30 nov. 2008

From Russia With Love -- Dealing With Difficult Adoptions

De l'émission 20/20 dans ABC News, 28 novembre 2008.

Adoptive Parents Say They've Struggled to Integrate Foreign-Born Children


"Bébés miracles" grâce au Seigneur Jésus

Du site BBC News, publié le 14 décembre 2006.

Un pasteur kenyan arrêté à Londres pour trafic de bébés

La police britannique a arrêté à Londres un évangéliste kenyan qui prétend avoir provoqué des grossesses miraculeuses grâce à des prières. Selon un porte-parole de la police, Gilbert Deya a été arrêté suite à un mandat d'arrêt lancé par les autorités kenyanes, qui l'accusent de trafic d'enfants.

Vingt bébés ont été pris en charge au Kenya, après que des tests ADN ont révélé qu'ils n'avaient pas de liens biologiques avec les femmes qui se disaient être leurs mères.

La police britannique confirme que cette arrestation est consécutive à la demande des autorités kenyanes qui souhaitaient interroger Gilbert Deya sur six accusations d'enlèvement d'enfants.

Sur son site Internet, l'accusé, âgé de cinquante-quatre ans, prétend être à la tête du plus grand ministère britannique.

Gilbert Deya a ajouté qu'il aidait les couples infertiles de sa congrégation à avoir des "bébés miracles" grâce à la prière et au "seigneur Jésus."

Mais beaucoup de personnes sont incrédules.

Vingt de ces "bébés miracles" ont été pris en charge au Kenya, après que des tests ADN eurent prouvé qu'ils n'étaient pas liés génétiquement à leurs prétendues mères.

La police kenyane estime que le ministère de Gilbert Deya est, en réalité, un réseau de voleurs de bébés.

L'homme a rejeté toutes ces accusations, indiquant que les gens devraient respecter sa croyance et sa foi.

Il est actuellement en garde à vue au commissariat central de police de Londres.

Articles reliés:

A Manchester pastor has defended claims by a church it helps women who cannot conceive have "miracle" babies. Pastor backs 'miracle baby' claim (BBC News, 13 août 2004).

They're called "miracle babies" and for some childless couples in Britain, they're a dream come true. But doctors and Church of England officials are worried the babies aren't miracles at all, but either a shortcut adoption process or a baby-trafficking scheme. Pregnant by Jesus? (BBC News, 13 août 2004).

Police in Kenya have charged five people with stealing babies, in a case centring on an alleged child-smuggling network between Kenya and Britain. 'Miracle baby' charges in Kenya (BBC News, 30 août 2004).

The pastor claims infertile UK couples are able to conceive after prayer and denies allegations that the "miracle babies" are stolen from Kenya. DNA tests carried out on the children seized from her Nairobi home, show only one belongs to the Deyas. Kenya seeks 'miracle baby' pastor (BBC News, 1 septembre 2004).

A couple have gone on trial in Kenya charged with stealing 10 newborn children, in what has become known as the "miracle babies scandal". Kenya 'miracle baby' trial starts (BBC News, 3 novembre 2004).

The headline in Kenya's Daily Nation from 19 August, is "Miracle Birth babies." Below, the newspaper asks, "Do you recognise any of them?" Tracking down Kenya's 'miracle babies' (BBC News, 20 septembre 2004).

A "miracle baby" was the victim of child traffickers motivated by financial greed, a UK judge has ruled. 'Miracle baby' a victim - judge (BBC News, 12 novembre 2004).

A Kenyan evangelist who claimed to have created miraculous pregnancies through the power of prayer has been arrested in London by British police. Kenyan 'miracle baby' pastor held (BBC News, 13 décembre 2006).

One of the longest child custody cases in British legal history is to return to the high court as an infertile African couple make a new attempt to recover the child they claim as their "miracle" baby.They claim the welfare of the three-year-old boy is a matter of serious concern. The claims are contested by Haringey council in north London.

The case, which was apparently settled last July, provoked controversy because the boy was claimed by the couple to have been the result of divine intervention. They are members of Gilbert Deya Ministries, the evangelical church which claims to be Britain's fastest growing religious movement.Couple make new attempt to win back 'miracle' boy (The Guardian, 15 septembre 2007).

Gilbert Deyas Ministries (Wikipedia).

28 nov. 2008

Loving message for a lost mother

Du site Joong Ang Daily, publié le 26 novembre 2008, par Moon Gwang-lip

Loving message for a lost mother

People peruse an information board about adoptees set up at Busan Station last Saturday during the “Birth Family Search Campaign" by GOAL, the biggest Korean adoptee supportive group based in Seoul. The week-long event was held in Seoul, Busan, Daegu, Gunsan until yesterday and wraps up in Incheon tomorrow. Provided by GOAL
Donald Gordon Bell, known only as A-20 when he was a child at a Seoul orphanage, has long sought his biological mother to give her a message. But this 56-year-old adoptee’s message is not one of resentment, as one with a stereotypical view of adoptees might assume.

Instead, it is to convey his gratitude for her decision to give him away. He said it comes from an understanding of the situation she found herself in. “I want her to know I don’t have any grudge against her,” said Bell, who grew up in Los Angeles after he was adopted at the age of four.

His adoptive father was an aerospace engineer, while his adoptive mother was a housewife who had fostered him and his biological sister, also adopted by the Bells.

Bell is a psychiatrist who has turned to specialize in helping fellow adoptees, settling in Korea in 1995. “She lovingly gave us up for a better life,” he said. Bell has been searching for his biological mother for decades.

Not all adoptees lead happier lives in their country of adoption, Bell said, but such had been the case for him. Bell was born to a Korean mother and an American soldier in 1952 in the midst of the Korean War.

He spoke of the discrimination and hatred in Korea toward mixed-blood children, which still persists even though it is gradually diminishing. He said there were approximately 9,000 mixed-race Korean children adopted between 1954 and the early 1960s, which accounted for a majority of Korean adoptees sent overseas at the time.

“Adoption was the best thing especially for mixed-race children. It’s very difficult for mixed-race children to live here,” Bell said.

Donald Gordon Bell photographed before he was adopted by an American family
Bell said his mother entrusted him and his sister, also born into the same American father, to the reception center of World Vision in Seoul, a philanthropic organization that helps children find adoptive parents.

He said he understands how painful it must have been for his mother after she gave him and his sister up for adoption.

Donald Gordon Bell at a recent event in Seoul. Provided by Donald Gordon Bell
“Many mothers who give up their children continue to suffer and they feel the pain and loss. They never forget their child is out there,” Bell said.

He said he once gave up the quest to find his birth mother, given the scant information he had about his birth and mother. His mother would be in her mid 70s if still alive, he said.

But, he is “giving it one more shot” and GOAL, the biggest Korean adoptee supportive group based in Seoul, is helping him in his efforts.

GOAL has been holding its annual birth family search campaign for around 1,800 adoptees registered with it in five big cities since last week, which will wrap up in Incheon tomorrow.

“Even if it’s only one adoptee that can find his or her parents, we will continue with our campaign,” said Daewon Wenger, the secretary general of GOAL, adding the campaign will continue in years to come.

By Moon Gwang-lip Staff Reporter [joe@joongang.co.kr]

Black Kids in White Houses

Un article que tout parent/futur parent adoptif d'un enfant d'une autre race devrait lire.
Du site, The Strangers publié le 25 novembre 2008.

Black Kids in White Houses

On Race, Silence, and the Changing American Family

After all this time, there are still things we don't talk about. It’s a century and a half after Emancipation and a year before the election of America’s first black president. This is October 2007.

The door is closed. There is a black woman at the front of the room, near the blackboard. She is facing a black man who is sitting down and talking fast. He keeps talking for a long time, as if he has been waiting a while to say this to someone. The police, but not only the police, treated him like he was a criminal. His parents, who are white, didn't believe him when he told them this, or if they wanted to believe him, they still just didn't know what to say. Why would they? They were adopting a black child, they thought—not a black teenager, not a black man.

When he finishes, there is quiet in the room, as if everyone is giving him his due. A young Korean woman goes next. She says she has tried to find her birth mother, but the Korean authorities have stopped her. She says she is working to end all adoption from Korea.

There is a young Korean man. He is gay. He is also transgender. He grew up in a white Christian family in a white Christian town. He had to escape. For a long time, he didn't talk about it. He knows he should be grateful, but here, among like-minded peers, he feels like he can really talk about it for the first time.

This workshop is called "Race and Transracial Adoption Workshop with Lisa Marie Rollins." Rollins is the black woman at the front of the room. She says that a social worker labeled her Mexican, Filipino, and Caucasian because people didn't want black kids. But she looked more and more black as she grew older. Her parents still said she wasn't black. She was. Finally, they admitted it too. Then once, as an adult, visiting home, she found a mammy doll in her mother's kitchen, in among the other knickknacks. That's the end of the anecdote. She's still basically speechless about it.

