exposing the dark side of adoption
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Ellie Skeele private adoptions



……Skeele, a single parent, adopted Mimi privately four years ago when the child was fourteen months old. She adopted her second child, three-year old Tsering, through Bal Griha last year. “To be approved as adoptive parents in the home country you go through hell. It’s a very stringent process,” she says. “It is always more emotional for parents who opt for adoption after trying to have their own kids.” Skeele, who owns and manages a software development company in Nepal, is intent on dispelling misconceptions about foreign families adopting Nepali babies. “Sometimes adoption is misunderstood. Adoptive families are giving a child a home and not taking them to be servants as can often happen when a Nepali family takes in a child. People shouldn’t apply their worldview to us,” says Skeele. “Of course sensational horror stories and the occasional story of molestation haven’t helped.”

Both Mimi and Tsering call Skeele “mummy”. Mimi is in contact with her birth family. “I prefer private adoption—maintaining direct contact with the birth family—because I want my children to know their birth families. It is in the best interests of the child. Sometimes it is difficult tracing them through a home,” says Skeele as she and Mimi look at pictures of Mimi’s siblings and birth mother. They’re sorting them out for a school project that Mimi has decided to present to her class. Says Skeele: “There are many families who love Nepal, who have a bond with the country and given a choice would rather adopt from Nepal than China, Eastern Europe or Vietnam. Of course it would be ideal if the children were adopted by Nepali parents, but given Nepal’s economic situation and the strong influence of the caste system, I don’t see that happening.”

Skeele probably holds the record for getting her adoption papers finalised in the shortest time in the labyrinthine circle of Nepali bureaucracy where it’s common to sit on files. “The first adoption, at least the process at the ministry, took five days. People did seek gifts and try to find fault with every detail. But my papers were in perfect order. Everything was clear, legitimate.” She made it clear that Americans didn’t give gifts.

She was lucky, as were the Hahns and Sergio ….