February 15, 2018. OXFAM Did Not Ban Staff From Using Prostitutes for Fear It would Infringe "Civil Liberties." We have now learned that OXFAM did not ban staff from using prostitutes because it feared trampling on its employees "civil liberties." What about the right of children not to be molested by aid professionals? This week's revelations have highlighted the unregulated power of NGOs/charity organizations working in the child welfare world, particularly those working in developing nations. The irony of organizations like UNICEF and Save the Children attacking international adoption when these entities have harbored and enabled child predators and sexual abusers is tragic. We hope that these tragic event will start a process of re-evaluating the activities of those who purport to serve children and the disadvantaged but use their privileged position to exploit the most vulnerable populations of all. More Information.
February 14, 2018. Save the Children Link to Haiti Sex Abuse Scandal. The Times of London reports today that Roland van Hauwermeirn, the disgraced head of OXFAM's Haiti mission had previously been investigated by the charity Merlin (part of Save the Children) after allegations of sexual abuse during van Hauwermeirn's work in Liberia in 2004. One of his colleagues told the Times that "van Hauwermeirn used the charity's drivers to ferry him to clubs to meet prostitutes and take them to the villa rented for him using donated funds." Save the Children is one of the most virulent anti-international adoption organizations. When will its leaders take responsibility for the fact that their lobbying to end international adoption has left children vulnerable in their birth countries to the worst kind of abuse and that aid agencies have become havens for child predators? More Information.
February 13, 2018. UNICEF Admits Child Victims of Sex Abuse Were Abandoned. UNICEF has admitted that children who were allegedly raped and sexually abused by UN peacekeepers in the Central African Republic have not received the help that UNICEF had promised to provide. A Swedish television documentary revealed that some of these abuse survivors, having been abandoned by UNICEF, were homeless, not in school and were forced to make a living on the streets. This report comes as the NGO/charity sector is reeling from the Times of London reports that the head of OXFAM's Haiti program and his colleagues had used their money and privileged position in post-earthquake Haiti to sexually abuse women, some of who were apparently underage. Furthermore, these officials were allowed to quietly resign and find other aid positions, so that OXFAM's reputation not be harmed. With UNICEF and other aid agencies making it their cause to end international adoption on the grounds of fraud allegations, we ask who watches these agencies? More Information.
February 12, 2018. The Horrendous Scandal of OXFAM in Haiti. We have learned that OXFAM, one of Britain's leading British charities, conducted sex orgies in Haiti, reportedly with underage girls and that these horrendous acts were covered by OXFAM's senior officials in Britain because they did not want to hurt their charity's reputation and lose contributions and British government money. The guilty parties were allowed to resign and were given good recommendations which enabled them to get positions with other NGOs. Aid agencies provide a tempting target for pedophiles who are able to exploit their access to unlimited funds to lure impoverished victims. Save the Children, which is a vocal opponent of international adoption, has also been named as harboring sexual abusers. How could anyone disagree that a permanent, loving family, wherever it may be found, is better than this? More Information.
February 8, 2018. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Affects More Children Than Previously Thought. A new study in the Journal of American Medicine (JAMA) has concluded that fetal alcohol syndrome is far more common in American-born children than previously thought, and may be at least as common as autism which is estimated to affect 1.5 percent of American children. As Christina Chambers, a professor of pediatrics at the University of California at San Diego states: "This is an equally common, or more common, disorder and one that's completely preventable and one that we are missing." FASD can cause serious developmental and cognitive delays. More Information.
February 7, 2018. National Council for Adoption Statement on New International Adoption Fees. The National Council for Adoption has weighed in on the new fees for accreditation of adoption service providers who do international adoption. According to NCFA, the shift of accreditation responsibility from COA to IAAME and the resulting fee increase will mean "skyrocketing fee costs would make intercountry adoption even more expensive for prospective adoptive parents. Rising costs would likely cause smaller non-profit adoption agencies to close, and intercountry adoptions would plummet." For More on NCFA's position, please go to https://www.adoptioncouncil.org/intercountry-advocacy.
February 6, 2018. We Are Still Waiting for 2017 Numbers. The Department of State and USCIS have had the statistics for fiscal year 2017 international adoption for five months since the federal fiscal year ended on September 30, 2017. What will be the decline in the number of children adopted internationally? As a reminder, in fiscal year 2016, the total number of international adoptions was 5,372 with the countries, in order of largest sending countries, being China (2,231), Democratic Republic of Congo (359), Ukraine (303), South Korea (260), and Bulgaria (201).