She says it is time to watch a video called "Struggle for Identity." In the video, people tell their stories, stories like the ones in the room. A black woman who was adopted by white parents boils it down: "Don't think you can make black friends after you adopt a black child. If you don't already have black friends, you shouldn't be adopting a black child." Then the lights go up. There are several white people in the room who have said they have already adopted black or Asian or Guatemalan children, or that they are right now waiting to leave for Ethiopia to pick up their adopted children. All of those people—the white people—are crying.

They are crying because they have heard things they did not want to hear. But there is more to it than that. They are also crying because they do not know how else to respond to the great, big cultural silence that has been broken here.

It would be easier for white people if race did not exist. Or if everyone could agree that race did not matter, that is. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word "transracial" first appeared publicly in a 1971 Time magazine article. The article introduced transracial adoption, or adoption across racial boundaries—most often white parents adopting children of color—and reported a strange phenomenon. According to a study in Britain, some white parents "tended to 'deny their child's color, or to say he was growing lighter, or that other people thought he was suntanned and did not recognize him as colored. Sometimes the reality was fully accepted [by the parents] only after the very light child had grown noticeably darker after being exposed to bright sunlight on holiday.'"

It's such an outrageous finding that it sounds like a joke. Stephen Colbert's dimwitted white-guy alter ego has a joke like this, when he says on The Colbert Report, always in the most ridiculous of situations: "As you know, I don't see color." The joke is funny because in so many ways it's true. Plenty of white people don't see color. We refuse to look at it, prefer not to see too much difference, because difference almost always makes us feel bad by comparison.

Transracial adoption is awkward to discuss at first, because although it is designed to chart a radically integrated future, on the surface its structure repeats the segregated past. Just look at the basic structure of a family and apply race to the equation. The most crude way to put it: Whites are in charge, children of color are subordinate, and adults of color are out of the picture. And that's not even talking about class.

And yet there are more of these families now than ever. The exact number of transracial adoptees in this country is unknown, but the practice, which began in earnest in the 1970s, has been on the rise for at least 10 years. Twenty-six percent of black children adopted from foster care in 2004—about 4,200 kids—were adopted transracially, almost all by white parents, according to a New York Times analysis of data from the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect at Cornell University and the Department of Health and Human Services. That figure is up from 14 percent in 1998 and, according to adoption experts, it has continued to climb. The 2000 census, the first to collect information on adoptions, counted just over 16,000 white households with adopted black children. In the last 15 years, Americans have adopted more than 200,000 children from overseas, but that trend is cooling off, partly because international adoptions are so expensive.

In spite of all that, a person has to slog through layers of silence just to meet someone else at the surface for a conversation about the topic. When Mark Riding, a black father in Baltimore, burst out last November on an NPR blog with a long narrative he'd clearly been waiting to tell someone—about adopting a white daughter, getting glares on the street, and trying to censor his own family's talk about "white people" at home—he found himself in a debate with another commenter, who told him repeatedly to "rise above the race issue" and talked about "membership in the human race." There's a silencer in every conversation about race.

But anonymous commenters can be great sources of information, because they'll write what they'd never say. On The Stranger's blog, I wrote about the woman at the workshop who said you shouldn't adopt black children if you don't already have black friends. An adoptive parent named Teresa took serious offense. Biological parents don't even get screened, she wrote. "My husband and I are white, and we adopted a 9-year-old Hispanic boy four years ago. The amount of training and inspection that we went through was incredible.... You don't know the whole story. You can't possibly. You aren't part of those families."

"P.S.," she wrote at the end, "It isn't that hard to get a white person to cry."

Teresa's comment was long, and it built to a climax before the P.S. Her point: If you don't silence these disgruntled adopted adults, then adoption policy could become race-conscious, and if adoption policy becomes race-conscious but white people still mostly aren't, then white people could be denied the right to adopt, and if that happens, then children of color are going to go without good, permanent homes.

Don't talk is the idea—it can't lead to anything good. All it leads to is shouting, and suing, and then, finally, resilencing.

Barack Obama may as well have been a transracial adoptee.

He grew up with white grandparents, without black role models. His Kenyan father and his Kansas mother were not constant presences. As an upperclassman in high school, he realized what it meant to be black in a white world and became sick with the particular loneliness of a transracial adoptee. His grades dropped, he smoked pot, he snorted coke, he came close to trying heroin with an acquaintance in a meat locker: In short, he nearly destroyed himself. To his family, he simply fell silent. "I was trying to raise myself to be a black man in America, and beyond the given of my appearance, no one around me seemed to know exactly what that meant." So they didn't talk about it.

In the world of transracial adoption, you don't have to look very hard to figure out why no one talks about this stuff. Federal adoption laws mandate silence. Social workers aren't allowed to talk to families about whether they already have black friends. They aren't allowed to tell families they might want to get some. Any of that would be seen, according to federal law written in 1996, as a violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The 1996 law prohibits the placement of an adoptee on the basis of race, color, or national origin. Race does not matter, the law says. The American domestic child-welfare system is officially colorblind—or, more to the point, colormute.

There's one exception: The law doesn't apply to Native American children. A separate 1978 law governs them and says the opposite: that in-race adoptions are preferred. Both laws were written by people who said they had the best interests of the children in mind. Yet today, as a report released this past May by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute shows, Native American and black kids—despite being governed by philosophically opposite laws—both on average stay in the child-welfare system longer than children of any other race. Why are these kids still stranded? If one way of helping minority foster children doesn't work, and the opposite way of helping minority foster children doesn't work either, why are we still pretending one is right and one is wrong?

Adoption has never been simple for adoptees, and increasingly, adoptive parents are learning that making life easier for their children may make it more complicated for them. Today, many parents acknowledge absent birth parents—always present to the adoptee—as a presence in their families too. For a transracial adoptee, race is like another missing parent. In fact, transracial adoptees hunger for heritage at a younger age than their white counterparts, searching for their parents on average five years earlier (25.8 versus 31.2), and looking not just for parents but also for a racial identity.

We know this because of a study cited in the 2006 anthology Outsiders Within, which is the first book ever to be written entirely by transracial adoptees and to include academic research, scholarly papers, memoirs, and artworks. It's a landmark book representing a new voice, or an old voice finally speaking up. Why did it take so long? Gratefulness. Gratefulness is the most powerful silencer in the adoption world. Even if a transracial adoptee breaks the silence to make a criticism about his or her experience, the immediate response always is: Would it have been better if you'd never been adopted? It's a rhetorical cul-de-sac, a false runaround that continues to stifle conversations about more complicated subjects, like what's the difference between a family that's tolerant and one that's actively antiracist, or why are there so many children of color adopted in the first place?

That old stifling question is starting to die.

These are the voices that are coming out instead:

"I can't be alone in thinking that being transracially adopted, we have lost something: lost our languages, traditions, cultures, and most importantly the subtleties and nuances of those cultures. We have lost something we never had, which we may not have even valued had we had it, and yet we continue to mourn. Am I alone in this grief?"

That's M. Anderson, writing in Outsiders Within. Here's Rita Simon, a researcher at American University who has been studying transracial adoption since 1968 (she's talking on NPR):

"What we find consistently is that the white families cannot raise a black child as if it was its own birth child. They have to make changes in their lives. In other words, love is not enough."

And this from the Donaldson report this past May:

"Two principles provide a solid framework for meeting the needs of black children and youth in foster care: that adoption is a service for children, and that acknowledgement of race-related realities—not 'colorblindness'—must help to shape the development of sound adoption practices." (Emphasis mine.)

The Donaldson report, commissioned by the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, calls for a change to federal adoption law.

Pam LaBorde, a Seattle pediatrician, is in her kitchen making black-bean burritos for dinner. "My white friends don't really get it when I say this, but I basically have these kids because of poverty," she says.

Her willingness to talk openly is surprising; I find myself wanting to silence her for her own protection.

Pam and her husband, Bill, both white, adopted two black children, Theo and Simone, whose mother, Amanda, lives in Texas. Amanda had to give them up because she's poor and has been dealing with illness in her immediate family. The semi-open adoptions cost almost $20,000 each. "Some of my white friends think there's something wrong with the birth mother for giving up her kids. Okay, she could have used contraception, but not everyone I know is perfect in that way either. There's nothing wrong with her. It's important that my kids know that. I've thought before, what if I'd just given that money to her?"

In international adoptions, the poverty of the parents is usually blamed on corrupt governments or bad political situations, Pam says. "But when it's domestic, we blame the parents."

The Transracially Adopted Children's Bill of Rights, by adoptee Liza Steinberg Triggs, includes this rule: "Every child is entitled to parents who know that if they are white they experience the benefits of racism because the country's system is organized that way."

