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via Ungrateful Bastard

Who wants to buy a baby? Certainly not most people who try to adopt internationally. And yet too often that’s how their dollars and euros are being used.

The idea that the developing world has millions of healthy infants and toddlers in need of new homes is a myth. In poor countries as in rich ones, healthy babies are rarely abandoned or relinquished — except in China, with its one-child policy. The vast majority of children who need adoption are older, sick, disabled or traumatized. But most Westerners waiting in line are looking for healthy infants or toddlers to take home.

The result is a gap between supply and demand — a gap that can be closed by Western money. In some countries, Western cash has induced locals to buy or kidnap children or defraud or coerce their families into giving them up, strip the children of their identities and transform them into orphans for Western adoption. In 2008, Vietnam stopped adoptions to the United States because of these concerns. A cable from the U.S. embassy in Vietnam, recently obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism, said that, “while there are legitimate orphans in Vietnam, the corruption in the adoption process has become so widespread that [the embassy] believes that there is fraud in the overwhelming majority of cases of infants offered for international adoption.”

Last year, the United States finally implemented the Hague Adoption Convention, a 1993 treaty designed to address these problems. But the regulations apply only to adoptions from countries that have also signed the treaty.

Of course, not every internationally adopted child has been purchased or kidnapped. But when the orphan manufacturing chain gets going, it generally works like the one below. For more information, visit www.brandeis.edu/investigate .

– E.J. Graff, associate director and senior researcher at Brandeis University’s Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism

continued

Related:  Gender and Justice Project (click on the map or explore their Associated Links)

Hello.  I know some of you out there are going, “Duhhhh!”  For anyone who isn’t by now, I hope it makes you stop and think a little harder about how shady and exploitive adoption can be.

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Project in Development:

An adoptee organized event held in association with Adopted
Vietnamese International, East Meets West and the Intercountry
Adoptee Support Network in Australia.  Other expressions of interest
of support and sponsorship welcome.

This Australia-wide event is to be held on Saturday, 29 May in 2009
in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney to celebrate
‘International Day of the Adoptee’.

Event format:

This will be a half-day event in Australia run by a volunteer
committee made up of trans-cultural adoptes. It aims to present a
selection of short films about trans-cultural (and trans-racial)
adoptee experiences, and will also feature a panel session featuring
adoptees and special guests who are adoption educators, authors,
artists and researchers.  The event will be held around the country.
The event will also produce a publication of film maker and speaker
biographies, film reviews, interviews and list of adoption resources.

Call for:

Short films or performance pieces by adoptees (from Australia or
elsewhere). Preferred duration no longer than 10 minutes and made
available on DVD format x 5. Viewing format is Australia-pacific
region settings. Longer pieces may be considered depending on final
program. Film makers are asked to donate and give written permission
(form will be supplied before screening) for the event organizers to
screen their works free of cost. This is an excellent opportunity to
promote your work and share your message with Australian audiences.
Preferred delivery date is December 2008.

We also welcome volunteers who assist with interviewing film makers,
identifying sponsorship opportunities, proposal writing and also at
the actual events.

Contact person: Indigo Willing
C/- School of Social Science
University of Queensland,
St Lucia Campus, QLD 4101
Email: i.willing@uq.edu.au
Mobile: 0403 168 490

Film Committee: Sofie Bi (VIC), Lynelle Beveridge (NSW), Sue Bylund
(WA), Saran Chamberlain (SA), Anna Davison (QLD), Dominic Golding
(VIC), Hee Ra Heaser (NSW), Pia Meehan (WA), Ilan ‘Taiwan’ (QLD),
Indigo Willing (QLD).

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Via G.O.A.’L

October 20, 2008

HONG KONG – A Korean girl called Jade who was adopted by a high-ranking Dutch diplomat in Korea in 2000 and then abandoned six years later in Hong Kong has found a new family.

The nine-year-old has been adopted by an expatriate family in Hong Kong and currently lives a normal life, an official at the Hong Kong Social Welfare Department said Saturday.

For reasons of privacy, further details about the adoptive parents cannot be disclosed, the official added.