February 5, 2018. U.S. Citizenship for Children Residing Abroad with their Adoptive Parents The Department of State has changed the way its officials handle the question of U.S. Citizenship for children who reside abroad with their U.S. citizen adoptive parents. Attorney Karen Law has prepared an excellent summary of the current necessary procedure. We have posted her memorandum under our Facts and Figures button.
February 1, 2018. Department of State Issues New Fee Schedule and Related FAQs for Adoption Service Providers. The Department of State today issued the new fee schedule which will be effective for all adoption service providers going forward. The new accrediting entity, the Intercountry Adoption Accreditation and Maintenance Entity, Inc. (IAMME) will charge fees on a sliding scale as detailed in this DOS notice.
January 31, 2018. NCFA Report on FY 2016 AFCARS. The U.S. Children's Bureau has released its FY2016 Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS). As the National Council for Adoption (NCFA) explains, there are three critical points made in the report: the number of foster children continues to increase, the opioid crisis is fueling this increase, and adoptions from foster care are on the rise, especially by foster parents. To read the NCFA paper, please go to the below link. (Note that it took from September 30, 2016 until January 2018 for the data to be prepared and released.) More Information.
January 30, 2018. Why UNICEF's Views Are Wrong. We have been asked to comment on UNICEF's anti-international adoption position. UNICEF takes the view that, according to its charter and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), it would rather a child have the chance to have a safe and healthy childhood with his or her own family and, in any event, remain in his or her country of origin. The first problem with this statement is that UNICEF interprets these words as meaning that in-country institutional care is preferable to international adoption. We do not. UNICEF has promoted "Permanency." Permanency is a concept which translates into permanent, in-country foster care or group homes. We believe that children are best served by permanent, loving families, where ever they may be found. But UNICEF's solution suits many stakeholders because UNICEF backs up its ideology with money--especially money for group homes. As they used to say in Britain, "jobs for the boys." But the children are the losers.
The second problem is that many countries of origin do not view children from minority groups, such as Roma or indigenous people, as part of their national group. This disparity leads to UNICEF, on the one hand condemning international adoption, and on the other, decrying the treatment of Roma or indigenous people. The children are caught in the middle and get nothing.
Finally, on international adoption, UNICEF references its charter, the Declaration of Human Rights and the UNCRC. Two comments. After the UNCRC was passed, most countries signed and ratified the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption (the "Hague") which, as a legal matter, supersedes the UNCRC. UNICEF avoids referencing the Hague because the Hague supports international adoption over intercountry institutional care. The CRC (arguably) does not.
A further issue with human rights treaties. The various enumerated children's rights do not include the right to family. This problem arose from the drafting of the first of the post-war human rights conventions, the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (1948), and persists to this day. The Declaration was written in the shadow of the German Lebensborn program which saw more than 250,000 children from Eastern Europe kidnapped and taken to Germany to be raised as Aryan German children. The 1948 Declaration condemned this action by stating that every child is entitled to his/her nationality. But the Declaration did not include a child's right to a family because in the context of the Lebensborn program, kidnapped children had two families--their birth families and the German ones they were given. By omitting the right to a family, the 1948 Declaration created the negative precedent which then gets embraced in the UNCRC. We have been working to plug this hole for years. We are still trying.
January 29, 2018. Concerns Grow Over Status of Chinese "Orphanage Donation." For over 20 years families who have adopted from China have given an "orphanage donation" as part of their adoption. The fees were set and didn't vary within provinces and only minor differences from province to province. The U.S. Consulate understood that these donations were in fact mandatory and accepted the payment of these fees as a way for orphanages to recoup the cost of caring for the adopted child and supporting those children left behind. Last month, however, the Chinese central authority (CCCWA) announced that the orphanage donation would not longer be fixed but would be up to each family. We have asked for clarification from the Department of State since several families have been told that this change was due to U.S. government pressure. Should families give to orphanages? If they do, will the Consulate then accuse the families of paying improper fees? What is the best course of action for families? We hope the Department of State will answer these questions as soon as possible.
Center for Adoption Policy (CAP)
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