Pam is the sort of person—maybe all self-critical parents (people?) are this way out of necessity—who can't help but believe in opposing ideas. She and her husband, who studied black history in graduate school, were interested in adopting black children "from a social-justice point of view." Both because more black children than white children need homes, and because the LaBordes believe in the civil-rights dream of an understanding and connection between different races of people.

A year ago, they moved from the lily-white Proctor neighborhood in Tacoma to the racial mix of Columbia City, and Theo, now in kindergarten, goes to school at John Muir Elementary, where the LaBordes are hoping to meet and befriend black families. (They want not only black peers but black role models for their kids.) Their adoption agency gave them a few tips about respecting black culture and sent them on their way. "It's not enough," she says. "Honestly, we could have gone and moved to a white gated community in northern Minnesota, and nobody would have done anything about it."

Some days, Pam does feel like moving to a white neighborhood, not that she would. Several months ago, on a bus in Columbia City, a young black man asked her whether her kids were adopted. She said yes. He chanted, "That's fucked up, that's fucked up." Then he told her that when her son got older, he'd get up in the middle of the night and kill her, so maybe the man would just kill her now, there on the bus. Another time, a black woman in a car yelled at Pam and the kids when they were walking on the street in Columbia City: "How does it feel to steal black babies, you white bitch?"

There are times when black parents or grandparents smile at her knowingly, or randomly hug her, or give her unsolicited help, but usually she feels nervous around black parents. "I feel that I need to do it right," she says. "I need to prove that I'm capable of parenting these children."

She gives herself only middling marks. Neither she nor Bill have close black friends yet. And they aren't Christians, so they can't join a black church. "It's complicated," she says. "It's only going to get harder as they get older. I think you have to be willing to talk about it constantly, and over and over."

I'm a moderate racist.

My personal data "suggest a moderate automatic preference for European Americans compared to African Americans." This data came from something called the Implicit Association Test, which is hosted on the website of Harvard University. The test, developed in 1998, is intended to gauge unconscious bias. It measures how long you take to answer questions (by keyboard) that ask you to associate faces of different races with good (e.g., "joy") versus bad (e.g., "failure") words.

This is the test that King County employees of the state's Children's Administration department are going to be taking, because Washington has a problem. It's the same problem pretty much everywhere around the country, and not a new problem either: Too many kids of color are coming into foster care and staying in too long. In King County, the Children's Administration is writing a plan with five parts, one of which is "staff development, which begins with self-examination," says director Joel Odimba. "We're going to train in knowing who we are." The five-point plan includes—in addition to soul searching—a review of policies, the formation of an advisory committee, and a possible Cultural Competency Center.

Those are pretty quiet, bureaucracy-as-usual ideas compared to the idea that made Seattle famous on this issue. In 1999, Washington's Department of Social and Health Services launched a pilot project that four years later became the full-blown Office of African-American Children's Services (OAACS, pronounced "oasis"). It was staffed with people trained to handle the particular issues of black foster kids, and most of the county's black kids were routed through it—blatantly defying the colorblind mandates of federal adoption law. Quickly, it was the talk of the nation, a test of dealing with race head-on in public policy, as if it matters. And it was invented out of a sense of desperation not uncommon around the country: In 2004, while black children made up 7 percent of the population of King County's kids, they accounted for 30 percent of the kids in King County foster care.

It was a stab, an effort, a start. But it got complaints. Its management turned over often, and it was criticized by the rest of the department. Last spring, just as OACCS's approach was about to be validated by new research—two months later, the Donaldson report would call for an emphasis on race in the child-welfare system—OACCS was killed. The federal Office of Civil Rights declared it in violation, and the state decided to let it go. The state's foster-care administration would no longer deal with race in a direct way. Meanwhile, the OAACS building would be renamed the Martin Luther King Jr. office—an apt linguistic elision. Now it operates like all the others, taking cases on the basis of where the kids live. You'd never know that a major experiment on the role of race in families went on there, and whatever it might have been on its way to learning appears to have been lost.

There are not that many movies about domestic transracial adoption. In one, the 1995 movie Losing Isaiah, Halle Berry stars as a crackhead named Khaila who leaves her baby, Isaiah, in a trash can while she goes to find some crack. He's discovered, taken to a hospital, and adopted by Jessica Lange's character, Margaret. When Khaila cleans up and discovers her son is still alive, she wants him back, and a judge orders his return. But it is too late—the toddler is attached to Margaret, and he doesn't respond to Khaila. Khaila is forced to admit that Margaret has become her son's mother. The last scene shows Margaret and Isaiah reunited over some toys, and Khaila playing alongside them. A title card flashes: "And a little child shall lead them, Isaiah 11:6."

A little child shall lead them.

That phrase hits me hard. One of the reasons I was at that October 2007 workshop (at Seattle University), and that I'd been looking into transracial adoption, was to teach racist family members of mine a lesson. I had other reasons too—I've been debating whether to become a parent for a while—but this one was the most embarrassing. In my fantasy, I hadn't considered how exactly I would protect my child. The child was a means to an end, a healing agent: Want to rid your parents of their overt racism? Give them black grandchildren and defy them not to love them! Need to atone for your own covert racism? Adopt a black child and let him teach you!

Part of the genuine appeal of transracial adoption, it's true, is its potential to transform our culture. "I often think about transracial adoption as a grand social experiment," writes John Raible, one of the first mixed-race children adopted to a white family in the 1960s and something of a spokesperson on the topic.

Even so, children shouldn't be the day laborers on the job, says Chad Goller-Sojourner. Would you want your children to be the test cases in a grand social experiment?

"What I'd ask parents is, are you willing to be the uncomfortable one?" Goller-Sojourner says. This is how he'd question a prospective parent if he were a social worker. "Because somebody's gonna be uncomfortable, and it seems the burden is on you. You have to be the uncomfortable one."

He means that if white parents of black children, for instance, don't live in black neighborhoods, join black churches, have black friends, and send their children to significantly mixed-race schools, then at least they should cross the thresholds into black barbershops even though it's awkward, or drive out of their way to shop at grocery stores in black neighborhoods. Parents should be careful to raise their children to live in this world, not the one they wish existed.

"If you're buying a house and you have a dog, don't you spend more time looking for a big old yard for your dog?" he says. "Love is but one of many components of parenting. You're raising children to live in a world that may not be your world. If you go to the pound, they won't just give you a dog. There are rules. They'll say, 'That dog's not good for your house, we'll get you another dog.' But when you ask that question about kids, people freak out."

Goller-Sojourner is a performer. This summer, he put on a one-man show at the Rainier Valley Cultural Center called Sitting in Circles with Rich White Girls: Memoirs of a Bulimic Black Boy. As a big, gay, dark-skinned black adoptee of white parents living in white University Place outside Tacoma, he has had to explain himself many times, from many different perspectives, to many different kinds of people. He's developed multiple metaphors: the dog-adoption analogy, one involving a seven-foot child with five-foot parents ("It's not that one's better, it's just an acknowledgement of likeness or nonlikeness"), and one about lions and a gazelle.

"Let's say I was a gazelle adopted by lions," he says. "I pranced around happy until I got to first grade and all these lions tried to attack me; it's like they didn't get the memo. The other gazelles, they smelled the lion on me and didn't trust me, so I stood open."

He can also tell it literally: "The difference between when I got called nigger and when other black kids got called nigger is that they went home and got love, and I went home and got love from people who looked just like the people who called me nigger. As a child, you don't have the ability to bifurcate."

Phebe Jewell is gay. She and her partner, Dawn, adopted a boy named Isaac. He has the same mother as Bill and Pam LaBorde's two children, the poor woman from Texas, Amanda, who for the most part finds it too painful to be in contact with the children she's let go. Isaac, Theo, and Simone all live in the same neighborhood, and Theo and Isaac go to the same school (Simone is too young). When friends from school come over, they are often confused about why Isaac, Theo, and Simone don't live together. But then somebody explains it, and that's that.

Isaac is 6 1/2, the oldest of the three, and he is not a quiet kid. You can hear him across the aisles at a store. Phebe worries that some people will see him as "dangerous, a thug," but she knows that if he were quiet, he'd probably get teased as an Oreo. At his school, many of the kids are black. He comes home talking black, calling her "girl." It makes her proud, that he's getting black culture, black cadence. Even though she's white, she knows it herself, having grown up partly in the South. She jokingly calls him "boy" in return, but she knows she'll eventually have to stop herself, because of that word's old association with power and slavery, something Isaac couldn't know about now.

Isaac does know about slavery. He learned about it a year ago. Eventually, he used it against his mother when she tried to tell him what to do. "White people don't own black people anymore, so you can't own me," he told her.

Ingenious, she thought. That's my son.