Jade was adopted in January 2000 when she was four months old by Dutch diplomat Raymond Poeteray and his wife, who were stationed in Korea.

But the Poeterays gave up custody of the child in September 2006 when the diplomat was serving in Hong Kong.

The diplomat’s wife thought she was infertile when the couple adopted the Korean girl in 2000, Hong Kong officials reported, but she got pregnant after the family moved to Hong Kong in 2004. They now have two children of their own.

Jade has been in the custody of the Hong Kong Social Welfare Department for the past two years and attended a local elementary school. She can speak English and Cantonese, but no Korean.

When Jade’s case was made public two years ago, numerous families in Hong Kong volunteered to care for her. However, no progress was made, partly because of the strict qualification process for fostering children in Hong Kong as well as the complexity of the case.

Since the Poeterays hadn’t applied for Dutch citizenship for Jade and she had no formal residence status in Hong Kong, the child was virtually stateless until the recent adoption.

Meanwhile, Mother’s Choice, an adoption organization in Hong Kong, announced it will hold a special event to encourage adoption in Hong Kong.

By Choi Hyung-kyu JoongAng Ilbo [spark0320@joongang.co.kr]

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Randy Tran, an Amerasian whose father was a U.S. soldier and who was abandoned by his Vietnamese mother, lives in Hayward, Calif., and travels the country singing at restaurants and concert halls. “I feel like I belong nowhere,” he says. Recently Tran led a group to Washington to lobby for the Ameriasian Paternity Act, which would give automatic citizenship to Ameriasians born during the Vietnam and Korean wars.

In one homeland they were treated as outcasts, in the other as refugees. Now thousands of these Amerasians are uniting and lobbying Congress for what they feel is a birthright: ‘We are Americans.’

By My-Thuan Tran, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
October 10, 2008

Randy Tran walked quickly past the majestic domes and marble statues of Capitol Hill, looking for the Cannon House Office building and the people he believed could help him.

Tran, a Vietnamese pop singer who lives in a Bay Area suburb and sleeps on a friend’s couch, flew 2,900 miles to be here. He rehearsed what he wanted to say. His English was not perfect. He was afraid he would have just a few minutes to make his case.

He had a 3 p.m. appointment in the office of a Wisconsin congressman. He was not exactly sure what the congressman did, but he was certain that this was a powerful man who could help untangle a political process that had ensnared him and thousands like him.

Tran came to Washington on behalf of abandoned children of American soldiers and Vietnamese women, born during the Vietnam War and, like him, seeking citizenship in the country their fathers fought for.

Called Amerasians, many were left to grow up in the rough streets and rural rice fields of Vietnam where they stood out, looked different, were taunted as “dust of life.” Most were brought to the United States 20 years ago after Congress passed the Amerasian Homecoming Act, which allowed the children of American soldiers living in Vietnam to immigrate. But citizenship was not guaranteed, and today about half of the estimated 25,000 Amerasians living in the U.S. are resident aliens.

Tran lives in Hayward and travels the country crooning pop songs to Vietnamese fans at restaurants and concert halls. But he feels unsettled.

“I feel like I belong nowhere,” said Tran, whose father was an African American whose name he likely will never know, but who gave him the mocha-colored skin so different from other Vietnamese.

“If I go to Little Saigon, they say, ‘Are you Vietnamese? You look black.’ If I go to the American community, they say, ‘You’re not one of us. You’re Vietnamese.’ ”

But most wrenching for Tran is his lack of citizenship, a constant reminder of being an outsider in what he considers his fatherland.

continue reading

This is infuriating on all kinds of levels.

I can’t believe Amerasians have to lobby congress to get something that rightfully belongs to them.

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(10-09-2008)

HA NOI — Gaps in Viet Nam’s regulations on child adoption has turned the issue from a humanitarian one, to a cash cow for some who take advantage of these cracks in the system to profit from children trafficking which makes a law on adoption is necessary.

According to statistics supplied by the Department of International Child Adoption of the Ministry of Justice, Viet Nam has one of the highest numbers of international child adoption.

