“reunite” is an organization that began in Uganda in 2011. The Riley family had adopted internationally from Uganda and chose to move there so their children would experience that culture. They began working with orphanages and discovered that many children were not true orphans, but had families. In working to understand why these children were in the orphanages, the Rileys uncovered the corrupt profit-based side of adoption. They discovered that parents were giving children up because they experienced temporary hardship, were coerced into it by orphanage staff, and were blackmailed and stonewalled into leaving their children behind when they tried to come back for them. The Rileys were horrified and chose to try to help the children they were given access to, find their families and return to them. They have since resettled 13 children with family members. They have experienced pushback from orphanage staff, as these people make quite a bit of profit from international adoptions, and also would lose their jobs if the orphanages were not full of children.
The following are stories that were featured on their blog that describe different aspects of the deception that has developed within the international adoption field.
These stories give the perspective of various different deceptions and issues in the international adoption realm in Uganda. However, do not write off international adoption altogether… there are other organizations and points of view to take into consideration.
I ultimately believe that children should be parented by their biological family – whether that means their mother, father, or a relative – if at all possible. On the other hand, I do feel that international adoption has a place, but should be under strict regulations.
What do you think?
14/2/2013 12:49:21 am
I conducted an informational interview with a local lawyer last week who has done a lot of work in international adoptions, including the adoptions themselves, but also education about the topic, improving policy etc. He gave me his notes to a presentation he made in New York about the importance of educating families that are giving up their children for adoption about the process, their rights, and other important information that often gets sidelined. As you said, the deception that exists in this field can be rampant, but when programs such as the one this lawyer was advocating for are used, many issues are resolved. And as for the strict regulations, maybe this step of educating the parents giving up their children should be mandatory. What do you think?
I agree - that would be extremely useful. I think in Uganda, in the Riley's experience, they are finding that parents are not voluntarily giving their children up - they are blackmailed into it, or are going through a difficult time and can't care for their kids, and are told that putting them in the orphanage will be better for the kids - when they return for the kids they are not permitted to take them home, or are told the children have been moved or adopted internationally. I think in those cases, education of the staff is very important as well - and perhaps, the monetary gain that the orphanages experience due to international adoptions should be restricted, as that seems to be encouraging the deception.
20/2/2013 09:41:25 am
Again (as I've been commenting on other people's posts), it seems to come down to education. For the mothers to know their rights and the situations they are entering into, and for the staff to be willing to educate themselves and the families they interact with. It is frustrating and sad that these orphanages would be in it for the monetary gain; I wish that if a company or organization was to set up international adoptions, they would be doing it for the right reasons - to create loving and supporting families for parents who wish to play that role in a child's life, and for the child(ren) to have the chance to be part of a better situation than which they came from.
21/2/2013 09:43:21 am
Are there organizations that try to support families in these situations? I can't imagine as a parent having to consider giving up one of my children for my own survival or the survival of that child and their siblings. Perhaps this is a good reason to sponsor children through Compassion or World Vision!
That would definitely be helpful - and I think that is what 'reunite' is trying to do. I think that Compassion and World Vision are often restricted to certain villages/areas and to a certain number of children, so emergency needs such as these may not be on their radar. And parents would also need to know about that option in order to make use of it. I will have to look into that further.
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Welcome! My name is Katiana and I am a development professional pursuing my dream to live out Isaiah 1:17 to the best of my abilities. I am passionate about teaching and working with vulnerable families and children to improve their lives sustainably.
This blog is composed of my personal opinions, which do not necessarily reflect the opinion or views of institutions or organizations that I may be or have been affiliated with.