Over at Theo and Simone's house, they have just finished eating their black-bean burritos, and it's time to put on swimsuits and get in the car to go for lessons. Lessons are at Medgar Evers Pool, a place named for a man who was intimidated from voting just 62 years ago, who was on his college debate team, who married a woman named Myrlie, who had a Molotov cocktail thrown into the carport at their home, who was nearly run down by a car, who was shot dead in his own driveway—in the back—by a Ku Klux Klan fertilizer salesman who was not convicted of murder until 30 years later. Everything good that happened to Medgar Evers was because of Medgar Evers. Everything bad that happened to him was because he was black and refused to apologize for it.

Theo and Simone are sitting in the backseat of the car. Pam is explaining how she dresses the children carefully. If they were white children, she might dress them as "little Goodwill hippies," but she doesn't want black or white people thinking of them as poor maltreated urchins, so she dresses them up. Theo is wearing a white button-up polo shirt and glasses. We are driving past Garfield High School, where on Halloween night, a black teenager was killed in what police think was a gang shooting. Since then, black teenagers have been walking around the Central District and riding city buses along Martin Luther King Jr. Way in sweatshirts that say "RIP Lil Q" for the kid who died.

Theo doesn't know any of this. He doesn't know that he's going to a pool named for Medgar Evers. He doesn't know that there was a shooting here at this same place, another shooting of a black man. He doesn't know that this is my neighborhood, where I live, where I'm learning about the meaning of race, the moderate racist in the front seat.

He does know about Obama, though. What does he know about Obama? I ask him. He puts his fingers to his chest and says, "Black." Then he says, "White House." That's all he says.

25 nov. 2008

Faux ADN cause un immense chagrin aux parents adoptifs

Le couple soupçonnait que l'enfant avait été volée dans le cadre d'un business d'adoption de 100 millions de dollars au Guatemala.

Traduit de l'article El calvario de una adopción en Guatemala publié le 23 novembre 2008, sur le site Pensa Libre.com

Ville de GUATEMALA-- Jennifer Todd et Hemsley ont dû abandonner leur fille adoptive pour la sauver de ce qu'ils considéraient comme un sort incertain. Comme des milliers de couples Américains, les Hemsley sont arrivé au Guatemala dans l'espoir d'adopter un bébé et ils ont payé 15 500$US à une agence d'adoption qui leur avait offert une procédure sans complication.

Comme beaucoup d'autres Américains qui tentaient d'adopter au Guatemala, ils ont été pris au piège dans un labyrinthe bureaucratique après que les autorités guatémaltèques aient commencé l'an dernier le nettoyage du système d'adoptions criblé de corruptions et fraudes.

Beaucoup d'Américains avec les adoptions pendantes ont cherché à remplir rapidement les formalités avant l'entrée en vigueur du nouveau système fondé sur la Convention de La Haye pour les adoptions internationales.

Le nouveau processus est conçu pour prévenir les abus qui sont arrivés, parfois jusqu'au vol d'enfants, pour satisfaire l'énorme demande pour une industrie qui a généré jusqu'à 100 millions$ par année.

Mais Jennifer Hemsley a fait ce que, selon le Conseil national des adoptions (CNA), aucun autre couple n'a fait jusqu'à présent: elle a refusé de faire la sourde oreille quand elle soupçonné des problèmes avec l'identité et les tests d'ADN de sa fille adoptive.

Elle a mis fin à l'adoption de Maria Eugenia Cua Yax, que le couple avait nommée Hazel. Et elle est restée au Guatemala pendant des mois, a dépensé des milliers de dollars, jusqu'à ce qu'elle puisse remettre sans risque la jeune fille à la garde de l'état.

La décision de rapporter leurs soupçons aux autorités pourrait signifier de rester à la fin de la file d'attente des adoptions depuis la nouvelle loi qui favorise la famille naturelle de la fillette suivie par les couples guatémaltèque.

"Rien de tout cela fait n'a de sens, profondément étrange ... Je n'ai pas de mots", a déclaré Hemsley. Pourtant, elle dit que c'est la seule chose qu'elle pouvait faire.
"Il n'y avait pas d'autre choix, nous avons fait ce que tout parent aurait fait: mettre son enfant en premier", a-t-elle dit.

Les Hemsley disent qu'ils avaient de nombreux motifs de soupçonner. Mais la goutte qui a fait déborder le vase est la découverte du rapport de laboratoire qui indiquait que des échantillons d'ADN avaient été prélevés sur le bébé et la mère la journée-même où Hazel était avec Jennifer Hemsley. Elle affirme que son avocat guatémaltèque lui a dit: "Ne vous en faites pas, vous voulez poursuivre l'adoption, n'est-ce pas?"
Les répercussions de cette affaire va bien au-delà de l'avenir de Hazel. Les rapports des laboratoires d'ADN ont été acceptés par l'ambassade américain du Guatemala comme une preuve évidente que l'enfant était l'enfant biologique de la femme qui le livrait. On a ainsi pendant des années rejeté les signalisations des vols de bébés .

Mais si les échantillons d'ADN peuvent être modifiés et sont acceptés sans autre avis que la confiance dans la signature du médecin qui les a pris, cela met dans le doute des milliers d'adoptions à la lumière de ce cas et d'autres comme celui de Sulamita Ester, une fillette qui a été volée à sa mère sous la menace des armes et qui était sur le point d'être adoptée.

Le paradis des adoptions.

La facilité et la rapidité avec lesquelles on peut mener les démarches d'adoption ont fait du pays le deuxième plus grand fournisseur d'enfants aux États-Unis, après la Chine.

Depuis août 2007, lorsque la police a fait une rafle dans une maison d'adoption qui était renommée comme l'une des meilleures dans le pays, on a découvert de nombreux cas de fraude, de falsification de documents et même de vole d'enfants. Au moins 25 cas ont donné lieu des fautes graves permettant au ministère public de présenter des accusations.

Des milliers de procédures d'adoption, y compris celui des Hemsley, ont été temporairement suspendus cette année, à la demande du Conseil national des adoptions afin d'interroger les mères biologiques.

Sur les 32000 cas en suspens, près de 1000 ont été rejetés parce les mères ne se sont pas présentées.

Avec le manque de personnel et peu de ressources, le CNA a jugé les nouveaux tests d'ADN trop onéreux et trop longs.

Le procureur guatémaltèque a ouvert un dossier afin de déterminer la véritable identité de Hazel et enquête sur les personnes qui ont participé au processus de la réalisation des tests d'ADN.

"Les cas comme celui-ci me font penser qu'il y a encore des gens avec des principes", a déclaré l'ancien procureur et maintenant directeur de l'équipe interdisciplinaire du CNA, Jaime Tecú.

Les échantillons de Hazel et de Ester Sulamita ont été entrepris par le Laboratoire Gutierrez. Le Bureau du Procureur enquête sur les faits et, dans sa déclaration, le directeur du laboratoire a déclaré avoir suivi les protocoles établis. Il a refusé d'être interrogés, parce que dit-il, l'ambassade des États-Unis le défend. La mission diplomatique a nié une telle extrémité.

La lutte continue.

Quand les Hemsley avaient commencé le processus d'adoption de Hazel en juin 2007, l'ancien système d'adoption corrompu du Guatemala fonctionnait toujours à pleine capacité.

"Ce fut un cadeau magique, un sentiment au-delà de tout mot," a dit Hemsley, se référant à la première fois qu'elle a embrassé l'enfant.

Les soupçons ont commencé lorsque qu'ils ont été informés qu'il n'était pas possible de localiser la supposée mère biologique, une femme qui, lors d'une réunion avec Hazel et les Hemsley, n'a montré "aucune réaction visible face à la fillette", a dit Jennifer.

En outre, les rapports médicaux qui leur ont été envoyés étaient des documents sans papier à en-tête et sans signature du médecin. Et lors d'un rendez-vous avec la travailleuse sociale, a fait valoir Hemsley, les personnes qui menaient l'adoption
ont tenté de faire passer une étrangère comme la mère d'accueil de Hezel.

"Peut-être que nous devrions regarder l'autre côté et aller de l'avant avec le processus", se souvient avoir considéré Hemsley, car "il semble que personne ne s'en souciait." Toutefois, a-t-il ajouté, je ne pouvais pas ignorer, je n'aurais tout simplement pas pu le faire."

Le notaire qui a fait l'adoption de Hazel, Ricardo Ordonez, nie avoir commis des fautes, et assure que tout sera résolu au moment des nouveaux tests d'ADN, prévus pour les semaines à venir.

Les Hemsley auraient pu abandonner, comme des centaines d'autres couples américains ont fait après avoir rencontré des problèmes à adopter dans le pays. Ce faisant, Hazel aurait était dans orphelinat ou donné à un autre couple, probablement sous une autre identité.

Au lieu de cela, Jennifer Hemsley est restée au Guatemala avec la fille pendant des mois. Ils ont déjà dépensé plus de 70 milles dollars en avocats, en nourriture et en voyage.

Pendant ce temps, elle a combattu pour faire avancer la démarche d'adoption, mais en août, quand approchait la date limite pour interroger les mères biologiques et après avoir été avisée que la fillette serait retirée à la gardienne qu'elle avait embauchée, Hemsley a décidé de faire appel au CNA et a demandé secours.

