NOTE: I’ve been having some major computer problems lately–like the damn machine shutting off with no warning and erasing everything I’m’ doing– and have been forced to cut back on blogging. The situation is semi improved, so I’m back in the game–I hope).
Voices for Vietnam Adoption Integrity has joined the CHIFF fray.
Today, Christina from VVVAI published an amazing statement from the group: Why We Oppose CHIFF: A Misguided Bill With Misaligned Priorities. The statement lays out everything that is wrong with this horrendous adoption industry-driven attempt to circumvent the Hague and other international adoption safeguards and send separate thousands of children from their families, homes, and culture. It is most appropriate that this statement comes from those that CHIFFters claim to serve: international adoptive parents and potential international adopters.
I want to send readers over to the full statement (linked above) so I’m posting only a couple excerpts here.
As we have said before, we are in no way opposed to international adoption. In many cases, that may in fact be the best solution for a child. But without first seeing if that child could be reunified with his/her parents or extended family; without verifying that the child in the orphanage has no one who desires to care for them; without giving local families a real opportunity to adopt that child, how would we know it was for the best? The reality is that adoption – any adoption – involves loss. The loss of parents, extended family, a child’s first home. To add to that the loss of their entire country, culture, and language is no small thing and should not be treated as though it is an equivalent – or worse, a better option — than any of the in-country solutions.
The supporters of CHIFF say that family preservation and domestic placements are given priority over international adoption, but the actual wording of the bill belies that claim.
The principle of subsidiarity, which gives preference to in-country solutions, should be implemented within the context of a concurrent planning strategy, exploring in- and out-of-country options simultaneously. If an in-country placement serving the child’s best interest and providing appropriate, protective, and permanent care is not quickly available, and such an international home is available, the child should be placed in that international home without delay.
Normally when something is given preference, it means that it comes first. But in this case, though preference is supposedly being given to in-country solutions, those are not being sought first. International adoption is being pursued concurrently. In theory, this means that authorities should be seeking to reunify a child with his/her family, searching for additional family who could provide kinship care, and even seeking a family to adopt the child locally while at the same time they are going through the process of clearing the child for an international adoption. Each of those very weighty steps takes time and money. Only one of them results in a large paycheck for the authorities and others involved in finding “permanent care” for the child. So while it may sound like the bill gives equal weight to all possible solutions, in reality the money that drives international adoption will propel that option to the top every time.
Consider the third section of the bill, titled “Promotion of a Comprehensive Approach for Children in Adversity” in which the Administrator of the new agency established by the bill is tasked with implementing the “Action Plan for Children in Adversity” in at least six countries within the next five years. The purpose of this initial launch is to “establish model programs that… will be available for replication on a global basis.” And the criteria for launching in those six countries? All of them MUST agree to “support the full complement of permanence solutions” – including “intercountry adoption”. In other words, money would be siphoned off of funds currently used to aid and support vulnerable children around the world for the clear and stated purpose of incentivizing intercountry adoptions. Who stands to gain the most from that approach? Adoption agencies, adoption attorneys, and others who work in that industry.
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