted from...  and it cost a pittance of what it does in America.  Even the likes of my low-middle income family could afford to stay in comfort.  We borrowed THOUSANDS, and spent it quickly.  We loved the impression that we were "Rich Americans." 

[From:  comment, OF COURSE we stayed at the best places... ]

This is one of the reasons behind an angry adoptee's statement, "There are no heroes in adoption." and the belief that adoption is never a selfless act.

As the infertile fight for their perceived right to have an infant through adoption, time must be spent to ponder upon the truth behind adoption-matters:  it's the older children who are (and will continue to be) denied and deprived decent care within the care-system because they are not infants.  Here's the sick twist:  looks really matter when it comes to getting good decent help.  Good quality care-systems are expensive, and I see more and more people are more inclined to help support and supply the maternity hospital and nurseries where everything is new and cute for the little ones, but less inclined to assist and repair the older, more difficult challenges that come with neglect.  There's this false belief that ICA will help care-centers that still house kids.  Many people fail to realize quality care-centers will make ICA the last resort it's supposed to be.  Therefore it behooves many who profit via adoption, to keep poor care-systems poor, and have poor-care systems remain the norm.  Create the need, (maintain the neglect), that way the dream to adopt (internationally) may become a reality.  This is not child-centric care.... it's meeting the demands set by a social service gone amok. 

[Oh, the poor poor wanna-be-parents who can't have a baby the good old fashioned way ... whatever shall we do Mr. Adoption Advocate Man?  Ensure the status quo remains, so those with money and a dream will not have give-up on their adoption-plan!]

It used to be an ICA story always involved Aparents living in the US.  Not so anymore.  [Sending countries are not stupid enough to limit child trade to just one region!]

Internal Affairs records reveal 356 international adoptions by Kiwi citizens last year.

And yet record keeping in Adoptionland is poor, at best.

Let's fast-forward and take a new look at an adoption-plan over-seas.

Readers need to see the connection between ICA and hospitality services as they work together to help serve the paying member of the provider-client relationship.  The so-called Orphan Crusade not only increases profits made through the adoption industry, the orphan crusade helps other industries survive, as well.  Simple math:   Limiting ICA numbers means all sales and fees related to international travel will go down.

Cutting tourism hits local economies.  Who will suffer first?  The laborers, not the executives.  But sending countries are NOT limited to sending only to Canada, or the US.  There are many other countries showing a very strong interest in baby-making, via the adoption-plan. 

And the child's best interest is where in this economic equation?

There's a depravity behind each and every ICA plan, but none of this gets discussed openly, as it needs to be discussed.


When Amothers like Wendy teach their adopted daughter about her own adoption-story, I hope they include information about local economies, local governments, available social programs for those trying to find jobs and keep families together, and how international adoption helped solve an over-populated region's problem with so-called "orphans" put in-care. 

It will be very interesting to see what the next generation of adoptees will have to say about a government's involvement behind child placement services and international adoption.

Cashing in...

Certain hotels in Guatemala City and La Antigua catered to PAPs and APs, some hotels even had baby rooms and baby necessities. Many drivers, translators and hotels offered services geared specifically to adoptive parents. The government of Guatemala was well aware of the revenues that this contributed. Certain orphanages and "hogares" (smaller orphanages) were built for the sole purpose of ICA and either agency or attorney owned, and most only accepted new borns but not children older than toddlers. As there was a time when a quick turn around was expected, meaning a newborn would be placed in a new home with an adoptive parent in less than 6 months.

Not to be overlooked is how adoptions started in Guatemala, during the Civil War the military plundered villages taking the children.
I wonder how many APs are going to include that little detail in their child's Lifebook or explain to the adoptee how adoption was started in their birth country....?


Tourism is Guatemala’s third most important source of revenue, behind exports and remittances. Guatemala’s comparative advantages are unique not just in the isthmus but the world. Antigua, the old Spanish colonial capital, with its cobble stoned streets and colonial ruins are a favorite among old and young tourists alike. Eco-tourism is also taking hold in Guatemala, with sustainable coffee farm tours in various regions and visits to Lake Atitlan. The country’s world renowned intricate However, local authorities fail to take measures to maximize the country’s unique potential to attract foreign revenues.

* For example, a recent law ended the adoption trade in Guatemala and will likely cause a significant decline of tourism associated with adoption in 2009. Failures to stop crime, which is perceived to literally run the country, are likely to adversely affect potential increases in tourist revenues in the near future.

Tourist-dependent sites such as Antigua and Rio Dulce have not been able to convince the government that visitors and their dollars are likely to go elsewhere if perceptions of rampant crime, violence and impunity are not dealt with. Meanwhile, the narcotics industry appears to invade the officially protected biospheres and natural reserves, jeopardizing these areas as potential tourist destination spots.

Cashing in...EVEN after the country closes

Yes it is true La Ronda what you are saying about Guatemala, but it is not exclusive to Guatemala. Same rings true for other countries whether they are closed or open to ICA. In-country searchers, who locate first families, are associated with orphanages, facilitators or adoption attorneys.

The TIES program makes sure to continue cashing in on the adoption theme even after post-adoption:

Keep the cash cow flowing.

Cash cows, horses, chickens, sheep....

Cashing-in on adoption issues is HUGE.

This is where adoptees can come-in and claim all sorts of expert opinion, which may or may not be wise or insightful.

I find the role of 'therapist' and adoptive parent preparer/instructor is especially prone to quackery.  This is especially true when an adoptee may claim to be an authority on adoption issues, but is, in fact, a money hungry opportunist, instead.

Anyone can regurgitate published facts... few can provide useful every-day advice that actually helps the adoptee and adoptive/birth parent process the adoption-option. 

Adoptees coming in

I honestly wish they would come in, with good every day advice. It would be much needed by many who don't dare to ask for assistance, for many reasons.


Pound Pup Legacy