La nouvelle loi, adoptée en décembre l'année dernière, demande au CNA de donner priorité aux familles guatémaltèques avant de donner les enfants aux Américains.

Mais Hemsley ne se rend pas. Au début du mois de novembre, elle est retournée au Guatemala pour une entrevue avec le personnel du Conseil national des adoptions et pour visiter Hazel à l'orphelinat d'où le Conseil national des adoptions est intervenu.

La fillette avait des plaies sur le menton et une blessure à la tête. Hemsley était dévastée en quittant l'orphelinat. Après une audition avec le juge des mineurs qui dirige l'événement, Hazel a été transférée dans un autre orphelinat où, elle espère, elle recevra de meilleurs soins.

"Je pense à elle chaque jour", a dit Hemsley. "C'est quelque chose de terrible pour tout le monde. Pour les mères dont les bébés sont portés disparus et le familles adoptives, ..." a-t-elle déclaré.

Publication de l'histoire en anglais

Les procureurs soupçonnent qu'un bon nombre de ces bébés n'ont jamais existé - que les courtiers de bébés ont enregistré de fausses identités avec le Conseil dans l'espoir de les faire correspondre plus tard avec des bébés obtenus par la fraude. Sur le site, eTruth publié le 23 novembre 2008.

Minn. Korean adoptee finds birth mother after decade

Un adopté coréen du Minnesota trouve sa mère naturelle après 37 ans. Houston a été séparé de sa mère le 30 décembre 1971; ils seront réunis le 30 décembre 2008.

Détails dans l'article suivant intitulé Minn. Korean adoptee finds birth mother after decade publié le 24 novembre 2008, sur le site KAALtv.com où on peut aussi voir un vidéo.

Minnesota is home to thousands of Korean adoptees. 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS followed one them, Jon Huston, on his amazing journey to find his birth mother.

Huston and his wife, Carrie, live in Buffalo, Minnesota where they both grew up. But that is not where his life story began.

Huston's biological father was an American soldier who met his biological mother in Korea. His father later died in the Vietnam War. His mother was too poor to raise him. 37-years ago, when Jon was 6-years-old, she decided to give her only child up for adoption.

"It had to have been the hardest decision she had to ever make," said Huston.

He was adopted in 1971 by a Minnesota family. The state has since become home to 13,000 Korean adoptees. That is the most in any one place in the world.

"Minnesotans are very accepting," said social worker Hyun Sook Han. She said she placed many of those children here because Minnesota is one of the most progressive states for adoptions.

Despite that, Huston said he felt like an outcast in Minnesota. He said kids made fun of his eyes and dark hair. It all changed for him in fourth grade.

"A fourth grade teacher who probably was the best teacher for me. He helped me fit in. He really helped me deal with it and supported me," said Huston.

From that point on he began making friends. He was even on the homecoming court in high school. He met and married his wife. His life seemed complete until he held his daughter for the first time after her birth 11 years ago.

"For a mom to give up a child, it's probably the most love they could absolutely do," said Huston.

Huston spent ten years unsuccessfully looking for his birth mother, until he went on a popular Korean TV show. It is a reality show where Korean adoptees share their stories in hopes their birth parents may be watching. He appeared via webcam from his home in Buffalo.

"I needed to this for her sake, ease her mind. I didn't want her to go to her grave thinking of her son," said Huston.

Seven days after Huston appeared on the show, his birth mother was found.

"I didn't sleep that night after they confirmed 100-percent this was her. I was so emotional I cried," said Huston.

On October 14, Huston went back on the show via webcam to see his birth mother for the first time in 37 years. It was also the first time he had heard his Korean name since she gave him up.

"Hong Soo, I miss you and I want to see you. I'm sorry Hong Soo," she said.

"Here she was on Korean TV with baby pictures of me. I told my wife I had baby pictures," said Huston.

Huston's birth mother told him she looked at those pictures everyday.

"She lived by herself and that was hard for me to hear that," said Huston. Their time on the show together was brief, but very fulfilling.

"I feel a piece of my puzzle is finally together," said Huston.

Huston was separated from his birth mother on Dec. 30, 1971. They will reunited in person on Dec. 30, 2008.

24 nov. 2008

Debatt: Adoption kan vara barnhandel

12 adoptés suédois de l'étranger se prononcent dans un débat...

Traduit de l'article Debatt: Adoption kan vara barnhandel publié le 8 novembre 2008 dans afondbladet.

Daniel Cidrelius, Danjel Nam, Mikael Jarnlo, Gitte Enander, Daniel Hansson, Patrik Lundberg, Malena Swanson.

L'adoption pourrait être un trafic d'enfants.

12 adoptés de l'étranger: les pays de l'ouest ne devraient pas permettre la traite des êtres humains.

Nous appuyons la décision du Ministère social de ne pas prolonger l'accord d'adoption avec le Vietnam.

Nous voulons protester contre la perspective centrée sur les occidentaux qui domine le business de l'adoption internationale, et défendre notre droit et celui de tous les autres enfants adoptés de ne pas avoir à vivre avec le soupçon que des irrégularités ont été commises dans le cadre de nos propres adoptions telles que de faux documents, de fausses identités et des histoires inventées trop fréquents, écrivent 12 adoptés des pays étrangers.

Le business d'adoption internationale depuis le début du millénaire a non seulement explosé en échelle avec maintenant près de 40 000 adoptions par an, mais a aussi été ébranlé par une série de rapports d'irrégularités. Jamais auparavant un si grand nombre d'enfants du tiers monde n'ont été adoptés par l'Ouest, mais en même temps, le business n'a jamais impliqué autant de scandales de corruption seulement dans les années 2000.

À cause de la baisse du taux de natalité dans l'Ouest et la prospérité croissante dans de nombreux pays du tiers-monde, l'adoption internationale fait aujourd'hui face à une situation sans précédent: il y a maintenant plus d'adultes sans enfant dans l'Ouest qui veulent adopter qu'il n'y a d'enfants dans le tiers-monde. Puisdes sommes croissantes d'argent en circulation ont marqué cette situation délicate pour des activités qui se développent de plus en plus en trafic d'êtres humains pur.

Par conséquent, des scandales d'adoption ont été documentés à maintes reprises au cours des dernières années dans les grands pays comme la Chine, le Vietnam, l'Inde, le Népal, l'Éthiopie, le Brésil, le Paraguay et la Guatemala. Cela a conduit de nombreux pays bénéficiaires tels que l'Allemagne, l'Angleterre, le Canada, lePays-Bas et l'Australie à mettre fin à leur accord avec les pays d'origine les plus frappés par la corruption.

La Suède, qui, proportionnellement, est le pays ayant adopté le plus grand nombre d'enfants d'origine étrangère au monde et a des agences d'adoption, a toutefois choisi d'ignorer les développements destructifs en étendant ses activités dans de nouveaux pays qui sont connus pour les trafics d'enfants et en continuant à adopter à partir de ces pays avec l'argument que les Suédois ont une morale plus élevée que les autres Occidentaux.

En 2002, par exemple, le centre d'adoption a obtenu l'autorisation de l'organisme d'État pour les affaires d'adoption internationale à adopter au Cambodge, en dépit des rapports sur la traite et les États-Unis qui avaient arrêté les adoptions de ce pays. L'autorisation a ensuite été levée après que l'ambassade de Suède au Cambodge ait protesté en référant aux trafics importants dans le pays.

Maintenant, cette tendance s'est récemment reprise par des affaires sociales qui a décidé de ne pas prolonger l'accord d'adoption avec le Vietnam en référence à la présence de la traite des enfants, et que le pays est de ne pas entrer dans la Convention de La Haye sur la protection des enfants dans les adoptions internationales. Cette convention, en 1993, destinée à freiner de plus en plus incontrôlable adoption industrie, mais la Suède a encore un certain nombre de
Suédois des agences d'adoption se livrant à des activités dans les pays d'origine, y compris la Corée, la Thaïlande et la Colombie, que pas signé la Convention.

Maintenant, ceci a été récemment répété par le Ministère social qui a décidé de ne pas prolonger l'accord d'adoption avec le Vietnam, en référence à la présence de trafic d'enfants et que le pays n'a pas pris la Convention de la Haye sur la protection des enfants dans les adoptions internationales. Cette convention, en 1993, était pour freiner l'industrie de l'adoption de plus en plus incontrôlable mais la Suède a encore un certain nombre d'agences d'adoption suédoises se livrant à des activités dans les pays d'origine, y compris la Corée, la Thaïlande et la Colombie, qui n'ont pas signé la Convention.

Nous tenons à exprimer notre appui à la décision du Ministère social de ne pas prolonger l'accord d'adoption avec le Vietnam. Les besoins des occidentaux de recevoir des enfants adoptés ne doivent pas diriger l'industrie de l'adoption internationale, risquant ainsi que le commerce des êtres humains soit légitimisé et légalisé.

