Saturday, March 3, 2007

The Dark Side of International Adoptions, part 2

A strongly worded critique of UNICEF's involvement in the Guatemalan adoption process can be found here:

Most interesting to me were the following paragraphs the writer quoted from Families Without Borders:

"On any given day in Guatemala, 60 children under the age of five die as a result of poverty-related factors. This is almost eight times the child mortality rate of the United States. Another 1500 to 5000 children live on the streets and survive by begging, robbery, or prostitution.

"Yet another 25,000 to 30,000 children live in orphanages (mostly private) due to abuse, neglect, poverty or parental abandonment. At least half of the children in Guatemala are considered to be malnourished so severely that their growth is stunted and immune systems compromised, two- thirds live in poverty, and 30% live in extreme poverty.

"Each year, a relatively small number of Guatemalan children (2219 in 2002) find homes in the United States through the legal intercountry adoption process, and fewer than 1000 more are adopted into other countries. As we write, the future of intercountry adoption in Guatemala is being decided as politicians and government officials are pressured to implement prohibitive adoption laws aggressively promoted by UNICEF. The backdrop for this struggle is a larger debate over how to protect "the best interest of children "worldwide". UNICEF has been an active and powerful voice in this debate, placing considerable pressure on the Guatemalan government to accede to the Hague convention on Intercountry Adoption and attempting to influence the framework and conditions under which future intercountry adoptions will proceed.

"We acknowledge that UNICEF offers considerable assistance to children worldwide through vaccination, education, and nutrition programs, and we do not find fault with that well-intentioned mission. However, we feel that elements of the UNICEF position on intercountry adoption are misguided and threaten the welfare of the very children they claim to protect."

No comments: