I am the father of 6 children. My 4 youngest are adopted. I am the President & Co-founder of a human rights organization working to end child trafficking and exploitation. I am deeply conflicted. Here is why:Go read the whole thing, then tell us what you think. As an adoptive parent who has adopted internationally -- twice -- I often feel conflicted about international adoption. Do you?
When I was in Cambodia about 8 years ago, the Director of a large human rights agency asked me; “Do you really want to do something practical to stop child trafficking?” I of course answered yes. She said; “Then do something about international adoption.” At the time, I honestly wasn’t sure what she meant. She then went on to explain about how international adoption, if not done well and with vigilance, can fuel child trafficking.
To be truthful, my immediate reaction was defensiveness. I was even a little offended. Mostly because I am an adoptive father and I believe that adoption can be a viable and compassionate response to the global orphan crisis. But also offended, or more aptly put… mad as hell that traffickers would prey on the most vulnerable; turning orphans into commodities.
Since that conversation I’ve learned a lot and continue to learn, from my daily fight to end child trafficking and exploitation, as well as from our family’s own journey of international and domestic adoptions.
I’ve discovered she was right. Intercountry adoption, if not regulated and monitored can contribute to the trafficking of children.
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