En tant qu'adoptés de l'étranger, nous voulons protester contre la perpective centrée sur l'Ouest qui domine aujourd'huit le business de l'adoption internationale, et nous voulons défendre notre droit et celui des autres enfants adoptés de ne pas avoir à vivre avec le soupçon que des irrégularités ont été commises dans nos propres adoption, comme elles sont malheureusement trop fréquentes avec de faux documents, de fausses identités et des histoires inventées qui sont les conséquences des beoins des adultes et la recherche du profit qui régissent le business d'adoption internationale.

Les débatteurs d'aujourd'hui.

Daniel Cidrelius, anthropologue social et adopté du Sri Lanka

Gitte Enander, avocate juriste et adoptée la Corée.

Charlotta Göthlin, Information et adoptée de la Corée.

Daniel Hansson, étudiant juriste et adopté de la République Dominicaine.

Linda Place, PhD et adoptée de la Corée.

Mikael Jarnlo, social and adopté de l'Éthiopie.

Fatima Jonsson, PhD et adoptée de la Corée.

Patrik Lundberg, a journalist and adopted from Korea.

Danjel Nam, journaliste et adopté de la Corée.

Helena Nilsson, comportementaliste et adoptée de la Corée.

Matilda Sjödell, enseignante et adoptée de la Corée.

Malena Swanson, avocate juriste et adoptée de la Corée.

21 nov. 2008

Corée: nombre d'adoptions domestiques dépasse le nombre d'adoptions internationales

En Corée du Sud, le nombre d'adoptions domestiques a dépassé le nombre d'enfants adoptés par les étrangers pour la première fois en 2007.


dans KBS Global

Domestic Adoption Totals Increase

Wednesday, November 19, 2008 14:57:41

According to the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs, around one-thousand-380 children were adopted domestically last year, several hundred more than international adoptions.

The institute attributed the change to Koreans' shifts in social perceptions of family and children.

International adoptions have been on a decline since 2001.

20 nov. 2008

Les adoptions étrangères par les Américains à la baisse

Le nombre d'enfants étrangers adoptés par des Américains a diminué de 12 pour cent de l'année passée, atteignant le niveau le plus bas depuis 1999 comme certains pays ont mis un frein sur le processus et d'autres luttent avec des allégations de fraudes d'adoption. La Chine, qui était la principale source pour les adoptions internationales, représente la plus grande baisse et s'est retiré de la première place. Elle a été remplacée par le Guatemala, qui perdra presque certainement ce statut en 2009 en raison d'un moratoire relié à la corruption sur les nouvelles adoptions imposé par les officiels américains.

Les raisons du déclin varient d'un pays à l'autre. La Chine et la Russie, les deux plus grandes sources au cours des 15 dernières années, ont cherché à prendre soin de plus d'enfants orphelins ou abandonnés chez eux, et la Chine a imposé des restrictions plus strictes sur les applications étrangères.

J'espère que d'autres pays vont suivre le chemin de la Chine et de la Russie, de prendre soin de leurs enfants au lieu de les envoyer ailleurs, comme la Roumanie l'a fait.

Pour plus de détails sur le déclin des adoptions étrangères aux États-Unis, voir l'article ci-dessous qui a été publié sur le site SingOnSandiego.com

Foreign adoptions by Americans drop sharply

4:32 p.m. November 17, 2008
Graphic shows international adoptions to the U.S. since 1998; includes leading countries; two sizes; - AP
— The number of foreign children adopted by Americans fell 12 percent in the past year, reaching the lowest level since 1999 as some countries clamped down on the process and others battled with allegations of adoption fraud.
China, which for a decade was the leading source for international adoptions, accounted for the biggest decline and dropped out of the top spot. It was replaced by Guatemala, which almost certainly will lose that status in 2009 because of a corruption-related moratorium on new adoptions imposed by U.S. officials.
Figures for the 2008 fiscal year, released by the State Department on Monday, showed 17,438 adoptions from abroad, down from 19,613 in 2007. The all-time peak was 22,884 in 2004.
Reasons for the decline vary from country to country. China and Russia _ the two largest sources of adoptees over the past 15 years _ have sought to care for more of their abandoned and orphaned children at home, and China has imposed tighter restrictions on foreign applicants.
The numbers were sobering to advocates of international adoption, who expect the drop to continue for 2009 as Guatemala struggles to rein in its formerly freewheeling adoption industry.
"There are still tens of millions of orphans around the world _ and we know there are millions of Americans willing to adopt these kids," said Chuck Johnson, chief operating officer of the National Council for Adoption. "Countries are very reluctant to let go of what they consider their future, even though they'll readily acknowledge the future for these kids is not promising."
By far the biggest drop was for adoptions from China, which fell to 3,909 from 5,453 in 2007 and a peak of 7,906 in 2005. Among the factors: a rise in domestic adoptions as China prospers and tighter restrictions on foreign adoptions that exclude single people, older couples, the obese and those with financial or health problems.
As a result, waiting times to complete an adoption from China have increased in many cases to three or four years, a deterrent to many aspiring adoptive parents. China offers a faster timetable for foreigners willing to adopt children with physical or emotional disabilities.
Adoptions from Guatemala also declined in the past year, from 4,728 to 4,123, and the number is projected to be sharply lower for 2009. Guatemalan officials are trying to replace an old system, which allowed abuses ranging from fraud to child snatching, with stringent new practices conforming with the Hague Convention, an international adoption treaty.
Other countries from which adoptions declined significantly included Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan and India.
The biggest increase was in adoptions from Ethiopia _ they rose from 1,255 to 1,725, moving the Horn of Africa nation into fourth place on the State Department's list, just behind Russia. No other African country provided more than 250 adoptees last year, although the continent is viewed as one of the few potential growth regions for international adoption.
Thomas DiFilipo, president of the Joint Council on International Children's Services, predicted overall numbers would drop even more sharply for 2009, to as low as 10,000 to 12,000 foreign adoptions, as China continues its cutback and adoptions from Guatemala and Vietnam diminish.
There were 751 adoptions from Vietnam in fiscal 2008, but the U.S.-Vietnam adoption agreement expired on Sept. 1 as the two countries argued about fraud and corruption in the system. Hundreds of American families seeking to adopt from Vietnam were left in limbo.
DiFilipo said he doubted any foreign country would ever replace China as the source of 7,000 or even 5,000 adoptees per year. He predicted instead that far smaller numbers of adoptees would be comimg from a pool of perhaps 40 or 50 countries, including an increasing share from Africa and Latin America.
DiFilipo said the drop-off in foreign adoptions has been devastating to many U.S.-based agencies which specialize in them _ forcing closures or mergers. He predicted that the number of direct-service agencies with programs abroad would drop to fewer than 100 by the end of 2009, a third of the peak a few years ago.
"It's a rough time for the agencies," said Joshua Zhong, president of Colorado-based Chinese Children Adoption International. "It is more difficult for the families. They feel they're waiting forever; they're very discouraged."
Zhong said his agency _ one of the largest in the U.S. that specializes in adoptions from China _ expects to place 450 children by the end of the year, down from about 1,200 in 2005. The average waiting time for his clients has stretched from 12 months to three years, he said.
One byproduct of the decline in foreign adoptions is likely to be an intensified campaign to persuade adoptive parents to take children from the U.S. foster care system. Roughly 125,000 youths in the system are available for adoption, including a disproportionately large number of racial minorities.
"We're urging families to think about these kids," said Chuck Johnson. "We have a lot of work to do."
State Dept. data: http://adoption.state.gov/adoption.homepage.html
(This version CORRECTS graphic slug.)

19 nov. 2008

These Angels Aren't Telling the Whole Story

Traduit de l'article publié dans NewMathilda.com par Ian Robinson

Deborra-Lee Furness veut que nous importions beaucoup plus d'enfants en provenance d'autres pays pour le marché d'adoption australien - mais c'est une approche ignorante et égoïste du problème de la pauvreté des enfants, écrit Ian Robinson

Dans un récent Weekend Australian Magazine, Deborra-Lee Furness a dit à sont interviewer en haletant qu'il y avait "103 millions d'orphelins dans le monde". "Comment pouvons-nous avoir un enfant de deux ans marchant dans les rues", a-t-elle demandé, "se débrouillant par eux-mêmes, cherchant les ordures pour se nourrir?"

En effet, comment peut-on permettre une telle situation affligeante d'exister?

Eh bien, vous serez heureux de savoir que ça ne l'est pas. Furness est juste en train de manipuler les chiffres pour vous convaincre de soutenir sa campagne pour importer plus d'enfants du tiers monde en Australie pour les couples sans enfant d'ici. En exploitant la sympathie pour ces "103 millions" de présumés pauvres orphelins, elle cherche à obtenir un appui pour son lobby pro-achat-d'enfant, intitulé sous le nom charmant de "Orphan Angels", dans leurs tentatives de convaincre les autorités de rendre l'adoption internationale beaucoup plus facile et fournir à la demande locale.

