Adoptees, and increasingly first/biological/original parents, are speaking out about the fraud, corruption, and deception that have occurred globally in international adoption.
Today, the United Nations’ Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED) held a session on illegal intercountry adoptions. You can view the event here via United Nations media.
Look at the description of the Committee: “The CED and its Secretariat work daily to support victims, civil society organizations, National Human Rights Institutions and States to search for and locate disappeared persons, eradicate, punish and prevent this crime, and repair the damage suffered by the victims.”
What is the correlation of the Committee’s mission with adoption? Searching for and locating “disappeared persons”–adoptees and bio/first/original parents. Eradicating and punishing the crime of fraudulent and corrupt adoptions. Preventing the crime of illicit adoptions and/or child trafficking. Providing reparations to the victims—adoptees and bio/first/original parents.
The adoptees who spoke out at this UN event and who are speaking out in many other spaces are not teenagers: they are adults, with lived experience and, in some cases, also with extensive professional and academic credentials. Many of these folks are parents and grandparents themselves. They may have grown up in the US or France or Greece or elsewhere. They may have been born in Chile, China, Kenya, Venezuela, Mali, Haiti, or elsewhere.
In any case, as a global movement, they are united in calling for the overhaul and/or elimination of international adoption, for legal procedures allowing annulment of adoptions, for the creation of databases (including DNA) which provide full access to accurate records, and for the right to reparations, including from adoption agencies and governments that in essence sold children under the guise of adoption.
It is a perfect storm in adoption right now. Social media has allowed adoptees to connect with each other wherever they may live. Technology (translation apps, for example) and DNA testing have opened doors to allow identification of relatives, and of the truth. Adoptees who have traveled to their countries of origin have often found their histories are not what they and their adoptive parents had been led to believe. Birth/first parents, often marginalized economically and socially, are being contacted and are also speaking out.
In addition to watching the UN meeting on video, take a look at this report from Inter Country Adoptee Voices, a major force in organizing the UN events. “Victims of Illegal Intercountry Adoptions Speak Out” was prepared for today’s UN event, a one year anniversary of the 2022 presentation. From the report’s Introduction: “One year on from the UN working with some of us intercountry adoptees and many other experts around the world to publish their Joint Statement on Illegal Intercountry Adoptions, we celebrate the allyship and support to share our messages as survivors and victims of illegal intercountry adoptions.”
The victim and survivor statements provided in the ICAV report “provide representation from the following countries: Adoptive countries (9): Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Netherlands, Sweden, UK, USA; Birth countries (19): Chile, China, Colombia, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Greece, Haiti, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, Mali, Peru, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Venezuela, Vietnam.”
The ICAV report, like today’s United Nations event, is sobering. For some folks, the report and UN meeting may seem over-reactive, isolated, and unnecessary. They are not. They are the green leaves of seeds that have been germinating for too long, and are now rising robustly in many parts of the world.