Intercountry adoption: The Hot Potato

It is by now no secret that there is a burning issue when it comes to children’s rights. Something one should not speak about. Not touch.

The “hot potato” is called intercountry adoption.

The UN Convention and the Hague Adoption Convention have conflicting interpretations on the place of intercountry adoptions. Is it a very last resort, an extreme exception, or is it a normal child protection measure. Is it part of any child protection system. Integrated – an integrated child protection system, where children may be exported when in “their best interest”.

And thus, we see adoptions continuing, and the scandals go on and on and on. The most recent was the Dutch media’s exposure of Bulgarian mothers and child rights experts speaking out about how they lost their children and how the intercountry adoption system drags children into care, while alternatives are not offered.

A director of a children’s home tells about a tragic situation: a Bulgarian mother came to visit her children, at the same time when the Dutch adopters were visiting the children. The adopters and the children were quickly brought to another room, so that the children would not become emotional….

Parents get no support, children are adopted – without the consent of the parents. Forced adoption.

Politicians in Bulgaria and the Netherlands spoke out against this. Dutch politicians wanted adoptions from Bulgaria to stop.

The Dutch Ministry of Justice, however, has no issue with this. As, the Hague Convention is based on trust. They checked the files, all fine.  On paper.

The first country where this “Hague approach” was tested, in 1998, was Romania. Then, the EU forced Romania in 2004 back into the original UNCRC interpretation of children’s rights. However, since then the EU made a dramatic u-turn.

Unicef had and has been under a lot of pressure to change their position too. And in 2004 they did. Now they follow the Hague Adoption Convention’s approach. Not the UNCRC.

The European Union is now preparing a “Statement of Accord” with Unicef. Why and what is it about? We are not supposed to know:

But one can be sure about one thing: the issue of the Hague Adoption Convention’s conflicting interpretation of the UNCRC will not be addressed.

After all, omerta and impunity are the key words that rule Adoptionland.