La vérité est tout autre et il n'est pas nécessaire de paniquer.

CE que Furness n'a pas metionné dans son bluff de relations publiques est que, s'il est vrai que l'UNICEF cite un grand nombre d' "orphelins" dans le monde, la définition de l'UNICEF, pour des raisons historiques complexes, inclut notamment les enfants qui ont perdu un de leurs parents ainsi que ceux qui ont perdu les deux, ainsi la plupart d'entre eux ne sont pas des orphelins selon notre définition australienne. L'estimation de l'UNICEF des vrais "orphelins", ceux qui ont perdu leurs deux parents, est plus proche de 13 millions.

C'est encore beaucoup d'enfants, mais l'image de ces tout-petits fouillant seuls pour des croûtes moisis dans les décharges du monde est également totalement trompeuse. Selon l'UNICEF, "Les preuves montrent clairement que la grande majorité des orphelins vivent avec un parent, un grand-parent ou un autre membre de la famille". Et général, ils ne sont pas des enfants de deux ans sans défense : "95 pour cent de tous les orphelins ont plus de 5 ans" dit l'UNICEF - encore assez jeune, mais déjà au point où ils ne sont pas vraiment attrayants dans le marché d'adoption occidental.

En fait, l'UNICEF lui-même est préoccupé à juste titre par les gens utilisant mal les chiffres sur les orphelins parce que ça "pourrait alors conduire à des réactions qui mettent l'accent à apporter aux soins des enfants individuels plutôt que de soutenir les familles et les communautés qui s'occupent des orphelins et qui ont besoin de soutien».

Pour toute personne réellement préoccupée par le sort des enfants dans les pays en développement, il existe une grande variété de programmes qui aident les familles et les communautés à subvenir aux besoins de leurs enfants dans le besoin et de les garder avec leur propre famille dans leur propre culture. Les invitations à contribuer à ces programmes apparaissent souvent dans votre boîte aux lettres.

Même si Furness admet que "l'adoption ne sera qu'une solution partielle pour les sans-abri et les enfants abandonnés du monde", et son groupe mentionne certaines de ces autres initiatives sur leur site Web, il est clair que leur but principal est de ne pas aider les enfants là où ils sont, mais de les emmener ici pour vivre avec des Australiens relativement aisés.

Comme l'UNICEF met en garde, le danger est que l'intérêt à emmener une infime proportion d'enfants nécessiteux en Australie (un millième de un pour cent), tend à soustraire l'attention des besoins de la majorité. Le coût d'un parent australien pour une adoption internationale permettrait d'assurer littéralement des centaines d'enfants à prospérer dans leur propre pays.

De plus, il existe des problèmes avec l'adoption internationale que Furness et son groupe n'ont pas abordé dans leur publicité. La première est qu'elle encourage les enlèvements d'enfants. Cette pratique est monnaie courante de toute façon dans de nombreux pays d'où viennent les enfants et la présence de riches étrangers cherchant des "orphelins" est une invitation ouverte aux criminels sans scrupule à fournir pour leurs besoins. Les gouvernements des pays concernés sont trop pauvres et trop souvent malhonnête pour mettre en place de bons mécanismes de protection pour se prémunir contre cela.

Par exemple, le professeur américain et expert en adoption internationale, David Smolin, a été horrifié de découvrir finalement, après avoir pris toutes les précautions possibles et travaillé par le biais d'une agence apparemment autorisée, que les enfants que lui et sa femme avaient adoptées en provenance de l'Inde avaient été volées de leurs parents.

Il a ensuite étudié le système de l'adoption internationale en profondeur et a conclu "Il y a des faiblesses systémiques dans le système actuel d'adoption internationale qui font de [telles] scandales d'adoption ... prévisible. De plus ... il n'y a pas d'acteur dans le système d'adoption internationale avec les informations requises, l'autorité, et la motivation d'empêcher les pratiques d'adoption abusives et corrompues. Dans ces conditions, la «réforme» de l'adoption internationale demeure insaisissable et illusoire ».

Il semblerait que ce qui est nécessaire, c'est plus de réglementation et de surveillance plutôt que moins, mais Furness et son groupe sont en train de faire pression pour un accès plus facile et "moins de bureaucratie", ce qui ne peut qu'exacerber ces problèmes.

La deuxième chose que Deborra-Lee Furness et ses "anges" négligent de mentionner, c'est que souvent l'adoption - en particulier l'adoption internationale - n'a pas une fin d'un conte de fées, mais au contraire peut être très problématique.

L'étude la plus approfondie a été menée en Suède, où la pratique se passait depuis plus longtemps, et où il a été constaté que les adoptés internationaux avaient un taux de suicide plus élevé les adoptées nationaux et les deux étaient plus élevés que leurs pairs non adoptés. De plus, les adoptés internationaux ont un taux de problèmes de toxicomanie et d'alcool plus élevé; ceux de sexe masculin ont un taux de TDA (trouble déficitaire de l'attention) plus élevé, alors ceux que de sexe féminin ont des taux importants de dépression, d'anxiété, et de comportement schizoïde et délinquant.

Les mêmes résultats négatifs deviennent de plus en plus évidents dans d'autres pays, comme les États-Unis, mais il n'y a pas eu encore d'étude aussi solide qui ait été effectuée là-bas. Une des rares études australiennes, sur un groupe de 102 enfants vietnamiens adoptés en Nouvelle-Galles du Sud au cours des années 1970, a indiqué que la majorité des enfants placés entre 4 et 6 ans ont des difficultés s'attacher ou à établir des relations familiales, de même que 40 pour cent des enfants placés à 18 mois et plus.

La vérité est qu'aucune adoption, internationale ou locale, ne pourra jamais être idéale ou même une solution admirable à tout problème. C'est toujours un dernier recours et c'est toujours la conséquence malheureuse et la cause de la perte et de la douleur à plus d'une personne.

Tout cela est connu depuis de nombreuses années et a été étudié en détail par beaucoup de gens qui ont l'intérêt supérieur de l'enfant au cœur. Mais ne proposez de points de vue "pro-enfant" devant Furness ou elle vous classera comme faisant partie de la diabolique "culture anti-adoption " qui tente d'empêcher son groupe, et les Australiens aisés pour les quels ils font pression, de mettre la main sur plus d'enfants beaux et mignons du tiers-monde.

Le cœur de Furness se trouve peut-être au bon endroit, mais son attitude polarisante et son refus de comprendre les limites de l'adoption internationale et son abus par des riches occidentaux l'a amenée non seulement à voir le monde à travers des lunettes roses mais aussi à être sélective avec ses faits dans le but de nous convaincre que sa campagne est une bonne chose.

Il y a un mythe dans les pays riches que, de même que toute personne a le droit de voter, d'avoir des soins médicaux et ainsi de suite, chacun a droit à un enfant. La vérité est que personne n'a le droit à un enfant en particulier et en particulier, personne n'a le droit à l'enfant de quelqu'un d'autre. Les enfants ne sont pas des produits à être échangés, ni des possessions avec lesquelles on complète le foyer parfait. Les enfants des autres sont des personnes réelles, pas seulement des "remèdes" à l'infertilité.
L'auteur tient à remercier Christine Cole de son aide pour la recherche pour cet article.

Libéria: de faux orphelins pour attirer des donateurs

Liberia : de faux orphelinats arnaquent de généreux donateurs
Les établissements sont dans un état déplorable

Publié le 21 mai 2007 dans Afrik.com.

Au Liberia, les propriétaires d’orphelinat s’enrichissent grâce aux millions de dollars qu’ils reçoivent chaque année de généreux donateurs, alors que des milliers de prétendus orphelins vivant dans ces établissements ont encore leurs parents, ont indiqué autorités libériennes et certaines associations de défense des droits de l’enfant.

« En fait, la plupart des enfants vivant dans ces établissements ne sont pas de véritables orphelins. Les propriétaires d’orphelinat se servent d’eux pour rechercher une aide financière à l’étranger et tirent profit de leur activité », a confié à IRIN Vivian Cherue, la vice ministre libérienne de la Santé, chargée des Affaires sociales et responsable de tous les orphelinats.

Par ailleurs, beaucoup d’orphelinats sont dans un « état déplorable », et dans 11 des 15 comtés du pays, ces établissements posent de « graves problèmes de violation des droits humains », a souligné un rapport publié au mois de mars par la MINUL (Mission des Nations Unies pour le Liberia).

Le nombre d’orphelinats a considérablement augmenté au Liberia, passant de dix en 1989 à plus de 120 actuellement, selon les informations communiquées par la vice ministre de la Santé. En effet, le conflit libérien a entraîné un déplacement massif de population au cours duquel des milliers d’enfants ont perdu la trace de leurs parents.