But the recent case of two humanitarian centres in Nam Dinh Province – which forged documents for over 300 children to be taken abroad for adoption – has revealed the country’s weakness in adoption policies.

“Unfortunately, regulations on adoption are not carried out in a strict manner in some localities. Forgery is a natural by-product of such a situation,” said Vu Duc Long, head of the Department of International Child Adoption.

“Documents such as birth certificates, or reports on abandonment can be faked. Control on this is loose and many profit from this,” said Long.

Financial support for adoption agencies was considerable, and the fact was, money corrupts, Long added. Procedures to find children’s birth parents are often meglected.

The Department is making plans to carry out regular checks with adoption agencies on humanitarian support. Control on these agencies will also be tightened.

It is also expected that a Law on Child Adoption will be issued by the end of 2011 to deal with these shortcomings. — VNS

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Via EthicaNews

News Release

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) arrested Debra W. West, 46, yesterday for grand theft over $100,000. West, the former director of Adoption by Choice (ABC) from 1992 to 2005, allegedly defrauded dozens of adoptive parents by overcharging them for unnecessary birthmother living and medical expenses.  Several of the adoptive parents were charged for medical expenses when the birthmothers were fully covered by Medicaid.   Investigators believe West had been defrauding parents since 2000.

The total grand theft loss is $188,008 of which $58,235 were medical expenses already covered by Medicaid. These offenses occurred in Hillsborough, Pasco, Citrus, Marion, Pinellas, Sarasota, Brevard and Alachua counties. West is being held without bond at the Pasco County Corrections Facility.


For more information, contact:

Trena Reddick
Public Information Officer
FDLE – Tampa Bay
(813) 878-7239 or 878-7300

More:

State accuses former adoption agency chief of fraud

TAMPA — The former head of a statewide adoption agency has been arrested, accused of defrauding dozens of adoptive parents out of almost $200,000 in bogus medical and living expenses for birth mothers.

Debra W. West, 46, was charged with grand theft Thursday and booked into the Pasco County Jail without bail, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said Friday.

The FDLE says West, the director of Adoptions by Choice, or ABC, from 1992 to 2005, overcharged parents for unnecessary living and medical expenses, including those for several birth mothers who were covered by Medicaid.

Investigators believe the fraud began in 2000 and totaled $188,008, of which $58,235 was for medical expenses covered by Medicaid.

The victims came from all across Central Florida — in Hills­borough, Pinellas, Pasco, Citrus, Sarasota, Marion, Brevard and Alachua counties, the FDLE said.

ABC started in 1990 and quickly became the Tampa Bay area’s busiest adoption agency, with more than 100 adoptions a year. It touted itself as a not-for-profit Christian agency.

Workers said West frequently asked them to turn to prayer when things went wrong. In the mid 1990s, one adoption went badly wrong.

A young Pinellas woman handed over her infant to ABC, which placed him with an Alabama couple without notifying the biological father, who lived in Palm Harbor.

The father, who wanted to raise the baby, filed a paternity action in Pinellas County to find out what had happened to the boy. West and ABC’s lawyer knew about the Pinellas suit, but pushed the adoption through in Tampa anyway without telling Hillsborough authorities.

By the time Florida courts sorted it out and gave the father custody, “Baby Sam” was almost 2. The adoptive parents then fought through Alabama courts. Baby Sam was 5 before the two sides settled on an arrangement that gave the biological father visitation rights.

State authorities documented 11 cases in which adoptions went awry and ABC took back babies after placing them.

Also, Thursday’s arrest is not the first time ABC’s finances have come to the attention of law enforcement.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office investigated ABC in the mid 1990s after former ABC workers complained that adoptive parents were often charged for bogus birth mother expenses. In one case, a Pinellas judge threw out $30,000 in supposed medical expenses when ABC could not provide documentation.

One former worker told authorities that she discovered several copies of “checks” to mothers in her files that couldn’t match up with bills because they were written out of sequence.

The investigation was dropped because the adoptive parents, who were the alleged victims, refused to cooperate.

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