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A Mothers' Day Letter to Angelina Jolie...

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...and all considering international adoption...

In your quest for a “rainbow family” I cannot help wonder why you seem to only have your eyes focused outside the United States. Are you aware that there are children of many colors, ages and physical abilities in need of loving caring homes, right here at home? Are you aware that there is half a million children in foster care in the US, and that of those between 126-134,000 can never be reunified with any family and could thus benefit from adoption into a permanent family?

I was always taught that charity begins at home. I wonder why you, and others who adopt internationally, turn their back on these children. If just one in 500 of those considering adoption, adopted one of these children all of the children in foster care waiting for adoption would have permanent, loving families, according to a 2002 survey conducted by the Donaldson Institute.

An increasing number of people are recognizing that international adoptions are fraught with corruption. Ethica, states that over forty percent of significant nations who have been “sending” children for intercountry adoption have been shut down in the fifteen years prior to 2004, due primarily to adoption scandals concerning corruption and child trafficking.

Legal scholar David M. Smolin found that:

“Given that many birth mothers [worldwide, are] living on less than two dollars per day—and some among those living on less than one dollar per day—it could be argued that relatively small amounts of money might help keep the child with the birth family…. As an ethical matter, it is perverse to spend thousands of dollars taking a child from the birth family, when a much smaller sum would have kept the family intact…..where parents give up their children for the lack of a few hundred dollars, or less, but the intercountry adoption system spends tens of thousands of dollars completing the adoption of the child, the concept of compassionate adoption becomes a cruel hoax… upon closer examination it appears that the ethics of the adoption systems, both domestic and intercountry, are just as illusory and fictional as the legal prohibitions on child-selling.… Intercountry adoption is a form of child trafficking not because adoptive families in rich countries obtain poor children from developing and transition economy nations. Rather, intercountry adoption is a form of child trafficking because the law and current systems of intercountry adoption permit it to operate as such.…the system as a whole is corrupt because it has no effective means of preventing intercountry adoption from degenerating into illicit child trafficking.”

Isn’t it far more compassionate to parent a child – or children where there far less question of bribery, kidnapping or profiteering from their removal and sale into adoption as there is known to be in South American, Eastern European and Asian countries?

Isn’t it far more compassionate to use wealth – such as that of Angelina Jolie – to help an entire village rather than ”rescue” one child in a fashion that some criticize as supporting a network of corrupt child traffickers?
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Mirah Riben is a human rights activist with a focus on families, children and adoption reform. She is author of two internationally acclaimed books - "shedding light on...The Dark Side of Adoption" (1988) and "THE STORK MARKET: America's (more...)

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