Cependant, l’enquête menée auprès de 5 000 enfants vivant dans des orphelinats et réalisée par le ministère de la Santé avec la collaboration avec l’Unicef, a révélé que les parents de 80 pour cent des pensionnaires ces établissements étaient vivants.

Les causes du problème

D’après plusieurs experts, certains propriétaires d’orphelinat sont hostiles aux programmes de réinsertion des enfants dans leurs familles d’origine et il arrive même qu’ils séquestrent ces enfants.

« Plus il y a d’enfants dans un orphelinat et plus le propriétaire de l’établissement sollicitent une aide financière étrangère », a fait remarquer Jerolinmek Piah, directrice de l’Observatoire national pour la défense des droits de l’enfant (NACROG). « D’après nos analyses, les propriétaires d’orphelinat entretiennent des relations avec certaines organisations philanthropiques étrangères – installées parfois aux États-Unis – pour rechercher et obtenir des financements destinés aux enfants qu’il ont pris à leurs parents et qu’ils présentent comme des orphelins, alors que ces enfants ne le sont pas », a déploré Mme Piah.

Le correspondant d’IRIN a également interrogé plusieurs propriétaires d’orphelinat qui ont reconnu que tous les enfants dont ils ont la charge ne sont pas des orphelins. « La politique de notre établissement est que nous ne faisons pas distinction entre les enfants abandonnés, séparés de leurs familles ou ayant perdu leurs parents », a indiqué un propriétaire d’orphelinat, sous le couvert de l’anonymat. « Ce sont tous des enfants qui sont dans le besoin et qui sont à notre charge », a-t-il ajouté.

Quant à Enoch Stevens, propriétaire de l’orphelinat Anna Enoch de Monrovia, il a affirmé qu’il n’y avait aucun mal à faire vivre ensemble de véritables orphelins et des enfants ayant perdu trace de leurs parents et a nié le fait que son orphelinat tirait profit de la présence de ces enfants. « Les gens pensent que nous nous tirons profit de notre activité en recherchant une aide financière pour les orphelins, alors que ce n’est pas le cas. Le seul objectif de notre mission est d’aider ces enfants ».

Des enfants privés de leurs droits fondamentaux

Cependant, peu d’enfants sont traités correctement dans ces institutions, a noté le rapport de la MINUL. « Les enfants vivant dans les orphelinats du Liberia sont privés de leurs droits fondamentaux, à savoir le droit au développement, à la santé, à l’identité, à la famille, à l’éducation, aux loisirs et à la participation à des activités culturelles », a souligné le rapport.

Aucun des représentants d’orphelinat interrogés par le correspondant d’IRIN n’a voulu indiquer ses sources de financement. Mme Cherue, qui n’a pas révélé les noms des donateurs, a seulement indiqué que ces derniers étaient généralement des organisations religieuses implantées aux États-Unis.

« Le ministère de la Santé a été saisi en 2006 du cas d’un propriétaire d’orphelinat qui avait reçu plusieurs milliers de dollars américains, avant que le généreux donateur ne se rende compte que les enfants qu’il pensait aider n’étaient pas des orphelins », a expliqué la vice ministre.

« Il s’agissait d’enfants de familles habitant les quartiers voisins. Nous avons dû fermer l’orphelinat et remettre les enfants à leurs familles », a dit M. Cherue. « Cela montre bien que certains orphelinats exploitent nos enfants, et nous allons fermer tous les orphelinats qui s’adonnent à de telles pratiques ».

Selon Mme Cherue, une Commission de protection des enfants, composée d’agences des Nations Unies, d’organisations humanitaires internationales et de plusieurs ministères libériens, a démarré une campagne nationale de documentation afin d’identifier tous les enfants des orphelinats dont les parents sont encore vivants et de les réunir avec leurs familles. « Nous avons interrogé certains enfants et ils savent où vivent leurs familles et leurs parents », a-t-elle fait remarquer. « Ils n’ont donc pas leur place dans des orphelinats ».

La propriétaire d’un orphelinat du nord de Monrovia a confié au correspondant d’IRIN, sous le couvert de l’anonymat, que les Libériens étaient si pauvres que les orphelinats n’avaient pas besoin de déployer de gros efforts pour trouver des enfants. « Ce sont les parents, les tuteurs ou les membres de la famille qui nous amènent ces enfants, parce qu’ils sont au chômage et n’ont pas d’argent pour s’occuper de leurs enfants » a-t-elle affirmé.

Les défenseurs des droits de l’enfant reconnaissent que le problème est essentiellement d’ordre financier. « Nous avons observé que la pauvreté est un des facteurs à l’origine du problème car, n’ayant pas les moyens de subvenir aux besoins de leurs enfants, les parents les confient à des orphelinats », a dit Susan Grant, représentante de l’organisation caritative britannique Save the Children, au Liberia.
LIBERIA: Fake orphans to attract donor funds
Publié le 17 mai 2007 dans IRIN

Photo: IRIN
This boy is an orphan. Thousands of other children living in orphanages are not
MONROVIA, 17 May 2007 (IRIN) - Orphanages are big businesses in Liberia attracting millions of dollars in international assistance every year, yet thousands of the so-called orphans living there are not parentless at all, according to Liberian government officials and child rights activists.

“Most of the children living in almost all of the orphanages in this country are not actual orphans, but have been used by orphanage owners to seek external funding for their personal gains,” Vivian Cherue, Liberia’s deputy health minister for social welfare who is responsible for regulating orphanages told IRIN.

Furthermore, many orphanages are “sub-standard” according to a report issued in March by the Human Rights and Protection Section of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL). In 11 out of Liberia’s 15 counties, orphanages constitute “major human rights problems,” the UNMIL report said.

The number of orphanages in Liberia has mushroomed, from just ten in 1989 to more than 120 today, according to information provided by Liberia’s health minister. The country’s civil war caused massive displacement with thousands of children having lost track of their relatives.

Yet a survey of 5,000 children in orphanages around the country conducted by the health minister in collaboration with UNICEF revealed that up to 80 percent have parents or family members who are still alive.

Why it happens

Orphanage owners block efforts to re-integrate children into their families and even snatch children, various experts told IRIN.

“The more children that an orphanage has the better they can solicit external funding,” said Jerolinmek Piah, coordinator of the National Child Rights Observation Group (NACROG).

“Based on assessments we have been carrying out those orphanage owners have established ties with some philanthropic organisations abroad - sometimes in the United States - seeking and receiving funding for children who they have taken from their families and describing them as orphans whereas they are not,” Piah said.

IRIN also interviewed the proprietors of various orphanages, some of whom freely admitted that not all children under their care are orphans.

“Our home has a policy where children who lost their parents, have been abandoned or separated from their families during the war are considered in the same category,” said one owner who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

“They are all children in need and they are with us,” the owner said.

Another orphanage owner, Enoch Stevens of the Anna Enoch Orphanage Home in Monrovia also said there was nothing wrong with mixing genuine orphans with children who cannot find their families, and denied that his orphanage was using those children for financial gain.

“People believe that we are just making profits and seeking funding for orphans, but this is not the case. Our mission is just to provide care for those children.”

No rights

Yet few children in such institutions are being cared for properly, according to UNMIL. “Children living in Liberia’s orphanages are denied basic rights – ranging from the right to development and health, to the right to identity, family, education, leisure and participation in cultural activities,” the report said.

None of the representatives of the orphanages IRIN spoke with would reveal the sources of their funds. Even the deputy health minister Cherue would not name names, other than to say most donors are faith-based organisations headquartered in the United States.

“There was a case reported to the health ministry in 2006 involving an orphanage owner where a foreign philanthropist had provided thousands of American dollars for the upkeep of the orphanage, but the donor later discovered that those children were not orphans,” the deputy minister said. “Instead they were taken from families within surrounding neighbourhoods.”

“We had to close the orphanage down and reunify the children,” Cherue said. “This shows how orphanages are exploiting our children and we are embarking on a process to close down those orphanages engaging in such acts.”

Cherue said a Children Protection Taskforce comprising UN agencies, international aid groups and government ministries, has started a nationwide documentation process to identify children in orphanages whose parents are still alive with the aim of reunifying them.

“We talked to some of the children and they know where their relatives and parents are,” she said. “[Thus] They cannot be kept in orphanages.”

The owner of one orphanage north of Monrovia who asked not to be named told IRIN that Liberians are so poor that orphanages do not need to actively go out looking for children. “It is the parents, guardians or family members who bring children to us because for lack of jobs and money they can no longer feed and care for their children,” she said.

Child advocates agree the problem is fundamentally economic. “Poverty is one underlining factor that we have observed where parents and relatives, who cannot afford to cater for their children, send them to orphanages,” Susan Grant, head of the British international children charity group, Save the Children in Liberia said.