exposing the dark side of adoption
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"Ethica's Response to 'Meet the Parents': Hold Agencies Accountable"


"Ethica's Response to 'Meet the Parents': Hold Agencies Accountable"
As illustrated by Scott Carney in his piece “Meet the Parents” in Mother Jones Magazine, the following have been longstanding factors fueling unethical adoptions from India: (1) Western agencies routinely charge high fees (including fees in excess of the orphanage fee of $3,500) and higher fees than are charged domestically, (2) there is very little accountability or transparency as to where the fees actually go, and (3) Western agencies have the ability to avoid liability by turning a blind eye to the actions or omissions or their Indian counterparts.  As long as these factors are in play, one cannot be assured of ethical adoptions from India or any other country for that matter.

Specific to India, Ethica has examined through news accounts, scholarship, crisis work and personal accounts, the following malpractices. As is generally the case with illegal and unethical activity, these malpractices are not quantifiable, but are so commonly reported that they may be characterized as common: 
·         Minimal bona fide inquiry into whether the child’s orphan status is legitimate. For example, as illustrated in Carney’s article, there are shocking stories of children being kidnapped and numerous stories of children who were institutionalized for education/boarding care but were sent without their parents’ informed consent for adoption,

·         Children who are claimed to have special needs conditions so as to expedite/obtain clearance for intercountry procedures under Indian adoption guidelines when in reality the child has no special needs or has easily correctible special needs,

·         Groups of unrelated children who are claimed to be siblings so as to expedite/obtain clearance for international adoption,

·         Children declared available for adoption without bona fide search for biological parents or a domestic placement being undertaken,

·         Falsified or incomplete paperwork, including not disclosing special needs conditions,

·         Mothers who are coerced into relinquishing,

·         Questionable care provided by some institutions. 
Even when malpractices are exposed, agencies accused of malpractices are rarely severely sanctioned; typically at most their license to perform inter-country adoptions is rescinded and often eventually reinstated. Sadly, the Hague Convention does not go far enough in remedying these abuses so long as excessive fees are permitted to part of the adoption equation and the receiving country is not required to vouch for the child’s status as truly internationally adoptable.
Carney’s piece highlights the abuses that continue to this day within the Indian international adoption system, and how the U.S. system fails adoptees who remain unaware of their true histories.  The article poignantly illustrates the permanent and devastating impact unethical adoptions have on ALL family members.  In unethical adoptions, there are no winners, only profiteers.
2009 Mar 15