Do you know where your adopted child comes from?

The business of child-trafficking has turned international adoption into a dubious affair in the last couple of decades. Poverty and gender biases don’t help.

For decades, there has been a steady exodus of abandoned baby girls leaving China for a better life elsewhere.  All good and well, until one delves deeper into where those children really come from, count how much money had changed through how many pairs of hands, before they were stamped for foreign adoptions.

The economics of adoption leads to almost inevitable corruption and ethical trespassing, when orphanages get a $3,000 donation from each pair of adoptive parents every time a child is adopted.

In some cases, the children were not abandoned, but kidnapped by traffickers, whom then falsified records as to the origins of the children before selling them to orphanages.

An even more callous set-up has been operating in Ethiopia for years.  With little government regulation nor policing of the process, adoption agencies flashing Christian credentials have been coercing and recruiting families from rural areas to give up their children.

Does this make you sick?

In a remote village in the country’s south, the agency openly recruits children with parents. Each child offered for adoption is then filmed for a DVD catalogue which in turn is shipped out to potential adoptive parents.

Elsewhere, Vietnam has suspended its adoption program with the US, as well as Ireland, in order to deal with corruption and ratify various accords that protect the children.

America’s second largest source of babies, Guatemala, where 1 in 100 children born is adopted by Americans, also briefly suspended its adoption program back in 2008, amidst evidence of rampant fraud and corruption.

It looks to me as though the bilateral trade of children is now back on.  But with this kind of money involved – as much as $25,000 per child adopted, how can anybody be sure that they are not complicit in this morally deplorable trade?

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