Nepal is far from the only country where international conventions on the rights of children have been breached as unscrupulous middlemen trade toddlers like livestock to desperate Western couples. The process is simple: parents in Europe and America contact an adoption agency in the country of their choice, either privately or via a home agency. Money changes hands, and their papers and the papers of the child are checked, the latter being easy to falsify. More money changes hands, and the child goes home with new parents.The article also refers to adoptions from China, Korea, Ethiopia, Ukraine, Russia, Guatemala, Haiti, Japan.
Many of these adoptions are legitimate, beneficial, and bring nothing but joy to the new parents and hope to the child. But there is another side. The possibilities for corruption and back-hand profit are immense, because the emotional stakes are so high. "When people want something so very much, like a baby, the amount of money they are prepared to throw at it can be limitless," said Andy Elvin of Children and Families Across Borders. "In some countries, those amounts of money on offer mean that people do things they wouldn't otherwise do, and that's the problem."
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Across the world, there are thousands of parentless children needing adoption, and there is nothing remotely wrong with placing children with caring families. Unfortunately, the international adoption trade has become a murky trench of money-making and malpractice. Extant systems of oversight are rickety, but there is much that can and should be done to tighten up the provisions of The Hague convention to ensure that adoption does not become a byword for benevolent human trafficking.
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