I am heartbroken. Have you read this recent CNN report, “Kids for Sale”? Stories like this are heartbreaking.
They are discouraging to so many families who have adopted internationally, and now wonder if the version they received of their child’s history is actually true.
They are discouraging for so many families who might consider international adoption but are rightly concerned about whether or not they might be unintentionally creating more trauma for a child, separating them from a biological family who deeply cares for them.
Stories like this are heartbreaking because they expose occasions when adopted persons are treated like commodities. It is so disrespectful and dismissive of their humanity and worth and dignity.
Stories like this one do not reflect the admirable, dedicated professionals I know who are sickened by human trafficking. Though to think of even one case existing is repugnant, these reports are the minority and are not an accurate reflection of the international adoption community.
This is why we work through accreditation agencies, like the Council on Accreditation, and comply with the Hague Convention on International adoption. This is why we believe that children have the right to remain with biological family if at all possible, and it is why many agencies provide assistance to support such family preservation efforts.
All adoption is complicated, and all adoption happens only after profound loss of a first family. Intercountry adoption is further complicated by cultural norms and patterns that uniquely interpret global regulation (like the Hague convention). Unfortunately, not all countries can comply with the Hague Convention, as – like much regulatory oversight – compliance requires investment of resources that a given country may not possess. Even in the U.S., certain aspects of our government’s interpretation of the Hague Convention are debated as overreaching and discourage intercountry adoptions. You can find a list of countries party to the Hague Convention here.
Adoptions are messy and complicated and painful. But since life without a family is hard and since we believe that every child deserves a family, we continue in our work. We learn from mistakes, and we do better. In recent years, for example, we have learned much more about evidence-based practices related to complex developmental trauma and cultural competency. At WACAP, we work to implement best practices as we understand new guidance and research. We strive to provide our services with excellence, and with integrity. Specifically,
- We visit countries and maintain relationships with embassy staff, government officials, and orphanage staff in order to better understand reporting of child information and their adoption practices.
- We follow up with any red flags or perceived inconsistencies in child information.
- We provide training in-country to orphanage staff and social workers.
- We have policies that prohibit actions with any hint of fee for referrals.
- We have made difficult decisions to stop working with organizations that we felt were asking us to compromise our ethics.
We do this because every child deserves a family. We do this because children are worth our very best.
About WACAP’s CEO, Greg Eubanks: Greg joined WACAP as CEO in December 2014. Serving children and families has been the focus and passion of his 20-year career in nonprofit executive leadership and business administration. With an extensive background in international adoption and foster care, Greg is committed to bringing hope to the children living without a family … and helping them home.