exposing the dark side of adoption
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Kids just months away from new homes

Kids just months away from new homes
Kantipur Report
KATHMANDU, March 17 - With the government expediting the selection process for inter-country adoption, Nepali orphans and children abandoned by their families are only a few months away from their new homes abroad.

A list of Nepali children available for inter-country adoption is under scrutiny at the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare.

The central matching committee under the ministry has been assigned to go ahead with the process. Of late, a total of 115 prospective foreign parents have applied seeking Nepali children for adoption.

It is mandatory for prospective adoptive parents to present a document from their home country permitting adoption.

“The matching process could take two to three months before the children are handed over to foreign adoptive parents,” says Toya Nath Adhikari, legal officer at the ministry. “However, the process could be delayed because all registered orphanage homes have not submitted the list of children for adoption,” he says.

Out of 38 registered orphanage homes, only a few have submitted lists of a total of 45 children. Owing to strict new regulations and lack of fund, the homes took a long time to submit their reports.

For the first time, the ministry has adopted new measures to maintain transparency in the entire selection process and also tried to maintain secrecy to ensure that no one influences the process, say ministry officials.

“We are closely watching the whole process,” says Manoj Kumar Kandel, a representative of Canada-based international adoption agency -- Choice Adoption. “We hope the ministry will not be partial while handing over the children.”

After media exposed corruption and rampant exploitation of children, the ministry decided to hold the process for 18 months until effective laws were enacted to plug loopholes.

Back then, there were cases where agents bypassed regulations to illegally procure babies for potential parents for large amounts.

Following pressure from the international community, the government eased the ban and came up with new rules to systematize the process.

Under the new regulations, prospective parents have to deal with registered adoption agencies from their home country or Nepal-based embassies. Earlier, they used to deal with orphanage homes.

Since the amount for adoption was not determined, prospective parents often ended up paying huge amounts for the baby of their choice.

Now, the adoption fee for each child has been fixed at 8,000 dollars, with 5,000 dollars going to children's homes and 3,000 dollars to the state. 

The government has registered 62 international adoption agencies, and they have been asked to spend certain amount on the welfare of children in Nepal. Records at the ministry show that 2,244 Nepali children have been adopted since 2000 till date.

“We however need to monitor the government process,” says Tulasa  Kharel, a representative of an adoption agency based in Italy. A UNICEF study released last September had said that an “industry” had grown up around adoption in which profit rather than the best interest of the child took centre stage. The study also found instances of children who were not orphans being given away for adoption by parents as well as orphanages.

Posted on: 2009-03-17 22:26:08 (Server Time)

2009 Mar 17